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Going has never been much of a problem for my kids. They totally get that if they point their skis straight down the hill, they go fast. Really, really FAST!
However, since we’re raising responsible skiers, we know that stopping is a much more important skill than going. I mean not only do we not want them to hurt someone else, but better yet, we want them to stay safe and avoid any major spills or injuries that would make them dislike skiing. ‘Cuz in my mind, a kid who hates skiing is the stuff my nightmares are made of (no joke).
Since we’re pretty ski obsessed around here, all of our kids have hopped on skis at the ripe age of 18 months. Yes, we really might be crazy, but so far it’s working out great for us. Once we get those tiny tots used to standing and walking in their giant ski boots (that weight about as much as they do), we work on the basics of stopping – the WEDGE!
Yes, for some older skiers, the wedge might seem outdated (those who go straight to the hockey stop), but for kids it is hands down the best stopping technique around. Basically, getting them slightly on the inside edges of their skis and making a triangle shape will stop them in an instant.
The only problem is that toddlers don’t know what an edge is, let alone a triangle or wedge. An Edgie Wedgie solves that!
See, an Edgie Wedgie is essentially a bungee cord that clamps onto the tips of the skis to keep them close together. It helps so their skis don’t cross, legs don’t get tangled, and it makes forming a wedge about as easy as can be. Truly! All you have to do is spread your legs apart and VOILA! WEDGE! This is priceless, especially when skiing with toddlers (or anyone under the age of 6 for that matter).
Our past few times up on the slopes, I’ve gotten to spend a lot of time on the magic carpet with little Jimmy getting his first few ski days of his LIFE in (um, that’s so cool, it’s giving me the chills!). I’m amazed at how few parents are using this awesome tool (that costs about $10 and can be found at just about any base area or rental shop). I look at the parents who aren’t using it and pleasantly smile at them, practically begging them to ask me for advice. In my mind I’m screaming at them “stop being so crazy – this will be a whole lot easier and less stressful on you and your kids if you’ll just fork over the $10 and buy an Edgie Wedgie”, but instead of speaking up, I just smile invitingly (because no parent wants to be told they are doing something wrong ESPECIALLY when they’re frustrated).
Honestly, all I do is tell my kids to make their legs BIG (our code for spread them apart) and magically we get a wedge. When I want them to go, I tell them to make their legs smaller or do “french fries” and they take off again.
What a lot of it comes down to is muscle memory. When little kids are skiing, there are a lot of new things to master and muscle memory is a major part of that. The Edgie Wedgie is pretty much the best tool around to help kids figure out that muscle memory so they can focus on figuring out the rest of skiing. As soon as they can consistently make a stopping wedge, take it off. If might take a day, or like our little Chloe, they might ski with it for almost 3 seasons…either way, it’s all just fine. When your kids have the strength, confidence, and desire, they’ll be able to get it off (no worries folks, I’ve never seen a 10-year-old who still needs one).
On the downside, with an Edgie Wedgie on, kids can’t walk uphill (sidestepping or duck-walking) or shuffle fast because their tips are stuck together, but helping them with those little things is a small price to pay for how much easier it will make the rest of your day!