Young skiers and snowboarders (in years and experience) need to venture off the bunny hill to steeper terrain once they have a comfortable grasp of turning, controlling their speed, and stopping. Especially with an alpine seasonal sport, in order to improve form and establish muscle memory, it’s important to experience steeper slopes. And this applies to rookie skiers and riders of all ages, from grandparents to preschoolers.
If your kid skis faster down the bunny hill than it takes to ride the chairlift, then that kid is ready for intermediate trails. In order to transition to the intermediate skill level, kids (and adult skiers) need to go beyond their comfort zone—steeper terrain and greater speed for practicing balance and form while turning and stopping.
But nothing freaks out a young skier like feeling too overwhelmed or scared on a challenging run, whether it’s being too intimidated by the slope angle or rough snow conditions. Which is why a sunny day on the mountain with soft snow, like a quintessential bluebird day, is a great time to venture beyond the bunny hill. Soft snow allows for smoother turns and a more forgiving cushion for falls, whereas with crusty or icy snow conditions on that same run, not having edges be able to dig well into the snow for turns and stops can feel (and be) dangerous to young skiers. With the approach of spring, take advantage of softer snow conditions, and with only a few weeks left in the Northwest ski season, every day counts.