With the high cost of skiing, if you're like us frogs, you're looking for every little bit of savings you can on your winter vacation. There are some key ways to save ... by visiting at the right time, packaging your hotel and lift tickets, sometimes driving instead of flying, renting or borrowing winter clothing and ski gear ... you get the idea. But skimping on lessons, especially if you've never skied or it's been a long time, is not one we recommend. Ski and snowboarding lessons are definitely worth it! However, you’ll be hoppy to know that there are ways to save money with ski lessons. Taking lessons can also help you avoid the lift lines. Saving money and time is frogerrific! Our frog family loves to skip the lines and maximize time at the theme parks, and that is true with skiing too!
It’s important to understand that different people might have better success with different types of ski lessons. Choices include group lessons, private lessons, private family lessons, small group and adaptive lessons. You can take half-day or full-day lessons. Anyone can take lessons — from beginners to intermediate level. More experienced skiers may take advanced lessons to build skills or tackle a new challenge. Now that you know ski lessons are worth it, let’s jump into helping you choose which one is right for you.
Ski Lessons for Beginners
If you are just starting out skiing or snowboarding, then lessons are an absolute must. You want to be safe on the mountain and learn valuable fundamental skills, and you can get this by learning from a professional. Family ski safety is a priority and that begins with learning how to ski and snowboard from an expert. We recommend taking a multi-day lesson when starting out skiing or snowboarding.
The Benefits of Group Vs. Private Ski Lessons
Group lessons may be the most inexpensive route to take, and it can be fun for the tadpoles to ski with other kids in the same age range and ability. They can make friends and socialize at lunch. You can find good packages on group lessons, including rentals, multi-day discounts and lunch for kids. Group lessons are useful for many skiers, but they are not always the perfect fit for everyone. Some people require a little more attention and assistance, while others might progress faster than the group and get frustrated waiting for others. A small group lesson of four or fewer people can work better for some learners. If your whole family is learning to ski or at a similar level, there are private family lessons your entire family can share. That way you can spend more time together. You can get personalized attention and you might save money over paying for multiple people to be in group lessons.
Private lessons will give you individual attention. This allows you to progress at your own pace and to learn from specific feedback. There is less pressure to keep up with a group or to get impatient waiting for others. Of course these lessons cost more money, but you might progress faster, meaning you may need fewer lessons overall. When you have a limited number of ski days on your trip or in a ski season, you might find splurging on some private or semi-private lessons worth the expense.
Ski School Is Similar to Daycare
We enjoy our family ski adventures, but everyone in our family is at a different skill level. I have been skiing all my life. Leap has been learning to ski as an adult, Tad has taken to snowboarding pretty quickly and that means he’s on the hunt of different terrain than I like, and Lily is still in beginner lessons. While we always ski or ride a few runs together, I am hoppiest on my own at the top of the mountain as some family members are still getting comfortable on the bunny slopes. It takes patience to ski very slowly with the beginners (it’s so much more work!), so putting Lily in ski school serves a dual purpose. They teach Lily to ski, but they also provide lunch and essentially act as daycare, allowing me the freedom to explore the mountain on my own. It will only be matter of time until Lily is racing me down the mountain and I feel good that she is learning from trained instructors. This gives her the proper building blocks to become a strong skier. If you want to make your kids hoppy skiers, then leave the teaching to the professionals. Here are ski school tips to get the most out of your child’s ski school experience.
Adaptive Ski Lessons for Special Needs Skiers
If someone in your family has any kind of special needs, you might look into adaptive lessons. Adaptive lessons are great for anyone who has a physical or cognitive disability. They are generally affordable, although you may be asked to join a local chapter for a small fee. You will get one-on-one instruction, and while benefits may vary per ski resort, some mountains include rentals, lift tickets or even buddy lift tickets for a family member. The lessons include any specialized equipment that may be needed. The instruction is very individualized and often done by volunteers, so be sure to tip them to show your appreciation. People can transition from these lessons to skiing or snowboarding independently or be able to move into group lessons from there. If you are interested in exploring adaptive lessons, hop over to Skiing with Disabilities: The Benefits of Taking Adaptive Lessons.
When Adult Ski Lessons Make Sense
If you are a beginner, then lessons are a must. You can learn more in one day than you might if you were on your own for years. If you have moved out of beginner lessons and have been gaining more confidence, then a quick brush up is always a great idea. Just a few reminders, pointers or corrections to your posture can make a huge different in your ability and the amount of fun you have. Instructors have so many great tips to making skiing easier. Maybe moguls freak you out or you find a steep hill or deep powder particularly challenging, so you take lessons to focus on the skills you need to successfully navigate them, which opens up the mountain and more skiable terrain for you. Plus instructors often know where the secret stashes are and can help you navigate the mountain. If you are skiing for the first time at a ski resort, the instructor can provide a lot of useful information about great runs or hidden gems you might not discover on your own.
Snowboarders can usually take lessons in the beginning, and then the learning curve just takes off and they are well on their own. In comparison, skiers can continue to learn and improve their skiing over a lifetime. You might gain some confidence on your own, and then hop back into a lesson to fine-tune some skills. The good thing is that the lessons are always there for you at any level you need them.
What we love about ski lessons is that you can take them on a crowded day and usually skip the lift lines. When holiday lift lines are at their peak, the ski school just slides right in with their own line.
How to Save Money on Ski Lessons
Now on to the savings part. Here are a few tips to save money (or time) and get the most out of your experience:
- Book lessons early (at least 48 hours in advance) to save.
- Take lesson at off-peak times (weekdays, early season/late season) if you can.
- Take advantage of January National Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month packages and promotions.
- Bundle your services with packages such as rentals or lodging.
- Take private family lessons to get the most benefit from private lessons.
- Buy multi-day lessons like 3-day lessons for the best prices and consistency in teaching.
- Look into special signature programs such as women’s programs or focused learning programs offered by some resorts.
- Take a free mountain tour if you're an intermediate and advanced skier to learn more about the mountain and gain confidence with other skiers. It’s not the same as a lesson, but it‘s free learning. We like free.
- Compare costs. Full-day programs may have a much better price per hour than half-day lessons (so one full day may save hundreds of dollars over doing two half days).
- Use lessons strategically during peak ski times to skip the lift lines to maximize your time on the mountain.
Want to save money on a family ski trip? Undercover Tourist offers booking deals for ski hotels, equipment rentals, and multi-day lift tickets. You can bundle these elements together to save more or even book your rental car, if you are flying into your ski destination.