THE IMPORTANCE OF SKI LESSONS FOR CHILDREN
Updated: Sep 29
My husband and I are both ski instructors and yet we still employ the services of other instructors when it comes to teaching our children to ski. We ski together as a family when we can but we steer very clear of any formal instruction and make sure that family skiing is pressure free (with reminders about safety aspects). Children, generally, listen much better to anyone other than their own parents! As such, by keeping family skiing and lessons separate we avoid the stress and can watch the children make huge leaps & bounds in their progress. Such an enormous joy for all us avid skiers to see the next generation come through!
So what is the importance of ski lessons for children?
LEARNING NEW SKILLS
Your child will learn new skills in a fun environment as well as learning about safety on the slopes. An instructor adage is Safety, Enjoyment, Learning - in that order! If they are safe and having fun they will learn.
Children don't necessarily compute the technical input (lean forwards, weight on outside ski, etc) that works for adults - they usually learn better by doing. A good instructor will have a repertoire of games & activities built up through experience that will keep children motivated & progressing.
Remember it is not a race to the black runs. Getting the basics right and instilling confidence will stand your child in extremely good stead for future years on the slopes. By pushing too hard too fast a defensiveness is likely to creep into their skiing. Lots of practice on gentle slopes is important to prevent the "death wedge" or "power plough" becoming an ingrained habit. Always chat to your child's instructor to get an idea of what they have been working on and where they have been skiing and do similar things when skiing as a family.
MAKING FRIENDS & MEMORIES
Sharing fun memories and making new friends is also huge bonus of ski lessons.
FINDING HIDDEN GEMS & "FUN" SPOTS AROUND RESORT
Any instructor will know their resort like the back of their hand - all the little tree runs, hidden valleys and jumps off the side of the piste - all of which adds to the excitment of skiing for children and makes them want to come back for more.
Your child will learn to become more independent on the slopes, which will make your life a lot easier in the long run.
PERFECT IF YOUR CHILDREN WANT TO SKI ALL DAY BUT YOU DON'T!
EEKING OUT SOME TIME FOR YOU!
You get some time alone to enjoy your holiday both on and off the slopes!
GROUP LESSONS OR PRIVATE - which is best?
Obviously there is a cost consideration, with private lessons being more expensive than group lessons (depending on how many children you have). But that aside each has their own pros & cons.
Group lessons are great for kids to create a sense of camaraderie and make new friends. They will have to learn to become a little more independent given the instructor will have to split their time between the children in the group - for example learning to put on/take off their skis, carry their equipment, move around on the flat, get up when they fall... Remember that if taking group lessons there will always be a "weakest" and a "strongest" skier and that a group lesson will have to cater to the needs of the group as a whole rather than each individual child, in terms of speed & terrain covered. Even if you have skied, for example, a red run with your child this does not mean that they will be skiing at that level all the time in lessons as there is a big difference between keeping a group of 8 children safe single handedly and being responsible for your own child. Some children thrive in the group environment surrounded by likeminded children and a little competition but others can be a little shier.
Private lessons will be 100% tailored to your child with the instructor's full attention. Private lessons are usually a good investment for younger children & beginners while they find their feet. And with private lessons you can usually be a little more flexible about lesson length, timings and the number of sessions. Private lessons are great for more timid children who may be concerned about being last or holding others back. But if your child thrives in a social environment they may not be as motivated in a 1-to-1 with an instructor. If you have more than one child and they are of similar levels then they would be able to ski together in a private group adding that missing sense of camamraderie. Private lessons can also be quite full on as there is no one else to wait for and no one to hide behind! While this is a massive bonus in terms of getting as much skiing done as possible it can be quite tiring for children - of course an instructor should be able to guage this and adjust accordingly.
That covers the importance of ski lessons for children.
For more tips & tricks for skiing with children take a look at my other blog posts