Emma was a little over 3 years old and winter was coming, so she naturally it was time for her to learn how to ski!!! At that time, I had no idea that toddlers could snowboard.
I looked for places, where she could learn and found an indoor ski school. Indoor sounded great, I mean, it’s warm, so no need for a jacket or gloves and all the gear was included. Plus it was 20 minutes from my house. While she was in class, Sophie and I could just hang out or go grocery shopping.
When we got there, Emma was not interested in skiing, so we walked around, and saw that a Burton Riglet Park was set up. My shy little Emma, looked at it, her eyes lightened up and tried it. She really loved it; she asked to go again and again and again. Luckily, not too many kids were waiting their turn. The Staff from the Satellite (a local shop) was super friendly and knew how to get kids into snowboarding.
To explain a little more, the Burton Riglet Park is a little park, made out of multiple features. Kids can be pulled around the park, on a Riglet Board, giving them the feel of snowboarding. They can also use a regular Snowboard pulled via a Riglet Reel if set up at a Resort. If you would like to know more here is the website: BURTON RIGLET
That’s when I realized that I could have mini snowboarders before having to teach them how to ski.
I went to the shop a few days after the event and got the girls a Riglet board. We have loved that store ever since, and the girls are used just to drop in and play around. While we are there, I usually try to figure out a how I am going to teach these girls to snowboard. I mean a mom (not a pro and off snowboarding for years) teaching two toddlers at the same time, it sounds crazy, right?
Having a Riglet Board wasn’t enough though, I couldn’t find any information how other parents had taught their children to snowboard. The Shop has been my go-to place for anything I’ve needed; gear, info and also support.
I haven’t snowboarded much since I moved to the USA in 2009, but this year, the girls were all a little older, so we decided to book a weekend at Breckenridge. We invited a friend’s daughter to come with us, she watched the girls one day, and I was in charge of them the second day while she went skiing with Conrad.
On my day with the girls, I decided to go out and try the little Riglet Board. To try it we had to do the one thing my girls loved and still love: going up the Gondola. It’s one of their favorite things to do, no matter the season or if we even stay at the top.
The girls were super excited we were riding the gondola and meeting daddy up there. For their first time up it wasn’t the best conditions, but they were super happy.
Sophie might have only been 18m in this picture but she was not going to let her sister have all the fun. She was more an indoor kid, she couldn’t bare to dress up for the cold, so she mostly played inside and it was an awesome “toy” at the hotel. Emma used to pull her and their toys around the room.
For Christmas, we asked the grandparents to give Emma her first set up, instead of other toys. I ordered a 110cm Burton Chicklet board with a Riglet Reel and Anon Helmet via our local shop. That was my first big mistake, a big board, thinking it would last her couple seasons. Looking back it was a terrible idea; it is like buying your 2,5y old child a 20-inch bike so she can ride it for a couple of years. Emma used it for that first season and then I found a used 90 cm board for her instead.
On Christmas, she was very excited, and little Sophie couldn’t wait to get one also.
On our second ski trip of the season, we went back to Breckenridge, with our babysitter, again. I got one day for me; I really needed to practice just going down. The next day with the girls. We were ready for our first downhill snowboarding experience. At that point, Emma had a snowboard with bindings, a helmet, and snow boots. Sophie had the Riglet board with bindings, a bike helmet, and her snow boots.
The hardest part of my day with the girls was getting ready and to somehow arriving at the hill. I packed up our Deuter, child carrier backpack with snacks, water, some extra clothes, and diapers. Then, I got Emma all dressed up, got Sophie into the carrier walked outside the Hotel, hoped on the shuttle bus, got off the shuttle and hiked to the bottom of the hill. When we arrived I was already exhausted, but the girls were still happy, they loved the shuttle. The hike up wasn’t too bad for them. So we started by building a snowman.
Downhill we go! I have no idea what I am doing! Now looking back, toddlers are so small, and their center of gravity is so low, that going down is actually pretty easy! So do not be scared to start them early. I think 20 months was a good starting point for Sophie; she wasn’t too young. The hardest part will be later on when you are teaching them how to stop, the falling leaf technique and linking turns. But as far as having them strapped to a board and going down, you are good to go. We went up and down for maybe an hour, Emma (2,5) was already trying to figure out how to stop. She has always been a little more cautious, she likes speed but not too much speed. Sophie was hilarious; she couldn’t care less about what she was doing, she was going straight down, no desire to stop, or do anything else the chewing on her mittens. Check out the video below.
It was a short on-snow season, but it was awesome, I couldn’t wait for the next one. Looking back at the pictures it seems like Colorado had a warm winter, without much snow for us to snowboard in the backyard, but plenty of sun for us to Bike! We didn’t go on any other trip to the mountains; single day lift tickets are expensive and I probably wasn’t ready for riding any lifts or even the magic carpet with them.
This first season was mostly an introduction and a way for me to figure how to be a mom/instructor for the next one. For the girls, they had no offseason; they played all summer on their Riglet Board.