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Essential tips to getting the most out of your ski lesson

Whether you’re a first-time skier or a seasoned pro, everyone can benefit from taking a ski lesson or two on the mountain.

If you’re just getting started, refining your technique, or learning a new skill – taking some tips from a professional is one of the best ways to ensure you are always working towards improving your skiing and increasing your enjoyment of this awesome winter sport.

Cardrona, ski lesson, New Zealand

Take on board these 5 essential tips to get the most out of your ski and snowboard lessons:

     1. Learn from a professional

Take it from me, don’t get your first ski lesson from a family member or friend. Even if you think your relationship is 100% indestructible, trust me, it’s not – you’ve never been skiing together before. Skiing is a lot of fun but the enjoyment can be sucked out incredibly quickly when your partner or friend gets bored and frustrated trying to teach you when all they want to do is go fast. Do yourself a favour and get a lesson from a professional snow sports instructor, they are trained to get you skiing confidently in the quickest way possible while ensuring the learning process is both safe and fun!

     2. Ignore the colours

Everybody wants to be hitting up the double black diamond runs like a pro, but try not to get caught up in the different run colours when you’re learning. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, if you’re taking a lesson you will most likely be on green or blue runs, working on perfecting technique and learning new skills, neither of which can be done on the steep (unless you’re tackling moguls!). Effective learning requires a more gentle and easily controllable environment, so trust your instructor when they steer you away from the steep stuff and put your effort into perfecting any flaws in your technique. This way when you do hit those double blacks, you know you will be 100% in control.

Progression ski lesson, Mt Hutt, Canterbury, New Zealand

     3. Understand yourself

Everybody on the slopes is looking for a slightly different experience, know what you’re after and choose the right lesson accordingly. If you are a sociable person and looking for something a little more laid-back while you’re getting to grips with skiing, go for a group lesson. The learning process in a group is generally a little more relaxed and social. Your instructors are adept at dealing with groups of students and getting everyone skiing together for a fun and effective introduction to the sport.

If you are feeling especially anxious, or are perhaps wanting to work on some specific skills and techniques for your own improvement, you may want to consider booking in for a private lesson. This is a much more intimate learning environment and gives the opportunity to really focus on improving and paying special attention to any flaws or skills you would like to work on.

HOT TIP: If you’re in a group lesson, be sure to speak up! If there is something you don’t understand, if you’d like to know why you’re learning a specific skill – let your instructor know, they can’t help you if you don’t tell them when you have a problem.

     4. Be honest

The most difficult part of a ski school’s day is line-up, when everyone is being sorted into the right group for their lesson. In order to be placed with the right group of skiers and the best instructor for your needs, you may be asked a few questions about your snow experience. Be honest and don’t try to either up-skill yourself or downplay your experience – you may be asked questions relating to how many days skiing you have had, what sort of terrain you have skied previously, any specific skills you are aiming to work on etc. It is important that you answer honestly so that you are placed with a group and instructor that will be the best fit for your ability and ambitions.

     5. Never stop learning

That feeling when you first make it all the way down a run without a fall is one of the greatest highs you’ll experience on the snow, but try not to let all that new-found confidence go to your head! One of the great things about skiing and snowboarding is that there is always more to learn, always harder terrain to conquer, and always the opportunity to go just that little bit faster. Embrace everything about the sport and aim to continue developing your skills. The more you learn, the more enjoyable the snow is – take an extra lesson, book into a development clinic, continue pushing yourself that little bit further every time you’re on the mountain and you will have found a sport that will keep you blissfully happy for decades to come!

Kids Ski Lesson, The Remarkables, Queenstown, New Zealand