It is here! Your questions around snowboarding with a toddler or preschoolers are all answered in the post. Are you wondering what I am talking about? I gave my followers on Facebook and Instagram the opportunity to ask me any questions they may have about snowboarding with a toddler or preschooler. Then I would answer the questions in a live Instagram Story and in a blog post. Also as promised I have available the FREE Snowboarding Guide for Toddlers and Preschoolers for download. That is available and can be downloaded after subscribing here.
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First of all, before I get started, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who is engaged in this conversation. It has been so fun connecting with other families that are wanting to get their littles out on snowboards. In case you did not know, this whole creative project started a year and a half ago. It took alot for me to put myself out there. It is scary. Well… a year and half later and the whole platform has come such a long way and I could not have done any of it without people following this journey. So… THANK YOU!
Snowboarding with a Toddler or Preschooler: Your Questions Answered
Before I get started I want to let you know that the girls and I are Burton Riglet Ambassadors. This post and the Ebook is NOT sponsored by Burton however, since most of our experience snowboarding is with their gear they will be mentioned alot. That being said I tried to research and share other brands in the post as well.
LETS DO THIS!
1. What age did you first start them on a snowboard ?
We started them on their snowboards last year during the winter of 2016.
Our youngest was around 19 months old at the time. She was so excited to hop on her sister’s board because we actually only had one board at the time. We also managed to borrow a board from a friend at one point and I took the two girls snowboarding by myself. There was no way I could manage a 3 and 1 year old with my board on my feet so I was only wearing snowboard boots but it was a blast. She ended up hopping in the carrier after only 10 minutes her first time. You can read about the experience of taking the two girls by myself here.
Our oldest started when she was 3! We were gifted a used snowboard that a friend had picked up for only $40.00. I think it is an 80 cm board. I had alot of fun taking her last year by myself to the hill while my husband stayed back while our youngest was napping. She learnt to board slide last year.
2. How do you keep them together on the snowboard hill?
This question made me laugh. Well, I don’t keep them together! I guess I tried last year and had my oldest on a snowboarding harness while I managed my youngest. I only did that one time though. Now that they are older at age 2 and 4 I definitely tried to keep them closer or have one wait while I watched the other one. But then my 4 year old was tired of waiting and started cruising down. That is how I learnt that she could manage a little bit without me.
All that being said, if it is just me I take them on a smaller hill where she can maybe get in 4 board slides back and forth. The hill also uses a magic carpet to get back up to the top. A magic carpet is a escalator for snowboards. Anyways, it probably looks pretty hilarious when I take the girls snowboarding by myself and I honestly have little expectations when I do. That being said my oldest who is now 4 can board slide down the hill. She also has learnt to push herself with one foot to get back to the magic carpet.
3. Did you every carry them on a snowboard?
I have carried them while snowboarding but not in a carrier. They don’t really allow that at any resorts close to home anymore. I would have loved too!
4. Did you every carry them with their feet on your own board?
I have snowboarded down with them while they are wearing their own board but not while they were standing on my board. We cruised down and my 3 year old loved it. I am hoping to do that again with my 2 year old this year.
5. How do you pick an infant snowboarding boot online? Which brands carry boots in a size small enough for 15 months old?
For the really little ones around 1 and 2 years old they really do not need to wear snowboard boots especially with the After School Special Burton Snowboard by Burton. As they get older around 3 or just under 3 then the sizes start at 7C which is a size 7 toddler in Canadian and USA sizes. Just make sure to go for the Burton Mini Groms instead their Kids Snowboard Boots.
I tried to search a while for an extra small helmet and the ones I found was the brand Giro.
6. Do you have them wear goggles?
If its a nice day then I do not wear goggles. We try to have them wear the goggles when we are heading up the chair lift and when it is cold and windy. On the really harsh winter days they often don’t go out or if they do it is not for long.
7. Snowboard companies that carry snowboards for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Here is a list of companies that carry small boards for young children and the smallest size they carry that I could find on their websites. I have only tried the Burton kid’s snowboards. The only board that I know that comes in a 70 cm is either one that is costum made or the Burton board that is only available to rent. Burton only allows you to rent a 70 cm because they say that parents should save their money and invest in an 80 cm board instead that will last a few years.
Burton After School Special – Starts at 80cm. Comes with Bindings.
K2 – Starts at 90cm
Rome- Starts at 90 cm
Gnu- Starts at 100 cm
9. Do you buy a snowboard that you trade in each year?
For those of you that do not know a trade in program is offered by some local outdoor stores. You buy the first snowboard package for full price and then you trade in for a larger size once they grow out of their gear at a discount price The discount can be aounrd 50%.
Our first board was bought used for $40. It was a Burton After School Special that came with bindings. Our second one was given to us but I was scouring online for a used board and considered buying one through the trade in program if I was unable to find a board used.
10. What size of snowboard should I buy? How often do you need to buy one?
My daughter is 4 now and is still using an 80 cm board. She will most likely use that board all year and maybe even next year. My 2 year old also went on the 80 cm board when she was 1 and currently rides an 80 cm board. Also note that som resorts rent equipment to 2 year olds and younger for free!
I reached out to Burton Riglet Ambassador Christelle to ask the size of her daughter’s boards. Her youngest is 4 1/2 and riding an 80 cm board. Her oldest is 6 and riding a 90cm and a 100 cm depending on if it is a powder day or not. But you can see that they stay in the small sizes for a relatively long amount of time.
For more tips on sizing make sure to subscribe to download the e-book!
11. Where do you purchase board/bindings? (From Utah)
I would check out any outdoor stores in your area. Otherwise look online and purchase directly from the Burton store. We like the After School Special by Burton as a starter board because it includes bindings! Here are a few more tips to buying the whole package in this post here.
12. What brands do your girls where while snowboarding?
- Snowboard – They ride the After School Special by Burton that includes bindings
- Helmet – Currently we rent our helmets at the hill. My 2 year old gets her helmet for free
- suit -Our go tos whether we get the gear used or new are Burton, Patagonia or MEC brand.
- Sweater – Burton
- Base Layers – luvmother merino wool base layers
- Mitts – Outdoor Research. I typically like mitts that go over the jacket. These ones go under the jacket and are tight around the wrist. They stay on both my girls and so far seem to be working well.
- Toque – They don’t really wear toques when they snowboard
- Neck Warmer – Home made one but plan to wear a Buff or similar that will go up over the ears under a snowboard helmet.
- Hand Warmer – Those hot hand warmers on the really cold days!
13. How do I get started teaching my little one to snowboard?
There is a page dedicated to introducing snowboarding to your little one in the Ebook. One page is a teaching page for suggestions of “activities” to do with them the first time you take them down. Another page talks about the phases of snowboarding and how to teach them with a harness. I hope it helps and make sure to drop any additional questions in the comments or email !
14. What skills do we begin with?
It really depends on the age of your child. 3 and 4 year olds are more likely to learn how to board slide, toe slide and rock from edge to edge. Also teach them to move with one foot out of the binding. In the Ebook there is also a step by step instruction teaching to get up off the ground on their own. This is a great skill for a 4 year old to learn. Some 3 year olds may be able to learn and 2 year olds will really struggle with getting up.
14. What phrases work well when teaching them?
I like using a harness for a child 3 and under. I also find that kids automatically move to adjust themselves as they start to feel what it is like to ride a snowboard. Avoid too much instruction at first since that almost makes it harder for them to learn the movements. Kids do well by exploring the movements themselves. I do often find myself saying “point where you want to go”, “look where you want to go”.
15. Do kids learning to snowboard wear the vest and leash?
Kids can wear a vest and leash when they are first starting out. There are snowboard specific ones or you can use a Lil’ Ripper Gripper harness that is designed for both snowboarders and skiers.
I recommend using one for kids under the age of 3 especially when they are first starting out. By using a leash you can prevent some of those hard face plants and keep it fun for them. It also does not strain the back as much as you do not have to be hunched over holding them.
What is the best way to introduce a 2 year old Texan to snowboarding?
First of all I love how this is specific to a Texan! I don’t know too many Texans lol but my #1 Tip is to …Have fun! A 2 year old may last 10 minutes or an hour on the board. And there are lots of tips in the ebook in fact a page dedicated to getting them started 😉