SHOULD YOU BOOK SKI SCHOOL?

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After you’ve sorted your resort and accommodation for your ski holiday, the next thing you need to think about is whether to book ski or board lessons. For beginners, it’s the best way to learn – and there are tons of benefits for more experienced skiers too.

What types of ski school are there?

Group lessons

The most common kind of ski school, you’ll learn in a group with skiers of the same ability, follow-the-leader style. It’s the perfect way for first-timers to pick up the basics, and it’s the most cost-effective type of ski school too. Kids thrive in group lessons – making friends, having fun and learning a new skill at the same time. And if you’re an adult travelling solo but want some company on the piste, you can meet like-minded ski-lovers in group lessons.

Private lessons

Get exclusive time with a ski instructor to tailor your tuition. A popular pick for more confident skiers, private lessons will help you develop your individual technique. If you’re with family or friends of equal abilities, sharing a private lesson can be a great way to spend time together – and split the cost.

Specialist clinics

Got a specific area you want to work on? Sign up for a specialist clinic to learn off-piste, freestyle or mogul skiing with a trained instructor. Limited to one-on-one tuition or small groups, clinics use targeted coaching, video analysis and playback to help you reach your goal.

Ski kindergarten

For the smallest skiers, kindergartens are locally run clubs that pair ski lessons with playtime. They’ll learn in dedicated areas and have fun with indoor and outdoor games. Lunch is usually included too, so mum and dad can make the most of their own time on the mountain.

Ski school durations

Unlike normal school, ski school isn’t a 9-3, Monday-Friday deal. It’s up to you whether you want a full five or six days of lessons, or just a couple – whatever suits your goals, fitness and itinerary.

Morning (AM)

Spend the morning in ski school and then you can practise on your own in the afternoons. Or take a break from the slopes and head off to see what else is going on in your resort. Shopping, spas, bars, activities – the mountain is your oyster.

Afternoon (PM)

Prefer a lie-in? Enjoy a leisurely morning and be ready for lessons after lunch. This can be a smart choice snow-wise too, as the slopes in some resorts are often less icy in the afternoons.

All day (AM + PM)

If you want to clock as much time with your instructor as possible – and have the stamina to keep up – go for full-day lessons.

Ski school for beginners

For those who’ve never skied before, ski school is the ideal way to learn – from putting on your skis, to stopping, turning and riding lifts. Even if you’ve been a time or two before, lessons will help develop your skills and confidence. Just finding your way around a new resort can be especially daunting for beginners, so give yourself a break and let the instructor find the best runs to help you improve.

Don’t be tempted to ask for lessons from a family member or friend either – they probably won’t be qualified to teach and will likely have picked up their own bad habits over the years. Go with a proper instructor to make sure you’re getting the most useful guidance – and avoid a potentially poor learning curve that could dampen your love for the mountain.

Ski school for intermediates

Confident skiers shouldn’t overlook tuition either – there’s always something new to learn after all. Every instructor will have their own style and methods, so you’ll likely get advice you’ve never heard before. If you’re stuck on the ‘intermediate plateau’, an instructor can give you specific tips to help you advance and address any bad habits while you’re at it.

And if you’re new to a resort, remember that instructors always know where the best runs and snow are – and the best après bars too.

Ready to head back to school? Start planning your slope session now.

Writer for Crystal Ski Holidays.

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