Childrens Ski School or private lessons?


Children skiing down a mountainShould I choose private lessons or ski schools for my children?  What age can children start skiing? What's best for my child? There are a number of options open as to teaching your child to ski.  There are many professional instructors in the ski resorts who offer lessons for children as young as 3-4 years in anything from a private individual lesson to a structured class with a group of potential new playmates. 

The key, we believe, is to firstly to manage your own expectations.  It's likely that the littlest of skiers may only a couple of hours on the slopes and if they have never been before, you may not know how well they are going to adapt.  Before booking ski lessons for your children, have a read of our guide to kids ski lessons, and consider what might be best for your child. 

Children's Group Classes with ski schools

With ski companies such as Neilson you can prebook ski lessons through the local ski schools.  These are special structured group lessons and can start from 3-4 years.  In these ski classes children are initially seperated by age, but be aware that they may change their groups as the lessons progress depending on ability.  Therefore, if you planned to holiday with other children of the same age, there's a chance they won't stay in the same group. 

Of course it's a great opportunity to make new friends, but you need to be sure of your child's confidence should they find themselves in a group of children where they (initially) don't know anyone.

Remember that you don't have to book your ski school through the travel company, you can search around for one that suits you best. has an excellent directory of english speaking ski schools with information on lessons available and prices.  Through these you can find structured classes as well as private lessons.

Ski Lessons for 3 to 4 year olds

Ski schools for children start from 3 or 4 years old depending on the resort.  One of the Kinder Hotels in Austria actually has ski lessons for 2 year olds!

Neilson recommend that you don't book the full ski lessons for children under 5 ahead of your holiday.  They recommend special shorter duration ski kindergarten sessions to begin with and you have the option to book full days once you are sure they will cope and settle.  Generally ski schools are well aware of the capabilities and stanima of young children and their lessons are structured and adapated as such.

You can visit the Neilson website for information on their prebookable lessons here.

Private Lessons

A more expensive, but a more personal option is to book private lessons for your children.  Generally private lessons are costed for 1 to 3 children.  At times, these are available only when group classes aren't running (i.e. lunchtimes) but you can probably find one to suit your needs and if you are going off peak, you can probably pick your times.  Check out the directory from for ski private lessons given in english.

Before you go

If you live close to one of the UK's snow centres, you could consider some lessons there first.  It would give your child opportunity to experience the equipment and the feel of being on the snow, before you book your ski holiday. has a directory of snow slopes in the UK.

Ski lessons feedback

Do you have any experience of children's ski lessons?  If so, we'd love to hear from you.  Contact us and send us your thoughts.  We'd love to publish them for other parents to benefit.

Photo courtesy of Boolve via flickr.