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Park City Signature 3 Ski Program: Ski School for Preschoolers
Ski School for (Little) Kids
Park City Mountain Resort offers an amazing ski school program for preschoolers. The Signature 3 program is designed for young skiers (ages 3½ - 5 years of age), and addresses each child's developmental readiness for skiing in a positive, encouraging manner.
The Signature 3 program has an excellent student:teacher ratio, with a maximum of three children per ski instructor. Each ski instructor is specifically trained to teach children, an important qualification, since kid's bodies and minds have unique developmental requirements.
The Signature 3 program fee includes ski rentals (including a ski helmet) and ski instruction. Parents are responsible for providing sunscreen and warm clothing (ski pants, warm shirt, hat, and coat). The ski equipment may be kept after the lesson if the parents would like to ski with the child, but any equipment must be returned to the ski school by 4:30pm.
Located just East of Salt Lake City, Utah, Park City is a short drive from the Salt Lake City airport terminal. Free buses and shuttles run between the resort and the airport. Lift tickets for children under the age of six are entirely free, making Park City a great skiing destination for parents with preschoolers.
The Signature 3 Full-Day Program
The Signature 3 ski school program offers a full-day program. This is a boon to parents who want to spend a day on the slopes: the child is in an enriching program for a full six hours, while the parents get to explore the wonderful terrain of the Park City Mountain Resort.
Two drop-off times are available for children: 9:00am and 9:45am. The pick-up times correlate with the drop-off times: 3:15pm and 4:00pm.
While the program is six hours long, the children do not spend the entire day on the slopes. Two outdoor ski lessons are provided each day: a 75 minute long morning session, and a 75 minute long afternoon session. Children start on the magic-carpet style lift and progress to the chair lift ("First Time" run) when ready.
The indoor portion of the Signature 3 program is spent doing a variety of activities. Arts and crafts, an indoor gym and playground, snacks, and lunch are all provided for the children. The indoor gym includes a trampoline and a jungle gym to let kids exercise their gross motor skills, and is a big favorite among the preschoolers!
Children must be completely toilet trained to enroll in the Signature 3 program, and children are taken to child-sized toilets on an hourly basis.
Signature 3 Progression and Report Cards
Parents will be given a "Report Card" for each day spent in the Signature 3 program. The report card is a booklet with each skiing stage clearly recorded. Each stage is marked "will continue to work on mastering these skills," or "Has accomplished all of these skills." The stages are:
Kid's Korral: Introduction to Skiing
- Learns to make the wedge shape with feet
- Puts on skis
- Walks across snow with skis on
- Rides the Magic Carpet safely
- Makes straight runs
- Makes a wedge shape with skis while gliding
- Glides to a stop using a wedge shape
- Stands up after falling down
First Time Lift: Riding the Chairlift and Stopping
- Learns to load and unload the chairlift safely
- Makes wedge stops
- Skis safely in a line with classmates
- Glides on snow while demonstrating a wedge
- Wedge change up
- Plays "Red Light, Green Light": Stops and starts
- Makes small direction changes
- Stands up after falling down
Turtle Trail: Stopping and Wedge Turns
- Makes small and large wedge turns
- Stops safely on the side of the hill
- Starts to control speed while making various-size turns on Turtle Trail
- Makes 10 or more turns in a row without stopping or falling
- Can control speed on Turtle Trail
First Time Run: Making Side-to-Side Wedge Turns
- Introduce thumper turns
- Watches for oncoming skier traffic safely
- Plays "Follow the Leader" and miscellaneous games
- Uses children's terrain park and other snow features
- Skis on varied terrain to develop advanced balance skills
- Is confident turning on First Time
- Can control speed by consistent turn shape
Superstars: Stopping and Controlling Speed in Both Directions
- Controls speed using shape on upper mountain green terrain
- Aware of skier safety
- Plays matching games-outside ski balancing drills
- Has ability to vary turn size on varied upper-mountain terrain
- Finishes lesson strong, has stamina to move to Signature 5
Our Family's Experience with Signature 3
Our family has two preschool-aged children, ages 3 and 5. Both kids were placed in the Signature 3 program, and learned a great deal.
Our five year old child is a real go-getter: he plays ice hockey, and is generally not afraid of anything. He started on the magic carpet on his first day, and moved to the First Time chairlift by the afternoon of his first day in ski school. By his second day, he was skiing the Turtle Trail run, and by his third day, the First Time run. Upon completion of his third day in the Signature 3 program, we were told that he had the ability to ski any "green" (beginner) ski run. Certainly, his participation in ice hockey helped his balance, but the instruction at Park City created phenomenal progress each day!
Our three year old caused us some concern. He was a little reluctant to enter the ski school area. In addition, he is hard-of-hearing and wears hearing aids: we were not sure how the ski helmet and communication would progress in his case. He's cautious by nature, and tires easily. To our surprise, he was out on the magic carpet lift in the morning with great enthusiasm. The Park City staff assigned him his own instructor, who knelt down to communicate face-to-face at each interaction. When he started to have a meltdown the first afternoon, the instruction stopped and a drink and rest were given. The end result was that by the second day, our little cautious skier had mastered every skill required to progress to the chair lift save one: he was simply too light to snap his boots into his own bindings!
The Signature 3 program has a unique ability to meet each young child at their own level, and generates success and a positive attitude about skiing.