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DD was 3 and loved it straight away. agree with Wishihadabs about Austrian ski school - different league from ESF. I would definetely recommend Austria every time. we found ski school in Scheffau very good
I agree about ESF. DS didn't improve much as I suspect te instructor pretty much only spoke in French as DS and another wee boy were the only English speakers in the group. I had a similar experience. Long explanation in French and two words in English. Thankfully I have enough French to have caught most of it and was not shy to ask if I didn't. DS was r brave enough to ask to go to the loo
Ours were about 3. Piou Piou for the younger one worked well. And they have done "proper" lessons from 5 (after a lot of mum and dad teaching). Both love it. And ski school has been fine - yes most kids are French, but the instructors do speak a bit of English, and the boys understand French a bit too. Have only done ESF once - usually go for smaller ski school as they are more flexible. Can't wait until Easter when they are skiing with friends in Austria for the first time.
Boy was 5 nearly 6. He loved it and progressed pretty fast in week one. after week 2 - age 6 nearly 7 he was happily tackling gentle red runs and begging to go off piste in the trees. Declared himself a "powder pup" and was quite fun to ski with for a whole day.
He does have bags of stamina tho, not all 6 yr olds will be willing to ski for best part of 7 hours ( full day) at the end of their 2nd week.
We have just come back from 1st week with DD who is 4 and she was in Ecole de Ski Internationale in Val Thorens in the mornings. The instructor was Italian and there were French, Dutch, Italian and English tiddlers in the class of 7. All very sweet and she loved it.
My oldest was 3 and a half but, my youngest just had a go and he's 2yrs 2 months! We live out here in the French Alps so it's slightly different but, loads of the kids with ski instructor parents first get on skis at 2!! It was just for a bit of fun in the sunshine and he loved it!!!!
My eldest was 5 and he went straight into group ski school lessons which was ok as he had already been at school so was used to school layout. However my youngest was taken onto the slopes at 2 by myself and now at 6 is a very good confident skier. I took her out on the nursery slopes for 2 x 45 min sessions so she didn't get too cold. Its quite back breaking though trying to hold her up even with me skiing backwards. I found a really useful harness which helped me to control her and it also helped when trying to position her to lift onto chair lifts I bought mine in USA at the ski resort but I have found them on this website: www.snowsportstore.co.uk
I think if they are going into ski school try and find english speaking instructors
DS was just 4 and DD was 5. We didn't put them in ski school as they seem to spend most of their lessons waiting in long lines I taught them both at the same time (as DH had dislocated his knee 2 weeks before we went) and at the end of 4 long mornings, they could both take a button pull and get down a green run - DD doing parallel turns, DS more snow-ploughy!
I did not hold either of them while skiing - they had no poles and learned by getting their own balance and skiing down on their own (though I did have to take DS up on the button pull at first!) It was an Easter break and very very quiet where we go as it was not French hols!