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How to book a "better" ski lesson than your boss...The inside scoop

Updated: Dec 5, 2021

Ski lessons are expensive. Ski lessons are especially expensive if you are signing up multiple people. On top of this, getting everyone's gear packed and organized and remembering it all on the day of is so overwhelming, stressful, and exhausting! And, if you have to add in rentals too - wooah! By the time you get onto the mountain you're ready for a cocktail, am I right?! Well I can't help with the morning organizational chaos, but I can offer some inside tips that will hopefully help you get more out of your lesson experience.

1) If you are booking multiple people into lessons, go the private route. For real. Most resorts charge the same $ for up to 5 or 6 people, so it is sometimes even less expensive to book a family private than three group lessons

- You'll get a customized experience

- Since you can customize your lesson to your group, you can also decide how each skier/rider splits their time in the lesson

2) Group lessons aren't necessarily capped in size, especially during peak holiday times. Safety and group management will be the primary goal for the instructor, not coaching and your goals may not necessarily be achieved

3) A lot of us certified instructors only work part time. So what that means is that we commit to a certain number of days a season that we'll work and then we can come in to coach on additional days. But the resort can't book us when you call for a lesson if we're not on the schedule. If you call to book a private lesson, you'll just get assigned whoever is available. That instructor may or may not be certified. That instructor may or not be experienced with children or adults or may or may not really be the right coach for you. So what should you do about this? Ask around. We all know people. If you're visiting friends or family, they will likely know someone who knows someone to refer you to. Or, join one of these Facebook groups and ask if anyone can refer an instructor to you. Specify what type of lesson you are looking for so that people can refer the right fit to you.

4) During peak periods, group lessons often sell out at the resorts. If you call and are told that lessons are sold out please know that this is not true! What it means is that all the full time instructors or part time instructors who committed to working those days are already booked. So ask around. Ask a friend or a Facebook group for a referral to a part time instructor who might be willing to come in and coach you on the date you're looking to book.

5) Speak up! If an instructor shows a lack of interest in teaching your level or shows a preference to only teaching kids or only adults then don't book them. You are spending a shit ton of money and you deserve the most out of your experience

6) Lastly, please don't forget to tip. A significant portion of your coach's income is a result of gratuity, as what you are paying for the lesson typically goes to the resort and not to the instructor. Tipping is a well-established practice in the skiing industry and demonstrates that your coach delivered a satisfactory experience.

Jen Bookman is a certified ski instructor with Park City Mountain Resort.

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