Do I Need Ski Lessons First Time? (Group Vs. Private)


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When I was a novice skier, the first question that came to mind was whether or not ski lessons would help. Since then, I’ve come up with different answers depending on who you ask.

The simple answer is “yes” and “no.” Any professional will tell you to take ski lessons because it helps your progression dramatically. But an experienced skier would say that one can learn quickly by watching others or through trial-and-error on the bunny slopes.

There are many reasons why ski instructors exist: to help novices learn quickly, offer expert tips for advanced skiers, prevent injury, and keep things fun. 

On the other hand, there are many factors taken into consideration. In this article, I’ll answer the question “Do I need ski lessons?” in full detail from my experience.

Can I Ski Without Lessons?

In a word, yes. You can learn to ski without lessons by watching big mountain ski videos on Youtube or getting help from friends or family. Either way, it’s all about talent and how much time you’re willing to put into perfecting your technique. However, if you want to make serious headway in skiing, then lessons are an absolute must.

When I was starting off, I took skiing for granted because my dad taught me how to ski when I was seven years old. However, after watching an eight-year-old girl effortlessly turn on the slope, it became apparent that skiers have been sorted into certain categories of ski learning.

The first category is these skiers are born with skiing experience, to put it bluntly. They are geniuses at skiing that can ski extremely difficult runs without even trying. And these people don’t need lessons because they already know everything.

The second category is natural-born learners who pick up new things very quickly. They had never skied before but watched Youtube videos and figured out how to ski. They don’t need ski lessons because they’re already a natural at learning on their own.

The third category is the group I fall into: people who had prior experience with skiing but didn’t learn properly and needed help. They used ski lessons from their family and friends to get their form back, which helped a lot, but they still had a long way to go.

Do I need Ski Lessons First Time?

Do I need Ski Lessons First Time

Yes, you do. It’s obvious that professional instructors will help you learn quickly and with ease. They know what movements to make and when to make them- a beginner would have trouble understanding this.

However, ski lessons are not necessary right off the bat if you’re an experienced skier. Most likely, you’ll be bored by the time you’re done with your first few lessons and realize that watching someone do it is almost as good- if not better than taking lessons.

I’ll go into detail about each reason below to help you understand why ski lessons are necessary for beginners.


When skiing, the number one concern for first-time skiers is safety. Skiing can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.

An instructor’s main priority is making sure skiers are safe. If you ski to your fullest potential, then there’s no reason for injury. When I was learning, it took me three months to even get down a beginner slope because my father’s safety concern outweighed mine.  

At the same time, skiing in itself has inherent dangers that take time to overcome; an instructor will teach you to avoid these problems in advance so they won’t arise when out on the slopes. For example, proper foot placement (one foot in front of the other) helps beginners make easy turns, making getting around less stressful and exhausting. 

It also prevents injuries like sprained ankles because the skier has a better awareness of their feet.

You might be interested: A good bluetooth ski helmet does an incredible job protecting your head from injuries on slopes! 

Injury Prevention

Skiing requires a lot of pushing and straining, which isn’t good for beginners who aren’t used to being physically active. 

Do you have asthma, a heart condition? Do your muscles get sore easily? Do you have back problems or other injuries that could pop up while skiing? Do not go out there without a certified instructor by your side.

Do not risk bodily injury to save a few bucks. Even if you’re feeling fine when starting, it doesn’t mean that you will throughout the day. 

I’ve had knee pain in the morning when getting up, and by lunchtime, my legs felt like jelly and it took me hours to recover (this was before I started working out).

Faster Improvement

A run down the beginner slope is not very exciting. The first-time ski lessons can help you learn your basics without being too bored or exhausted by doing something simple. 

Do this for a few days, go on that beginner slope again, and you’ll realize how much better you are at it! Not only that, but instructors are there to correct you immediately, so you don’t repeat past mistakes.

After several classes with an instructor, their technique becomes second nature, and everything is automatic when on the slopes. 

You’ve created muscle memory which makes learning easier because your body knows what to do without thinking about it! This puts less strain on your brain, which means skiing will be more fun instead of mentally exhausting.

Useful Mountain Knowledge

If you’re a complete novice to skiing, taking an introductory lesson is highly recommended. Your instructor will teach everything there Is about the sport, including how and when to use equipment properly, rules for chair lifts, and any other information pertinent for navigating throughout resort areas.

Getting Comfortable on The Slopes

How great does it feel when you nail a new trick or ski a full run for the first time? Do you love that sensation of freedom and accomplishment? 

This requires practice, and without an instructor, you won’t get comfortable on your skis as quickly. The more ready you are, the more comfortable you will be, which means no fear or anxiety!

 An instructor can help boost your confidence by teaching you how to control yourself properly both on and off the snow.

How many Ski Lessons Does a Beginner Need?

For beginners who have never been skiing, I recommend around 4 intro lessons. Do them consecutively, so you don’t forget because once you get off the slopes, it’s an added stress if you have to relearn everything again.

You can build up your skills and learn new techniques more quickly by taking lessons in the morning. After an extended lunch break, take time to practice what you have learned with an instructor before going back for another round of training.

Group Vs. Private Ski Lessons?

child group ski lessons

Group and private ski lessons are designed for every kind of skiing, whether it be cross country, alpine touring, telemarking, etc. 

Some people love the idea of ski lessons because they think that they will somehow become a pro overnight. “I took a lesson, so now I’m going to shine.” This is not usually the case because a lot of people can’t grasp what the instructor tells them and have to take multiple lessons before making any progress.

You might want to consider a few things if you’re trying to decide whether to go for a group or a private lesson. 

Both group and private ski lessons help allow you to reach specific goals. However, if you have to just choose one, let’s take a closer look at each so you can decide which one is better for you.  

Fit your Age and Ski Experience

You will have to consider your age and your ski experience before you even avail of either group or private ski lessons. 

Teaching kids’ classes will have a different approach than teaching adult classes for group lessons. The same goes for a group of beginners and a class filled with intermediate ski enthusiasts. It is a good idea to find a group that will fit your age and experience. 

When taking private classes, you also want to know the instructor’s expertise. Is the instructor experienced in teaching kids, beginners, or even advanced skiers?

Consider your Personality

When it comes to personality, if you are the type of person who enjoys the company of other people, then you might want to go for a group lesson. You will meet new people and learn from their trials while learning how to shred. 

On the other hand, if you’re the shy type or don’t want any distractions, you should book a private ski lesson. 

Time and duration of Lessons

If you don’t have a lot of time, it is ideal to go for a private ski lesson. You can also make the most of your time with an instructor. The instructor will only focus on your needs and goals for a private ski lesson. 

In comparison, group lessons tend to have a less focused approach. The instructor will have to divide attention to the rest of the participants who took the ski lesson. 


Doing private ski lessons is a bit more expensive than doing group classes. You get to learn more from an hour of private lesson compared to an hour spent on a group class. But despite the price difference, it’s something that you still want to consider. 

However, if you are trying to save some cash and not in a hurry to learn, then private classes might not be worth it.  

Do I Need Lessons to Cross Country Ski?

Do I Need Lessons to Cross Country Ski

Between regular skiing and cross country skiing, the latter is more challenging. 

Cross country skiing is a bit different because you will navigate flat terrains, ascents, and descents. Some would even consider cross-country skiing as a means of transportation. 

So do you need a lesson for this? The logical answer is yes. There will be nuances that you will need to learn when you do cross-country skiing.

However, some individuals can also get away doing cross-country skiing with no lessons. If you’re just going to slowly walk in the woods and not deal with steep terrains, then this is a possibility. 

As a rule of thumb, judge by the type of terrain you’ll encounter. 

Final Thoughts

I hope this article helped clarify whether ski lessons are necessary. I have taken them myself, so I know from personal experience what they’re all about… well, actually, it was my dad who took the lessons, but I have been on a few slopes with him.

In conclusion, ski lessons are necessary for safety and injury prevention reasons for beginners. Do not attempt skiing without a professional by your side because it can be dangerous or even deadly if you don’t know what you’re doing. 

Do it right from the start to have a safe and memorable experience.

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Matt Scofield
Matt Scofield

Hi! I’m Matt, an adventure freak who lives and breathes the great outdoors. Spending time under the open sky always appealed to me, even as a kid. Perhaps that’s why I liked camping with my dad so much. The days spent hiking and the nights around the campfire are times I’ll cherish forever.

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