Taking An Adult Ski Lesson: Is It Worth It?

September 15, 2014 Katie Burrell

Remember the good old days, bombing around the ski hill with a bunch of other little muppets, following the coolest-person-you-had-ever-met-ever (ski instructor) in a series of wide, slow, big, arcing S-turns? You learned so much back in those days. Now, equipment technology has changed, and a few big crashes over the years have made you more timid. But, you still love to ski more than anything, and as and adult, maybe it’s time for a brush-up. What about taking a ski lesson? Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

A Coupl'a Old Dogs, Lookin' For Some New Tricks. Photo: Dave Silver
A coupl’a old dogs, lookin’ for some new tricks. Photo: Dave Silver

When you’re a kid, you’re a sponge. Everything that you were told to do on skis, you did, and it worked. People that have had the privilege of learning to ski as a child have a second-nature to their skiing. Your coach would yell back, “hands on your knees!” and every single one of you would tuck, slap your hands on your knees and speed across the hill. Then he or she would shout, “hands in the air!” and you’d all pop up, a mittened gospel choir, yelling and whooping through a turn, wiping out into each other in a tangle of ill-fitting snowsuits and improbably tangled knees. Nothing hurt, it didn’t matter that hot chocolate had calories, and you were open to suggestions.

Learn Tips On Your Equipment And Tweak Your Ski Style! Photo: Dave Silver
Learn tips on your equipment and tweak your ski style! Photo: Dave Silver

As an adult, taking direction is a different ball-game, mostly because you are capable of rational thought. When your ski coach offers a piece of advice, they can explain it in more detail, and you can conceptualize the advice that they’re giving you. It all makes sense in your head! But when you go to put it into motion, it seems harder. Your old habits are engrained into your skiing. You want to change them but it’s not as easy to change when you have already taught yourself how to do something, and done it for years and years! Here’s the thing: ski instructors that specialize in teaching adult ski lessons know how to trick us. They know how to explain things and then get you to do them, so that you’re getting the most out of these new tips. Further, with the progression in ski equipment, there are little details that you may be missing out on knowing; little details that can dramatically change the way that you ski, just by tweaking your style in the slightest way. Get these tricks on your side! These instructors will be able to explain it to you in clear language, and then make sure that you are implementing them.

Following Your Buddies Will Only Get You So Far Until You Need Real Tips! Photo: Dave Silver
Following your buddies will only get you so far until you need real tips! Photo: Dave Silver

They say the best way to improve is to ski with people that are better than you. Well, skiing with an instructor is even better than that, because not only are they going to be better than you, they’re going to be able to teach you how to improve from more than one angle (of chasing them around and being forced to go faster): an instructor will be able to improve your skiing through coaching and drills. Ultimately, if you’re thinking about taking a ski vacation, you want to get the most out of it. Being at the peak of your skiing or having the tips and techniques to make you better (even just a little bit) will result in you having more fun and less stress, and ultimately, getting more out of your holiday.