A skier or snowboarder’s first time on the mountain can set the tone for years.
A good experience can lead to many return trips. But if skiers have a miserable experience their first time out, it can ruin the sport for life.
It’s no surprise that Jamie Zolber, the director of Bogus Basin’s Ski and Snowboard School, is a huge fan of setting up newcomers with lessons. In his mind, it’s the best way to set them up to succeed.
“We encourage anybody to take lessons if they’re new to the sport,” Zolber said. “They can call the school and they can visit our website for some really basic information. We’ve got a lot of people on staff here that would love to talk to anybody about how to get into the sports of skiing and snowboarding.”
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Don’t have any equipment? No problem. The Passport Program, designed for beginners only, will set you up with boots, skis and poles, in addition to lessons and a season pass. This season, the Winter Passport is $249 and the Spring Passport is $229.
“It’s a heck of a price point and it includes everything you need for the sport,” Zolber said.
But lessons aren’t just for beginners.
Bogus has lessons aligned with the Passport Program. So if your spouse is just beginning but you have a few years of experience, there are options for you rather than going it alone. The All-Mountain Experience is for skiers 12 and older, and it’s available for all abilities.
“It’s a chance to step up your game a little bit,” Zolber said.
Other programs include the Backside Bashers, designed for intermediate to expert skiers 18 and older who want to enjoy a group experience while taking on the back side of Bogus, and the Xtreme Team, a series of clinics for 7- to 17-year-olds that includes time on the terrain park.
Bottom line? There are a number of ways to learn to keep up with that 4-year-old you’ll see zooming around the mountain after his or her lessons.
“It’s pretty cool to see the youngsters, who are learning about the world as it is, to be able to ski and cruise around the mountain independently,” Zolber said.
Here’s a roundup of information about ski lessons in the area:
Bogus offers daily and private lessons in addition to its weekly programs. Private lessons can be arranged for skiers from 3 years old to adult, and reservations are recommended.
Brundage is launching a new program this season. The VIP Beginner Learning Program offers four pay-as-you-go lessons for ages 8 and older. The lessons can be a combination of private and group lessons. Once the four lessons are complete, the skier receives a season pass.
Brundage will offer free lift tickets on its beginner chairlift. Easy Street will be free all season long.
Sun Valley’s SnowSport School has been teaching skiers since 1936. Approximately 300 instructors provide private and group lessons on Bald and Dollar mountains. Specialty programs include FreeRide (for ages 6 to 17), Divas (developed by women for women) and the Silver Turns (open to skiers 50 and older).
Web: sunvalley.com (Under the “Things to Do” tab)
Where: 2 1/2 hours east of Boise
While Tamarack continues to build its weekly programs, much of its focus is on private lessons and building relationships between instructors and skiers. Special programs include Trailblazers (group lessons for kids who already ski), Women’s Wednesday and Silver Ski (50 and older skiers looking for a little adventure — or powder).