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.
Alf Engen Ski School Students- Photo from Alta
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.
Brian Head – From beginner to advanced skills, Brian Head offers a full selection of classes. As a nice plus, most also include lift ticket and equipment rental. Be sure to make a reservation.
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.
My third day of lessons at Brighton. That’s me in the bright green pants… Photo from George Osmun
Eagle Point – The snow sports school at Eagle Point offers all of the basics at affordable prices. An optional inclusive package is available including a lift ticket and equipment rental.
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.
Steep and Stashes Clinic- Photo from Deer Valley
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.
Snowbird – Snowbird’s Mountain Ski School has a huge variety of classes in its lineup. From side-country camps to a Chickadee class for 3-year-olds, there is something for everyone.
Kids at Snowbird- Photo from Snowbird
Solitude – The Moonbeam Ski and Snowboard Academy takes a non-traditional approach to teaching by using fun and games to engage students.
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.
Sundance – The ski and snowboard school at Sundance offers a few unique options including “Boy Scout Merit Badge” clinics, plus a full range of nighttime ski lessons for adults and children.
Wolf Mountain – Wolf Mountain offers the standard ski and snowboard classes that you would expect, along with a large selection of racing and competition camps and clinics.
Don’t pay the resorts’ astronomical prices! My name is Rob Allen, and I run a freelance ski and snowboard lessons group in Utah. We teach for about half of what resorts charge for their lessons. Here’s our website: http://roballen003.wix.com/snow-school
Robert, I am interested in you helping my wife and 3 kids learn to snowboard this Saturday at Brighton or Solitude. Coming from Las Vegas. Grungeboy3@aol.com
Robert are you still doing this?
Looking for beginner lessons at Park City starting today. At least 2 days. I am advanced but my partner she is beginner. I want to fast track her in learning to ski.