For our next installment of “Advice from a Snowboard Mom,” we caught up with Riglet Ambassador Annika Mang. Annika is a Blogger and founder of BorntobeAdventurous.com. A mother of two, she pulls from wisdom gained raising her two adventurous little girls. Learn more about Annika and her experience introducing her daughters, (ages two and four) to snowboarding.
The girls’ first snowboard experience
Etta was three years old when we went snowboarding for the first time. She was so excited. She’d been waiting to try since getting her first snowboard at her 3rd birthday party. We didn’t start her on a mountain or even the local ski hill. We took her to our local tobogganing hill to test out her snowboard. We began by pulling her along with the Burton riglet reel. Seeing her eyes light up as she naturally moved into a perfect stance made my heart melt. By the end of an hour and a half snowboard session, she’d managed to turn on her backside edge a couple of times. She fell a little but bounced back up. I was so proud of her. I could see it in her eyes that she was hooked.
Julia, my youngest saw her sister snowboarding and she wanted to have a turn. I managed to get her on Etta’s snowboard and helped her slide down a mini snowbank for fun in our backyard. I then took the two girls, by myself to the ski hill. I borrowed a friend’s Burton Riglet board for Julia to use. Since she was only 19 months at the time, she couldn’t really turn and instead slid down the hill straight. I was surprised to see her bend her knees into an athletic, snowboard stance. It was honestly the cutest thing ever to see her try snowboarding, a sport that I truly love. She lasted only about 10 minutes before hopping into the baby carrier where she happily hung out while I helped Etta continue to snowboard.
Making snowboarding enjoyable
It’s important I keep it fun, make sure they are well fed and that I have extra snacks in my pocket. I always try to end a snowboarding session on a high note. Before they crash from either being hungry or overtired we will head into the lodge for hot chocolate, snacks and/or lunch. We take time to play in the lodge, or in the snow before heading back out for a shorter snowboarding session.
Rituals on the way to the mountain
We usually pack up the car and all our gear the night before including a sled to carry our gear from the parking lot to the lodge. The mornings can be too chaotic between diaper changes, bathroom and snack breaks, etc., that it is easy to forget something. If we have the energy, we like to have all our food organized as well so that it makes the morning run smoothly. In the morning my husband and I get changed right away in the clothes we laid out the night before. We then try to change the girls as soon as they wake up as long as they will let us. Usually, they’re so excited that we’re going snowboarding, we need to control their excitement and keep them in the house until we’re all ready.
Snowboarding as a parent
It’s been a challenge and one that I am slowly starting to sort out. Before having kids we went most weekends to Whistler in BC. Snowboarding is my passion, and I really love snowboarding with my husband. We just know how each other rides, we push each other and we have so much fun. To fulfill our snowboarding needs as a couple, we’ve gotten my parents to babysit a couple of times so we can go snowboarding together like the old days.
We have also gone with friends and take turns snowboarding while one of us watches/snowboards with the kids. I have even gone a few times by myself with a friend to fulfill my need to hit the mountain for some riding. Seeing my kids snowboard and how much they love the mountain life makes me excited for when we can all go snowboarding down harder sections of the hill together.
Advice for other parents
My biggest tip is to have fun. It’s about being together as a family and enjoying each other. That means the whole experience, even the times drinking hot chocolate in the chalet. If you’re not comfortable teaching your kids, then have them take a lesson. It will help get you all shredding the mountain together faster. Lastly, make sure to have good gear. A quality, kids snowboard might seem expensive, but there are lots of trade-in programs that will help you upgrade your board to a larger size when your child needs it without breaking the bank. The first time you buy is the most expensive but gets cheaper when you use trade-in programs.
Continued snowboard progression
Julia still loves snowboarding for a good 10-15 minutes. Her favorite thing is when I pull her around using the Riglet Reel. I am excited to see how her snowboarding changes next year as she will be just a little bit older.
Etta has progressed a lot and can do more sliding on her own. She can correct herself to prevent from falling. Her confidence and love for the sport are what have grown the most. I’m excited to see how her enthusiasm will help her improve next season.
All photography taken at Lake Louise Resort, Alberta, Canada.
If you liked this article, we recommend checking out Burton Riglet’s post featuring another Snowboarding Mom’s Advice.