Ski and Snowboard Lesson Tips

Lisa Marie Mercer
ski lift chairs

Anyone who is planning to take a snow sport lesson on the mountain should consider these ski and snowboard lesson tips.

Where to Take a Ski or Snowboard Lesson

Choosing the best resort for a ski lesson is not a process that should be taken lightly. A number of factors should be taken into consideration.

Appropriate Terrain

New skiers and snowboarders need to look at the mountain stats of the various resorts, and find a ski area that has at least 30 percent beginner terrain. It's often easier to learn the sport at resorts that have separated beginner terrain. Go to the resort website and look at the trail map. The beginner trails are marked "green," intermediate trails are marked "blue," advanced trails are marked "black" and expert trails are marked "double black." In an ideal learning area, only a limited number of advanced and intermediate trails will intersect the beginner terrain.

If you're trying to improve your skills, make sure that the resort has the type of terrain that you want to ski or ride. Trail maps use special symbols to indicate tree skiing and mogul runs. If you are interested in recreational racing, make sure that the resort has a NASTAR course. Here's some "inside information" for upper level skiers and snowboarders. Instructors have to pass certain levels of certification. Only Level III or fully certified instructors can teach advanced skiers and riders. These levels, however, are difficult to obtain. As such, a smaller resort may not have enough qualified instructors to teach at your level. Call the resort before booking a lesson, and ask how many Level III instructors are on their staff.

Lesson Packages

Just about every ski resort offers some sort of ski or snowboard lesson package, but some have better deals than others. Choose beginner packages that include lift tickets, lesson and equipment rental. Some intermediate and advanced ski and snowboard lessons include discounts on demo equipment.

Location and Altitude

Some sea-level visitors to high-altitude resorts rarely have elevation-related health problems. Others suffer from serious health issues. Visiting a high-altitude resort often requires acclimation. The headaches and dizziness that accompany altitude sickness might make it difficult to concentrate on your lesson.

Ski and Snowboard Lesson Tips

Most instructors have an extensive list of ski and snowboard lesson tips. Following these tips will help you make the most of your lesson.

Communication

Most instructors arrive early for their lesson. You should do the same. Be sure to talk to your instructor about any injuries or special needs. During the lesson, if you don't understand something, speak up. Most instructors have more than one way of explaining a skill. If you are tired at the end of the day, and your instructor suggests a trail which you feel is too challenging for your state of mind, don't be afraid to ask for a suggestion for an easier trail. Chances are your classmates might feel the same way.

Etiquette

Most instructors will have you practice a skill for a short segment of the trail. When the segment is completed, skiers and snowboarders regroup at the side of the trail. Courtesy demands that you ski or ride down to the bottom of the group. If you stop at the top and lose control of your speed, you might induce the "domino effect" and knock over the entire class.

Lift riding has its own set of etiquette rules. Getting off might be scary the first few times you do it, but hanging on to another person does not keep you safe. In fact, it can injure both of you. If you try this with your instructor, he or she might push you away. This is not meant to be malicious, but teaching is their livelihood. If they get hurt, they can't pay their rent.

You can safely unload from the lift by moving toward the edge of the seat as the chair approaches the top of the trail. Skiers should hold their poles in one hand. Ask your lift-mates which way they are going. Avoid collision by moving straight ahead, or in the opposite direction.

Following these tips will lead to many happy turns on the mountain.

Ski and Snowboard Lesson Tips