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Ski and Snowboard Lessons for Adults

You see them everywhere on the mountain and they are ALL in matching outfits! Some have a trail of small children in tow. Some are busy holding up a balancing snowboarder. Some have just one skier following behind them - copying their every move. They are often seen on the side of a slope talking to group of skiers or snowboarders, who are listening intently… So who are they…?

They are ski and snowboard instructors! Or to be more precise, they are “snow sports instructors”. The term “snow sports instructor” includes all the ski, snowboard, and adaptive instructors.

The best thing about these guys and gals is that they are truly professionals at what they do. Most, if not all of them, are working back-to-back seasons. Working all year round. First in the New Zealand winter, then the northern hemisphere winter. They are also likely to have multiple qualifications. The most experienced instructors racking up not only ski or snowboard certifications, but also speciality credentials in teaching children, first aid, freestyle coaching (terrain park) and perhaps even their opposite discipline.

Is a lesson right for me?
You might be reading this thinking… “But I am an intermediate skier/rider, I can already ski, what have they got to teach me?” If you are an intermediate skier/rider there is still so much more to learn! Perhaps you want to feel in more control? Learn a trick and go in the terrain park? You may want to perfect those turns down a blue run and adventure onto a black one? How come a black run is so much more difficult than a blue run? And what about off-piste riding? How do you tackle that? An instructor can answer all these questions for you. But better yet, they can teach you the skills you need too!

But what if you have been skiing and boarding for years?
And I mean years! What can they possibly teach you?! Well, most snow sports instructors have also been skiing or boarding for years and that’s full time! They are going to have something to teach you - no doubt about it. Perhaps you might like some skills to help you with your off-piste skiing? Or maybe you’d like to learn some freestyle tricks in the terrain park? There is always something new to learn that will improve your skiing or riding. And as a bonus, it will help you enjoy it even more!

What types of lessons are available?
As we’ve discussed above, there are lessons for every ability level from beginner all the way up to the advanced/expert skier or rider. Now that we are all clear on that, there are two lesson options to choose from… group lessons or private lessons.

Group Lessons
Group lessons are always spilt between adults and children. So don’t worry, you won’t end up in the same group as a budding 10 year old who might show you up! Group lessons generally run for two hours and there can be anywhere between 4-12 people in your group. Sometimes if it’s busy the groups can be bigger. Group lessons are a fun way to learn with others. 

Group lessons are also spilt into abilities. You will always end up in a group with people similar to your ability. Don’t worry too much about what level you are, when you show up for your lesson, the friendly instructors will get you in the right group. The price of a group lesson does vary between resorts, however the average price is $60 per lesson.

Private Lessons
Private lessons are another good option. They can run for 1hr, 2hrs, half day, or a full day. The best thing about a private lesson is that you have the instructor all to yourself. It is a fabulous way to be able to quickly improve your skills and work at your own pace. Additionally, you can pay a small fee to add your friends, wife, husband etc. to the lesson. Of course it helps if they are of a similar level to you. It would not be ideal to have a beginner and an advanced skier in the same lesson! Private lessons again vary in cost between resorts, however the average price is $130 per hour.

Even though this blog post primarily focuses on adult lessons, there may be some of you travelling with half pints (children) and thought you would learn together as a family. The only way to learn as a family, is by taking a private lesson. A private lesson enables a mix of children and adults. Whether this is the best option depends on the age of your children, and what the priorities are in taking the lesson together. There are certainly some drawbacks about children being mixed in with adults. In lessons like this the instructor will present most of the information at the children’s level, so they are able to understand. These lessons can work when everyone is a beginner, or at the same level. It is best to talk to your local snow sports school or if you are travelling with NZ Snow Tours, just ask us.

Phew! – Well that was a great wee (large!) summary of lessons for the adult skier or snowboarder. Meanwhile, have a read of our other related blog posts by clicking on the links below. Catch you next time! - Paula

Skiing for the first time
Snowboarding for the first time

Posted By: Paula Mitchell, @ Sat, 13th Apr 2013

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