It’s time for your mini Nomads to put away the iPads and head outside. But, it’s 2016 and they’re going to need a really good reason to turn away from their screens. We’ve got a great one: snow. Ski season is Disneyland no matter how old you are, so when your kids are old enough to begin a life-long love for snow sports, they’re about to get schooled.
Read also: 5 Family-Friendly Stays in Niseko
Mind over Matter
Kids need to be at least three years of age to be enrolled into a ski school, but it really comes down to if they’re ready or not. And that’s completely understandable—even adults have a fear of skiing for the first time. So really prep them for the snow, show them videos (iPads do come in handy sometimes), and share your own childhood ski stories with them. And, ahem, because all parents know how a little bribe can go a long way, start brewing a cup of hot chocolate.
Keeping Toasty Warm
Brace yourself. There’s nothing less appealing than thermal clothing and long johns for adults, but kids seem to have it so much better. Heaps of waterproof outerwear, hand and leg warmers, and those cute beanies with bobble tops are called for. Layering clothes is great for cold weather but remember to ensure your kid can still move freely. Swaddling years are long over.
Choosing a winter hobby
Skiing or snowboarding… or both? With most kids, ski lessons come first as it provides much of the basics for snowboarding. Plus, snowboarding requires a lot of balance that only comes with practice. And remember that with the rise of carving skis, snowboarders are dwindling on the slopes from their once ubiquitous high a decade ago.
Ski School or Home-school?
Unless you’ve got the patience, skills and time, ski schools will really help. But we can’t argue that personally teaching your kids is an unforgettable bonding experience. So here’s our honest suggestion: send them for professional classes first, ask the instructors for feedback, and continue working from there.
Now that the how-to’s are covered, here are some of the best places to enrol your kids at. We highly recommend these schools in Japan:
Niseko: Niseko International Snowsports School (NISS), Niseko Base Snowspnorts (NBS), GoSnow, and Hokkaido Core.
Hakuba: Evergreen International Ski School, and Hakuba Snow Sports School.