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How to "Go Remote" While Having Fun and Improving Your Skiing

By Sam Damon
December, 17 2020
How to help your kids rip!

As we head into the season, there are still many logistical challenges that we’re all still sorting out. How can we ski in groups, especially with really young kids that need more help from adults? How can we ski enough if we have to limit the number of hours in our program? How can we adapt our teaching to be more effective at a distance? Our Eastern Youth Development Coach, Kathy Okoniewski, took these questions on and collaborated with a number of folks around the region to put together some amazing ideas for you. It is especially relevant with the slow start that many ski areas have had to the year, and we thought it would be perfect to dedicate this newsletter to the topic. So here it is!

Developing passion and skills through freeskiing, mountain adventures, and on-snow games.

By Kathy Okoniewski

These are challenging times. As I talk with many of you around the Region, there is great concern about keeping our athletes safe, engaged, and learning. More than ever, our kids need sport as a way to stay active, be social, and feel connected as a culture. In my opinion, we have an opportunity this season to rethink, reprioritize and reboot our system. It’s an opportunity to train more and freeski more, which is the cornerstone of long term athlete development (LTAD).

Check out this video with Ted Ligety: 

As alpine skiers, incredibly, we have the ability to participate and still stay distanced and masked! However, this becomes a challenge for our youngest skiers, as we often rely on help from coaches and parents for a multitude of things, including loading and riding lifts with them, assisting with bathroom breaks, and chaperoning while warming their toes. That will be a challenge in this environment, and so we’ll need to engage parents in the process more than ever!

We all know that volunteerism takes commitment and an attitude of teamwork. It sometimes requires memberships and training. These volunteer requirements may seem unnecessary or time consuming, but I can assure you that this is the moment when good parent involvement will have a huge impact on the health of our sport, as well as their child’s connection with snowsports, their coaches, and their skiing community.

With the limitations around this season, we have an opportunity to enjoy and improve our skiing so much more than a season filled with too many ski races.  This is the time when we can ski, play, have mountain adventures and improve our fundamental base together as skiing families. One of life’s greatest joys is to learn new things with the people we love!

As parents, we should not try to take the place of the coaches, and we shouldn’t try to coach the technique and tactics of a sport we do not have the experience or knowledge for. That’s not always easy to do when we want to help.

But here’s what we can do to help improve their skiing and their experience:

  • Go skiing with your kids wherever they want to go. Try to ski all day! Get that important mileage!
  • Be a playmate on the hill
  • Do skiing challenges together - get your child to teach you!
  • Work to improve our own skiing 
  • Be supportive of their team, teammates, coaches, and club
  • Encourage independence and respect
  • Be on time
  • Be prepared
  • Read organizational emails


GMVS - Bingo Parent/Child Challenge:


NYSEF - All Mountain Vertical Challenge and on snow games:


Gould-Sunday River - Five Games to play on snow:


Gore/NYSSRA Future Stars - Scavenger Hunts/All Mt. Adventure:


Run by run: Coaching for athletes & coaching for parents:

As a parent, you can be incredibly helpful in this sport. Once the clubhouse floor has been swept and the gate shed is organized, get your boots on! 

  • You can help the littlest kids get on the lift and ride safely to the top. They need the help, and they are hilarious. 
  • You can take a ski lesson and start working on your own skiing. 
  • THEN, when the ski program breaks for the day, go ski! Let your child show you around the mountain. See if you can get them to lead some of the activities they did with their coach that day. Explore their favorite places on the mountain. 
  • No programming at all one day? Or a half-day? Go remote. Coaches: generate some themes and/or drills and get the kids to coach their parents and demo for them that day.

Lastly, if you’ve ever been into the Killington Mountain Ski Club, you’ll see these great signs:  (As a parent of 4, these really resonate with me!)

Good advice from the Killington Ski Club

Thank you to all the parents! And a HUGE thank you goes out to leaders and coaches around the East who have shared some of their curriculum for keeping our athletes engaged and excited about skiing!