Learning how to ski is a tricky thing to do, especially if you try to teach yourself or allow a friend to give you tips. We believe booking ski lessons is the best way to give yourself the best chance of becoming a great skier.
In this article, we will explain why you should book ski lessons or a private guide during your trip to the French Alps.
Can You Teach Yourself To Ski?
If you’re a sporty person, you may be able to get around on skis within a few days. However, it won’t be pretty, and you’ll put yourself at risk.
With some perseverance, you’ll get to the point where you can stand up and make basic turns on easy slopes. Even with an instructor giving you pointers, your first attempt at turning won’t be very good, so trying to do it by feel will make your turns even worse.
Most beginner skiers tend to lean back too much when they point their skis down the fall line, which makes them go faster when they don’t want to, sending them out of control. They also struggle to control their skis independently, and they often lead with their dominant foot.
These maneuvers become bad habits that make your skiing look untidy and dangerous. They also hinder your progress and are very hard to unlearn, which causes frustration later on.
Teaching yourself how to ski also takes longer. Therefore, it will take a few trips before you can turn properly, instead of being able to turn within a few days with the help of an instructor.
On top of this, you’ll feel inadequate. This is because you’re a grownup who has been rolling around in the snow for 5 days. In that time, you’ve seen 5-year-old skiers go from snowplough to pizza to their first blue run.
Off-piste skiing with a private instructor from the Oxygene Ski School
Group Or Private Ski Lessons
You can book private or group ski lessons, and both have their advantages. A group lesson is fun, especially if your group comprises your friends and family. The other benefit of this is that the cost of your instructor’s time is divided between 8 to 12 other students, making it excellent value for money. Also, your classmates are all in the same boat as you, so you can encourage each other and chat about your day over an après drink.
However, we recommend a private lesson if possible. Private sessions can be tailored to your skill level and requirements, and your instructor can focus all their attention on you. The advantage of this is that you’ll learn much faster, as the instructor can fine-tune their teaching style to help you best.
Ski instructors get booked quickly, especially during school holidays, so whichever option you choose, ensure you book your lessons in advance. It’s also worth noting that some ski schools only offer group lesson packages. For example, your package will give you lessons from Sunday to Friday or Monday to Friday, either mornings, afternoons or full-day sessions. These are almost like intensive courses, which are great for your skills and seeing the best parts of the ski area.
Ski Touring Off Piste Oxygene Ski & Snowboard School
Benefits Of Booking A Ski Instructor
A Ski Instructor Will Save You Time
A ski instructor will start with the basics to ensure you get the proper introduction to the sport. It may feel too simple initially, but if you pay attention to everything the instructor says, you will become a good skier much more quickly than someone who tried to teach themselves.
To help you progress, a good ski instructor will adapt their teaching methods to help you get to the next level. They are trained to describe the various techniques in the simplest way possible so you understand what to do.
You’ll Begin To Ski With The Proper Technique
A skier with poor technique will lean back, have bad posture, and have straight legs. These are common characteristics of a self-taught skier because nobody has advised them on the proper techniques. A ski instructor will do everything they can to stop you from picking up these habits and help you iron out flaws in your style.
With the help of an instructor, you will ski more smoothly and be able to progress much more quickly, as you don’t need to unlearn the things that make you an untidy skier.
You’ll Be Much Safer
There’s always a risk when sliding down a mountain, but a good ski instructor will keep you safe. They will take you to the slopes appropriate to your skill level and with the least amount of people on them. This is essential, as busy slopes with skiers and snowboarders charging past you can be stressful for a beginner.
A Ski Instructor Will Make Learning More Fun
Skiing is fun, so the people who do it tend to be fun, too. A ski instructor wants you to have the best time, as they are passing on their passion to you.
Your ski instructor will make your lesson fun by taking you to the best parts of the ski area, including excellent lunch spots. They are also knowledgeable about the resort, so they’ll tell you all the best places to go in the evenings and about other things that are going on.
Children Group ski lessons with Oxygene Ski School
Ski Instructors For Advanced Skiers
Ski instructors are not just there for beginners. No matter how experienced you are, you can always learn something new. Whether you want to learn freestyle in the park or perfect your carves like a Giant Slalom racer, a ski instructor can help you.
However, one of the best ways to benefit from a ski instructor as an experienced skier is to book them as a guide. Ski instructors have incredible knowledge of local off-piste spots. They will take you to astonishing powder stashes on terrain suitable for your skill level. Your ski instructor will also ensure you’re safe and teach you about avalanche safety and rescue.
Here are some of our favourite guided off-piste experiences:
The Classic Valley Blanche Route, Chamonix
The Valley Blanche in Chamonix is one of the French Alps’ most iconic off-piste areas. There are several variations to take depending on your skill level and snow conditions. But, on a good day, you can experience deep powder and breathtaking views.
To access the Valley Blanche, take the Aiguille du Midi cable car to the highest point in Chamonix and then ski down to the Mer de Glace, the iconic glacier. As you ski, you’re surrounded by massive mountains, crevasses, and stunning blue ice flows. Local guides know all the dangerous and best parts of the route so you can stay safe while having fun.
Freeriding In La Grave
La Grave is an extreme skier’s paradise with a fearsome reputation. It is a traditional village rather than a ski resort, and it only has one groomed piste high up on the glacier. However, if you have the skills, you can ski La Grave’s 2,100m vertical drop entirely at your own risk. Here, you’ll experience some of the most challenging freeride terrain in the world, but a local guide can coach you down.
Reverse Heli-Skiing In Val D’Isere
Heli-skiing is illegal in France, but you can still experience fantastic guided off-piste routes aided by a helicopter. Val D’Isere has excellent reverse heli-ski routes, which can be organised through our recommended ski schools.
One of our favourite routes involves catching a ski lift, followed by a short hike, before skiing down into the Bonneval Sur Arc Valley. You can spend the morning skiing around this area with a guide, have lunch, and then return to Val D’Isere via helicopter.
Exploring The Portes Du Soleil From Avoriaz 1800
Avoriaz is in the Portes du Soleil, one of the world’s largest ski areas. The 650 km area straddles the French-Swiss border and has an incredible amount of off-piste terrain. The variety of terrain makes Avoriaz an excellent base for ski touring and backcountry skiing.
Our favourite off-piste routes around Avoriaz include the Vallee de la Manche, Col de Cou, and Vorlaz. There is so much to choose from; it would take a whole winter to just scratch the surface of what’s possible. However, a guide will ensure you get a good taste of what’s possible.
Snowboard Group Lessons with Oxygene Ski School
Why Not Try Snowboarding?
If you have yet to try snowboarding, your trip to the French Alps is the perfect opportunity. Seeing the world through a snowboarder’s eyes gives you a whole new appreciation of the mountain, and you may even enjoy it so much you decide to go to the dark side.
Most ski schools offer snowboard lessons to suit all skill levels. We can organise snowboard lessons and equipment hire when you book your holiday. We recommend taking snowboard lessons in the afternoons if possible, especially if you’re a beginner. This is when the snow is softer, more forgiving, and much nicer to fall on.
Our Favourite Ski Schools In France
We pride ourselves in ensuring our guests only get the best instructors. Therefore, we work with handpicked ski schools who understand our and your requirements;
Oxygene Ski School
Oxygene is a leading family-friendly, English-speaking ski and snowboard school in the French Alps. They offer lessons and ski hire for adults and children in Val d’Isere, La Plagne, Courchevel, Meribel, Val Thorens, Tignes, Serre Chevalier, Les Menuires, La Tania, La Rosiere and Megeve. They offer lessons for all levels of skier and snowboarder, so you’re sure to get precisely what you need.
ESF (École Du Ski Français)
The ESF is the world’s largest ski school, with over 17,000 instructors donning the famous red jacket across the French Alps. As the most established ski school, you can find ESF in 220 ski resorts. ESF is an excellent choice for all ages, especially kids. Kids can learn the very basics of skiing, starting in the many ESF playgrounds and kid’s villages.
Instructors Team Val d’Isère Oxygene Ski & Snowboard School
Some people manage to teach themselves how to ski, but everyone benefits from lessons from a qualified instructor. There’s always something to learn or improve, but an instructor will help you reach that goal quicker.
If you’re interested in booking ski or snowboard lessons or a guide, our Top Snow Travel experts can help. We can advise you which is the best ski school for you and put everything in place when you book one of our ski packages with accommodation and lift passes included.