Beginners and first-time skiers typically ask themselves this question before starting to learn to ski, and it’s not an easy one to answer! There are pros and cons to both types of lessons, and it depends on what you want to give (financially and physically speaking) and get out of your lessons. Factors such as your age and ski experience, your personality, the time and duration of ski lessons as well as your budget will all influence your decision.
Age and ski experience
Overall, I would say that young children benefit most from group ski lessons, while adult beginners usually prefer private ski lessons. Kids under the age of 7 usually find it easier to learn to ski with other children. But the learning progress isn’t only connected to sociability, learning to ski should also be all about fun for kids. And you know the saying: the more, the merrier!
Adult beginners often have a harder time learning to ski than children, which is why most opt for private ski lessons. During a 1-on-1 lesson, adult beginners have the undivided attention of their private instructor meaning that they can make a lot of progress more quickly than in a group lesson, where instructors have to split their focus between up to 10 skiers.
Your ski experience is also an important factor which you should take into consideration when trying to decide what type of lesson is best for you. If you already know the basics or are an advanced skier and want to work on specific techniques, taking a private lesson would be wiser. During group lessons, the instructor adapts the lesson to the “weakest skiers”, which means that some may just hold you back. However, even experienced skiers enjoy the company of fellow skiers in group ski lessons and have fun learning new techniques and making new friends.
Your personality is also an indicator that could show you what type of lesson you would feel most comfortable with. If you’re rather shy, not a fan of small talk and get anxious when meeting new groups of people, I recommend booking a private ski lesson. There, you can focus on your instructor and vice versa. Outgoing people feel better in the context of group ski lessons, as it’s more fun: you meet new people, laugh together when you fall or make mistakes (which happens to everyone) and simply go through the same experience.
If you’re a quick learner and pick up new things very easily, you might want to learn with a private instructor. In a private ski lesson, you don’t have to wait on your fellow skiers who may struggle more than you, and simply master one exercise after the other. However, I know skiers who fit this personality type and say that they actually prefer group ski lessons because of repetition. When there are slower learners among their group, they simply have to practice the same exercise multiple times which allows them to perfect some techniques.
Time and duration of ski lessons
While the starting times of group ski lessons have become more flexible now, many beginner group lessons typically start on Sundays andsometimes also Mondays. You can usually choose between a one-day or multiple-day lesson, whereas 3 to 5-days are most common. If you arrive during the week or on a Saturday and want to maintain a certain flexibility during your holidays, you should choose to sign up for private ski lessons. Private lessons offer more flexible schedules and a lesson’s duration can be fixed individually. If you would like to try a group lesson but don’t feel confident enough, you can always just book a private lesson for 1 or 2 days, before the start of your group lesson.
The fact that private ski lessons are more expensive than group ski lessons shouldn’t come as a surprise. As a participant in a group lesson, you share the instructor’s remuneration with all the other participants. With a private instructor, you alone have to pay for the instructor’s time. If you want to have a private lesson but find it too pricey, you always have the option of booking a private lesson with friends and/or family. That way, you not only pay less but you also share the instructor with a small group of people you know and whose company you enjoy.