First-Time Skier: Should I Take a Ski or Snowboard Lesson?

Let’s face it.  Ski and snowboard lessons are expensive.  They usually start at about $100 dollars per person and just go up from there depending on what you include.  There are different levels of ski and ride school from students who have never ever been on the mountain to students who have spent years honing their skills.  The only way to get around the cost of ski school, is to skip the lesson altogether and fend for yourself on the mountain.  This might be okay but what if you have never been on a pair of skis?  A ski or snowboard lesson can be a priceless investment.

What happened when I didn’t take a lesson?

Seven years ago, my husband and I joined two other couples on a long weekend trip to Wisp, Maryland.  My husband is an intermediate snowboarder so I passed on the ski lesson.  We had already bought plane tickets, paid for the lodge we were staying in, purchased food, and more.  I didn’t see the need to spend money on a ski lesson when my husband could teach me.  Let’s just say that it didn’t end well.  We didn’t get along (and we always do), he couldn’t teach me anything and the day ended with a snow mobile ride down the mountain with ski patrol.  I vowed never to get on another pair of skis.

Fast forward to where we are living in Denver, Colorado and my husband has visions of our whole family jaunting up to the mountains to hit the slopes every weekend during the ski season.  Me? Not so much.

This year is the year that I have promised myself that I am going to take risks and step out of my comfort zone.  January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month so what better time to grab the goals by the horns and walk the walk.  When we were given the opportunity to visit Copper Mountain and take a ski lesson, I said yes.

Should I Take a Lesson?

What was the verdict?  Are ski lessons helpful and worth the money?


Even if you take just a one day lesson, you will learn invaluable tips and tricks.  We took a group lesson at the same time our children took a group lesson.  Our group had six people in it, including my husband and I, and we each learned at a different pace.  Our ski instructor did a fantastic job of keeping up with all of us and making sure to address questions and comments that we each had.

ski lesson

Our Lesson

We took a full day lesson that started at 10am and ended at 3pm.  There was a 45 minute lunch break in between.  This was plenty of time to learn how to put skis on, take them off and walk with them.  The instructor used things to help us visualize what we were doing.  For example, we learned to walk in a circle (both up and downhill) on our skis and he told us to visualize making a sunflower in the snow.  We learned how to stop and how to turn.  After lunch, our instructor decided that three of us were ready to go up the Kokomo lift, so we did.

Getting on the lift was a success.  Getting off the lift was not.  I still need to practice that step.  While we skied down the mountain, the instructor helped us with our technique, told us what to work on and where we were having issues.  It was quite humbling to be passed by a bunch of four year olds on snowboards!

ski lesson1

Lessons at Copper Mountain

If you have saved for this ski trip and you are a budget traveler like me, you might still be undecided about paying for ski or ride lessons.  I believe that paying for a half or full day lesson will help you make the most of your time on the slopes.  During my pseudo ski trip to Wisp, Maryland, I spent the entire day just trying to stay up on my skis.  I spent most of my day rolling around in the snow because I didn’t know what I was doing.  Taking this ski lesson at Copper Mountain has given me the confidence to get back on the proverbial horse and give this whole ski thing another go.

Copper Mountain Ski and Ride School prices vary by age and what comes with the lesson.  Child and teen lessons begin at $173.50.  That price includes a one day lesson, lift ticket, lunch, and real-time GPS tracking.  After your child’s lesson, you will receive a code to check the GPS stats and a report card with information about how your child did.  Adult lessons begin at $159.  For $179, you will receive a lesson, a lift ticket and a GPS tracker.  Lunch is not included in the lesson.

 *Thank you to Copper Mountain for hosting my family.  All opinions are mine and mine alone and there was no expectation of review, positive or otherwise.

This post is part of Travel Tips Tuesday with Suitcases and Sippy Cups and Walkingon Travels and Friday DayDreamin’ with R We There Yet Mom.


  1. 1

    glad it all worked out! you are right, it is really expensive, but unless you’ve got a ski instructor for a family member, it’s worth it!

  2. 2

    I totally agree with you. It’s the best money well-spent. Thinking about the cost it might seem expensive but if we already save up for a ski trip, it’s worth it to learn to truly enjoy the mountain. With that being said, as a beginner, I do think I need more than one lesson and I know our next trip we will still look for ski school and might even consider private lesson.

  3. 3

    I definitely agree with you. My 17 year old is enjoying his first real job as a snow board instructor this year. He loves teaching people to do what he loves. He shared with me yesterday that a new skiier (who hadn’t had any or much instruction) didn’t know how to stop properly and crashed into one of the buildings near the bottom of the hill and had to have medical attention. The way I look at it, if you’re going to invest in the cost to ski, you should also consider investing in lessons.

  4. 4

    We have never been skiing before, but we are gearing up for our first trip in February. We will definitely trying out some lessons!

  5. 5

    I take a lesson every season the first time back on skis. I just feel better on my skis knowing that my first time down the mountain was with a lesson. We leave for skiing in a few days in Colorado–and the whole family will be in lessons the first day. (maybe the second day too- at least for my daughter).

  6. 6

    I agree! Take a lesson and wear a helmet.

  7. 7

    Lessons are a must for first time skiers. Although even more experienced ones should take one-day training if they haven’t skied for a long time. Lessons are in most cases so fun, and they ore one of the easiest ways to meat people in the winter resorts.

  8. 8

    I’ve always wanted to learn to ski….but I never have. I even lived 15 miles from a resort in Utah for 4 years and I still didn’t do it.

    The outfits are cute. 🙂

  9. 9

    My husband is a snowboarder (he learned at Copper!) but I’d never been on skis or a snowboard until last year. He flat out refused to teach me knowing that it would end in fighting and disaster! Reading your story I think I’m glad he did!

    Lessons are expensive but I think they’re worth it. You can put on skis and muck around on the magic carpets without a lesson but unless you have a patient friend (preferably not a partner) who really knows what they are doing … it’s really not a sport that you can just pick up without someone teaching you. We spent two weeks in Bulgaria last year and both the kids and I had lessons there … which BTW was a lot more affordable! The lessons really paid off. By the end we did a 12km run together down a mountain. It was amazing.

    And don’t worry, I’m going down blue runs now through powder and just trying out trees … and I sometimes still manage to come off the lift on my butt!

  10. 10

    Good for you being willing to try skiing again after that first bad experience! I cross-country ski but I’m terrified to try downhill – if I ever get talked into it then I think I mights just take a lesson and call it a day!

  11. 11

    I agree. I didn’t take a lesson early one, opting for the cheaper alternative of my husband teaching me, which was a double mistake and stopped me from skiing for 4 years.

    I tried again with a lesson 🙂


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