Last weeks half term arrived in Verbier, and with it lots of new recruits for our Polar Bear Club, designed specifically for your little ones, aged 3-5 years old.
Here at Altitude we are lucky in that so many of our clients come back to ski with us year on year. Our instructors love teaching the same children and seeing their skiing progress each year, and are always looking forward to the holidays when they will be back again!
First ski lesson
For our Polar Bears, it is often their first time on snow, and the beginning of their journey as a budding skier with Altitude. Today we caught up with one of our specialist Polar Bear Team, to see how some of our Level 1 Polar Bears have been getting on this week.
Meet Chris, one of our new recruits to Altitude and Polar Bear Team! Chris has a Level 1 and 2 BASI qualification, and is also working towards his ISIA qualification with Altitude.
Today was our 4th day with of the Level 1 Polar Bear club, which is running for seven days from Sunday to Saturday, with children 3-4 years old. Our day started by meeting at the Relais de Neige restaurant, where all the Altitude groups meet at 9am each day. Altitude’s private bus arrives and once all the Polar Bears are ready, we all jump on with our skis stashed underneath. Once everyone has their seatbelt fastened we’re off!
Today we spent the morning skiing in Altitude’s Kid’s Garden. The garden is put together on an area of the slope perfect for learning, and the Polar Bears can walk up the blue mats, and ski down which makes learning much easier.
For our warm up, to get everyone ready for a morning of skiing, we played ‘What’s the Time Mr Polar Bear?!’ In the group today we had two different focuses. Three of the children were working on stopping independently, and three of the children were starting to move onto turning. The lesson was lots of fun for all the children, and we did some runs where we were jumping in our skis, and also trying to pick up lots of speed and go fast and then stopping.
The lesson taking place in the kids garden is lots of fun, as we can high five the reindeers and the penguins as we zoom past! Using different games and exercises can also really help improve the children’s technique. For instance, Mia was really good at stopping, but when going a bit faster she always fell over backwards, so jumping on her skis really helped her get a better body position.
Everyone was a complete beginner at the start of the week, so there’s been fantastic progress made by all of the children, and we’re only half way through. Half of the group can now stop independently, and the others are close. Some of the group will be linking their turns by the end of the week.
For me the highlight of teaching the level 1 Polar Bears is always the speed of improvement and the satisfaction that it gives the children who are learning. It’s also great for the parents, who as we only run half days for this age group, can then ski with their children in the afternoon when they are able to turn.
There’s also lots of funny moments enjoyed by both us as instructors and the children. Today, Birdy skied the entire length of the nursery slope backwards – completely by accident and without falling over!
A big high five to all my Polar Bears this week. We’re looking forward to seeing you again next year!”