Lessons for kids...you should!

By Mountain Mama Mar 3, 2014
If you want your kids to learn to ski, lessons are a must. If you want your spouse to learn to ski and you want to stay married, lessons are a must. The big question is, "1/2 day, full day, how many days?"
Lessons for kids...you should!

Should you or shouldn't you?  A big question I get all the time is if the kids need lessons.  YES, they do!  I woudn't try to teach the kids by yourself. 

Lessons teach kids several things:

1. Safety-How to ski safely, look out for other skiers, get on and off the chairlift and mountain etiquette.

2. Confidence-When skiing with a group, kids can ski "up" to their ability.  They don't want to cry, fall, be the last in line.  They are going to keep up with their peers, a little competion is healthy.

3. Working with coaches-Kids work with coaches in all other sports, a ski instructor is also their coach.

4. Self reliance-Kids learn how to carry their own equipment, take charge of their snacks and use the bathroom when it is handy.

There are many different kinds of lessons depending on the childs age and ability.  

If you can afford to put them in private lessons once or twice, I would recommend that.  Yes, it is a bit pricey, but they will advance quickly with one on one instruction.  If you can do 2 hours, that is a great option.  The instructor starts at the beginning with how to put on skis, how to be safe on the mountain and then progesses onto the snow.  It gives the kids a great understanding of what they are about to do.  If a child has never skied, they will start on a fairly flat surface and progress onto the magic carpet.  Most all ski resorts have some sort of magic carpet, Deer Valley has a series of them where the child can get up the mountain without taking the chairlift.  The chairlift can be scary-even for parents-so it is a perfect way for the kids to be comfortable on the snow first without tackling the lift.  You also avoid the tears, which can happen as I remember.

Once the child is comfortable, you can move into a small group lesson.  You can either sign up for group lessons that are offered at certain times of the day or you can grab a couple of friends and share the cost of a semi private lesson.  This way, you are still getting more of a 2 on 1 or 3 on 1 experience.  You can check with the ski school when you show up.

Group lessons are the most affordable and a good choice once your child is up on their own and starting to turn and using the chairlift.  It gives the child a chance to ski with others his/her own age and explore more of the mountain.  These are offered in 1/2 day and full day options.  Again, depends on your child and the age.  Brighton has some really good tips for parents.

I have been fortunate to try all these types of lessons and now have Emily as a member of a Ski Team.  I get asked all the time if I am nervous.  No..I'm not.  The reason being;  she has received wonderful instruction from a variety of resorts and instructors and she knows how to ski safely and in control.

A few last questions I receive from parents:

1. What is the best age to start?  Depends on the child.  For me with an oldest, cautious daughter..4.  It was when her brain and ability "got it".  For a crazy boy...3.  Boys tend to be more physical and stronger.

2. Do they need to ski first?  Probably my most asked question.  NO!  If a child wants to board, let them.  There is no written rule they need to ski first.  Put it this way, they have to want to snowboard.  It is harder to learn and you will need a few more lessons to get them on their way.  A lot of people will tell you 7 is the magical age.  If they are 3, let them try.  Just know it is hard, they are tired and will have a pretty short day.

3. How many lessons do you need?  Again, depends on the child.  If they are 5 or younger, I would do at least 2 private or semi private and see where they are at.  You want them doing some turning and to have gone on the chairlift.  They will still need a parents help.  If you can, I would even continue some group lessons  4-5 times so you can see they are "on their way".  The older the child, the quicker they'll catch on.  In fact, if the child is over 7, they could go into a group lesson with some other kids who have never skied and catch on pretty quick without ever doing private lessons.

As for aduts...it is never to late to take a lesson and learn something new.

If you're planning on coming out, the snow is awesome and many resorts now have over 100" at the base!