photo credit: Park City Mountain Resort
Diversity In Schools
Part of my ski teaching involves big school groups where many of the students from grades 4 to 6 are trying snow skiing for the first time. Ski days as part of school excursions are becoming quite popular and I remember growing up as a kid that it was during a school trip when I first got my chance to snow ski. Each day at Glen Eden where I teach from Mondays to Wednesdays, there can be anywhere from two to four school busloads of kids and the diversity in schools really show on the ski slopes.
It’s really nice to see kids from all types of backgrounds and cultures on the ski slopes to try out snow skiing and snowboarding. At least these kids are getting a taste of just how fun winter can be (unlike most of their parents who probably want nothing to do with winter).
Consequence Of Inactive Kids
However, I also see a major consequence of inactive kids who were not encouraged to pursue any sports or physical activity. I hate to typecast especially since I’m all for diversity but I could not help but notice that many ethnic kids especially, and in particular the girls, are quite uncoordinated, have very little balance and do not seem to have much muscular strength in relation to their body weights.
Snow skiing is perhaps more of a challenge for beginners than compared to say sports like basketball or soccer. I had a large group of East Indian girls the other day as part of the first timer kids trying out skiing and I have to be honest and say that they progressed much slower than the average kids.
These girls could barely stand on their skis and when they fell on the snow, they could not get up at all. It was quite obvious to me that these girls did not participate in much extracurricular sports and as a result, had a very difficult time being on skis for their first time ever.
This is what happens when parents, ethnic and non-ethnic alike, do not encourage their kids to be active. The kids end up being far less developed physically compared to average. I’m just afraid that because of a rough first time experience, these kids will not want to be on skis again.
Most kids who try out skiing for the first time will be able to learn some basic skills on the beginner or bunny hills during the first day. Some of these kids will want to pursue skiing or snowboarding on a more regular basis after getting a taste of it.
However, if they end up not being able to even move around the flat areas on their skis without falling (then requiring help to rescue them), there’s a good chance that they will never want to be near a ski hill again. This is a real loss.
I think all parents must encourage their children to be more physically active. School studies are important but so is health. If kids pick up healthy habits while young, they won’t be in such poor physical shape that so many kids are in these days.
Again, it’s great to see more diversity in schools and on the ski slopes. But we need more kids to do well enough during their first experiences to continue with the sport (or any other sports) in order to have a more permanent kind of diversity.
We are seeing a few more Asian kids do well on the ski slopes these days and even a few instructors in addition to myself. I would like to see more Indians, blacks and other races get out there on the slopes as well. The school trips are providing at least an opportunity but in order to get more converts to snow sports, we need these kids to come more prepared in terms of their fitness levels.
See my past Motivational WebTV episode where I talked about a StatsCan study on fitness levels in children.