Choosing the right ski school in Verbier for your kids can be a daunting experience with a plethora of ski schools and a variety of offers to choose from.
Kids can take ski lessons as early as age 3 and this is often skiing is the first organized multi-hour sports activity they take part in. We all know it takes some time to get kids to love skiing - the cold, the separation anxiety, and perhaps even a couple of falls in the early days. Therefore is important to pick a ski school where the ski instructors not only know how to teach ski but love educating children too.
Not all ski schools are created equal, not all ski instructors are good kids ski instructors either. Here are some important questions to ask when you are looking for a ski school in Verbier to find the best one!
Do you allow children to ride the chairlift without an adult?
When you are booking a private kids' ski lesson you don't need to worry, the instructor-to-kid ratio is small and your kids are going to be attended to at every chairlift. However, with group ski lessons, the situation can be a whole lot different and children will need to hop on the lift with complete strangers.
How much of the day will the children be skiing? Are there any breaks?
2.5 to 4-year-olds
Often early-ski-school programs for toddlers are a mix of kindergarten on snow and a ski lesson - and this is how it should be - children learn better through play. Some of the children will be more excited about building a snowman, watching the magic carpet roll, and the hot chocolate break more than skiing. However, It is important that they keep their skis on for the majority of the lesson and get a few laps in as little bunnies, tigers, or airplanes. Even if they are a little sassy about skiing in the early days, it's important they get used to the sensation of snow and gain confidence. At the end of the day, what is important is that their love for skiing is kindled instead of shattered into pieces. We also recommend booking maximum half-day lessons. They will be ready for the afternoon nap after the lesson.
4 to 6-year-olds and up
This is the age group where you can switch up to all-day lessons if your children are not complete beginners. At this age, most kids are ready to spend the majority of their day outside skiing and will be happy to do so. Our instructors will plan for a morning hot chocolate break to warm up, a longer lunch break with a little mid-day fun such as snowman building, and a late afternoon snack to maintain the sugar levels.
Communicate the level of your kids with the ski school
You can review our ski level guide to identify your child's skiing abilities. When you meet your instructor for the first time make sure you share with them your child's strengths and weaknesses and perhaps a couple of insights of their past lessons to help them quickly onboard with your kids and teach them new skills.
How to prepare my child for the ski lesson mentally?
There will be a lot of unknowns and scary things. If your child has an older sibling it is always comforting. If not and this is the first time for your small family we recommend getting them acquainted with the experience by starting off with reading a children's book about skiing. This will create a positive memory with their book heroes they will look forward to experiencing themselves. To avoid sensory overload for toddlers, make them try on and wear ski boots, skis, and a helmet before the first big day. And finally, the idea of a hot chocolate break with an instructor is always comforting.
Some ski schools offer pre-lesson meetings
When you book a private ski lesson with a Snow family, on request our instructors can meet your kids before the lesson at your chalet. Invite your ski instructor to join your kids for the breakfast to ease the tension on the first day.
Dressing up or dressing down is a forever question.
When you send your child to a ski lesson make sure you dress them appropriately. Getting them good quality waterproof coats, pants and mittens are most important following warm mid-layers and neck warmers. Whilst back protectors are not mandatory they are strongly recommended so are the helmets.
How much pocket money does my child need?
If it's a half-day lesson we recommend stocking your child's pocket with 10 francs which is sufficient for a hot chocolate break for 1 child. In case of a full-day lesson, most parents prefer a family lunch at one of the mountain restaurants. If not, 50 francs should be sufficient for the morning hot chocolate break, afternoon snack, and a mini self-service warm meal for lunch.
Questions to ask your ski instructor at the end of the lesson
If it is not obvious (for example the beginner slope) what terrain did you ski today and what terrain will you ski next? What skills did you work on during the ski lesson that day? Be patient, sometimes it takes days to hone a single skill, and progression is measured by confidence or even enjoyment. And finally what skills did they do great at, and where do they need more help? Asking these questions provides you with insight into the lesson dynamics and most importantly confidence they are progressing and your lessons are worth the investment.
Snow family Verbier is running safe and fun kids' private lessons staffed with experienced snow sports professionals specializing in childhood ski education. If you are still looking for a ski school, you are off to a great start.
See you on the slopes,
Snow family Team