Skiing Tips : Skiing Schools

Skiing lessons are the focus of this installment of our learn to ski guide.

It will take about a week of lessons from a professional ski instructor at a ski school, but by the end of that week, you will have learned to ski correctly. 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. . . .

Does the school specialize in one or the other of group or private lessons, or does it offer both? While private lessons can be more costly, the benefit is that you have all of your ski instructor’s attention so that you can learn more quickly. 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.

Finding out the number of students are generally in a class is advisable, however. 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. For quality ski instruction, shy away from schools that have larger class sizes, as this is a red flag that profit is the school’s primary motive.

Who they’re catering for is also important; beginners, intermediates, experts or all levels? Skiers with more or less the same skiing abilities should all be assigned to the same class. 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. If you’re unsure of your ability, it’s better to start off in a lower ability class and ask to be moved up into another if you find it too easy.

Find out if the school segregates classes by the average age of the students, or by the students’ gender. There are schools that have a ‘come-one-come-all’ policy, and those that have a narrower class focus. You will find that the more specific a school is in its instruction criteria, the higher the quality of your learning experience, as you will benefit from learning in an appropriate age setting (whether adult or child), and in a gender-specific group.