Ski and board lessons are not just for beginners: they can be hugely beneficial for even the most advanced skiers. But what can riding lessons in Tignes and Val d’Isere really offer you?
We caught up with Joe from TDC: The Development Centre, a ski coaching company in Tignes and Val d’Isere, to ask all the questions that you might have if you’re considering having lessons while on your ski holiday.
What are the benefits of getting ski/board lessons?
“The obvious benefit is to get better and feel more comfortable in different terrain, be that conquering your first black run, learning to enjoy moguls, or how to manage different types of snow off-piste. All of this may not necessarily be technical know-how, but just different mindsets and ways to approach things.
But there’s also all the added extras that riding with an instructor brings. A good instructor will know the resort like the back of their hand, they will know what time of day to hit which slopes for the best conditions, which areas to avoid that get busy, which lifts are slower or faster to get you around the mountain. They will also be more than willing to give you all the resort low down on where to go for Apres or which restaurants offer the best views or food.
And did we mention skipping lift queues!! Yep, that’s right! the majority of the lifts in Tignes and Val d’Isere have priority lanes for instructors and their groups. Quicker laps, more turns!!”
Are ski/board lessons only for beginners?
“Absolutely not! There’s always something to learn.
We actually find that the majority of our guests feel like their skiing has either stagnated, they have hit a plateau and are looking for some help to give them that little extra push; or they are looking to learn and develop their off-piste technique and ability.
At The Development Centre the instructors try to take Friday afternoons to give each other lessons, and we always come away from a session feeling like an extra string has been added to our bow.”
Can you teach an old dog new tricks?
“Funny story… last winter there were two dads/brothers that were secretly taking lessons in the snowpark without the knowledge of each other doing so because they wanted to out do each other and impress their kids. Both of them progressed more than they, their kids, and even their instructors would have initially expected… the kids couldn’t believe it when the dads showed up hitting the jumps and doing tricks.”
What are the benefits of private vs group lessons?
“The first thing that you’ll notice as a customer is the price difference… but put that to aside for a moment.
Think about how you learn. How do you take on information? Private lessons obviously get you 100% of the instructor’s focus. This could be great, but not everybody learns best in that environment. Some people prefer to listen and sit in the background a little, observing, in a group lesson. Others may need that extra attention and like to have things explained meticulously, or be very nervous, in which case a private lesson is a must.”
Is there a nice social side to skiing in a group?
“I think in the very early stages of skiing and snowboarding it can be really nice to have that camaraderie of the group. But there is no doubt that at the beginning you will get up and running quicker with private lessons.
One thing is for sure big groups of 10+ people per instructor are not the most productive…. always ask the ski school what the maximum number they take with an instructor is. We like to limit it to 6 per instructor at a maximum.”
How many days of ski/board lessons would you recommend?
“You never stop learning, whilst in the early stages of your skiing/snowboarding careers you may need a little extra help. Even later on, 1 or 2 sessions spread over the week can give even the most seasoned pro a few pointers and things to think about to help propel their riding.”
Do you need to have a lift pass if you’re coming for lessons?
“If you can already ski/ride then yes. But one of the great things about Tignes and Val d’isere is that both resorts offer free nursery slopes to learn on. Even the quickest learner will be able to save the expense of a lift pass for the first day or two.”
How good/how many weeks experience do you need before trying off-piste skiing with an instructor?
“The more experience and skills you have on piste, the easier the transition to soft and varied snow off piste is going to be. There is a lot more than just technique involved, it’s getting the correct snow and terrain correct that make the transition more enjoyable.
That being said for our Intro to Off Piste courses we recommend a strong red run skier level to attend.”
Looking for lessons for Christmas week, New Years week, or February Half Term? TDC still have spaces in some of their clinics, including their Teen Academy and Teen Devils group.
And if you’re keen to explore the world of off piste, TDC are running Off Piste Adventure courses in January and March.
And it doesn’t stop there – there’s still plenty of space on lots of their different courses this season.
To book or for more information on TDC go to: https://www.tdcski.com/