As relative beginners (it’s our third year) we still need lessons – FACT. We are still very much novice skiers and coupled with the fact that learning at an older age, I feel, makes it a slower process to pick up. I love it when it is going great but it only takes a slight knock and my confidence plummets so I find having an expert with me really boosts this and improves my skills (Many even accomplished skiers have advised that it is good to revisit as it helps curb any bad habits).
The last couple of years we have booked Ella in to ski-school for a week. We send her off in the morning and then meet her at lunch and head out together in the afternoon. She has picked up some good skills and gained confidence on the slopes which is great to see. Children trust their teachers and she likely tackled some of the runs that I would have been too scared to take her down.
However, I think as she is on her own with a group of strangers she has not particularly enjoyed her time away from us – (if she was with friends that would be totally different) – and she has said she cannot always hear/understand what is being asked of her. Last year it was only at the end of the week she told us she had really missed us during some of the lessons and had felt a little upset. As parents that pulls at the heart strings massively. Mr TWB, in particular, hated dropping her off as there were so many children in tears (not ours I hasten to add) but as a result he now calls it the sound of abandonment.
Now don’t get me wrong – it has been fine the last two years but we decided this year to try something different.
I think me and my husband are pretty equal in ability, he may go a bit faster, I might be more cautious but have slightly better technique so we balance out. Ella, I feel is pretty brilliant, confident, able and bendy so if she does fall over she bounces back like a bungee. I was hesitant about getting private lessons for us all together wondering how all our abilities would be accommodated but nothing ventured…….
So, as we had used ESF in the past I went straight to their website. I feel they are a trusted brand for instruction in France and offer great value for money too. As I mentioned, I was hesitant so I picked up the phone to discuss our requirements and the person on the end of the phone was brilliant and gave me the confidence that an instructor for different ages would work. I then booked 5 x 1.5hour lessons for our stay in Les Deux Alpes.
On our arrival day we went to the office and were advised our instructor was Andreas and where we should meet him the following day. We arrived with 10 minutes to spare and he was already there waiting for us. He then took us up a slope close to the main office for a few runs to ascertain our ability and then we went up on the lift to the main area.
Over the next few days I feel Andreas really brought the best out of us. If any of us hit a wall in either ability or confidence he was right by us. I loved the fact that he made us all work on different things and could point out our bad points as well as complimenting us on the things we were getting right. I was worried that one/all of us would be held back by the least able person but this was absolutely not the case. If he thought one of us could go a bit ahead he would push that person on and stay with another whilst they concentrated on technique at a slower pace.
Over the week I had a couple of wobbles when we were out in the morning (without Andreas) but within 10-15 minutes of being back under his guidance my confidence and technique would right itself again – I think it is key to be honest with your instructor about how you are feeling.
When, on the penultimate day, I fell and picked up an injury I was really struggling and in a lot of pain and he really helped me get back down the mountain. I was really concerned that this would put me back and whilst I didn’t ski again I am not worried about how this will affect me next time. In addition, whilst he assisted me – Nigel and Ella were not left – he still gave them tasks and skills to work on so I didn’t feel guilty about them missing out.
On the final day Nigel and Ella had a great afternoon and Andreas made sure that Ella qualified for her next badge level and she even managed a red run which if she had just been with us would never happened.
Ella loved Andreas, she said he was kind and funny and she liked that he concentrated on her. She has said she would definitely prefer private lessons in the future, be that with us or with her own group of friends. I loved Andreas too and he definitely enhanced my ability during the week.
So how do the costs compare? If we had booked a 5 morning group lesson for Ella and a 5 morning group lesson for us adults the prices are as below.
Children Group Lessons = 188 Euros each
Adult Group Lessons = 188 Euros each
Total cost 564 Euros
Private group lesson – 5 days of 1.5 hours = 525 Euros.
So it actually worked out better value for us in the end.
The group lessons are longer in length – the morning ones starting at 0915 and finishing at 1200 compared to our 90 minutes but I found one of the other benefits of booking private lessons is that we could arrange to meet wherever we wanted. Rather than have to make our way back to the town and then spend quite a bit of time transferring up to the slopes we met our instructor right where we were starting to ski – maximising our time with him. Plus the more individual focussed coaching, I feel, definitely brings your skiing up to a higher level. You also get to use the fast track on all the lifts so again it felt like there was no wasted time.
Despite our initial reservations about multi-generational lessons we had a great experience and will definitely book these again.
Would love to hear your thoughts on Private vs Group lessons or if you do anything different.