Children & Youth in Skiing – Stages of Physical & Cognitive Development

4-5 Year Olds – Training Squads – Physical Development

Tire easily- low stamina

More naturally aligned over their heels

Top Heavy – Center of Mass high – especially with helmet on – require wide stance for stability

Large muscle groups more developed then small muscle groups – tend to ski more straight legged

Can more readily bend knees and hips then ankles – able to use extension of large joints for unweighting

Can only balance on one foot for short periods – tend to need both skis on snow for balance

Straight legs restricts pivoting of legs – tend to use upper body rotation to assist turning skis

Lateral Balance more natural than fore-aft balance

Girls will likely develop fine motor skill development about one year ahead of boys


6 – 7 Year Olds – U8 – Physical Development

Improved strength and stamina – longer periods on snow possible

Center of mass slightly lower by end of age group

Increasing lower joint mobility and better able to use ankles – although still limited by boots

Developing ability to turn the legs rather than whole body

Can learn to push on (weight) outside ski for grip

Coordination is developing  – generally able to perform simultaneous movements for body parts

such as turning and bending – extending and turning – pole planting while skiing

Are developing more visual-motor coordination – able to catch a bounced or thrown ball – swing and plant a ski pole – navigate simple ski courses


8-9 Year Olds – U10 – Physical Development

 Strength and stamina continue to increase – can participate in two hour sessions

Greater articulation of ankle joint – boot fitting is very important to allow ankles to be engaged

Pivoting skills increasing – beginning  to create separation and angulation

Lateral movements and balancing against the outside ski resulting in carving the ski during longer turns an easy terrain


10-11 Year Olds –U12 – Physical Development

Increasing range of motion in different planes of balance – vertical, for-aft and lateral

Refining motor skills in legs and arms – can make precise movements with ankles and wrists.

Beginning to blend skills with good degree of precision – able to steer skis accurately

Separation is more pronounced and natural to turn size and shape – stronger angulation developing

Can use lateral movement to carve GS turns from above fall line on easy to moderate terrain

Quickness of movement is enhanced – short turns with properly timed pole plant becoming evident