Choosing the Right Ski Lessons
When you arrive in resort, you want to just get out there on the slopes. Have you thought about ski lessons to improve your skills or learn some new tricks? Which type of lessons to choose? Read on for some simple advice.
Whether this your first time, or you're a seasoned pro on your 10th ski holiday, ski lessons will at some point become a necessity to move on to the next level and enjoy this sport even more. Learning how to parallel or how to jump a 12 foot obstacle will require you to understand certain things about your position, the terrain, your skis or board position and of course how to land if you're jumping.
So what lessons do you choose when you turn up? We've highlighted the basic types of lessons below, starting with ski lessons for the youngsters.
Ski Lessons for Children
With children's ski lessons it does pay to research ski schools and instructors online before you arrive in resort - especially if you come in busy holiday periods. It's vitally important that children get the right tuition on the slopes to help them build confidence, learn the correct techniques and most importantly to ensure they have great fun!
Your choice of lessons includes either group or private. There are benefits to both, as well as drawbacks. If you can get children's group lessons that are a maximum of 6 kids of a very similar ability, then not only will this be cheaper, but the time they spend hanging around waiting for others rather than practising will be far less. Private lessons offer by far the best option for quick learning or improving technique for experienced boarders and skiers.
Whether you're headed for Europe, the USA or further afield, your children are important to focus on before you leave if possible in order to compare ski school facilities, instructors and to find reviews from previous skiers and boarders. Also look at the costs carefully as ski and snowboard lessons will vary depending on the country and the resort, from the cheaper Eastern Europe countries to premium rate resorts like Chamonix, Val D'Isere or Verbier.
Group Ski Lessons for Adults
Whether you have had group skiing lessons before or not, most ski and boarding schools offer them! You can usually sign up to group ski lessons (and snowboard too) and be able to choose the right level of ability for you. From absolute 'never been on the snow before' through to 'advanced', 'freestyle' or "off-piste". Check in resort or check online once your holiday is booked!
Group skiing lessons are often only thought of as lessons for children dropped off by parents wanting a break! However, this couldn't be further from the truth as for many skiing (and increasingly boarding) lessons with a group of friends or mates goes hand in hand with your ski holiday. This does of course assume you are all of roughly the same competence on the slopes.
When booking skiing lessons for a group, you will find they are cheaper than hiring a private instructor and the exact price will also depend on the school, the resort and in some cases, the experience level you require. In Europe the Eastern European resorts in Slovenia, Bulgaria or Slovakia offer lessons for groups that can start from just £60 for 5 mornings. In the more Anglophile resorts in France, Switzerland and Italy, prices for morning lessons start from around £150 for 5 morning lessons and can rise up to as much as £275 for 5 morning lessons.
Group ski and boarding lessons can be a bit frustrating if you are not all the same ability and the group is larger than about 5 or 6 people. You can also usually look for English speaking or native English instructors in most resorts. As for how good the instructors are - it is a bit of a case of pot luck to be honest. So make sure you get low class sizes, English instructors and look for any reviews of the ski school online.
Private Ski Lessons
Do private ski lessons or boarding lessons really make that big a difference? If you've had a private lesson for either skiing or boarding, then it is highly likely you will recommend it to others and you will understand the benefits of having an instructor help you - and you alone! So much so, than many never return to group ski lessons again. So what is it specifically that makes all the difference and ensures you give it such a positive thumbs up?
Almost all ski resorts have private ski lessons and snowboard lessons available, many from more than just one ski school. When looking for private lessons you need to think about your needs and what you want to achieve, then use that information when comparing your options. You also should look for English instructors, or at very least native English speakers, as they will be able to explain techniques and tricks to you much more easily than non-English speaking instructors.
Private lessons can be costly, however they are no longer prohibitively expensive for most. Starting from about £70 for a 2.5 hour session on the slopes, you can really see the benefits if you use the afternoon to practice the skills and techniques learned that morning. In many cases, 2 or 3 lessons each week will help you improve your technique, learn new skills or little tricks and most importantly build confidence on the slopes.
Lessons are not all about holding you back with tedious repetition in a group of nobodies that you detest! Lessons should help you understand more about the slopes and how to ski or snowboard, as well as helping you with your technique and body position.
Skiing and snowboarding are great winter sports and demand a level of fitness as well as an understanding of danger and when to know your limits, lessons from professional instructors can only help you improve whatever your level and this in turn will increase the enjoyment you get from a day on the snow.
BASS - (Various) : http://www.britishskischool.com/
ESF - (France) : www.esf.net/en/index.htm