Stories from the ski areas
At the ski school
Not one you can eat though, but one that gets you to turn well. How children learn to ski with this simple technique and lots of fun in the Zillertal Arena.
Pizza!, shouts Hannes, giving the little ski beginners the command. And the children do actually understand, push their skis apart at the back and make a snow plough. Later on, the ski instructor, who glows across the piste in his bright red outfit, will issue the order “Fries!”, namely when it comes to moving the skis into parallel position.
“When I say pizza or fries, it helps the kids because they can immediately envisage what the manoeuvre should look like. They don’t have to think about it for long,” says Hannes. Today it’s Leni, Max and Fabian
who are following his trail, they’ve got the knack of the pizza thing now. In a moment, Hannes will press colourful hula hoops into their thickly gloved hands. These are used to practice stability on the skis, slightly smaller rings help with turns, he explains: “The children hold it like a steering wheel. The steering movement makes it easier for them to make the turn.” A simple trick with great effect.
After the practice sessions, the children are soon ready to ski down the new Funty slope to the Rosenalmbahn cable car middle station in Zell am Ziller. Passing through a bright yellow archway onto the wide and flat ski trail, where fun high-five and sound elements and lots of surprises await. Just as Leni has proudly made a flawless left turn, something very big and very yellow appears at the foot of the hill. Funty! The cheerful Zillertal Arena mascot is paying a surprise visit to the piste apprentices – a real highlight! And so, at the end of this fun day in the snow, you see a cuddly elephant and three keen little skiers blissfully happy on the slopes.
1 At what age does it make sense to start skiing?
You can’t think of it as strapping on a child’s skis at a certain age, dropping them off at the ski school, and when you pick them up again, they can ski. It is a smooth transition: we offer childcare for kids from the age of two, where the little ones can paint and play in the snow and are introduced to skiing in a playful way. For the three to five year olds, there’s a combination of childcare and skiing lessons.
2 What should the children wear?
The clothing should follow the “onion principle”, so layers. These three are ideal on the body: Ski underwear made of a breathable material, e.g. merino wool. It can wick away moisture and at the same time keep the child warm when they are not moving, for example when waiting at the lift. Layer two, the so-called midlayer, should be made of fleece or, if it is particularly cold, of light down. The outermost layer, i.e. the ski jacket and of course the trousers, should be windproof and waterproof. Tip: Overall, the ski clothing should be as light as possible and offer the child freedom of movement.
3 What equipment is necessary?
I recommend hiring skis, poles, boots and a helmet. The only thing you need to bring is your own beanie hat for under the helmet – and gloves, of course. It doesn’t matter whether it’s ski goggles or sunglasses – the main thing is the child should feel comfortable with their equipment. And don’t forget to put on sunscreen!
4 Should my child bring a snack along?
No, catering is provided at the ski school. We have breaks where the children can eat and drink, no one goes hungry.
5 What should you look out for when you arrive at the ski school?
The kids react very differently. I recommend not making a big deal out of saying goodbye, giving the child a positive basic feeling and not having any expectations. Then everything will be OK. And if things really don’t work out, we call the parents immediately, of course.
Image: Bernhard Huber and text: Gundi Bittermann
Zillertal magazine winter 2022/23
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