Booking destination ski lessons can be intimidating. I did it from Florida and had no idea what to expect or even what to wear. However, after writing about my experience, I was determined to prove that it was possible to learn snow sports…even on vacation.
Lessons aren’t just for new skiers and snowboarders. For those with more experience, lessons can help bring your skills to a new level. They are also beneficial if you want to try something new like telemark skiing or venturing into side- or back-country with a guide. All it takes is a little research to find the right program that fits your needs, budget, and travel plans.
Here’s my advice: First, determine which area of your destination state works best with your travel plans. For example, if you’re driving from Vegas to visit Utah’s southern resorts, then you should focus on schools there.
Next, look for a program that fits your needs. If you’re a beginner, most schools offer a program that will work for you. However, learning a specialty can require a bit more research as those classes may only be offered at select resorts.
As for cost, I suggest focusing on schools that fit your budget, while leaving a little room for flexibility. A low priced class won’t always fulfill all of your needs. Spend a little more to ensure you get the right fit. You can offset these costs in other ways, like searching for better deals on lift tickets, in advance.
Here is a list of Utah ski schools, plus some insight on special programs or deals they may offer:
Alta – This is a true skier’s resort. The Alf Engen Ski School offers a wide range of classes and clinics including: telemark, children lessons, women-only lessons, teen freerides and more. Popular at Alta are the Off-Trail Workshops, appealing to advanced and expert skiers who want to improve their skills while skiing some of the best snow on the mountain. Registration is upon availability; reservations are not accepted.
Beaver Mountain – Beaver Mountain offers a comprehensive selection of classes including a great deal for new skiers called Learn-To-Turn for only $55. The package also includes rental equipment, a Little Beaver lift ticket, and a group lesson.
Brighton – I’m a little biased because this is where I learned how to ski and had a great experience. Brighton offers all the basics, plus a cool selection of specialty classes. Most include a lift ticket. One unique offering is their popular Youth Telemark Camp for ages 8-16.
Deer Valley – Deer Valley added a new clinic to its line-up this year called Steeps and Stashes, designed to introduce strong intermediate and expert skiers to Deer Valley’s lesser-known off-trail terrain. In addition to this class, they boast a variety of classes for all age groups including clinics for men, women and kids.
Park City Mountain Resort - Park City’s course offerings are extensive. They include a range of classes, clinics, and specialties. The National Ability Center has an extensive skiing program for individuals with disabilities.
Their selection of telemark courses is also thorough. They even host all levels of tele’ lessons on Telemark Tuesdays, an evening class held under the lights of the Payday and First Time lifts, when night skiing begins.
Snowbasin - With over 100 instructors, Snowbasin is able to supply classes for all ages and skill levels. Among them are adaptive sports and a clinic taught by women, for women, called Snow Divas. It is also worth checking out their weekend camp programs that are offered in January and February. These classes are designed for the never-ever skier/rider, as well as the skier/rider that desires to continue to develop their skills.
During “Learn to Ski/Board Month” in January, first-time Utah skiers and snowboarders can take three half-day lessons, complete with equipment rentals and lift tickets, for $165. For full details, contact the Academy.