Our kids started skiing when they were 4 and 5 years old. Now they are 9 and 10 and can ski anywhere on the mountain.
When people see how well our kids ski they start asking questions and one of the most common is, “when should we give our kids ski poles?” Ski poles are an important piece of ski equipment, but not something they should start out with.
The simple answer is, give them poles when they’re ready for ski poles. It sounds flippant but what I mean is give them ski poles when they master these skiing moves:
1. They can stop and turn when they want. This sounds obvious but until they master these basic moves they don’t need to be thinking about ski poles.
2. They’re tall enough to have poles that fit. Kids’ ski poles can be cut down to whatever size is needed but if you’ve got a real shrimp, the poles won’t do much good anyway.
3. They’re responsible enough to take care of them. I don’t mean taking care of them in the sense of keeping a pet safe, I mean able to take care of them while they’re in the ski line and on the lift.
They need to know not to swing them around using them as a sword or a bludgeon on other skiers. They also need to be able to get the straps off they’re wrists before getting on the ski lift. This takes practice but be sure they understand how it’s done before getting on the lift.
4. Give them ski poles when they ask for them. If they’ve met all the above points wait for them to ask for ski poles.
It’s pretty obvious how useful they are in ski lines. The kids see how easy skiers move in line when they use their poles to push them along. They notice how difficult it is for them to move, having to rely on their parents to pull them along.
Pretty soon they’ll get sick of not being able to move well, and they’ll ask for the poles.
Skiing with Poles
Once they have poles and they understand how the straps work, you’ll have to teach them what the heck they’re for. Skiing with poles goes beyond the basics of teaching skiing. Don’t get too involved with this step. Tell them to use them to help them turn. Have them try to plant the pole whenever they turn.
Most kids won’t do this initially. they’ll turn the same way they always have, not using their poles at all. That’s okay, don’t push them too hard or they’ll want to go back to no poles.
Eventually they’ll see other skiers using their poles to help them turn and they’ll figure it out on their own.
Once kids get used to having ski poles they’ll never want to go back.