Should Kids be introduced to Skiing?
I am Shweta Chougle, working in the legal sector and am a full-time mom. Have a special place for Skiing in my heart and I was in a constant dilemma whether skiing is for kids and whether should I pass it over to my son at his early stage. After researching and evaluating quite a few articles, this is what I went through.
A common thought associated with winter sport like skiing is that skiers throw themselves off steep and narrow slopes at high speeds. But the totality of skiing- the speed, the daring slope and terrain, and even the freezing temperature had entered my ten-year son Vivan this winter. We had spent 2 days in Gulmarg and the place is well full of skiers from all over the world. My son had begged me over and over again to try skiing but I had to deny him for all different reasons.
Later I thought it wasn’t the potential physical danger that gave me the chills but I simply questioned the perception of exposing young kids to extreme sports.
Discovery was also an issue. I still remember taking my first skiing trip, to Auli, in 2003, when I was 22 and experienced the freedom and wilderness of exploring a new place on a ski with many new and old friends. Why would I rob my children of such an experience by not putting them to ski early? But the most important thing of all, I just couldn’t shake the cynical impression that extreme sports aren’t for kids. Even Kite surfing, rock climbing, and scuba diving are there for the youth and adult but not kids so I wasn’t sure to let him try skiing.
Meanwhile, Vivan relentlessly repeated his argument regarding skiing because it looked fun and he wanted to try it.
I read an article from Richard Louv, the famous journalist, and author of Vitamin N, the essential guide to nature-rich life. He wrote the term “nature-deficit disorder.” According to him, kids should spend a lot more time in nature so that they develop into curious and capable human beings
Surely, he would think skiing, or any extreme sport for that matter, didn’t count as quality nature time for kids since there are lots of stuff involved. But to my surprise, one of his articles read, “Although extreme sports aren’t slow they can be personal and extremely stimulating. Young people are more likely to be attracted to riskier outdoor adventures.” In fact, the risk inherent in extreme sports might make some kids more aware of their surroundings. This increased awareness could help them with different aspects of life including school and home.
“One of the most significant impacts of nature deficit disorders is a decrease in attention span,” as said by Angela Hanscom, a therapist, and founder of TimberNook. This inattention leads to a lack of movement, trouble controlling emotions and are more easily frustrated.
Time spent playing in nature helps your kids develop neurological systems. For instance, trekking through the jungle and different terrain helps kids organize their senses and also boost their body growth.
Time with nature also helps kids navigate fear, and extreme sports might provide even more opportunities for that than, say, a nature walk. “When kids are able to try things that scare them, and realize they can overcome the challenges, that’s very important for their development,” Hanscom said.
After reading all this from such people, my heart whispered to go ahead to give skiing lessons and Ski with Vivan.
It’s OK to give your child amazing experiences at an early age, and it’s formative for the brain. Besides, you don’t know what’s going to be meaningful to them later on, and they might discover something completely different when they’re 16.
So, later I did took Vivan with me for skiing on the baby slopes the next day. Our instructor explained the know-hows of skiing and safety rules and regulations. On the third day, Vivan descended a little less sloppy on the snow. He was visibly still a bit nervous but did walk his ski down the sections that scared him. I was nearly knocked over by the unexpected joy I felt at sharing these shreds with my boy
As our family descended the mountain, I thought of something that I read. Scientists who study human perception no longer assume we have only five senses: taste, touch, smell, sight, and hearing. The number now ranges from a conservative ten to as many as 30. Yet most of us—kids and adults alike—exist in a predominantly digital environment that asks us to spend enormous energy blocking out many of these senses so we can focus narrowly on the screen in front of our eyes.
As I watched Vivan descend the slopes I could sense the blood coursing through his veins and his little brain exploding with joy as all of his interests intertwined—getting dirty, having fun on the ski, playing with snow, making new friends. We all felt completely, alertly, happily alive as every sense was stimulated. The kids flocked to the trail like icebound penguins to the sea. It was extreme in the best possible way. Skiing truly is for kids, adults and everyone else.