Taking lessons from professionals is a great investment. Instructors know and can demonstrate technique and they also have experience dealing with customers who have varying skills. They understand that different individuals will respond differently to learning.

Snow sports industry research indicates that about 50 percent of beginners who purchase a lift, lesson, and rental package from a resort wind up not taking the lesson. The assumption is that one can “self-teach,” they feel that it is easier to rely on a friend or family member. Those who make that assumption should ask themselves, “Would I try to teach myself how to skydive or have a friend teach me?”

 That analogy may be a stretch. But all too often, well-meaning companions over-estimate newcomers’ skills and escort them to a slope that is beyond their ability level. That often leads to an exercise in frustration for both parties rather than a sense of accomplishment. Most instructors can readily assess those skill sets. They can tailor their programs accordingly.

smiling beginner skier

Having an opportunity to “pick the brains” of professional instructors is an added value. Most instructors are a wealth of information on all aspects of the sports. By and large, they are more than willing to share that knowledge with others on issues within and outside the parameters of the lesson. Topics might include how to dress, types of equipment, tips on the most popular slopes, safety precautions and more.

Lessons are available all winter long at resorts throughout the U.S. Additional tips on skiing or snowboarding for beginners can be found at

–Mary Jo Tarallo

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