Alternatives to ‘Every Sunday’ – Development program options for families

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Alternatives to ‘Every Sunday’ – Development program options for families

Many families from the ACT elect to do ‘every Sunday’ development and race programs during the snow season. This weekly trek to the mountains can be very rewarding for the children and parents as they develop their skills and make friends over the length of the season.

Nevertheless, there are alternatives to the ‘every Sunday’ programs that can still provide a platform for skill development. Here are some ideas for families that need alternatives to the weekly programs.

Goals

An understanding of the children’s goals for the season is the starting point for any family. A child’s goals can range from wanting to participate at Interschools in a school team, to being competitive as an individual. Setting realistic and attainable goals for the season is the first step to deciding on the type of development program desired.

A useful framework for goal setting is SMART:

  • Specific: target a specific area for improvement
  • Measurable: quantify an indicator of progress together with your instructor/coach
  • Attainable: specify who will do it and whether the goal/improvement is within their ability
  • Realistic: state what results can realistically be achieved, given family’s budget
  • Timeframe: set a clear range of time for when the goal/improvement can be achieved

As snowsports can be expensive, compared with other winter sports such as soccer, and the logistics and accommodation can add further challenges for families, a clear understanding of your child’s goals within the budget and constraints of your family is important for choosing a program.

Lessons and Programs

Once your family has a set of goals, the next step is looking at the Perisher and Thredbo websites for training options:

Thredbo – Lessons and Programs

Perisher – Lessons and Programs

Keep in mind that resorts have flexible options such as ‘10 packs’ to be used during the season at flexible times. The Thredbo Snow Sports School can also tailor a package to the needs of a family, such as ‘every-other-weekend’.

In addition, the parents and/or caregivers can join a program such as Masters skiing after the drop off for the children. Even though the times and meeting places can look difficult to coordinate on the standard information. Most programs and instructors are flexible to meet you after the formal starting time so you can drop off your children.

Another idea is to carpool and share the logistics with another family. Every second Sunday could be a more realistic commitment and often children enjoy travelling up with other children in the car.

If your family’s goals are competitive Snowsports, such as the Interschools, then let your contact at the resort know and you can work together to ensure that your goals are realistic and achievable. The inclusion of a Division 6 (Alpine only for students in Kindergarten to Year 2) at Interschools is a wonderful opportunity for younger children to experience competitive Snowsports. So understanding your child’s abilities is important before attempting racing.

Many children spend time in the holidays doing Snowsports and then race and participate at Interschools. Alternatively, the competition calendar includes alternatives to Interschools that can be rewarding for children and the events are held on weekends.  The ACT Citizens Race and other club races are held on weekends and these events are a great introduction to racing, often without the large numbers of competitors.

Cross Country

Cross Country (XC) skiing can be a great alternative for families to the alpine disciplines. If you have missed the discounted season passes for the resorts and you are looking for a very active winter, then XC skiing is the answer. The ACT XC program has an on-snow program for children wanting to develop their skills.  The program can develop children for competitive XC racing or provide an introduction to the sport. For instance, the program includes a 3-day camp during the school holidays that is available for all abilities.

XC skiing could also be an alternative for the whole family as later starts and no lift queues are a feature of the XC trails. The website discoverxc.com.au is the starting point for all XC information.

A winter spent on the snow is a wonderful winter. Families should set their goals for their abilities, ambitions and budgets.  That way the range of programs can meet their needs either ‘off the shelf’ or with a tailored program across the alpine and XC disciplines.

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