KIDS ON SKIS by I. William Berry


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A good-humored, easygoing, authoritative guide for parents--by contrast with Anthony and Bolletieri's treatise on kids and tennis (above). Berry is a well-known ski writer, but of equal importance here, he has two children (eight and five-and-a-half) who ski, and he's been through the mill himself. There are no long discussions of why to ski--skiing is fun, and skiing with your kids is more fun. Start them ""early,"" counsels Berry: ""Get those dreary days behind you as quickly as possible."" And, he freely admits, skiing is expensive (figure on $700-plus to start). He also sets out the basic differences between adults and kids skiing: kids need firm plans, and time to get used to unfamiliar places; they have short attention spans, and can't go in for non-stop skiing. Most important, they are upset by changes in schedules (they need regular meals and regular rest times) and changes of diet (loading them up with snacks and sugary drinks won't help their skiing). On parental influence, he warns against the Little League Syndrome; leave them alone to learn at their own rate. Taking up ski schools (some by name), he explains how to judge teachers and schools by their certification, their equipment, their published lesson plans; the best gauge, however, is how your kids feel when you pick them up after class--if excited and eager to go on, it was a good lesson. Regarding racing and older children, Berry acknowledges that such instruction may teach the ""ultimate in technique and control,"" but he is scathing on the U.S. Ski Association/Ski Education Foundation ""rat race."" ""Halfbacks in the N.F.L. have a better chance of walking normally when their careers are done."" Skill is the salutary goal here, not technique; and the rewards are self-evident.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1980
Publisher: Scribners