Snowfall. Icy wind. And right now, unfortunately, the children’s ski course is about to start. Now what? We asked an expert: Christian Pöll from the Silvretta Ski School in Galtür.

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.” That’s one of those worldly wisdoms we’ve all heard more than once – and which hold true until you have children. Or at least, until the first time you bring a child to the children’s ski course in minus temperatures, icy wind and strong snow.

And then there most definitely is such a thing as bad weather! Your child’s cold, their fingers hurt, and as they don’t have any experience with exfoliation products, how are they supposed to cope with those pinpricks the icy crystals are leaving in their faces? The child’s whining, the parents start shouting – and then they whine, too. Anyone with kids know what it’s like, and they’re not the only ones: the ski instructor knows all about it, too.

How can you motivate children?

“You have to have patience,” says Christian Pöll from the Galtür ski school. “You have to distract them, give them things to do which are fun.” Christian really knows what he’s talking about, as he’s been an instructor at the ski school for almost 20 years now. And after starting as a snow board instructor, he’s been in charge of the small children section of the ski school for some years, including the children’s ski school and Siggiland, the dedicated ski-play area for kids.

Smaller children can’t manage to concentrate for longer than two hours, says Christian, “and the very small ones, the three to four-year-olds, only manage 90 minutes at most.” In bad, cold weather, he takes lots of breaks with the kids in a heated area. And one thing is particularly important to him: “It’s better if the parents aren’t standing there and watching. In my experience, children stop crying as soon as their parents have gone.”

And if they don’t, then Christian swears by an especially good motivation aid. “The best motivator is a jelly baby. It works miracles.”