The Burton Blog

Tips to Get Your Kids Riding with the Rasmussen Family

by The Rasmussen Family

Too cold? Too hungry? Boots don't fit? Maybe they're just having a bad day?

If you've ever tried to get the groms in your life out snowboarding, then you know there's more than just getting their boots on. There's always a bit of song and dance, but it's an extremely gratifying experience once they're riding. Fortunately, we've teamed up with shred-mom extraordinaire Lauren Rasmussen to put together some of her top tips to getting her family on the hill.

A quick safety note: There are inherent risks involved with snowboarding and parents should always supervise small children whenever they are on a board, indoors or outdoors. Also, it is important to educate kids about what to do in an emergency at a ski resort (how to get help, where to find ski patrol, when to contact parents). And finally, Burton always recommends wearing a helmet when snowboarding.

Never too young to put together your own board.
Jona making sure everything fit properly before they go to the hill.

Adjust Your Expectations.

Remember how it was when you first learned to snowboard. It can be an overwhelming and frustrating process. On top of that, there's the trek to the mountain and hauling a bunch of gear around. It's a lot.

We want our kids to love the mountain. The best days are when your kids have so much fun riding they don't want to leave. You are trying to set them up for a lifetime love of snowboarding. Forcing them to love it on the first day is just a recipe for disaster. Don't push them and help build their comfort level and excitement by celebrating the little successes. It may seem easy and common sense to us, but it's not to them.

Snacks. Snacks. Snacks.

A great reward for a job well done, snacks are your best friend on hill, so make sure to pack plenty of them. Stuff your pockets for the chairlift, middle of the run, even by the fireplace at the base. Snacks are always a great way to celebrate progression. Whether it's something small like taking a run on the magic carpet or big like trying a new trail, we want to make them feel proud of their accomplishments. It's a reward, not a bribe. Don't forget about the hot cocoa; it's a great way to warm up while also putting a smile on your little one's face.

Luca checking to see if the boots still fit from last year... good thing for Room-To-Grow.
With Room-To-Grow footbed you gain one full size to stay a step ahead of guaranteed growth spurts.

Have a “Get Ready for Snowboard Season” Day

Before the season starts, get all of your gear out of storage and have fun trying everything on. If age-appropriate, work with them on things like strapping on boots, getting into bindings, zippers, snaps, etc. Get out tools and help them make sure that everything is set with their snowboard. They will be excited they can do it on their own and it will help when you are finally out snowboarding. Watch videos of other kids snowboarding. Show them pictures from seasons past or when you were a kid and first started snowboarding. The “season” can start way before there’s snow on the ground.

Dress for Success

The fastest way to ruin a day on snow is by being cold and wet. As a parent, one of the easiest things you can do to remove friction in the process of teaching kids to snowboard is ensuring that they're safe and comfortable while spending time out in the cold. Fortunately, this concept is pretty straightforward and really comes down to proper planning with weather and gear. So, when you're ready for a full day on the mountain with your kids, make sure you're prepared.

Dressing your kids in layers is a game-changer. They are likely going to get sweaty while riding, so make sure to dress them in a way that you can remove layers as needed. Also, ensure all their gear fits well. Boots that are too small will just make their feet hurt and get cold quicker. Invest in quality gear from the beginning. With Burton's Room to Grow, you'll likely get multiple seasons out of it.

Don't underestimate the importance of handwarmers. In the past, we'd take breaks and go inside the lodge and warm-up for 30 minutes to an hour. With limited access to the lodge this year, I've been carrying toe warmers to help extend our time on the snow and put them on when their feet are cold.

Key takeaway: Warm = fun.

Getting all geared up for a little snow in the backyard is a great way to test everything out before you get to the hill.
Having a smile on is what it's all about!

Invest In Lessons

Most kids (and adults, for that matter) learn better from someone not related to them. Not to mention, professional snowboard instructors are trained to develop the skills that form the foundation for proper technique. And while you may have been snowboarding for years, the psychology of learning from someone else has been proven to increase the effectiveness of lesson material.

Additionally, for a family day at the mountain, a lesson can offer some respite for parents who want to explore some steeper terrain or grab an adult beverage in the lodge. And when you meet up post-lesson, don't be surprised if your kid wants to "show off" some new skills they just picked up.

Finally, one of the most important benefits of investing in a snowboard lesson for the kids is that it allows them to meet other kids of the same age and skill level. These friends can turn into regular riding partners after the lesson and beyond.

There’s No Such Thing As Too Young

We often get asked on Instagram, "When should I start having my kid snowboard." For both Luca and Jona, we started them around 17-months, but there's no right answer since every kid is different. Sure, a 6-year-old will spend way more time riding than an 18-month-old, but the sooner you start them, the easier it will be. Remember, they don't have to start in the snow.

One of the less intuitive lessons we've learned over the years is that teaching kids to snowboard indoors is a great way to ease into the sport. Not only is it a nice safe environment, but the sense of security that comes from being in a familiar space can also improve the retention of snowboarding basics. As an added benefit, you avoid the typical distractions of on-hill snowboarding like weather ("I'm cold") and other riders ("Why does that man have a beard?").

To make this even simpler for parents, Burton has developed a line of youth products that are ideal for beginners, including The Handlebar/Burton Riglet Snowboard/Burton Hover Cover combo.

Once kids have a basic comprehension of the mechanics of snowboarding, transition them to the outdoors. And instead of a completely new and foreign feeling of standing sideways, the fundamentals learned indoors can now be applied outside.

Strap them in and pull them around the snow-covered yard or on the carpet in the family room with their Riglet. Believe me, they will love it. The smile on their face will say it all.

Have Fun!

At the end of the day, snowboarding is supposed to be fun and doing it as a family is the best. Make sure you are having fun too. You’ve probably dreamt of this day for a long time and memories are being made.