The discovery of alpine skiing from an early age is an opportunity that not all children have, often because they live far from the mountains. The French Ministry of Sport, through its Resource Center of Nature Sports, considers that alpine skiing has many educational benefits for children aged 3 to 8, such as discovering :
– A new environment: the snow and the mountains.
– The rules of behavior on the tracks and the rules when using the ski lifts.
– And learning the sensations of sliding and controlling their emotions.
– New motor skills.
The more the child grows, the more skills he develops, such as the construction of his autonomy and the discovery of his own limits (in children aged 9 to 14) or even the feeling of freedom, for the older ones.
For several years, the Métabief resort has been involved in ski learning.
A turning point has been reached this winter after a study carried out in June 2018 in collaboration with the Academic Inspectorate in order to understand why children ski less and less and to identify barriers for school skiing. Let’s review this policy in detail with Olivier Erard, Director of the Métabief station, who affirms that “skiing is part of our territorial culture.”
Several obstacles have been identified and actions have been implemented to improve the station this winter:
– The teachers’ motivation: “This is undoubtedly an area in which we still have to improve.” There is a lot of rotation of the teachers and it isn’t easy to involve them in the organization of ski days.
– Supervision by approved people: “This winter, we have implemented one day of reception of the parents free of charge so that they can approve and supervise school trips. In total, 12 parents have participated in the process.”
– The organization and cost of transport, with limited time at school: “To overcome this obstacle, we have chosen to work mainly with the closest schools and try to recover them.”
– The price of a ski day: “The department finances the ski teaching hours with ski courses. For our part, we have introduced very low fees for schools, with a 15% reduction in the price of the school package. This year, four hours of skiing cost € 6.50 and a day costs € 8. Companions are for free. The rate is a big concern, but unfortunately we know that this is not what will cause the assistance.”
A day to remember approved by parents
This winter, the academy inspection volunteered to communicate with schools and promote school skiing. “There is a real commitment at the highest level,” says Olivier Erard. “We agreed on lines of communication to broadcast in schools.”
On March 12, there’s the third edition of the school ski festival, where all schools are invited to participate with a school fee of € 6.50 per day. “Until now, there was a lack of communication transmission, but this year, this operation really makes sense because there is a real school policy,” says Olivier Erard.
Photo : Métabief
Jura Kids Park – the ultimate playground
“In order to facilitate school days, we have provided schools with a playground called Jura Kids Park, where we have carpets that go underneath the tunnels. Children can be accompanied by their parents and discover ski in a fun way.
It’s a space that used to open only on weekends during school holidays. Now it is offered to schools with a very attractive price for children (only 4 euros). They can enjoy the joys of skiing, with all the services included: eating area, bathrooms…”
Photo : Métabief – Jura Kids Park
Fun above everything
While many ski resorts complain about the progressive abandonment of skiing by millennials, the Métabief ski resort makes a different observation:
“It is true that skiing practice is getting urbanized. In recent years, the animation of our ski area has been enriched, and today we see how young people from the Besançon neighborhoods come especially to have fun. We now have snow-related products that are more suitable for young people: snack shop, animation… Not to mention digital shopping facilities. We believe these young people will want to come back. “
The Métabief ski resort currently has a very good snow, with its ski area open entirety.