In the back room of Shredder Kids Play & Ski Gym, 10-year-old Felix Hardy bounces on a trampoline with a foam snowboard strapped to his feet. The prop doesn’t look or feel anything like an actual board, but that’s not the point. “Felix is learning air sense awareness,” says his instructor, Palmer Hoyt, head coach of the University of Colorado Freestyle Ski Team and the instructor for the Misty 540 Tricks Class at Shredder.

That may be the case, but Felix and Quinn, members of the debut class, are just having fun. Shredder, a play-based gym specializing in ski training, opened in Boulder in September. The boys’ trampoline time is part of a five-week session that aims to build the skills and confidence required to catch air on the slopes. (Participants must be at least 10 years old and comfortable on skis or snowboards.)

Hoyt’s class is the most advanced program offered at Shredder. But even those who have never pointed their ski tips down a hill are welcome at the gym. For newcomers, there’s Snow Play, a six-week session that teaches kids as young as two-and-a-half basic ski and snowboarding skills, including how to put on gear. The highlight: a 35-foot-long artificial ski hill that offers kids their first physical sensation of skiing or riding. Programs progress from there up to Felix’s advanced class. For non-skiers, there’s Active Play, six weeks spent hopping on the trampoline, balance beams, gymnastics bars, and giant foam obstacles in a program designed to help kids keep active and build strength while enjoying themselves.

After successfully landing his first 360 on the trampoline—on just his second day of lessons—Felix is all smiles. Hoyt says that’s a big improvement for a student new to aerial tricks. Felix hopes to test his new skills at Copper Mountain next month in a new joint program between the resort’s Ski and Ride School and Woodward at Copper.

“I think Shredder is really good for kids who want to learn to do jumps and stuff,” Felix says. Of course, it’ll take a few more sessions before he’s ready to test his skills on the snow, but Shredder is a safe place to start.

5541 Central Ave, Suite 105, Boulder, 303-396-1754

Misty 540 Tricks five-week session: $200; Active Play six-week session: $108 (drop in is $20 after a $10 intro course); Snow Play six-week session: $132 (drop in is $25 after a $15 intro course); Rental equipment: $5

Bonus: Looking for ideas on how to take the kids skiing without the stress? Check out these tips from the former director of Granby Ranch Ski and Ride School in our March issue.

Images courtesy of Shredder Kids Play & Ski Gym