When and How to Start Your Kids in Ski School

By Lisa Medeiros Sept. 29, 2020
(Credit: Budimir Jevtic/Shutterstock)

Watching your child become a pint-size powder hound is every skier’s dream. If you’re ready to make your ski adventure a family affair, you’ll likely need ski school guidance. From deciding when your kids are old enough to start ski instruction, to choosing between private and group lessons, we’ve got you covered. Check out our advice on when and how to start your kids in ski school, and you’ll have a snow-ploughing tyke in no time.

When should I enroll my child in ski school?

While some resorts offer ski lessons for kids as young as 2 1/2 years old, the ideal age to book lessons depends on the individual child. While some toddlers are ready the day they meet the age requirement, others may need more time to embrace the activity. Your child’s level of enthusiasm when discussing ski school can help you determine their readiness. If talk of ski school met with resistance, it’s best to hold off to ensure a positive experience.

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Before enrolling your kids in ski school, you need to determine how many lessons to book (Credit: Stereo Lights/Shutterstock)

How many lessons should I book?

Once your child indicates they are ready to learn how to ski; the next step is determining how many lessons to book. We recommend having a family discussion about what ski school entails, the length of lessons, and your child’s feelings on enrolling. Decide how many days to book based on your child’s eagerness. Children take their cues from parents, so having a positive approach will help the process. Once a child is fully on board, it’s typically best to start with a few days of ski school, followed by a few days of family ski time. Nothing makes a tot prouder than showing off newly developed skills on family ski days. 

Should I invest in private lessons?

While most families choose group lessons for economic reasons, private lessons give youngsters the most effective introduction to the sport. Smugglers’ Notch Resort’s award-winning kids’ program offers private lessons for skiers as young as 2 years old. At any age, your child will benefit from one-on-one instruction with a professional ski instructor. Due to the intensity of private lessons, most ski schools recommend booking only two hours of instruction, preferably in the morning, leaving the afternoon free for family ski time. 

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Private ski lessons can help your child acclimate to the sport quickly (Credit: Jiri Hrebicek/Shutterstock)

How do ski lessons differ by age group?

Children ready to start ski lessons at toddler age can expect a mix of ski time and play time. The goal is getting young skiers comfortable on skies, used to the gear and having fun in the snow. Four-year-olds can expect a more traditional ski lesson and expect rapid advancement. Most professional ski instructors will agree the sweet spot for getting kids involved in the sport is age 5. With greater maturity and agility than their younger counterparts, 5-year-olds can expect to learn an impressive skill set. The ski school at Colorado’s Beaver Creek – nicknamed the “Ivy League of Ski Schools” – guarantees students ages 5 and older graduate to their next appropriate mountain top by day three, or the fourth day is free.

Do I need to book ski lessons for my kids in advance?

Ski schools have limited availability and book up quickly. To avoid disappointment, book in advance – especially if traveling during a holiday. When the day arrives, remember to be on time for drop-off, and don’t be late for pick-up. Squeezing in one last run is tempting, but arriving to ski school late could tarnish your child’s experience. It could also make the next day’s drop off a challenge.

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