As your kids approach the age where they want to learn to ski or board, there are so many choices and places it can become overwelming. I get the question all the time, "Where should we put kids in lessons? The only real bit of advice I have: Don't teach your kids yourself! Put them in lessons. I promise, it is worth it, and you will have a much more relaxing day. Your kids will not listen to you, you will get frustrated and it may take a month or more before anyone wants to get back up the mountain.
So, here we go! I have created many blogs over the years about this topic and now will pop it into one big blog. Refer back to Brennan's first snowboard lesson and Emily's first ski lesson to get my take on the "first" experience.
All Utah resorts offer lessons to both adults and kids in group or private lessons.
Alta: Alta is ski only. Lessons are offered for kids 4 and up. If you are interested in kids under 4, you may sign up for private lessons. There is the conveyor belt for the little guys when learning, so they don't need to load a lift. Through the daycare, there is the Alta pre ski program where little guys are taken out in skis as young as 2. Here is a link to all passes/season passes offered.
Beaver Mountain: Has several specialty programs for parents starting their skiing kids at age 3 called the Wee Program where parents are involved in the lesson to Rug Rats where kids can be 4 and either ski or snowboard and stay low on the mountain. Group lessons start for skiers at age 5 and snowboarders age 7. There are great deals for student passes. Here is the link to all season passes. Kids 5 and under ski free.
Brian Head: Group lessons start for skiers at age 4 and for snowboarders at age 6. Brian Head University is a program offered for all guaranteed to learn for first timers only in 3 lessons for one price or it's free!!! Now, that is a must do for sure! After completion and graduation, a free season pass for the remainder of the year! Kids 5 and under ski free. Here is the link for all season passes.
Brighton: Lessons are offered for kids 4 and up for both skiing and snowboarding. Multi week lessons are my favorite where the kids go consecutive weeks with the same group and instructor. To watch their growth is amazing. Kids ages 7 and under ride free. Here is the link for all season passes.
Canyons: Lessons are offered for kids 4 and up for both skiing and snowboarding. Kids under 5 ski free. Through the daycare, there can be a private lesson at age 2. There is also a Burton Riglet Park where kids as young as 3 can get involved in small terrain areas on their snowboard. With the Vail purchase of Park City Mountain Resort, there are many options available for tickets between the 2 resorts. Here is a link to all season passes and Epic passes which combine both resorts.
Cherry Peak: This is Utah's newest resort located in the northern part of the state. I will have more information as the year moves on, but there will be lessons, ice skating, tubing and more. Kids 5 and under ski free. Here is a link to passes.
Deer Valley: Deer Valley is ski only. What to say about this. Top notch ski instruction starting at 3 years old as a Fawn. Both Emily and Brennan started as Fawn's and went up from there. It is a combo of childcare/ski instruction one on one at age 3. By age 4, kids move into the Bambi program and are in groups of 2. From the programs to the lessons, the children's center has just about anything geared toward an amazing day for kids. Here is a link to passes.
Eagle Point: Kids can start as Eaglets on skis as young as 4 and on snowboards at age 7. Private lessons are offered for parent/child as an instructor helps parents along teaching kids to ski. There are family packages offered. Kids 6 and under ski free. Here is a link to passes.
Nordic Valley: Lessons start at age 4 for skiers and age 8 for snowboarders. Private lessons are offered for skiers age 2 and boarders age 7. Another great choice for locals would be the after school program. There is also a pass offered for those that want to do more Alpine Touring called the Randonee Season Pass. Here is a link to passes.
Park City Mountain Resort: Lessons start for kids age 3 1/2 on skis and age 5 on snowboards. If interested in private lessons, you can get your skier or boarder up at age 3. Since there are so many programs offered and tons of different options, you definitely want to check out the lesson web page. If you have a longer vacation planned, kids can enroll in many types of camps including freestyle camps to hone their skills in the pipe area. Kids 6 and under ski/board free. Just like mentioned above, Park City is part of the Vail family and the amount of passes and options are many when involved in the Epic Pass. There are many offers for adults/students and college students. Here is a link to all passes.
Powder Mountain; Group Lessons start at age 6 for skiers and age 8 for snowboarders. A powder play option is available for kids as young as 3 1/2. The Burton Learn to Ride center is also offered as an area to work on skills for first time boarders. There are ways to get discount tickets for locals as well including one that includes giving back called the lift up program. Kids 6 and under ski free. There are many discounts for mid week skiing to college days. Here is a link to passes.
Snowbasin: Group lessons are offered at age 4 for skiers and in the Burton Riglet Park for boarders at age 3. The kids move up in groups as their age/ability improves. There are many different terrain parks for all abilities of skiers/boarders. Kids under 6 ski free. From mid week discounts to a special card called and Express Card available through mid December, passes are very well priced. Here is a link to passes.
Snowbird: One on one lessons start at age 3 as a Chickadee and age 4 into group lessons. There are many options for lessons depending on ability and age. Kids 6 and under ski free. Passes vary depending on if you want to ski the Tram or not, combine with Alta or are in college. Here is a link to all passes.
Solitude: Group lessons start at age 5 but in a Play and Ski program can get semi private lessons at age 2. Lessons are also offered in packages for several days if you are in for a longer visit which gets the kids more comfortable in consecutive days. Kids can also take lesson in Nordic Skiing starting at age 7. Kids age 6 and under ski free. Tickets can be purchased for the day or ride packs if you feel like taking just a few runs. Here is a link to passes.
Sundance: Group lessons start at age 6 for skiers and age 7 for snowboarders. The Wild Bunch is offered for kids age 4. It is 2 kids per class. A 4 lesson punch pass is also offered at a discount and can be used amoung family members. There are also group night skiing lessons offered as well. Kids under 6 ski free. Here is a link to passes.
Here's another cool, state-wide ski school resource.
Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month in the month of January: This program is a nationwide program designed to get people up and going to learn to ski or snowboard at a very discounted price. It normally includes instruction, rentals and consecutive lessons. It really is a great way to get into the sport in a very inexpensive way. Check out the link and see which resort has the best fit for you and your family. It is a great time to plan a visit to Utah and take advantage of this great opportunity. Here are some great tips for beginners. Also during this time, you can join the bring a friend challenge. You have to be 13 years or older and enter to win prizes when you get someone going on the snow. It is a way for you to become an Ambassador for the sport.
5th and 6th grade passport program: For a $35 processing fee your 5th grader could ride/ski 3 times at each of Utah's resorts. For a $35 processing fee your 6th grader could ride/ski free once at each of Utah's resorts. OK, this is totally a no brainer! A study shows kids watch 35 hours a week in front of the TV. Yep, get this thing going ASAP!
Ski Utah Yeti Pass: It is good for one ski day at every resort in Utah. It would be a great pass to get if your 5th or 6th greader is in the Passport program. This is a limited pass offer, so jump on this right away.
Recreation programs through the local parks and recreation districts. For most of the programs kids must be 8 years old.
Dimple Dell: These are after school programs offered in conjunction with certain schools and a variety of resorts.
I am sure I have missed some programs so please let me know.
Ski Swaps: Is a perfect place to get used equipment at a good deal. With kids constantly growing from year to year, it can be very expensive to keep them in their own equipment. Swaps are one way to grab some good deals, especially before the season starts.
Season rentals: The best way to rent equipment is for the season. With most places, free waxes through the year when you get season rentals and if the kids grow, just bring the boots or skis back and they will be traded in for new sizes. There is no cost for this. Shop around for deals and ask if some shops have a deal that if you pay a fee, you can stick with the same shop for years as the kids grow. It is really the best option if you don't want to buy equipment.
So, it is a wrap. If you have any services, programs to add, please let me know. Also, share this link with your friends as it really is a great guide to all things lessons for kids in one stop.