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Kids...

Seek and dispense advice regarding snowsports technique at The Ski School.

re: Kids...

Postby Guest » Thu Dec 23, 2004 7:50 am

The reason that most schools won't take kids before 7 to 8 is due to the risk of head injuries.

Kids under the age of 8 still have a disproportionately large head for the neck muscle development. This leads to an increased likelihood of concussion/head injuries if the child catches a backside edge. Around 8, the neck muscles finally catch up to be able to handle shocks and stablize the head in a traumatic fall.

This basis of this belief is from a report on injuries to Pop-warner football players and skateboarders by a couple of academic-type MD's back in the early 90's. Insurance groups have read the report, and now ski-schools find it hard to be insured if they insist on teaching below 8.

Same goes for pee-wee hockey: several leagues have rules against teaching under 8's to skatebackwards by league coaches, so that they have insurance.

I had a brief stint as a risk-assessor for an insurance company. Speaking from that side of the industry, don't argue with the average ski-patrol guy about rules you find "stupid." Most of those stupid rules were created as part of the "risk management" guidelines required by the insuring body.

Todd
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re: Kids...

Postby JimG. » Thu Dec 23, 2004 8:26 am

An interesting angle Todd. Hunter allows kids who are 4 or older, but some parents do lie so we sometimes got kids who were 3 and a few months.

Not taking kids younger than 7 or 8 seems a bit extreme to me; the physical limitations you mention are really not a hindrance to teaching kids who are 4. Frankly, I think the likelihood of sustaining a concussion is no greater for a 5 or 6 year old as it is for an adult, but I admittedly am discounting the usefulness of applying statistics to the equation.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that you're right, but I don't think it really matters in the real world of a ski hill.
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re: Kids...

Postby Guest » Tue Dec 28, 2004 2:18 pm

JimG.:
Hunter allows kids who are 4 or older


Depends on the carrier and/or if the resort is willing to pay extra for the coverage. There are very few "we won't insure if you do/don't do this" type statements, but there are a lot of "if you want to do this, it will cost you double" type answers. Simple economics apply: if a resort can get enough families to put their 2.5 year olds through a program, they can afford just about any insurance cost.

As far as physical limitations, I wasn't talking about the ability to learn to board, I was talking about the abilty to handle the fall. I took my 1.5 YO Daughter skiiing on the 26th (ankle bar and tip connectors). No falls in the 45 mintues we were out, yet she can't seem to walk across the living room without tanking it. Go figure.

Three important things to note:
1) from a medical science standpoint, anytime you are moving faster than you can run and/or the potential fall is higher than your normal height to the ground, the risk of a head injury increases exponentially. Once your head makes contact with an object, you're right, it doesn't matter what age you are. Having read lots of reports and meeting folks that have been injured is frightening, yet I only put on the helmet if doing the terrain park or glade skiing. On the flip side, I used to only wear my bike helmet on MTB, now I always wear one. Personal choice, I guess.

2)The fall that scares insurers the most is not the head-over-tips leg breaker through the woods. People tend not to sue over that one, and if they do, the cost is *relatively* low (note most insurance companies providing "sports/adventure sports" coverage typically settle in all but the extreme fraud situations, regardless of "fault"). The fall that scares them, and should scare everyone, is the backward fall where you can't take a step backwards. This is the fall that is likely to create the whip effect in which your head will actually accerlate into the ground. This is where the statistics come into play: the older you are, the more likely you are to have the ability to decelerate your noggin. Speed plays a factor in this one on snow: the faster you are going, the more likely you are going to roll and/or slide and not whip your head (as opposed to biking and in-line skating, where you are just as likely to smack your head). In hockey, skateboarding and football, this type of injury is pretty common, regardless of age, yet the injuries are more severe in the younger ages. That being said, head injuries involve a lot of unknowns.

3) People tend not to sue when they injure themselves skiing (not including blatent resort equipment malfunction). Parents, on the other hand, become very litigous when their kids get injured, regardless of fault.

As far as on the mountain goes, I did this in 98-99, and the under 10 crowd was reporting the largest increase in the per skier visit injury. The "novice" snowboarder represented the largest head injury percent, regardless of age. IIRC, 12 and under snowboarders represented just under 50% of all head injuries, regardless of "experience". Don't know if things have changed since then

Todd (really needs to create a logon)
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re: Kids...

Postby JimG. » Tue Dec 28, 2004 2:26 pm

Todd, you know your facts! Can't dispute anything you've written. Your point about people who are hurt in the woods not suing but parents whose kids are hurt while skiing going for the kill is particularly relevant. I guess I just don't think about this aspect of the skiing industry much.

If I did, I probably wouldn't want to teach kids!
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re: Kids...

Postby Annmarief » Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:23 pm

I am not an expert. However, I do have 5 kids (including steps) who are all now sking or boarding. They range in age from 3-21. And, my step kids did not ski until I was involved.

Although I very much agree with the previous discussion, there is one big thing I would like to add. Do not get YOUNG (under 5) kids into sking unless you have the personality where you can "follow the child". Learn to know when your child is STARTING to get tired. This is why I love season passes, more pressured to go, less pressured to stay all day. My 3 year old (2 yrs. old last ski season) loves to ski. She is my youngest. However, she can only handle 1-4 hours per day and she needs breaks in between. We took her to Snowmass for spring break and they suggested moving her to the 3 1/2 - 4 year old group because of her ability. However, I knew she could not handle it as far as durability. She did SUPER for her age. But, remember.....it is always better to have a tantrum because your kids do not want to get off of the hill than the other way around! Oh, by the way....if you are not strong enough to handle a violent tantrum for any reason on the lift....don't bring her/him on the lift. That happened once for us....very dangerous (the tantrum was not ski related).

Someone told me ..... "if they can walk, they can ski."
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re: Kids...

Postby JimG. » Tue Aug 22, 2006 6:43 am

So true about the durability of kids under 5 years old...I always tell parents to consider an hour spent on the snow throwing snowballs at the instructor a successful beginning lesson.

I know alot of them don't want to hear that and expect a full 8 hour day culminated with a sonic rip down the steepest trail on the hill, but let's get realistic please. If you can get a 5 year old and younger skier to spend a half day turning you just gave them a fantastic lesson.

Annmarief, see your other post about racing.
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