Evaluate Your Ski Instructor

Evaluate Your Ski Instructor
For a beginner, ski lessons help avoid injury and get you comfortable on the slopes. Expert instruction also moves a skier with some experience to a new level, and lessons for children are a must. Evaluate a ski instructor before booking lessons so that your goals are met and you get the most from the investment.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Think about the kind of instruction you need before you evaluate. Prepare a list of needs such as experience in teaching children, a specialist in moguls or an instructor good with beginner adults.
Step 2
Evaluate the ski schools first. Get information about those in your area or at a resort you are visiting. Some specialize in group lessons and some in private instruction, while larger schools feature both.
Step 3
Discuss your needs first with the head of the ski school, rather than the ski instructor. A good ski school knows the background of its instructors. Evaluate based on the answers to items outlined in the next steps.
Step 4
Inquire about certification. Ski instructors are trained through courses offered by academies and associations around the world and achieve levels of expertise.
Step 5
Ask about the instructor's own skiing experience. Choose someone who has skiied a wide variety of conditions and mountains, someone who has been on skis since childhood or even an instructor who learned to ski as an adult. The perspective of experience adds to the instructor's overall ability in teaching.
Step 6
Get information on teaching experience. Remember that a beginner-level instructor with teaching and skiing experience is often just as good as a mid-level one. It just depends on your needs.
Step 7
Meet the ski instructor. Make sure there is some rapport. Spending an hour working hard on new things requires a connection with this person, especially during the long ride up the lift.

Tips & Warnings

Evaluate a ski instructor for children based on experience with young ones and a rapport with your child. New ski instructors often get assigned to children's classes. It takes a special person, though, to both teach the child and bring some fun to the process. The higher the level, the more training the teacher has had. This doesn't necessarily mean, though, that a level one instructor isn't good. It's a combination of personality, teaching ability and experience. Some instructors are better with group lessons than individuals, and vice versa. Ask the head of the ski school. If you prefer a male or female instructor, make sure you inform the ski school before it makes assignments. Remember that ski lessons aren't cheap, and you're paying for a specialized service. If the fit isn't right, say so. Learn about the levels ski instructors achieve by visiting professional association websites.

Article Written By Pam Quinn

Pam Quinn has skiied in Canada, the United States and Europe with her husband, a 15-year volunteer ski patroller.

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