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Ski school is one of the biggest expenses when skiing with kids, so you want to make sure that you get the most out of it!
Not only am I a former professional ski instructor, but as a mom of 5, we’re a BIG FAN of ski lessons. While all of our kids are good skiers, we try to put everyone in lessons at least once a year to help them improve and develop their skills better. It’s a big investment, but if you use these tips below, you’ll get the most bang for all those dollars you’re investing in ski school.
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How To Get The Most Out Of Ski School
If you want to get the most out of ski school, you’ll want to have some sort of a plan in place up front. That means having gear ready, kids prepped for skiing (mentally and physically), a great breakfast, and a plan for how you’re going to interact with the ski instructors. Below, I’m going to share with you EXACTLY what our family does to get the most out of ski school for kids.
Eat An Energizing Breakfast
Breakfast is always the KEY to a solid ski day with our kids. Make sure that their breakfast has a good balance of carbs and protein and will keep them filled until lunch. If you’re leaving really early in the morning to get to the ski hill, it helps to have “second breakfast” at the car before everyone hits the ski slopes. Check out all of our best recommendations for energizing ski breakfasts!
Get on the slopes before ski school.
For your first time, just shuffle around the base area. For kids who already know the basics, spend a day or two skiing as a family before enrolling them in lessons. This will give everyone a feel for the mountain and make the most of your investment in lessons.
Most kids need a few runs to remember the things they already know, but if they just into ski school without having skied for the season, they’ll probably be put in a lower class than they should be. Spending a day on the slopes BEFORE ski school starts, lets everyone work out the kinks in their skiing, so they can be put in a class that will help them learn the most.
Discuss with your child why you are putting them in ski school.
Help them to understand that putting them in ski school doesn’t mean they can’t ski, it means that you want them to become their best so they can have more fun on the mountain. This is an important conversation to have because it sets the tone for the entire experience.
It’s also a good idea to talk about what they hope to get out of ski school. This will help you determine which type of lesson and how many lessons would be best for them. If you have a more advanced child, maybe they want to try a lesson with a specific focus like the terrain park or moguls. Make sure that everyone is on the same page and excited so they can learn as much as possible.
Let them know what to expect
If your child is new to ski school, at a new resort, or taking a new kind of lesson, talk to them about what their day will look like. If you’re unsure, call the ski school in advance and ask them a list of questions (early afternoon is a good time to call since they’re less busy). Explain what their day will look like and some of the fun things they have to look forward to. Let them know when and where they’re eating lunch, if you’re planning on skiing by to see how they’re doing, and where you’ll meet them at the end of the day.
Discuss Ski Goals With the Instructor FIRST!
Talk to your instructor before the lesson starts about specific skills you want your child to learn during the lesson. This is especially important if your child has been taking lessons for a few years and you feel like they’re starting to plateau. Instructors are always happy to focus on specific skills, but they need to know in advance so they can plan accordingly. If your child is struggling with something specific, this is also a good time to let the instructor know. Talking to them about your goals and expectations up front can also help them to make sure that your child gets placed into the correct ski lesson.
Observe the Kids Ski Lesson From A Distance
If you have a child who is nervous or struggling with skiing, it can be tempting to stick around and “help” them. Trust me, as a former ski instructor – in 99% of cases, this does more harm than good! Give your child and the instructor both some space, knowing that the instructors are trained not just to teach skiing, but to HELP KIDS! If there’s a problem, the ski school will contact you and ask you for help.
If you’re feeling concerned about your child’s progress, it can be helpful to observe the lesson from a distance. This way you can get a feel for their skiing without being right there in the middle of it. It’s also a good way to see how your child interacts with the other kids and the instructor. If you’re really not sure about how the lesson is going, you can always talk to the instructor at the end of the day.
Ask For Tips After The Lesson
At the end of the day, ask the instructor what skills your child did great and where they need more work. Ask for specific details so you can know how to help and encourage your child in the best ways. It’s also helpful to ask them for specific terminology they used to help kids improve their skills. They might have found that telling the kids to “squish the bug in their boots” really helped them to get in the correct body position, so make sure to ask.
Instructors will also tell you how you can help them and what they recommend as next steps.
Get Ski Run Recommendations
One of the biggest mistakes that I see parents making after a ski lesson is taking their kids on terrain that’s too hard and seeing a positive day of ski school end in tears on terratin that’s too hard.
Ask the ski instructors for recommendations on where to ski with your kids. Ask where they’re skiing right now and then ask what runs they recommend progressing to NEXT. Although all runs have a color rating, they’re not all the same and an instructor will be able to suggest terrain that’s focused on what your child needs most.
Not sure what to ski later on? Read “Is my child ready for harder terrain?”
Ski Together With Your Kids
Taking at least one run with your child at the end of the day and having them teach you everything they learned is one of the best ways to end a day of ski school. Most kids are absolutely THRILLED to be the expert and to show off everything they learned.
Make sure to stick to the trail recommendations that their instructor shared, but do expect that they’ll probably want to take you through the trees and on some jumps, so be prepared for it (and cheer them on!). Spending the end of the day skiing together is one of the best ways to make sure that your child ends the day with a smile on their face. We always give our kids a treat on the lift ride up and get super excited about everything they show us to help make ski school a positive experience for everyone.
All of these ski school tips for kids will help you to have an easier and more productive day of school so that the kid can learn the most for all the money you’re investing in their ski instruction!