If you have never skied and want to learn you will probably consider taking group ski lessons. But what exactly happens in these lessons? Let us fill you in…
Adult beginner group ski lessons are sold by the week and take place every morning for 2.5-3 hours (depending on which resort you visit). The number of participants per group is limited to allow your instructor to offer you personalised advice in a relaxed and friendly environment. The fact of being in a group means you will meet other skiers of the same level and over the week you will learn together and support and encourage one another throughout your lessons. In the hands of our patient instructors, you will begin to learn the basics.
On the snowfront / on a flattish area (between 1 hour and 1 session)
On your first day, your instructor will introduce themselves and tell you what they have planned for the first session. Each instructor will run their lessons slightly differently but the principles remain the same. First things first, equipment. Your instructor will ensure you have your boots correctly fastened and will teach you how to clip in and out of your skis correctly, verifying that they are properly set up in the process.
Good to know
There is no need for poles when starting to learn to ski. They can be more of a hindrance than a help in the early days!
Your group will then try the first few exercises on the flat or gentle slope in order to get to grips with the feeling of sliding on skis. You might start with just one ski to help you find your balance before progressing onto other exercises with two skis, working towards making your first descent on the gentlest of slopes. Once you’ve got the hang of sliding slowly, you will learn the ‘snowplough’ technique (pointing the tips of your skis together) to stop yourself.
In the Beginner Area
Your instructor will continue the lesson in the beginner area, a zoned off area of the slopes that is accessible to the public but is secured and dedicated to beginners. There is often a magic carpet lift and some protective netting. Here you will learn to descend in a straight-line and make emergency stops using the snowplough technique. The aim of this exercise is to learn to stop yourself quickly and safely. You will also start to make your first snowplough turns on a course marked out with cones. This helps you understand how you will make your way down a slope using your newly-learned turning technique.
As it’s best to be prepared for all eventualities, your instructor will also teach you how to pick yourself back up and into your skis on a slope in case you fall and your skis come unclipped.
On the green and easy blue slopes
Generally from the 2nd or 3rd day, the whole group will have mastered controlling their speed and will have progressed their snowplough turns. At this point, your group can leave the beginner zone behind and start to explore the green and gentle blue slopes. Now, the aim of the game is to be able to gently follow your instructor down a slope, practising your technique whilst getting used to the other ski slope users around you. During this time you will learn to make bigger turns whilst bringing your skis more and more parallel. Over the next couple of days your instructor will teach you different exercises to encourage you to make the right movements until they become more natural and automatic. In doing this you will build your confidence, become more relaxed and will be able to pay more attention to your environment rather than your skis.
One of the best moment of your week in group lessons will come in the last day or two when you are skiing together with your instructor and other members of your group feeling relaxed and confident and realising how far you have come together in such a few short days. You will be proud of what you have achieved together and will no doubt have some fun memories of your first week learning to ski.
We hope that this article has put to rest any worries you might have had about learning to ski and has helped you understand that group lessons are a great way to learn. Learning for a few hours a day over 5 or 6 days is the perfect way to acquire the basic skills and make solid progress in the shortest time. From your first week of ski lessons you should be in a position to be able to make the most of the easy slopes with your family or friends.