How Many Lessons to Learn to Ski: We Asked 50 Skiers

A lot of newer skiers often want to know how many lessons it will take to learn to ski but it really depends on the person. That’s why on a cold day in December we rode the North Face Lift at Seven Springs Ski Resort in Pennsylvania and asked advanced skiers how many lessons they thought it would take for a beginner to learn to ski.

The results varied but we got to the bottom of it after asking 50 people.

confident skier on the slopes

So What Did We Consider as Being Able to Ski

Let’s set the record straight, we told everyone that learning to ski is being able to make it down a green slope by linking turns and stopping confidently on skis. With that being said, here is the breakdown of what the advanced skiers said.

Results of the Poll: How Many Lessons it Takes to Learn to Ski

When we tallied up the results we found that 58% or 29 advanced skiers said it would take people two lessons to learn to ski green trails. This is essentially two days of ski lessons.

20% or 10 people questioned said one lesson was enough to teach a person to learn to ski a green trail.

14% or 7 people said 3 lessons was the right about and the remaining 4 individuals said 4+ lessons were needed for beginners to learn to ski on greens confidently.

Can You Learn to Ski Without Lessons?

Yes, you can learn to ski without taking skiing lessons but it will likely take you longer to learn how to ski and you may be less proficient than if you had taken lessons. Even with group lessons, you’ll have someone who is on the mountain most of the days the resort is open in the winter, who is knowledgeable and proficient in teaching new students.

If you are dead set on no lessons, there are a few ways to go about learning to ski without taking lessons. You can watch instructional videos online or read skiing tutorials but at the end of the day, you’ll have to get on the slopes and practice. Skiing is a learn-able skill and with some practice, you’ll be able to navigate the slopes like a pro.

While you can start in the backyard getting comfortable with skis, you can’t replace skills like learning to get on and off a lift that takes place at a resort.

Should You Take Group Ski Lessons?

Learning at Ski Lessons
Learning to Ski Group Lessons. Photo Credit Edgar Omar (Flickr CC)

There are a lot of things to consider when deciding whether or not to take group ski lessons. The first is the cost. Group lessons are typically cheaper than private lessons.

Another thing to consider is the level of your skiing ability. If you’re a beginner, group lessons are the best way to learn the basics. If you’re an experienced skier, private lessons can help you hone in your fine skills.

The last thing to consider is the size of the group. A large group can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a beginner. Ideally, you want a group that’s small enough so that each student can get individual attention from the instructor.

How Long Should Ski Lessons Be?

The length of ski lessons is an important factor to consider when scheduling a ski trip. While a day or two of skiing might be enough for beginners, those who are looking to improve their skills may need more time.

Lessons can be anywhere from one to four hours long with one hour often being the average but the right amount of time really depends on the person’s ability, fitness level and goals.

For those just starting out, one or two-hour lessons should be plenty. This will give you a chance to learn the basics and get comfortable on the slopes. More experienced skiers may want to take longer lessons, especially if they’re looking to improve their technique.

A five or six-hour lesson can cover a lot of ground and can be especially helpful for intermediate skiers who want to move up to the next level.

Ultimately, it’s up to you when booking a ski lesson. Just keep in mind your fitness level as skiing uses a lot of small muscles that you may not regularly use.

Are Private Ski Lessons Worth It?

Sliding Down the White Mountains
Sliding Down the White Mountains. Photo Credit Lei Han (Flickr CC)

In general, private ski lessons may be worth it if you are looking to improve your skiing skills quickly. Private lessons allow you to focus on your own specific skiing needs and receive feedback from a qualified instructor who can help you improve your technique.

Additionally, if you are traveling to a new ski area, private lessons can be an excellent way to get up to speed quickly and learn about the ski area as well as some of the best trails.

It is a good mix of learning new skills, trails and having someone to ride with, which never hurts for safety too!

A Checklist of Beginner Skiing Skills When Learning to Ski

It doesn’t matter if you are teaching yourself, taking private or group lessons. All beginner lessons will cover the following things. Once you have these checked off, you should be competent as a beginner skier.

  • Putting your boots and skis on
  • Skiing down a low grade and stopping on your skis
  • Understanding how to move around with your skis attached to your boots
  • Turning to the left, right and linking these turns
  • Getting on a ski lift and off a ski lift
  • Controlling your speed on the hill

These are the bare-bone basic skills for what it takes to learn to ski. You’ll learn them all in a group lesson or private lesson and you can learn it on your own but it will just be harder.

Final Thoughts

Not everyone finds that two lessons or two days is the perfect amount of time to learn to ski, it depends on a lot of factors. That being said, it’s a good rule of thumb that many advanced skiers can attest to. Don’t just take it from us but many other people that started from nothing and learned to ski.

If they can do it, you can too! We can’t wait to see you on the trails. Hopefully, it motivates you to find a lesson and get on the trails!

Alec Wilson writes for Proper Peaks and lives near Claremont, VT. He hardly misses a weekend on the ski slopes in the winter. If there is snow, Alec’s skis are on for a go. Look out for his stickered-up helmet and you might just meet him on the trails.

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