Choose the Right Ski School

When you come all the way to Utah to experience snow and terrain unlike anything you can find at home, being confined to the bunny slopes with your kids can be frustrating. The solution, naturally, is to book them into a few lessons, which offers some important benefits: you get a few hours or even a full day to roam the mountain, and, hopefully, your child or children emerge from the lessons more skilled and confident, with an expanded range of terrain that they can ski or ride with you.

Snowbird Ski School Unless you have several children of different ages and abilities whom you want to keep together in a private lesson, group lessons are undoubtedly the most cost-effective way to go when it comes to bringing a youngster up to speed or polishing existing skills. And remember, you’re handing your kids over to trained pros, who are experts in the most effective techniques for getting kids comfortable on the snow and progressing their skills. Face it, they’re probably going to do a better job of teaching your kids than you are.

If you have a very young child, the first question to ask is whether he or she is ready for lessons. Snowbird is the only area that has a specific group program for kids who are between 3 and 4, while Brighton offers private, semi-private, or private parent/child lessons for three-year-olds. Alta’s group lessons start at age 4, and Solitude’s at 5. And just because a kid is technically old enough doesn’t mean that he or she should be in ski school. Snowbird has the following guidelines:

Is your child comfortable being with adults other than family?
Does your child go to daycare or play groups?
Is your child “potty trained” and able to use the bathroom facilities independently? (If your child regularly uses “pull-ups,” they are not considered potty trained.)
Has your child been exposed to snow and winter conditions?

If the answer to a few of these is ‘no,’ then perhaps day care would be a better option. All four major Wasatch front ski areas offer day care services. Advance reservations are a must for on-mountain daycare.

Following is a rundown of ski-school offerings among the four Ski City resorts (Snowbird, Alta, Brighton, and Solitude). If you have the flexibility to go to more than one area, you might want to program your skiing around the ski-school offering that looks most appealing. When you’re ready to book, here are some important things to keep in mind:

Reservations are never a bad idea, and are pretty much required if you’re booking for a younger child, for a special program or camp, or during one of the holiday periods.
When placing a child in a class, be honest about the child’s age and abilities (keep in mind, a blue run at Snowbird is very different from a blue run at a Midwestern resort). A child that is in over his or her head will be miserable, won’t learn much, and will hinder the ability of the rest of the group to progress to more challenging terrain.
Snowbird and Solitude offer discounts if you book early, in the pre-season.
Be sure you’re familiar with cancellation/weather policies before you book.

SNOWBIRD

Snowbird Ski School



Chickadee (age 3)

Half day or full day. Indoor activities plus one hour of one-on-one instruction in the morning, and one hour in the afternoon (half-day students get one session). For all skill levels, ski only. Willing, toilet-trained children only. Includes snacks, daycare, and rental equipment. Lunch only included with full-day program. (Lunch available for half-day session for additional fee.).
Price: Full day: $198 / Half day: $135.


Kinderbird (ages 4 - 6)

Full day. Groups of three or less utilize Snowbird’s unique indoor and outdoor resources to help each child learn to ski and explore the mountain on their own terms. Includes lift, lesson, lunch, and rental equipment if needed.
Price: $198

 

Mountain Adventure (ages 7 - 15)

Full day. Skiers and riders of all skill levels are grouped by age and ability. Includes lesson, lunch, and lift if needed.
Price: $165

Wings for Teens (ages 13 - 17)

Full day, on select dates. For skill levels Blue through Black. Ski and snowboard. Includes lesson, lunch, and lift if needed. Instructors are chosen for their cool factor.
Dates: Dec. 22 - Jan. 4 / Jan. 16 - 19 / Feb. 14 - 16 / weekends March 7 - 29
Price: $165

Snowbird Ski School

Big Mountain Kids’ Camp (ages 10 - 15)

Summary: Three full days of on-hill coaching, Black skill level. (Lift ticket will be provided if needed). Kids will learn the basics of big-mountain tactics and safe mountain exploration. They will learn about using transceivers and about avalanche safety. Visiting experts and ski patrol participation will be part of the camp. Indoor sessions will cover more on-mountain safety and big-mountain exploration and skills.
Dates: Dec. 27 - 29
Price: $495

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Camp (Girls only, ages 10 - 15)

Summary: Three full days. Skill level Blue through Black, skiers only. Expert female coaches will guide your pre-teen and teen-aged daughters to new levels of expertise on the mountains. There will be an added focus on equipment, dressing for success, and all-mountain tactics. Lift, lunch included.
Dates: Jan. 17 - 19
Price: $495

Additional Resources & Contact Info:

Snowbird Mountain School
Day Care: For ages 6 weeks - 12 years
Parent Guide

 

ALTA

Beginner Ski Adventures (ages 4 - 12)

For first-time skiers to those learning how to make consistent wedge turns and stops on the easiest green slopes. Complimentary use of tows and conveyor.

Options:

All-Day Adventure: Includes 4 hours of skiing and lunch.
Price: $135

All-Day Mini Adventure: Includes 2 hours of skiing, lunch, and half-day daycare.
Price: $135

Half-Day Adventure: Includes 2 hours of skiing, morning or afternoon.
Price: $60

Do Not Use: Alta Ski School for Related Content

Advanced Beginner – Intermediate (ages 4 - 12)

Have fun working on parallel turns and skills that allow skiing green and blue terrain with comfort and confidence.

Options:

All-Day Adventure: Includes 4 hours of skiing and lunch.
Price: $125

Half-Day Adventure: Includes 2 hours of skiing, morning or afternoon. (Not available Christmas holiday and Presidents week.)
Price: $60

Advanced Mountain Explorers (ages 7 - early teen)

A great way to learn more advanced skills necessary for skiing the whole mountain.

Options:

All-Day Explorer: 5 hours of skiing and lunch.
Price: $130

Half-Day Explorer: 2.5 hours of skiing in the afternoon.
Price: $75

Teen Camp (ages 13 - 17)

This camp is designed to bring teen skiers together to explore the expert terrain of Alta and its awesome snow conditions. Will run continuously during the holidays; skiers are not required to commit to a specific number of days. Each day of the camp will include coaching that helps skiers challenge Alta's most adventurous terrain, with a 1:8 ratio of coaches to skiers. Full day, lunch included.
Dates: December 26 - January 2; February 13 - 19
Price: $130

Note that all the programs above, with the exception of beginner lessons, require separate purchase of a lift ticket (13+ pay adult price).

Alta’s Alf Engen ski school does not take reservations; lessons are available on a first come, first served basis. Most of the time, everyone can be accommodated; however, during the holidays be sure to arrive early.

Additional Resources & Contact Info:

Alta Day Care: Ages 6 weeks - 9 years
Alf Engren Ski School

 

BRIGHTON

Age 3

Private, semi-private, or parent/child private lession

Just for Kids (ages 4 - 7)

Classes are divided by ability and age groups. Classes are limited to six per instructor. Includes learner lift pass (Explorer and Majestic chairlifts); and all-access pass.
Prices: 2-hour lesson: $54 / 4-hour lesson: $99 / Half day with lunch $64 / Full day with lunch: $114

Just for Kids (ages 8 - 12)

Classes are divided by ability and age groups. Classes are limited to eight per instructor. Includes learner lift pass (Explorer and Majestic chairlifts); All-area lift pass can be purchased for an additional $20.
Prices: 2-hour lesson: $59 / 4-hour lesson: $104 / Half day with lunch $69 / Full day with lunch: $119
Note: Children’s rentals are available for $15. Reservations not required for group lessons.
Merit Badge Assessment: Brighton offers assessments for Boy Scouts working on a skiing or snowboarding merit badge. More information can be found here.

Additional Resources & Contact Info:

 

Tips for Parents
FAQ
Child care: Infants - 10 years
Brighton Snow Sports School

SOLITUDE

Children’s Snowsports Academy (ages 6 - 13)

Options:

Explorers Single-Day Lessons (ages 6 – 13 for skiers and 8 - 13 for snowboarders)
These all-day lessons are from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and include lift ticket and lunch; half-day lessons are from 1 to 3:30 p.m. and include lift ticket. Rental package with lesson is an additional $20 per day.

Single-Day Rate: $142
Half-Day Lesson: $84
Rental with Lesson Only: $20

Explorers Lesson Package
Package includes all-day lessons, lift tickets and lunch. Rental package with lesson is an additional $20 per day.

3-Day: $346
5-Day: $525

Parents Dropping Kids Off With Ski Instructor at Solitude

Children’s Ski and Play (ages 3 – 5)

Children will enjoy supervised daycare, activities, and ski lessons in our Ski and Play program. All-day and half-day programs are available.

All Day: $200
9 a.m. to 4 p.m., two 1-hour semi-private lessons

A.M. Half Day: $130
9 a.m. to noon, one 1-hour semi-private lesson

P.M. Half Day: $120
1 p.m. to 4 p.m., one 1-hour semi-private lesson

 

Additional Resources & Contact Info:

 

Solitude Snowsports Academy & Play Academy Daycare