Want a fun and safe environment to learn to ski? Perhaps group ski lessons provide the answer. And they are good for all skiers, not just beginners.
How Group Ski Classes Work
There are several kinds of classes but most skiers take ‘standard’ group lessons. These involve 2 to 2 1/2 hour sessions of up to 10 skiers (usually fewer) with 1 instructor.
Other kinds of group ski lessons include multi-day packages, women-only classes or season-long weekend classes. There are also ski clubs, such as the club de esqui Baqueira as an option.
With group ski lessons, you can book a class in person, by phone or online. Before the lesson starts, an instructor will ask what level you are and advise you where to wait—usually in front of signs with numbers 1 (for complete beginners) through to 6 (for advanced skiers).
Your instructor should ask you questions about your skiing. For example:
- what other sports you like
- what you want from the lesson
- if you’ve had a lesson before
Instructors should be able to adapt lessons to fit most students’ needs. They may offer general suggestions to help everyone. Or they might have students of slightly different abilities work on different activities. If you are unsure about anything, ask the instructor.
Keep in mind, in a 2-hour class with 4 students, you’ll actually only have 30 minutes of the instructor’s attention. In many cases, this is long enough. You’ll get a few suggestions to improve your technique and to continue working on in your own time.
If you want more one-on-one attention, then Private Lessons are the way to go.
Mid-week ski classes are often smaller and sometimes cheaper than weekends. You might get a lesson with only one or two students, which means better value for money. This can also be the case on Friday mornings and Sunday afternoons.
Lessons for Beginners
Some people go skiing for the first time with a friend to guide them. They get on a lift and go to an easy run. The learner looks at the slope thinking, “hmmm, that looks steep.” The friend says, “nah, it’s easy.” The new skier takes 2 hours to get down a slope that takes their friend only 5 minutes. Their confidence is shattered before they’ve barely started.
A word of advice: Don’t do this on your first day out…unless you have an extremely patient friend who can explain what to do, rather than just lead the way. I hate to see people struggling with their first ski experience.
Most resorts offer learning packages for complete beginners that include group lessons, equipment rentals and lift passes.
I highly recommend this route. You have someone explaining the basics before you go to the top of that so-called easy run. And you can ask all the questions you want.
If you have a couple of friends who are also beginners, you could hire a private instructor for your group rather than opt for a group lesson. You have control of the lesson time, the class size and how you make use of the instructor 100% of the time.
Group ski lessons provide a great stimulus for your skiing. You meet people. You learn to ski better. You ski more.