As temperatures plummeted this week and the snow started to accumulate, I realized that fall is coming to an abrupt end and winter is practically upon us. While I’d love to dream that my ski season will be nothing but face shots and untracked lines, the reality is that I’ve got 5 young kids, so I’ll be spending a fair share of my time reminding them to slow down, coaching them down harder terrain, and of course, drinking lots and lots of hot cocoa!

Kid covered in snow

Luckily, I know that our days on the bunny hill are limited, and since our goal is to raise a family of great skiers, the faster we can get our kids’ skills to improve the better. 

And even though the lifts aren’t open yet, now is the time to come up with a plan for how you want your kids to improve their skiing this season. 

What are your goals for your kids this ski season?

Kids skiing down a ski trail

Unless your kids are competitive skiers, ski goals may not be something you’ve thought a lot about. I mean, I’m guessing that we all want our kids to be amazing skiers who can gracefully ski any line on the mountain, but what exactly does the progression to get there look like?

I recommend taking a look at where your kids were last season with their skiing and then setting both a realistic goal and a harder stretch goal for how you’d like them to improve this year. 

Check out our article about how to know if your kids are ready for harder terrain if you need some help. 

What’s the difference between ski lessons and a ski program?

Ski & Ride School instructor with child and parent

Ski and snowboard lessons usually just last for one day. Kids are with the same teacher and group of kids for the day, but if they sign up for another day, they’ll be with different kids and likely a different teacher.

Ski programs are geared toward locals and are designed to build unity and really work on skill progression. Kids will ski with the same teachers and classmates every week. That way, they really get to know and trust everyone in the group, and each week it’s easy to jump in right where they left off before. 

Ski programs can be anything from a multi-day instructional program to a season-long competitive team. 

Should I sign my kids up for individual ski or snowboard lessons or for a program?

The decision to sign your kids up for a program or just lessons depends on what you want the outcome to be. If you just want to have a few fun days a year on the mountain, then lessons are the way to go. If you’re from out of town and are just visiting Solitude on a ski trip, regular ski or snowboard lessons are your best option as well since they can be really flexible with your schedule.

Ski instructors ready for lessons

If you’re within driving distance to Solitude, and are really trying to develop your kids into great skiers, then a program is the way to go. This route is actually cheaper than signing up for individual day lessons, and there are programs that are as short as three weeks (available on Saturdays or Sundays). As a former ski instructor and ski mom of 5, I can attest to the fact that kids learn significantly more in ski programs than in lessons taken over the course of a season. While instructors in both are trained the same way, kids make a lot more progress when they have a consistent teacher every time. Teachers quickly learn each child’s strengths and weaknesses and can help build on those week after week. Kids also seem to be much more comfortable in ski programs because they get to know the other kids. Instead of attending ski school with a group of strangers, they go to their program with their new friends.

If you want your kids to have the benefits of a ski program, but with a different schedule, you can call the Solitude Ski & Ride School to discuss what private instruction options are available. 

What are the options for single-day lessons at Solitude Ski & Ride School?

The options for lessons at Solitude track closely with your child’s age since there is a strong correlation between age and how long kids can spend on the snow. All of Solitude’s children’s instructors are specifically trained to instruct kids.

Kid learning to ski down slope

Mini Explorers, Ages 3-4

Mini Explorers is for the littlest skiers and includes a combination of skiing and playtime. Half- and full-day lessons are available, and there is a maximum of two kids per class.

Junior Explorers, Ages 5-6

Junior Explorers is designed to really help your kids’ skills take off. Half- and full-day lessons are available, and there is a maximum class size of four. 

Explorers, Ages 7-12

Explorers is designed to help improve skills through lots of feedback, interaction, and games, with a maximum of eight kids per class.

Teens, Ages 13-17

Solitude’s teen lessons are set up to really focus on teaching correct form and skills while helping students progress in a fun team environment. 

Private Lessons

If you want your child to have one-on-one attention, or possibly the same teacher over a period of several days (one of the best benefits of ski programs), then private lessons are a good option. While they do cost more than group lessons, your student will receive customized instruction the entire time. If you have specific requests or concerns, call the Solitude Ski & Ride School 801.536.5730.

What are the options for programs at Solitude?

Solitude offers several different programs ranging from multi-week instruction all the way to elite youth ski teams. If you’re interested in participating in a ski team, sign up soon as prices go up on November 17.

Kids skiing on groomed trail

Fly Like an Eagle

Fly Like an Eagle is a multi-week instructional program that lasts between 3 and 5 weeks. Kids are grouped with peers who are similar in age and skiing or snowboarding ability. Kids have the same coaches to provide consistency, and there is a big focus on helping them create relationships within the class. Available for ages 7-13.

Devo Team

Devo Team is a non-competitive, season-long ski program designed to help kids develop the skills needed to participate in Race or Big Mountain Team. This is a great option for kids who want to develop excellent skills and enjoy working together on a team. 

Big Mountain Team

Big Mountain Team is open to athletes ages 8-16 who are ready to pursue high-end, all-mountain skiing. Kids in this program need to have excellent skiing skills, which will be refined and improved as part of a competitive team. Team members focus on a variety of terrain including moguls, steeps, trees, and off-piste skiing. Members of this team compete in free-skiing competitions throughout the region.

Race Team

Solitude Race Team is a race training program led by professional certified coaches. Athletes work on both all-mountain and gate training skills to enhance their expert skiing abilities. Teams are organized by age and compete in races throughout the region. 

Contact Solitude Ski & Ride School with any questions and to register by calling 801-536-5730 or by emailing Open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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