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Bad experience with kids ski school ( ESF) on a Clubmed holida

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@biddpyat, this is one way of looking at it.. but by judging by what I have seen at end of the last years holiday vs this year - his skiing regressed, so I am not sure that the instruction was very helpful...he did enjoy the holiday which is of course is a mains thing.
@lordf, have done a few lessens in Hemel for him but tbh a bit too much hassle to do it too often
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@Bella2015, are there any dry slopes near you? I've always found that I learned at Hillend has been on of the biggest benefit to my skiing.
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@lordf, I am in North London..so not sure. But will check, thank you.
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My kids have progressed and at times apparently regressed - a lot of things can affect this. This might be an overly positive spin, but what you perceive as regression may well be him improving some more basic skills that were weak, and might enable faster progress next time.

I recall taking my then 5yr old for a day on blue and red runs after he'd had a few lessons, and being very pleased with how he'd coped. The next day his instructor took me aside and asked me not to take him on red runs again "you have ruined his technique, I had to start again with the basics today". if I'd been watching his lesson that day purely on green runs I'd have thought he was regressing and capable of much more... I'd possibly have got grumpy with the instructor and demanded a change and complained that he should be taught at a higher level. Fortunately I didn't, and the instructor was absolutely spot on.

The lack of honesty (or clarity if being more charitable) regarding his level is poor. The ESF apologist in me says that it's because so many (English?) parents over-rate their kids that the instructors can't be bothered to have the argument for the tenth time that day, so instead say yes and then carry on as before. Doesn't make it right, but I can see how it could happen.

From north London, Brentwood is possibly nearest to you and has some great instructors and a very good Saturday morning kids club.
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esaw1 wrote:
@biddpyat, It was my poor attempt at sarcasm. As an ex (many years ago) instructor, I wholeheartedly agree with you.


I got you entirely. Biddypat is a paddy so she is a bit daft....oh wait Laughing Laughing
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@Thornyhill, I lost all sympathy at
Quote:

Transitioning to a new environment


Purleeeaaase
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Frosty the Snowman wrote:
@Thornyhill, I lost all sympathy at
Quote:

Transitioning to a new environment


Purleeeaaase
🏂👍
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@Frosty the Snowman and all - really no need for mockery here. You may not be aware but some children ( especially those with any type of additional needs) find changing of routine and transitions really hard..so if it does not affect you or anyone you know, consider yourselves lucky - but some tolerance would not go amiss
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@snowdave, thank you. Will look into Brentwood.

On a separate note - I would trust ESF levels more if the placement was not so seemingly random -see below from my original post:
On arrival we have been asked questions to determine the childrenís ski level. Our son who is 7 yrs old had previously skied twice and passed level Yeti 1 with Evolution 2 ski school last year, so was placed in 1st star. At the same time his friend who also came with us was for some reason was placed in 3 star level despite the fact that she only passed a lower Petit Yeti level last year.
Btw we also took both of these kids to Hemel before holiday and they were the same level...yesterday she ended in 3 star and my son in Flocons... weird
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@Bella2015, your son was not attentive on his first day and suffered demotion to a lower class as a result.
You then let this ruin your holiday and you fell out with several people in the process. I was not mocking, but I was quoting a phrase that made me think that part of this is of your making. Hasn't everyone suffered from a poor ski school week with kids?

At 7 yrs old it's child care with skiing thrown in......It is not about badges. Stop being so intense, chill your beans and try and figure out how you let that trash your holiday.
We have had some pretty bad stuff happen on holidays, and yes we have skied several times with kids with issues, and usually with a lad with severe cerebral palsy, but in a dozen holidays we always had a brilliant time.
Try a different mind set next time.
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@Frosty the Snowman, erm.. I have never said my holiday was ruined...I said we all still had quite a good time , my son included..despite the episode with ESF which I still feel was handled poorly by them. Thatís all it is, really
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Quote:
( with such snow conditions - how can one have a bad holiday!). However our experience was spoilt by a really bad experience with our older childs ski lessons

I'm glad you had quite a good time. Perhaps I misinterpreted
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@Bella2015, I think@Frosty the Snowman, has got a valid point.

Maybe it would be better to bow out at this stage and have a better time next holiday.
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You know it makes sense.
Come on guys.

Personally, @Bella2015, thank you for sharing your experience and warning. It is much appreciated, by me, at least.

I know how much effort I put into trying to make the ski holidays a great experience for my girls and this sort of info is very useful in helping to achieve that.
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@NickyJ, how will the experiences of @Bella2015, influence your future planning

@Bella2015, is there anything you would have done differently now, with hindsight?

I think there is the potential for a good thread here.
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Frosty the Snowman wrote:
@NickyJ, how will the experiences of @Bella2015, influence your future planning

@Bella2015, is there anything you would have done differently now, with hindsight?

I think there is the potential for a good thread here.


I have considered Club Med before and TBH wonít now purely because of the numbers of children they put into one lesson group. That is far too many and if you pay for separate lessons that makes the price overall far less attractive. When I had looked at Club Med I hadnít appreciated the numbers they are cramming into a lesson (became very used to Espritís policy and stupidly assumed similar).
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NickyJ wrote:
Frosty the Snowman wrote:
@NickyJ, how will the experiences of @Bella2015, influence your future planning

@Bella2015, is there anything you would have done differently now, with hindsight?

I think there is the potential for a good thread here.


I have considered Club Med before and TBH wonít now purely because of the numbers of children they put into one lesson group. That is far too many and if you pay for separate lessons that makes the price overall far less attractive. When I had looked at Club Med I hadnít appreciated the numbers they are cramming into a lesson (became very used to Espritís policy and stupidly assumed similar).


A reasonable suggestion I think, as the options of 12 in a class or private lessons isn't ideal. By limiting class size to 8 Esprit has far increased the likelihood of quality group lessons. 12 in a group can work if everything goes to plan, but the scope for individual attention drops off markedly over 8 IME.

Perhaps it's worth letting tour ops know that class size in lessons is important.
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@balernoStu, the club med pricing structure include the lessons as part of the package if you donít use them you are still effectively paying for them. If you end up paying for other group lessons or private they become uncompetitive IMO.

When looking at the whole in price comparison they were looking tempting so as I said I am really glad the OP posted as the actual specifics of the issue is from what I am reading a direct result of just having far too big a class sizes. Things will go wrong for some with that size of group.
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esaw1 wrote:
@Bella2015, I think@Frosty the Snowman, has got a valid point.

Maybe it would be better to bow out at this stage and have a better time next holiday.


It would be interesting to get the ESF instructors side of the story in this. I imagine it would be very different.
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NickyJ wrote:
@balernoStu, the club med pricing structure include the lessons as part of the package if you donít use them you are still effectively paying for them. If you end up paying for other group lessons or private they become uncompetitive IMO.


Yes agreed. By "options" I meant between the packaged group lessons or paying considerably more for additional private lessons.
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Hi all, just wanted to stress that there are a lot of positives in Clubmed holidays for kids - my older son really enjoyed the mini club and the shows and other activities they put on... The class size is a definite downside of it all, but it did work for my other friends kids - they mostly have either daughters or somewhat older sons... also clubmed is usually ski in ski out, which means you donít need to shlep around with skis and kids... so even after this issue with my sons lessons, I donít fully discount the possibility to go Clubmed again if I find a good deal. As we paid £3600 for 4 and they offer private lessons from 50 euros per hour, I feel I could have done a combination of private and group lessons for my son and it would still be competitive in terms of price and also a better experience for him..
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@Bella2015, out of interest, although it appeared random to you, was the friend in 3 star actually at the right level or did they have huge problems keeping up and have to move down 2 classes?

Separately I think you've previously indicated that one of your kids has ADHD and "dys-everything" (apologies if I misunderstood a previous post). Was this the same child that struggled in a large group lesson? If so, you might want to consider private for a more tailored offering.
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Our kids went to club med twice ( 20 odd years ago) , once in Les Menuires and once in Villars. Both times with grandparents along. I hated the whole experience. Learned zero in the so called lessons which were basically follow me, ( i was put in the competition group for some reason and also just played follow the leader) I don't know how ESF allocate their instructors to CLub Med, but I wouldn't be reaching out to them for a private that's for sure!

Every trip since has been independent with English instructors. Kids have learned so much better, but if they don't want to learn, they don't want to learn. We've had times when they simply didn't want to go to lessons, we didn't force them, and just skied with them, then back in lesson the next day. He has now thanked me for it 10 years and 2 full seasons later!
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FWIW I have a Son with Dyspraxia and when he was young, got him lessons with Woody (Neil Woodward), who now works with Progression Ski, in Val D'Isere.

He is very patient and totally "bomb proof"....and struck up a splendid relationship with my Son, who was around 7 and very shy and quiet. He even invited him (at no cost to me), to join a private lesson he was giving to a British girl of the same age, on our last day. She was from a family who lived there and had a lesson every Sat....and Woody thought she'd welcome the company.
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We had a bad experience with our kids with ESF in Les Gets, a few years ago. They refunded our whole weeks worth of lessons and didn't quibble at all about it. In that respect they dealt with the issue very well. I wouldn't use them again though.
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@snowdave, the girl that was put in 3 star level, actually did surprisingly well. She did stay in this class and as a result has progressed very well during the week. That said, she is very mature for her age, good in following instructions and determined -so despite them having similar skiing ability at the start of the week I would never expect my son to keep up with 3 star level, and never asked him to be put in that group.

With regards to your other question - he does have ADHD but did manage quite well in group lessons in the previous two years and even this time , apart from a bad first day , nobody actually complained about him being difficult or disruptive during the rest of the week. But will indeed look into private lessons for him whenever possible .
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@endoman, I have had some good and bad experiences with ESF instructors, so wouldnít generalise.

@Old Fartbag, thanks that is very useful info. do you know if this instructor would work in Tignes as well? Do you have a contact for him?

@porkpiefox, this sounds encouraging.. I donít have much hope for a refund but would be good.
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Bit concerning this thread as Iím about to pay for 6 days lessons for my family with ESF. Is it literally a case of pot luck for who you get?
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@DanFuller, are there any other ski school companies in the resort? Maybe worth asking for recommendations first?
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A peak are available I believe (Montgenevre).

Most of the older threads Iíve searched on have good reviews for both ESF and A peak but these are maybe 4 years old.
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Bella2015 wrote:


@Old Fartbag, thanks that is very useful info. do you know if this instructor would work in Tignes as well? Do you have a contact for him?


When I used him, he worked for Snowfun.

If you want to book him for a private, ring Progression Ski and ask for contact details.....and I'm sure that arrangements could be made about where to meet....they do say they cover Tignes. It may depend on his schedule and how long he has between lessons.
http://www.progressionski.com/contact/

http://www.progressionski.com/booking/

In the past, I've had instructors from Val, while staying in Tignes. We met at the top of what used to be the Aeroski (now replaced). It all just depends where he will want to take him and where is a suitable place to leave him off, if he's short of time. You may have to be at an allocated place.

Anyway, see what they can do for you....and let me know how you get on.
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@Old Fartbag, thank you. Much appreciated. Will contact him if decide to go to Tignes ( or Val) again
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DanFuller wrote:
A peak are available I believe (Montgenevre).

Most of the older threads Iíve searched on have good reviews for both ESF and A peak but these are maybe 4 years old.


You will get better responses on a separate thread but certainly a look at A peaks website they have a max of 8 children per class which IMO is something to insist on.
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We also had a dreadful experience with ESF /club med in L2a. The attitude of our instructor, actually put my children back several years and they developed a fear of skiing, that they previously loved. I was livid. They didnít give two hoots about the lessons they were meant to be teaching
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DanFuller wrote:
Bit concerning this thread as Iím about to pay for 6 days lessons for my family with ESF. Is it literally a case of pot luck for who you get?


I can only say that whether ESF works or not depends on your kids and you. You need to appreciate that the groups are bigger, so they are less tolerant of students who don't tow the line, whether this is not listening and following instructions or in the case of younger kids having a cry. The instructors are pretty "brutal" from a Anglo perspective. Our older girls did their first lessons with ESF at L2A when we stayed through Mark Warner. It was mixed. They were 4 and 5 at the time. Both missed a day, the older because she wanted a break and the younger because she fell out with an instructor (strong willed and immovable - like two tectonic plates).

The next year we skied out of La Tania and put the girls in with Sweet Snow school who were fantastic. The difference was amazing and the girls enjoyed it a whole lot more! The same year we put our youngest sone (aged 3) with ESF. He lasted 1.5 days - he wasn't ready, but they were awful. 2 instructors with somewhere around 20 kids aged 3 to 5. Kids bawling and being set aside and ignored. It was a clusterf*ck. We resolved that our kids just aren't suited to ESF.
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If you havenít paid yet - defo change. My kids experience wasnít an isolated event. I know occasionally you hear of people having a good experience, but generally ESF doesnít offer a fraction of the care and attention the independents offer. We have had such amazing experiences with, magic in motion, oxygene and prosneige - love love ce love them all
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We have had great ESF experiences for 6 seasons now, but we and our children speak French. If they didn't, we would have used an Anglophone school. I think it's as simple as that, to be honest.

The ESF classes are a mirror of the way French schools teach. It works, but it's a different cultural perspective. Just because an ESF moniteur speaks English doesn't mean they understand how British or American kids learn.

I've taken a few ESF private lessons and they're pretty good, but again, it helps to speak French, or at least enough to engage the instructors.
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FrediKanoute wrote:
DanFuller wrote:
Bit concerning this thread as Iím about to pay for 6 days lessons for my family with ESF. Is it literally a case of pot luck for who you get?


They were 4 and 5 at the time. Both missed a day, the older because she wanted a break and the younger because she fell out with an instructor (strong willed and immovable - like two tectonic plates.


This sounds like a description of my kids. One is more opinionated than any adults I know.
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I had a similar issue a couple of years ago with my son, he was in the wrong group, flocon I think, and he was so bored he didnít even pass the level at the end of the week!

But next trip that same season we were in a different resort and I just skipped the level he should have done and booked him into a higher class and he did fine. It was fun going back to the original resort the following year and booking him in 3 levels above the one they had failed him in. ďNo, ees not posseeble..Ē Oh yes it is!
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Iíve only experienced CM ESF leading my adult group. It was clear the poor guy was near the bottom of the ESF food chain. Watching him open his Ďenvelopesí under the table during the final dinner was tragic
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