Lesson 6: Ski Harnesses
In Lesson 6, Rich talks about when it is acceptable to use a ski harness, and what some other options are for keeping your kid safe if a harness isn’t the correct answer. Rich goes on to say how he does not feel a ski harness is vital to teaching a child how to ski, but does talk about what circumstances which they are helpful.
Links to Useful Products
Awesome tips for teaching kids to ski. I have a 7 year old and a 4 year old who i taught to ski and i always get tons of questions,. how, when, what did i use…etc.
if i had to put a guide together,.. that’s exactly what i would include,…. now i will just point people to your page.
There is one thing that i found extremely helpful is this harness,.. link below..what i like about it more then most of other leashes that i have seen on the market is that
the leverage point on it is at the waist… closer to the body’s center of gravity,.. rather then up higher…
i find that i can almost control the child just by slightly tugging on the left one or the right one,.. and that really helps learning going side to side.
it works great on lifts, especially on the ones with no safety bar,.. helps you lift the kid when needed,.. grab him and really saves your back in a lot of situations.. also founded it pretty useful for teaching how to ice skate
Thanks for the feedback. There are a variety of tools that do essentially similar things. It looks like you have found a booster harness without the leash aspect which may be simpler for the young ones that don’t need to be controlled just assisted.
Hi Rich – I’m currently teaching my 3 (almost 4) year-old to ski, and thought your video series was really comprehensive and helpful. Thanks for putting that together and making it available.
If it’s not too much to ask, I wanted to get your thought on the Hookease product (doesn’t look like you sell it, but it’s made by the same people as Wedgease) as a training tool. The concept is that the adult skis behind the child, and uses poles connected to a bracket on the child’s ski to guide each ski, commanding wedges and turns.
I bought it from the manufacturer a few weeks ago, and used it a few days ago with my son. It definitely gives me the ability to command wedges and turns. But I’m just wondering if that’s a good thing, versus just putting a Wedgease on him and letting him discover edges and wedges with me encouraging and skiing backwards and/or next to him. Do you think too much parental control can be a bad thing in this situation? I’ve found, by the way, that’s it’s very possible to remain connected to him, but just let him turn and wedge on his own rather than me commanding it – so, maybe that’s the middle ground.
In any event, thanks again for the video series and for any thoughts you can share on a product like the Hookease. I was not aware of you website before finding the training videos, but I’ll definitely look to you for future needs. Thanks, Dave
I did try the hookease and think it would be a super powerful tool in the arsenal of a children’s ski instructor to get a child to feel a certain action that you do not seem to be able to convey with words.
However the environment of someone whose parents paid $120 an hour to have their kids skiing improved in a private lesson and those of parents skiing with kids is different. You simply do not need to see or even want to see continual improvement every hour. Its about having fun and staying safe.
If it’s about staying safe and you can’t or don’t want to ski backwards and the hill you are skiing on is not naturally safe, I actually prefer the harness to the hookease as it’s less taxing on you.
All that being said every child is different and their are children that may actually get frustrated if they do not understand what it takes and feels like to make a wedge turn. However in my experience that is generally older kids who would not need such a device anyway.
On the is too much parental (or instructor) control a bad thing.. my answer is unequivocally yes. The ideal situation is when you can teach your kids to ski without physically or verbally instructing them in any way. In a good learning environment (something sadly very few ski hills actually have) this actually can be done, but even in the real world the more they figure out for themselves the better (once they can ski and stop safely a simple follow the leader and “point your toes that way” almost always works.)
Of course.. all this advice is secondary to the fact that your #1 job is to make sure they are safe on the hill.
Let me know if that helps.. and Id like to post this Q&A on teachchildren skiing if thats ok with you (with ony your first name and no other personal info of course)
Hi Rich – thanks so much for your detailed and insightful response and, of course, please feel free to post this on your FAQs. The more others can learn, the better.
I was actually out on the ski hill when you responded over the weekend, and though I would update you. I had Wedgease on my son’s skis, and also took the Hookease with me (this was about the third time I’ve used them).
I found that the Hookease was most useful in two situations. (1) pushing him around the mountain, for example when I’m skating to get around a poorly designed area. Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common at some of my local hills, where beginner areas are located far from the lodge, and then there are uphills at the bottom and top of the magic carpet. In those situations, I found the Hookease to be a real help and timesaver, giving us more fun time on hill. (2) poorly laid out terrain. For example, when the hill slopes not only down, but also side to side, I found that the Hookease was helpful for really helping him carve into his edges and handle that type of terrain.
The rest of the time, I either skied backwards or next to my son, and that worked great. The grade of our hill was pretty good for giving him some gentle freedom with having to worry about runaways, and the ski school had some fun targets and flags set up that we were using at aiming points. He’s got the pizza down flat, but we’re still working on how to command a turn. So far, my best success has been to have him make a pizza, then ask him to squish a bug with his downhill foot. Short of using the Hookease, any other tips on how to get them to understand/implement the concept of not only making a pizza, but taking it the next step into a wedge turn?
With respect to harnesses, I have one and have used it a couple of time. I didn’t love how it affected his posture/balance (although this was last season, before he had the muscle control that he currently has), so maybe I’ll try it again this year if it’s needed for safety purposes.
Once again, thanks for much for your thoughts. Thanks, Dave
Thanks for the good feedback. I admit I have not used the hookease extensively and do note that for instructional purposes it is excellent. I do agree with you about the harness.. I do not really like them for teaching as the most important part in learning to ski is your child supporting his own weight. I do harnesses for parents that can not keep their kids safe otherwise.