The last thing a mountain-loving, ski-toting parent wants to hear from his kid after his first day on the slopes is, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” But how can you entice a kid who hates the cold, heights, and falling to enjoy a sport that requires lots of practice in an oftentimes harsh environment?
That’s the exact predicament that Sadler Merrill, a former freestyle skier at the University of Colorado, wants to avoid. Enter Snöbahn, an indoor, revolving-slope ski and snowboard facility that opens at the Streets of SouthGlenn on July 24.
Snöbahn’s 9,400-square-foot space is home to three moving ski hills. The rolling carpets are made from one-inch-thick nylon turf, which gets sprayed with water once an hour to mimic a soft, groomed run. You may not look like you’re covering much terrain, but in just a half-hour, the tracks, which have adjustable steepness, revolve to the equivalent of skiing Vail Mountain from top to bottom seven times. So, you can bank on some tired kids.
Youth lessons start at $25 for the introduction and assessment class and $35 for one-hour classes after that. The 60-minute group course includes three instructed 10-minute runs on the slope—trust us, that’s plenty—broken up by three 10-minute breaks. Rental skis or snowboard, boots, and helmet are included, but make sure you pack your kid’s ski socks. Skiers and riders as young as three years old will begin to train their tiny muscles to command the pizza (stop) and French fry (go) maneuvers and build confidence.
“It takes muscle memory, repetition, and enjoying what you’re doing to learn a skill,” says Merrill, a father of three young kids. “At Snöbahn, kids learn the mechanics in a no-stress environment. By the time they get on the mountain, the basic skills can already be in place.”
Here’s more good news: There’s no early-morning, traffic-clogged I-70 drive to Snöbahn, which is tucked in the Streets of SouthGlenn shopping district. Ditching the nasty drive is one plus to Snöbahn—which is also hosting half-day summer camps—but another is that the ski season no longer lives in just one season.
“Snöbahn is a stepping stone into on-mountain skiing and snowboarding that can be accessed year-around,” Merrill says. “Young kids often have a hard time learning to control their hands and feet, so it’s even tougher for them to do that when they are freezing cold and distracted by everything at a ski resort.” If your little rider decides he has had enough on the moving slope, they can hit the on-site, indoor sledding hill for just $5. Don’t worry parents; you’re not left out. Adult lessons start at $30 and come with the full equipment setup.
By the time your family is ready for weekends on the mountain this winter, you won’t have to worry about forking over the dough for a lift ticket (the cost of nearly six Snöbahn lessons) when the only thing your kid wants is the end-of-day hot chocolate. They may still jones for a treat, but it’ll be harder to drag your little slope shredder away from the hill.
Visit: 6955 S. York St., Centennial