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Can my son snowboard instead of ski on a ski trip?
As with all of our events, our winter sports outings are a combination of fun and learning. We do our best not only to “get kids outdoors” but to build their skills rapidly through hands-on learning opportunities. Our Troop 8 staff and senior scouts are very capable alpine, telemark, and Nordic ski instructors. We are therefore able to offer the equivalent of double-length private small-group lessons to our skiers on all of our outings and our first few days in Vermont, using current Professional Ski Instructors of America materials and techniques. The result is that our skiers progress very quickly to levels where they can safely ski Vermont intermediate (Michigan Black Diamond) hills on their own.
We love our snowboard riders, too! Snowboards have the advantage/disadvantage of having a steep learning curve. Progress is painful, but for those who stick with it is also relatively rapid. Troop 8 does not, however, have the depth of instructional skill in snowboarding that we do in skiing. For that reason, in order for your son to keep up with his peers (and keep the safety/supervision burden manageable for us), he will need to avail himself of appropriate professional lessons on troop trips for at least part of the time. For this reason we have added (or will add) appropriate professional lesson fees to your son’s scout charges. These fees are in general not eligible for financial aid. Because professional lessons are shorter and less comprehensive, we will still try to have one of our youth or adult leaders available to help coach our snowboard riders in addition to their lesson time.
As a parent, if your son is a “raw beginner” or has only been out a couple of times, our youth leaders would like to encourage skiing as a better choice. That’s particularly the case if you know your son is likely to become upset or discouraged by initial failures, since the first couple of times out on a snowboard can be very frustrating. Regardless of your choice of snow sliding equipment, we are happy to do what we can alongside our professional colleagues to help develop your son’s snow riding skills.