Can I go skiing without taking lessons?
Can you learn to ski without taking lessons?
With fewer people on the slopes, great deals on cabin accommodation to ski pass discounts, and the fact that it's a socially distant outdoor activity, now may be the perfect time to learn to ski.
Should I learn to ski with a qualified ski instructor?
Can you learn to ski without taking a lesson? In a word, yes. On the other hand, you can ride a rodeo bull without instruction. Or jump out of an airplane. Or go diving. That goes for all sports, extreme or not, that you can actually learn without taking classes if you really want to. But it is also possible that you injure yourself quite badly and end up regretting it for a very long time.
First of all, let's say that ski courses are of course not free. And when that expense is added to the overheads of the ski vacation, equipment, and expensive ski pass that just can't be avoided, the idea of saving a bit of money and getting a friend tuition seems quite tempting. Because come on, how hard can it be?
And that's where the problem lies, because a ski course isn't just about learning to ski. Indeed, that's the easy part! It is actually about much, much more. Not only will you learn the skills you need to ski down a snow-covered slope, but you'll also learn ski etiquette, navigating the slopes, handling a chair lift, and most importantly, how to fall without getting injured.
Falls are a very normal part of skiing. Everyone falls and I am no exception. I probably slid on my back more than I rode on my legs on my first ski vacation! But trust me when I say that after your first fall, you'll be glad to have an instructor who'll reach out to you and tell you why you fell. After all, ski instructors are not only great skiers, they can teach you how to become one too. Not everyone can be a ski instructor and it takes years of training and qualifications to get there. So it's not a smart move if you think you can do it without him!
How long does it take to learn to ski?
In all honesty, all the cards on the table, I'm not trying to scare you. Thousands upon thousands of people flock to the mountains every year and enjoy the sport without falling and injuring themselves. I know that, but it's likely that most of them had classes at some point. Someone who is a natural may only take a few hours before going self-employed, and others may take a few days. There is no definitive answer when it comes to how long it takes to learn to ski.
But there is a clear answer to whether you need instruction. Yes, yes and yes you do. If you've never skied before, it's not only dangerous for you but especially for the people around you. Statistically, most injuries occur as a result of skier collisions with a novice who is out of control. But that shouldn't scare you. Because when you get lessons you will also be taught how to avoid these incidents and, most importantly, the guys and gals racing down the mountain. And believe me, you will meet her!
Why do I need a ski course?
The kind of technique you will use in your first few lessons will help you slow down and gain control. And the person best suited to teaching you how to do it right is the one with experience and qualifications. However, in addition to these techniques, you will also receive an adequate introduction to how the mountain works. Because honestly it's a different world than what you know now.
With green, blue, red and black runs, hundreds of kilometers of curvy slopes and snow groomers, caterpillars, rollers, bumps, holes, hollows, edges, combined with the always dreaded button lifts, to have someone who takes care of you, the mountain and knowing all his secrets like the back of his hand is simply priceless.
The reason we ski is for pleasure and that doesn't start until you stop worrying about how you ski. There really is no more magical place in the world. And with a teacher who supports you and teaches you using internationally standardized teaching methods, you will progress much, much faster than if you tried it alone.
And hey, I know what you're thinking, you taught yourself a lot of things. Skiing is different. And while you can certainly rent equipment from a store with no one asking if you can ski, it's a recipe for disaster. Do you know what length of ski you need? What length of stick? If you only get one lesson, you will be on the right track, eliminating any bad habits you would develop if you tried to do it yourself.
Can't I just get a class from a friend?
It's so tempting to have a friend teach you who may even be pretty good. I've been asked by many and I always refuse. Because while I am a very confident skier myself, I definitely have bad habits that I compensate for, and I also ski in deep snow and not on the snow plow hills. If someone expects me to teach them and thus spend my time in the mountains, I will try to balance my joy with their learning. Which ultimately means that in the end they don't have a lot of classes, I don't pay them a lot of attention, probably take them to places they just aren't ready for.
Am i a bad friend Not really, I'm just not an instructor. And I didn't offer to be one either. But because I was asked and begged, I gave in and passed on my bad habits and threw them in the depths because I want to have fun, don't want to wait all the time and simply don't want to sacrifice my fun. It's my vacation too. But of course I'm not saying that, I'll just do it, but that's not really fair to either of us.
Ski lessons come in many different packages and you can always find one that suits you. If you are a beginner and enjoy socializing, a group lesson might be right for you. They are available in one-to-one or block tuition and you will enjoy learning with people with similar abilities. This can be a great way to meet new people and have a laugh at the same time. There is nothing funnier than being in one of these groups!
If you want to maximize the speed of learning, take a private lesson. With an instructor who is solely focused on you, your progress will be faster and he will be able to tailor his lessons to your level. For those looking for a more serious learning experience, one-to-one tuition is often well worth the higher cost, and even at intermediate or advanced levels it can be of great benefit.
In addition to learning to ski, everyone also benefits from having a good mountain chain and skiing technique. We're all out there to have a good time. So if you are thinking of skipping classes and trying it out for yourself I would say wait. You are thinking of yourself here, but you are not considering the possible consequences. The upside is that you saved some money, but it can turn out badly. All it takes is a bad fall to dampen your skiing experience, and while lying in the snow with snow on your back and a sore butt, you'll think, maybe the ski lessons aren't that expensive ...
The price you are most likely paying with your body is very high and you certainly cannot price the memories you take home from a great ski vacation. Sure, a class will take an hour or two of your mountain time, but in ten, twenty, forty years, you'll be glad you did. And you will probably say the same thing to a beginner that you have just read here.
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