When at the very start of one’s personal skiing experience, timing is everything. Depending on the chosen region, factors like the weather, snow levels and ski schools’ offers vary. The price of your ski holidays is also closely linked to the booking period. While the prices for ski lifts and accommodation are quite low in the low season, the infrastructure is noticeably better during high season, when ski buses run more frequently. As difficult as this may sound, learning to ski is a real delight and is absolutely worth all the planning!
High Season vs. Low Season
When are the best lessons offered?
As the demand is often significantly higher in the high season, the lesson range tends to be more varied and larger. While the odds of a child being placed in a lesson with kids of the same age are very likely, it is also very probable that the groups might be quite big compared to low season lesson groups. Another advantage of choosing to go skiing during high season is that ski schools often supervise kids after ski lessons and do some activities with them – there even are Kids’ Discos in some places where the young skiers can relax and celebrate after their ski lessons.
Apart from all the advantages the high season comes with, there are also several reasons one would want to start learning to ski during low season. As considerably fewer people go skiing during the low season, the ski lesson groups tend to be smaller. And, of course, a small group goes hand in hand with personalised teaching, as the instructor has more time to advise each participant individually. Start learning how to ski then and you’ll see that the slopes are less crowded and a total beginner thus has more time and space to practice.
Learning to ski at the start of the season
The most ambitious beginners may want to start skiing right at the start of the season. However, before you start booking anything, you might want to check the region’s exact opening date as the weather is a decisive factor for the opening of ski resorts. The actual opening date could hence differ from the usual one. Especially beginners should take notice of this, as most beginners lessons take place in the valley, where the least snow is to be found at the start of the season. Private lessons, however, can be booked prior to the start of all group lessons as private instructors can adapt the content and location of the lesson to the snow levels.
Learning to ski during the holidays
Most families with kids often do not have a choice other than going skiing during the holidays. But that is not necessarily a bad thing – on the contrary: the whole family has time to enjoy the holidays and learn how to ski together. For beginners, it is recommended to firstly book a one-week lesson, in which they will have time to put all basic techniques into practice. More experienced skiers or skiers who are only in the resort for a few days can also opt for a weekend lesson.
Of course, you can also go skiing during holidays in low season. In this case, however, it is advisable to go to a glacier ski area as the high altitude of these resorts guarantees good snow levels and perfect slope conditions. Choose this latter option and you’ll be able to start skiing during the Easter holidays already!
CheckYeti Tip: For those who don’t want to wait until next winter to go skiing: summer lessons are also available in some regions! The Swiss resort in Zermatt, for example, offers lessons all year round. Thanks to the glacier on the Klein Matterhorn (3800m) even the summer months can’t stop you from sliding down the slopes!
Which season offers the best weather conditions?
Choosing the best time to start learning to ski really is a personal thing. Of course, the days are longer and brighter during low season but take into account that kids prefer skiing during the months of October to December and from March until April as the weather is noticeably warmer. However, the slope conditions are clearly better during the snowy months like January and February as the snow is easier to work with and has a solid consistency all day long.
Weekdays vs. Weekends
During weekdays, or rather working days, more lessons are offered and the offer range is also significantly larger – which is very good for beginners. However, take note that kids’ lessons often only start on Sundays or Mondays. Another advantage of weekday lessons is that the slopes are usually less crowded than during the weekends and the skiers thus can practice more easily. Also, note that arrivals mostly unfold more smoothly and less stressfully during the weekdays. If you decide to arrive on the weekend, try to avoid rush hours.
CheckYeti Tip: In order to avoid traffic jams, you should either hit the road very early or leave quite late in the evening. The busiest days are usually Friday (1pm-8pm) and Saturday (9am-3pm).
Those who can’t or don’t want to sign up for a weekday lesson have the possibility to choose from several weekend lessons for beginners and advanced skiers. Saturday usually isn’t a very busy day for ski schools as most tourists arrive or leave their hotel that day. Furthermore, kids have the opportunity to participate in try-out sessions on weekends. In these lessons, offered by several ski schools, kids can discover the sport and try to ski. Even though the weekend is a great time for kids to ski, advanced skiers can of course also slide down the slopes and improve their technique.
Morning vs. Afternoon
Many beginners opt for a half-day lesson, which is great if you want to learn new techniques with an instructor for half of the day and practice on your own during the rest of the day. But when is the best time to do such a lesson: in the morning or in the afternoon? The snow conditions are usually better in the morning, as the slopes are always groomed the evening before or even very early in the morning. Also, you stand a better chance of having the slopes almost to yourself if you go skiing quite early. Morning lessons are also great for kids as they usually are more motivated early in the day.
Afternoon lessons, however, also have advantages. Advanced skiers can practice in the morning and see what they still recall and need to practice on more. They can then ask the instructor precise questions to improve in the afternoon. Additionally, afternoon lessons are usually a little bit cheaper than morning lessons. After an afternoon lesson, the participants can leave the slopes and directly slide to a well deserved après-ski party!
Whether I’m describing a beautiful ski area or telling you all about the right skiing techniques, writing articles always makes me want to leave for a new adventure, and I hope reading them has the same effect on you!