Kids and Skiing 101: The Ski School Day

Ski School for children is a great way for them to learn about skiing, make friends and have fun. But what actually happens during the day?

The Ski School Day

Here I’m talking about the lessons I give, some other instructors may do things differently but at the end of the day the kids should be safe, have fun and learn something from every lesson.

The Ski School day begins at 09.00 for classes, it is a good idea to get there 15 minutes early and if you need rentals at least an hour before at busy times. Instructors will be there earlier to organise the meeting area and talk about the day ahead. Sometimes we are lucky enough to get a quick ski before work. Instructors are assigned to different levels although this can often change at the last minute. Basically we have to be prepared to teach anything to anyone anywhere.

The first part of the day involves getting the kids into groups. I want to make sure the kids are about the same level and can ski roughly the same speed on the same terrain. To put the children into the appropriate groups we first ask the parents and child questions, it is therefore important to give a realistic description of their skiing ability. Once this is done we then watch the kids ski and make adjustments as necessary.  Sometimes organising groups can take a little bit of time but it is important to get it right. I’ll write more about the levels for groups in another article.

On Chair 15 with Zoe, Alexis and Brian (aka student)

Once my group is finalised I establish some ground rules on what is expected to ski in my ‘team’ and let kids know what the day has in store for them. This first part of the day is also a chance for the kids to get to know me and each other. I then decide on what the class is going to focus on in terms of skill development for the day based on how they ski. Usually I will then work on that skill for the morning keeping terrain fairly low key. If the weather is bad or I have younger kids I will take a hot chocolate break before lunch as required. During this time I want things to be fun and interesting, I’ve found that bored kids don’t learn much!

Lunch time is either 11.30 to 12.00 or 12.00 to 12.30, this is my chance to have a break! I drop the kids off to the lunch room and they are well fed and looked after by our great Ski School support staff. If your child has dietary requirements let your instructor know and this can be catered for. After lunch it’s time to explore the mountain and put the skills worked on during the morning to use. From Canyon, Eagle is a favourite place of mine to go, or popping over to Chair 21 and back. Here I’m looking to up the terrain a little or try to challenge the skiers in trees or bumps etc. Once again I’ll take a break in the afternoon if appropriate. Also throughout the day I work on safety with the kids, the goal here is that they learn good ski etiquette and make ‘safe’ decisions on their own.

Exploring new terrain is an important part of the day

The day finishes back where we started at 3.00. When I meet parents I brief them on what we have worked on where we have skied, I also let parents and children know what level to come back to at Ski School next time. Each child in Ski School is given a card listing skills worked on and achieved which they keep and bring back next lesson.

At the end of the day hopefully the kids have had fun and learnt something. If they want to come back to Ski School and ski with me again then I reckon it’s been a great day!

Top of Chair 16

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