There are many different opinions so consider the following:
Skiing generally has a more natural learning progression than snowboarding. Having said that, while snowboarding might be harder to learn at first, it’s often easier to master whereas skiing can take much longer to truly master. There’s simply more to skiing when you’re dealing with 4 edges on 2 skis versus snowboarding which has just 2 edges on 1 board.
Learning snowboarding on relatively steeper terrain (than skiing) is ideal because you can actually engage the turns much more easily. From a mental standpoint, however, starting on (relatively) steeper terrain can be more challenging for some.
In snowboarding, the front foot is “the boss” so if there’s an isolated body issue (e.g. past ACL reconstruction on your lead foot) it could present an obstacle to overcome
When you lose balance in skiing, you often fall laterally to one side of the body. In snowboarding, however, when you lose balance you often fall to the front or back body. In other words, ski falls generally tend to be softer than snowboard falls.
Consider what you might already know. If you’re familiar with ‘edges’ from sports like hockey or figure skating, it’s likely that skiing will click pretty quickly for you. If you’re a competent skateboarder or surfer, snowboarding might click easier. Unfortunately water skiing isn’t as tranasferable to skiing as you might think.
How do I know what my Ski Level is?
FIRST TIME SKIER
Level 1 (Beginner): “I’ve never skied.”
GREEN ZONE SKIERS
Level 2 (Novice): “I can slide, slightly change direction, and come to a stop.” – Easiest green terrain
Level 3 (Novice): “I can link turns together and stop where I want to on the easiest green terrain. My turns are usually all the same size.” – Green terrain
Level 4 (Intermediate): “I am linking turns together smoothly on all green terrain. I can make narrow and wide turns” – All green and easiest blue terrain
BLUE ZONE SKIERS
Level 5 (Intermediate): “I am skiing mostly parallel in a couple different turn sizes and shapes on most blue terrain. I am beginning to use my poles and can hockey stop in both directions.” -All green terrain and most blue terrain
Level 6 (Intermediate): “I am skiing parallel and confidently on all groomed blue terrain. I am exploring un-groomed trails and the easiest bumps. I usually make the same turn sizes and shapes on un-groomed trails.” –All groomed blues, easy blue bumps, easy groomed blacks
Level 7 (Advanced): “I am able to smoothly link parallel turns together with a pole plant on all blue and black terrain. I am exploring un-groomed black terrain, including bumps. I can connect different turn sizes and shapes seamlessly for the various challenges that blue and black runs present.” – All blue terrain and most black terrain
BLACK/EXPERT ZONE SKIERS
Level 8 (Expert): “I am making different turns sizes and shapes, including rhythmic short turns and large carved turns, on all blue and black terrain (groomed or un-groomed). I feel comfortable exploring harder blacks and easier double black terrain.” – All black and easy double black terrain
Level 9 (Expert): “I can ski the entire mountain and am working on skiing faster, smoother, difficult lines, and learning different strategies in the hardest terrain and snow conditions.” – Entire mountain, all conditions
How do I know what my Snowboard Level is?
FIRST TIME SNOWBOARDER
Level 1 (Beginner): “I’ve never snowboarded.”
GREEN ZONE SNOWBOARDERS
Level 2 (Novice): “I have experienced sliding, traversing both directions, and stopping.” – Easiest green terrain
Level 3 (Novice): “I can control my speed while moving across the hill, and can stop with confidence. I am starting to turn in both directions.” – Green terrain
Level 4 (Intermediate): “I can link skidded turns on green terrain.” – All green terrain
BLUE ZONE SNOWBOARDERS
Level 5 (Intermediate): “I am confident and can connect different turn sizes and shapes on all green terrain. I make more or less the same size and shape turn on easy blue terrain.” –All green terrain and easiest blue terrain
Level 6 (Intermediate): ““I am riding most blue terrain by connecting various turn sizes and shapes. I am also exploring switch riding, easy bumps, and/or freestyle.” –All blue terrain
Level 7 (Advanced): “I am able to ride all blue terrain in varied conditions and working on easy black terrain, including bumps, trees, and terrain parks.” –All blue terrain and groomed black terrain
BLACK/EXPERT ZONE SNOWBOARDERS
Level 8 (Expert): “I am confident performing dynamic turns on varied terrain and snow conditions, including trees, steeps and powder.” – All black and easy double blacks terrain
Level 9 (Expert): “I am confident riding the entire mountain. I am working on a variety of tactics and techniques that will take me to the next level.” – Entire mountain, all conditions
Your mountain looks really steep, can a beginner/novice actually ski/ride here?
Yes! In fact, the overwhelming majority of our lessons to visiting guests are comprised of students with little to no experience. Additionally, a large part of our mountain is not visible until you get here: This includes an expansive, back bowl with intermediate terrain, a beginner learning area at our summit with (2) Magic Carpets, and an easy run that gets you from the top of our mountain to the base (on the front side). No matter where you’re skiing on our mountain, there’s always an ‘easiest way down’ and different techniques to help you manage the given terrain. And that’s exactly the guidance an instructor will provide.
Do you offer Group Lessons?
No, we only offer private lessons for visiting guests. While we understand that Private Lessons carry a higher price point, we think you’ll find our private lessons to provide a better value at a more competitive price point when compared to group lessons from other resorts within the area.
Do I need to book my lesson in advance?
Yes, booking in advance is highly recommended and the only way to guarantee a lesson. While very limited, you may email firstname.lastname@example.org, call us at 307-201-5666 or stop by the Guest Services Center (located at the top of the Magic Carpet) for same-day lessons. An early afternoon lesson is more likely to be available as a same day booking than an AM lesson.
What is your refund policy?
For Private Lessons, you may receive a full refund 48 hours prior to the lesson start time. If you need to reschedule, contact us 48 hours prior to your lesson start time. You may only reschedule one time (dependent on availability).
For Local Seasonal Programs, you may receive a full refund if you contact us prior to December 1.
I’m not seeing any availability for the day(s) I want to do a Private Lesson?
Aim for a day/time slot that does offer private lesson availability. However, if nothing is available, you may email email@example.com and we’ll let you know what might be possible or ask you to check in at a later date.
Please be aware that there are instances where we experience high demand and reach full capacity on various days. This is particularly noticeable in the latter part of December, during President’s Day Week, and in certain segments of Spring Break in March. Moreover, Saturdays are often subject to full bookings, as we purposefully restrict the availability of private lessons to accommodate a significant number of local students on these days (with exceptions on 12/16, 12/23, 12/30, 12/31, 2/17, and 3/23).
Can my whole family (minimum of 6+ years old) take a lesson together? What if there are different ages and/or abilities?
Yes, but there are limitations.
An instructor will always teach to the student of the lowest ability and/or give the most attention to the student in need of the most assistance. This often means that older students and/or higher ability students won’t get as much out of a lesson as younger/lower ability students. That said, this is often an acceptable option for many families as being together on the mountain is often more important than individual ski/ride technical progression. We’ll break this down even further.
Family lesson with different ages/the same ability (e.g. all have never skied): More doable than different abilities but it is of course very student dependent. Realize that what an adult can achieve in a couple of hours might take a pre-teen an entire season to achieve. And when you get into the lower pre-teen ages (6, 7, 8 years old), this is when the lesson will surely move at a much slower pace and older students might feel held back.
Family lesson with different abilities: While we’ll conduct the lesson, realize that this is by far one of the most challenging lessons as the instructor will need to essentially conduct multiple lessons, to different students, all within the same lesson. And one factor that the instructor can not cater to different students at the same time is terrain selection. A more advanced student might be ‘under-terrained’ yet we will always opt to never ‘over-terrain’ the lowest ability student. You’ll need to decide “how different” the abilities are and make a decision from there.
For additional help, see Question below concerning the 2.5 versus 5-hour lesson.
Should I take a 2.5-hour lesson or a 5-hour lesson?
This depends on your goals and other factors. Things to consider:
The 2.5-hour lesson will carry a lower price point than the 5 hour lesson
If you have just one day of skiing planned for your trip, a 2.5-hour lesson might be your best option as you’ll want some time to practice your newly acquired skills on your own.
If you plan to ski multiple days on your trip and/or ski in future seasons, a 5-hour lesson will give you more skills to access more terrain on those following days and/or in future seasons.
You can always opt for multiple 2.5-hour lessons on different days.
For the pre-teen age range, 5 hours of skiing/riding is a really long time. While breaks will be taken as needed, fatigue and diminishing returns are often reached in 5 hour lessons.
The beauty of private lessons is that you may use your time with your instructor as you see fit, with 5 hour lessons having more time to do so. For example, if you/your students are tired half-way through the lesson and would like to go back to the condo for an hour–let the instructor know when you’d like to meet back up. Additionally, in the case of a family lesson, if after two hours of a lesson the adults are feeling confident but the kids need more time to practice their skills with the instructors, the adults may exit/potentially return to the lesson while the instructor gives more individual attention to the kids.
How does Lunch Work with a 5 Hour Lesson?
Snow King Mountain has a handful of different dining options.
Restaurants operated by Snow King include:
King’s Grill – American style food such as burgers, sandwiches & soups
The Cafe – grab and go style food such as burritos, breakfast sandwiches, and pizza
The Panorama House – grab and go style food and located at the summit of the mountain
Other restaurants not operated by Snow King but within the resort area include:
Your instructor will be happy to walk you through your options. And you’re welcome to invite your instructor to lunch or send them on their way with an arranged post-lunch meeting time & place.
What’s the minimum age for a student?
For ski lessons, students must be 4 years old or older on the day in which the lesson occurs. For snowboard lessons, students must be 6 years old or older on the day in which the lesson occurs. Additionally, all students must be potty-trained.
Please understand that instructors are not trained to accommodate students younger than 4 years old. Our facilities lack ‘daycare’ amenities/licensing and the lesson success rate (for students below this threshold) drops dramatically.
If we have doubts concerning your student’s age, we might ask you to provide proof of age verification. If proof cannot be provided, refunds will not be issued.
As a parent/guardian, do I need to be present for my student’s ‘Ski & Play’ lesson (4 & 5 year olds)?
No. In fact, students generally achieve greater success when parents/guardians are not present and are out of sight of the student. That said, you and the instructor should collaborate as a team in order for the child to have a successful lesson. Suggestions:
Exchange phone numbers with your instructor
Preventing separation anxiety starts in the days/weeks leading up to the lesson: one strategy is to continually remind them that you won’t be present for the lesson. If necessary, a middle-ground approach is telling your student(s) “I’ll be watching you but you won’t be able to see me.”
Depending on your instructor’s terrain selection, there are sometimes/not always places you can ‘hide’ but still be able to watch the lesson and intercept if needed or you feel it to be necessary. Your instructor will be happy to provide guidance.
If departing from a crying child, one strategy is to leave for 10-15 minutes with the plan of returning to gauge whether or not the child’s emotional state has improved.
We understand that you might want to take videos/photos of your student and we’d encourage you to do that at the end of class when they’ve hopefully achieved some newly acquired skills!
Why are 4 & 5 year old private lessons called ‘Ski & Plays?’
For this age range, a successful lesson includes an hour on skis/skiing and the other hour playing in an alpine environment. While we’ll certainly aim for as much skiing as possible, know that this is a very foreign sport, oftentimes in a very foreign & difficult environment, and they’re working with cognitive, affective and physical limitations given their age. Additionally, children learn and develop through play. For example, making snow angels (without skis) might seem like just play, however, that child is strengthening the exact muscles needed to make a pizza stop while skiing!
Any instructor who has raised a child to be a skier/rider will tell you that countless hours of sledding, snowman, snow angles, etc. were just as important as the pizza/french fry drills they eventually put their children through. If a child doesn’t find an alpine environment to be FUN, they have no chance at LEARNING.
How can I judge whether or not my 4 or 5 year-old student is ready for a Private ‘Ski & Play’ lesson?
The most important determining factor for a successful lesson is for your student to want to do the lesson. In a best case scenario, your student will have asked you to try skiing/take a lesson! That said, we understand many of our customers come from places where downhill skiing (and snow) is non-existent, so ‘they don’t know what they don’t know.’ In that case, at a minimum, let your student know they’re signed up for a lesson and make sure they acknowledge that they’re okay with or excited about the lesson. If your student is having reservations about the lesson, prior to the lesson start, this is a red flag and often leads to an unsuccessful lesson.
Is my lift ticket included in my private lesson?
All mountain sports school participants receive a 20% discount on lift tickets for the day of your lesson, which are valid for the entire day. These must be purchased at the time of booking the lesson.
Ski and Play students 5 years old and younger receive a free lift ticket, which you can reserve online as well.
Do I get a discount on rental gear?
Yes. Snow King Mountain Sports offers a 20% discount when booking online. The discount is already reflected in online pricing. In the rare case when you have a ski/snowboard lesson and you’re booking rentals in person, please mention that you have a ski lesson that same day and the associate will apply the 20% rental discount.
What is the difference between a Demo and a Performance Package?
For Mountain Sports School private lessons, in almost every circumstance we’d recommend you opt for the Performance package. This includes gear that is appropriate for first-time, beginner, intermediate, and pleasure skiers. The Demo package includes top-of-the-line gear at a higher price point and is recommended only for upper advanced/expert skiers/riders who charge fast and hard. All ski packages include boots and poles.
Do I need to rent helmets and goggles?
Helmets are not required but highly recommended. You may rent helmets in person.
Goggles are not required but are highly recommended. If it’s a sunny day, sunglasses will do just fine. If it’s snowing, sunglasses are still a good option although goggles will be more helpful depending on how hard it’s snowing. Goggles can be purchased at Snow King Mountain Sports.
How do I get to Snow King and where do I pickup gear/lift tickets and meet my instructor?
All of this occurs in the Snow King Mountain Sports (SKMS), aka ‘The Rental Shop,’ which is located in the Snow King Hotel and is open from 8am to 8pm. If needed, you may contact them at 307-201-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To get there, park at 400 E. Snow King Avenue which is the Snow King Hotel parking lot. Once parked, make your way up the slope and enter SKMS under a large, burgundy awning labeled ‘SNOW KING MOUNTAIN SPORTS SHOP.’ Once in SKMS, check in at the service counter to acquire your lift tickets and rental gear. Once acquired, exit SKMS and your instructor or a Mountain Sports School supervisor (identified by a blue coat with a radio on their chest) will meet you at the lesson start time, just outside SKMS. If it’s really cold or you’re early for the lesson, feel free to wait in the hotel lobby which is connected to SKMS. We’d just ask that at least 1 person from your party is outside SKMS to meet your instructor at the lesson start time.
Note that instructors will likely contact you the night before the lesson and quickly chat through any additional details to understand your goals and answer any questions you might have. Most instructors come from all over the country so if you see a foreign area code calling/texting your cell the evening before your lesson, there’s a good chance that it is your instructor.
How early should I arrive?
Snow King Mountain Sports has very limited space, therefore spots fill quickly beginning in the early/mid morning. If you have the ability to do so, we strongly recommend you pick up your rental gear the evening prior (at no extra charge) when there are generally no lines. Each student renting gear must be present for fitting purposes.
If picking up rentals the night prior doesn’t work for your schedule, you’ll want to arrive at a minimum of 30 minutes prior to the lesson. If you’re coming during the holiday season (approximately December 19-Jan 4 or February 18-22), you’ll want to arrive a minimum of 60 minutes prior to the lesson.
You can pick up your lift tickets in the same place.
What should I wear?
Everything listed below is available for purchase at Snow King Mountain Sports. Subject to availability.
Avoid wearing cotton at all costs. When cotton gets wet, it pulls heat away from your body instead of insulating it, making it dangerous in very cold temperatures.
Layering system: Layers are crucial to keeping warm:
Base layer: Should be made up of synthetic material or wool. These fabrics will keep you warm even if they get wet
Mid Layer: This layer is what you wear between your base layer and outer jacket. Think fleece, puffy, or wool-type material that is meant for warmth. If it is cold enough, you may want a couple of mid-layers. For your lower body, this isn’t usually necessary unless it’s really cold (think negative temperatures)
Outer layer: This layer should be waterproof or at least water resistant
Beanie: A person loses 7-10% of their body heat through their head. Hats are important! That said, unless it’s really cold (think negative temperatures), a helmet will keep you warm and protected. A good compromise is to keep a very thin beanie in your jacket/snow pants.
Face/neck covering: A buff, scarf, or other face-covering is helpful, both for warmth and sun protection.
Goggles: Goggles help keep the wind and sun out of your eyes. On days without too much weather, sunglasses will work just fine.
Socks: Warm feet are happy feet. If your feet get cold, your whole body gets cold. Wool or synthetic socks are highly recommended. Double layering socks does not work and will actually make you colder when you sweat.
Gloves: Insulated and waterproof gloves are critical to keeping you warm. Some people prefer to use both thin liners and a heavier, outer glove.
Hand/Toe Warmers: Even if you don’t need them, they’re helpful to have handy by storing in your jacket/pants. You can always assemble mid-way through a lesson.
Sunscreen: At high elevation, we’re more prone to sunburn. Additionally, UV rays reflect off the snow so it hits you at different angles.
What is a good source for an accurate weather report?
Depending on conditions, crowds, and other factors, a lesson can occur at various places on the mountain, including either the base or the summit. That said, if you feel the need to bring items such as extra layers, camera, etc, an instructor will be happy to advise you on where you can store them.
Are there changing rooms?
We have a small changing room in the Snow King Mountain Sports as well as restrooms in the hotel. We recommend you come dressed ready to go.
Are there restrooms on the mountain?
Yes, there are restrooms at both the summit and multiple locations at the base. Your instructor will be happy tohelp you locate the nearest restroom throughout the lesson.
Do I tip my instructor?
Assuming you had a positive experience–yes, please and thank you! Tipping is a very common practice in recreational activities such as ski school lessons and it is greatly appreciated. Cash or Venmo are by far the most common mediums for tipping (feel free to ask your instructor for their Vemo or email email@example.com for your instructor’s Venmo handle). There’s no hard rule for what to tip your instructor but in the US, the percentage logic you’d tip atop a restaurant check is generally what customers will tip their instructors based on the lesson cost.
What are the qualifications of the Snow King Mountain Sports School and the instructors?
The Snow King Mountain Sports School is an active, registered member school with the Professional Ski Instructors of America/Association of American Snowboard Instructors (PSIA/AASI), the single governing & educational body for all winter sports schools in the United States. Approximately two-thirds of our instructors are registered PSIA/AASI members who have achieved some level of certification within PSIA/AASI. Regardless of PSIA/AASI certification, each instructor has successfully passed a background check and gone through mandatory training on working with kids, lift riding, resort safety & general technical/teaching/people components of ski/snowboard instructing.
Can I request a specific type of instructor?
Yes, however, we cannot make guarantees as it’s very dependent on available staff for the given day/timeslot. Examples include selecting instructor sex (male versus female) or instructor’s ability to give a specific type of ski lesson (e.g. moguls, freestyle). Unless you think it’s crucial to your lesson success, we’d ask that you trust us in aligning you with the right instructor.
Do you offer lessons in other languages?
On a very limited basis, we can potentially offer lessons in Spanish or Portuguese. Please inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is very important that students have a strong comprehension of the English language (unless we confirm that we have a spanish/portuguese speaker).
Do you offer nordic lessons?
No, we do not offer cross-country lessons (i.e classic or skate skiing), however, beginner telemark lessons are sometimes available on a limited basis. Please inquire at email@example.com.
Do you offer adaptive lessons for cognitive and/or physical disabilities?
No, we do not have the training, equipment, or expertise to offer these lessons, and placing a student with adaptive needs into a lesson at Snow King is a disservice to the student, the instructor, and your money. We’d instead refer you to taking a lesson with the world-class, Adaptive Program at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
If I want to write a review, what are your preferred review sites?