Here at Bring The Kids, we’re pretty much DIY-ers. We love to find ways to create our own adventures and send our family exploring for cheap. You also know that we’re big skiers. Like it’s our favorite thing to do together (besides eat dessert). Since we’ve been skiing so much, we feel pretty qualified to give our “expert” (ha) advice on how to teach someone how to ski. Ready?
SEND THEM TO SKI SCHOOL!!!
Seriously! This is by far the best way to teach someone how to ski. WHAT? I’m sure that right now you have a million things running through your head right now like “well they don’t understand how good I am” “ski school is too expensive” or my favorite “I’m a beginner too so why send my kids to ski school if we’re working on the same thing anyway”. Well, let me explain why we feel that the best way to get someone skiing (and keep them skiing) is ski school.
1. Even if parents are great skiers and have skied their whole lives, they probably don’t have the skills that they would need to effectively teach the correct mechanics of skiing. Prime example: I’m always amazed when I see great skiers who ski double blacks trying to teach their friends how to ski. It’s usually some version of “this is how you stop…now follow me” as they dart through the trees. I’m sure you can envision the disaster in your heads. Unfortunately, the skills that you use as an expert skier and the skills that a beginner needs are far removed. Remember that most skiing starts with a wedge-stop approach and there are several steps between that and parallel, straight ski, stopping.
2. Ski School is expensive, but well worth the investment. Plan on spending $100-$150+ for a full day of kids ski lessons. Multiply that by a few kids and a few days and that’s a huge chunk of change. At this point, you’re probably seriously considering teaching your kids yourself or just bagging the whole idea and heading to the Magic Kingdom. Hang in there – it’s so worth it. The first few times a kid skis can be a little disappointing as it’s not uncommon for it to take kids a few days to learn how to stop and turn on even the most gentle slope. However, as you stick with it, year after year, their skills skyrocket and the time needed in lessons goes drastically down. If you’re like us, you probably want to be able to ski with your family for years to come. Ski school will start you off on the right foot so that you learn correctly (and with less chance of injury) and are more likely to progress to the level that you would like.
3. One lesson’s not going to cut it. This is one my Dad taught me growing up (which my brother and I hated him for). Every year, my Dad would require that our first few days of skiing every year were spent in ski school. That way, we didn’t start off the year sloppy, but rather solidified the fundamentals and advanced to the next level. Also, remember that one day of lesson will get you barely able to navigate the bunny hill by yourself – if you’re lucky. Plan on at least a few days a year.
4. Make sure that they are ready to ski before beginning lessons. This is one of the biggest mistakes I saw parents making as I was teaching skiing (typically just a problem with younger kids). Putting a child who is not ready or willing to ski is a waste of money – plain and simple (or just really expensive daycare). Most ski schools don’t start group lessons until around age 4, which is typically a good starting point. However, here are a few more points to check your childs readiness. Is your child okay being apart from you for most of the day? Can they communicate how they feel to another adult? Do they want to ski? Are they comfortable in a group environment with other children their age? If you answered yes to these questions, your child is probably ready for ski school. If not, it might be a good time to reevaluate if skiing is right for them at this time.
Skiing is great. We believe that it’s one of the best things that a family can do together, but you have to do it right. We see plenty of people trying to teach their kids to ski who end up in the lodge in tears by the end of the day. Or worse, in the ER. There is also a big push lately to get a ski harness or a ski leash, tie the kids up and head down the hill with them. While this can be a great tool when used correctly, 90% of the time we see kids racing down the mountain, pulling their parents, like some weird version of dog sledding. Because they are so incorrectly used and often lead to children not developing the vital balance they need to ski, we would not encourage using these in place of lessons.
Don’t worry, we know that there plenty of success stories of people who learned to ski without attending ski school. We also know of many examples of individuals or families who’ve dropped the sport all together because of inadequate instruction. If you have questions, shoot us an email! You decide what will work best for you.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, these are not just random rantings. Both of us have taught skiing at resorts with several years of teaching experience between us, attended several Professional Ski Instructor Association (PSIA) trainings and Jessica has been PSIA certified.