Start them young they say!
Hopefully you caught a previous post of Curren recounting his first experience snowboarding in the hiking backpack? (if you missed it, you can read it here) Well, a month after that, he was riding by himself in the French Alps. Santa Claus brought him a 80cm Star Wars edition (of course) Burton snowboard. We were very excited to get Curren on a snowboard but we wanted make sure it was a positive and fun experience for him. Luckily we were blessed with a wonderful warm sunny day, with nobody around.
My husband and I are both snowboarders. I started when I was 7, which was pretty early at the time. Almost 25 years later, Burton makes the smallest gear on the planet and as soon as babies can walk, they can jump on a snowboard! It’s never been easier to start snowboarding at a (very) early age. The snowboarding equipment is totally child friendly. The board has a slightly concave and forgiving spoon shape minimizing the chances of the edges catching, and easily turns to facilitate learning, and the boots and bindings are also easy to get into and comfy. Additionally, we got a tow leash so we could pull him up hill or slow him on the decent.
After the (still non-fun) dressing part, being on the slopes was a real pleasure for all of us. Curren loves playing with his skateboard at home and he is used to riding with his Dad. Because of the skating experience he instinctively put his feet in the bindings and knew what to expect! On the slope, some people asked us “Did you use something to keep him straight?” Ha! No! Most children have an innate sense of balance and are fearless. Beside, his legs were so far apart that it helped him to be low and stable on the board.
We were amazed to see him ride by himself, but his huge smile was the best part. It was not only fun for him, but an awesome family adventure! There is a good chance that this first experience will lead to a love affair with the mountain that will last a lifetime.
Of course it would have been better for him to wear his helmet, but we’re still working on acclimating him to it. It’s a process. Instead we just made sure to always be within catching distance. A calculated compromise between happiness and safety.