Unlike many of my colleagues here at Liftopia, my skiing career has been filled with several multi-year hiatuses.  As a result, I have had the honor and privilege of taking multiple intro-level lessons over the course of three different decades.  After all these years on the magic carpet, I can finally say I am an expert.  Nope, not in skiing, but rather a self-appointed scholar and guru in Ski School Anthropology.

In the interest of time, I won’t bestow upon you my 83-page thesis on the topic – instead, I’ll treat you to the abridged version: a few of the most common, stereotypical characters in a beginner’s ski school.

1. Overachieving Oliver: Oliver would be keeping up in the intermediate to advanced lesson, but what good would that do for his ego?  He is adamant about going first every time a new technique is taught, and everyone else begrudgingly lets him.  Every time the instructor drops knowledge on the group, he raises his hand and blurts out something like, “Oh, sweet, this reminds me of when I was hucking that pow hard last week.”  To which the instructor responds to nobody else’s chagrin, “Doubtful buddy, we’re still on the red carpet, take it easy.”

ski school

2. Nervous Nannette: It’s a shame. Nan wants it so badly, but her nerves keep getting in the way.  When it’s time to try the next new technique, you’d think Nannette was embarking on a climb up Everest…  with no food, water, Sherpa, acclimation pills, clothes, or trail map.  What makes it even harder for her is that Oliver keeps throwing out the attempted-subtle yet very blatant sigh + eye-roll-back combo as he and the rest of us wait for Nannette.  She is so considerate as she repetitively apologizes to the group for her slow pace, encouraging everyone to go ahead.  We all tell her not to worry.  Except for Oliver, who never accepts her apology.

Scared skierBeginner skier

3. Talkative Teddy / Networker Nick (twins): If I got a nickel every time Teddy spoke during the lesson, I’d take the duffel bag full of coinage and repetitively whip him across the face with it.  Kiddddding.  Kinda.  You have to believe Nick was signing up online for a networking event or public speaking competition, then somehow got redirected to a ski resort’s online store, and booked a lesson without blinking an eye.  The guy’s got great intentions and an even better heart, so you can only get so mad at him…you just wish he’d focus on grabbing onto his ski poles instead of his business cards.

Beginner skier talks on a walkie talkie

4. Modest Magnus: Oh, the irony, as Magnus’s personality is anything but large and great.  He picks up on everything quickly, has naturally beautiful form and uncanny abilities, yet doesn’t boast or Oliverize the rest of the crew.  Just fundamentally sound in every sense of the overused phrase.  Nothing more needs to be said; in fact, Magnus would be embarrassed if I gave him any more praise (he requested that he be last on this list as he hates the spotlight).

Am I missing anyone else?  Y’all should know that lessons are actually incredibly fun; in addition to learning how to ski or snowboard (awesome in itself), you get all of this free entertainment as well!  Add your characters to this list so nobody is ever surprised heading into a lesson…

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Sub-Categories Beginners / Lifestyle / liftopia / North America / Ski / Snowboard / Travel
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  • Sharonmshepard

    What about Foxy Fiona who is only there to make eyes at the hot ski instructor and keeps falling on purpose so he’ll come over an help her out. She is dressed to the 9′s in her top of the line gear and is usually wearing some kind of fur on her hat.

    • Jaydon Robinson

      You have to love that Fiona doesn’t communicate her skill level until she sets her eyes on all of the instructors…just waiting to see which one she fancies.

  • Ererd

    how bout the ski instructors that think there bad ass cuz their instructors.. and there actually not that good most are not. anyone thats great at riding is pro not some asshole instructor…

  • Kevin

    What about negative Nelly and judgemental Joey?