Always call ski resorts ahead of time to check facilities, programs, and costs. Rent skis and boots until you are certain of your child's interest. Multiple-day packages are cheaper than one-day rates. Dress little ones in layers so garments can be added or taken off. Go for snowsuits, wool socks, scarfs, hats, and wool sweaters and wool underwear. Expensive ski togs can come later. An exception might be top-quality ski mittens (warmer than gloves). When registering, don't exaggerate a child's ability. Generally, most children are ready to begin skiing at the age of four rather than three.

Know what time programs begin and what time they end. A class may not take a child who is late. Ask: Is lunch included, or do you pay extra? Who is with the child at lunch? Are rentals extra, or included?

Ski classes should be small, no more than four or five 4- to 7-year-olds per instructor, and never more than eight per instructor for the 8- to 12-year-olds.

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