Learn To Ski : Where To Learn

July 29, 2009

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In this part of our learn to ski guide we look at professional instruction.

By taking lessons at a ski school, a professional ski instructor will be able to show you how to ski correctly within a week.  Once you have learned the basics, you will have the skills and confidence necessary to safely avail yourself of the runs available at the resort where you have opted to stay.  It is important, however, to make sure you look into any ski school’s reputation for quality, the cost of its services, and what purpose it hopes to serve, all of which can vary considerably.  At a minimum, you should look into the following. . . .

Whether they offer private ski lessons, group ski lessons, or both.  Even though private lessons are more expensive, it can be worth the expense to have your ski instructor one-on-one, particularly since you will learn faster this way.  If you like the fun of meeting new people, and wish to hear about the experiences of several others, then group lessons might be for you.  For first timers especially, class instruction seems to be the preferred choice.

If opting for group lessons, it’s advisable to first find out the number of students in a class.  It really depends on how a ski school manages the students, but ideally look for one that has class sizes of no more than seven or eight students.  Try to avoid schools that claim they can teach larger class sizes, because quality instruction will not be the school’s goal, but rather its focus will be to make money.

Who they’re catering for is also important; beginners, intermediates, experts or all levels?  It is important that you are assigned to the same class as others with your same skill level.  In order to assess your abilities before placing you in a class, a school might ask you to participate in an instructor-supervised test of sorts where you will be asked to ski down a couple of slopes and show them how well you are able to turn.  As with learning anything new, it is better to start a little below where you believe your abilities lie, and if it turns out that you are at a higher level, then simply ask the school to move you to the more appropriate class.

Find out if the school segregates classes by the average age of the students, or by the students’ gender.  Some will be targeting specific groups, whereas others will have an ‘everyone welcome’ policy.  Generally, the more specific a ski school is in its purpose (for example, children only or women only) the higher quality they’ll be as they’ll be tailoring their instructions to a specific set of needs.


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