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Are private lessons worth it for a seven year old?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
So I have a just about to turn 7 daughter who is a confident and controlled skier (happy on reds, plays on bumps, enjoys powder). The problem is ski school in a group has never worked out for us. At quiet times inevitably after a day she gets moved up into a group of similar age children, her ability but they can't speak English at that point she stops enjoying it. When we tried half term last year it was chaos and the instructor had a melt down.

I've not bothered with private lessons when she was younger as there's only so much you can 'teach' and fun on skis she can do with us. However, she's at an age now she could take instruction but I'm worried whether one on one for a day will be worth it and enjoyable for her.

We're at Kirchberg next so I'm not expecting lots of English children around.

Any thoughts or experiences?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
My wife works for our local ski school (Switzerland) and she teaches lots of private lessons for youngsters. It is beneficial, and an hour is usually sufficient at that age.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Quote:

one on one for a day

a couple of hours would be more appropriate, I'd think. A day is very heavy for such a young child.
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Mine are 4 and 5. I've put them through private lessons for a variety of reasons. It works really well, even with children much younger than yours. As others have said, a full day is too much. I've tended to go for 2hrs split either side of lunch.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Alicat, are private lessons worth it for 7yr old? Definitely yes.
All day? Definitely no.
As others have suggested: 2 hours is enough .
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I would never put anyone off getting a Private Lesson for those old enough to take instruction.

FWIW. My experience is as follows:

My 2 eldest kids were quite happy in class - but we always went in the first week after the New Year and the Class was made up of whatever English speaking kids wanted lessons, that had skied before. There usually wasn't enough of them to split into well matched groups, so it got to the stage where they weren't learning anything new - and it was then that we got them some Private lessons.

My third oldest is a bit dyspraxic, so he had private lessons with a very patient Instructor, as he wouldn't get the help he needed in a Class. As it turned out, he took it very well, which I don't think would have happened in a Class.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
We have had our nearly 9 year old in both group and privates depending on a variety of factors and circumstances

She far prefers the privates and she makes good progress, so she is happy and I get what I pay for.

But as others have said certainly 2 hours max a day and likely less at seven as privates are much more intensive than groups. No rests waiting for the group to reform at tops or bottoms on lifts or for little Johnny to be picked up after a fall. And you are always need to be concentrating as there is only you for the teacher to look at. Its a decent physical and mental toll for any skier.

Go for them.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Alicat, Why not get her Private German lessons before you go ?
This will have benefits outside her skiing life.
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@Alicat, we have lots of experience of Swiss Mountain Sports in Crans Montana - lessons 10-12 for small ones. No group bigger than five and usually 2-3. But we also had private 2 hour lessons. Brilliant for both of mine, particularly my son (who was then scouted). His first report = ‘turbulent and capricious’, and they stuck with him in an incredible way, turning him into a really committed, highly skills skier. Brilliant stuff. Thanks Yves.
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If she wants it she will benefit more in an hour or two than a whole week of ski school. I wouldn’t force it though you’ll waste your money
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Private lessons would be much more intense than group lessons.
No standing around waiting for the group to catch up, etc.
So a full day will be quite tiring. 2hours before lunch is plenty & then she can practice in the afternoon.

Have you asked her? Maybe she likes being in a group learning & making new friends. She may find the whole thing being in a private lessons quite daunting & may not enjoy it. If she is unsure, then could always do group lesson for 1st half of the week & a private lesson or 2 later in the week ready for next ski holiday.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Jonpim wrote:
Alicat, are private lessons worth it for 7yr old? Definitely yes.
All day? Definitely no.
As others have suggested: 2 hours is enough .


I'd agree. that's what we did with our kids although there were 2 of them with the instructor
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@Alicat, who does she ski with when not in lessons?

It's sounds like she just needs a a like minded/standard group to ski with rather than lots more instructions. Would that be fair?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Thanks for all the replies. Looks like we'll be sorting her out with a 2 hour private lesson. If it goes well this holiday we can then do the same again in February.

When she's not in lessons she skis with me and her dad (who boards).
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
My youngest went in ski school in Hinterglemm for her first few holidays and had a mixed time. The ski schools tended to have Dutch instructors of variable quality and kids of variable behaviour (this was half term and, therefore, not surprising!). We took both kids out completely after 3 weeks and have never looked back. It is more fun skiing as a family, they get more miles in and progress naturally and we get to see them more - which is what a holiday should be about, shouldn't it? They have both improved rapidly despite the lack of 'Instruction' and like the freedom and the increased mileage!

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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Alicat, small addition.....naturally, quality counts.

When starting boarding after 10 years of skiing Valaisgrom2 had private lessons with Alaine at Swiss Mountain Sports - who is a sports psychologist as well as boarding instructor. After 1 week of two hour lessons, Alex was carving over the whole mountain - someone stopped him and said ‘how many years have you been boarding now’ and when Alex said ‘er....four days....’ there was total disbelief. But that’s what quality instruction - a break down and building of technique - can do. Just following someone around for two hours doesn’t do it.
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@valais2, Skiing has a lot of carry over elements. Especially confidence on the slope, reading the terrain, etc. - That is where most complete beginners fall over (literally). I got a ski mate boarding all over the mountain in a week. Easy to just teach the boarding elements, since he already had the confidence about speed, spacial awareness, control, reading the snow line, picking out the ice patches & moguls, etc. Those things that come with experience. I got a few other skiing mates who want to give boarding a go.... maybe this year Toofy Grin
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
When my children were 4 & 5, over xmas they had 1 week of lessons in a group of 4 children and 1 week with just the 2 of them. We then asked them which option was better and they both agreed that private lessons together was much more fun. So since then they've always had private lessons, 2 hours per day, with the same instructor. There is now a huge skill gap between my son and his younger sister, but they'd still rather have the private lessons together, although my daughter does miss a fair few over the course of a season, which means I often get to tag along with my son.
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I always had my kids in Private lessons. Although relatively expensive, it IS worth the investment/money. You will notice an extremely rapid development, you'll be amazed at how good she becomes. Always full day, min three days out of 6. We usually try to meet for lunch either with or without the instructor and get 90 mins at the end of the day.

Just do it.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Alicat wrote:
she gets moved up into a group of similar age children, her ability but they can't speak English at that point she stops enjoying it.

Layne wrote:

It's sounds like she just needs a a like minded/standard group to ski with rather than lots more instructions. Would that be fair?

WindOfChange wrote:
@Alicat, Why not get her Private German lessons before you go ?

Very sensible suggestion


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Thu 12-12-19 17:31; edited 1 time in total
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The private instructors we've used in Austria have always spoken English, should be ok. If you are worried check with the ski school before you book. If you are going over half term, start looking/booking now.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
You ask if "lessons are worth it" for your young child. Well...that all depends on whether or not you a) want her to stay safe, learn how to be in control at all times and be overseen by a professional whose job it is to keep the kids safe and show them a good time. and b) if you want her to develope good habits and basic skills on the mountain that will assure that she knows how to take care of herself and what to practice to keep the basics fresh and improving . If that stuff doesn't matter to you.... just take her up with you and keep her in a "pizza" the whole time to keep her speed down as she may feel intimidated and scared once off the bunny slope.
I'm being sarcastic and I shouldn't be. Its just a pet peive of mine when people assume they can just go out and watch what others do and do that.... and still learn and grow as a skiier. sadly, alot of skiing isn't as intuitive as you would think. There is alot of primary skills needed to stay in the front seat, not depend on skidding your skis with each turn in order to keep your speed down and keep the proper position so that you are in front, at the ready and able to respond to changes in terrain and snow as they come.

The money and time you invest in lessons will always come back to you. They help create good habits and .... they give you a chance to make friends. Now with that said... having a class of kids that do not speak your childs language is a setting her up to fail! It's so important for her to be able to talk, joke, laugh and share their ups and downs of the day with other kids. If I were you I would take the manager of the ski school aside and beg them to find a group close to your kids level (or slower) and ask him to please please please let her ski with that instructor that speaks english and has the other 3 kids in the place that also do. Even one will do. Otherwise... go sledding and come back on a day when she can lesson with other english speaking kids. Maybe talk some friends into putting their kids in lessons while you ski with the parents... maybe go out of your way to make that kind of friend there so that both your kids will benefit.

At our house, EVERYONE takes lessons the first day out (even those of us who have been skiing for a while) and ....our kids take as many as we are able to afford that year (we save and consider this essential part of the cost of our trip that we can' t do without...we will even stay a few less days if we must so that we can ski in lessons as much as we need).... sorry to be so long winded and adament aobut this topic. But I learned to ski after seeing snow for the first time at age (gulp)...40! I fell in love with the sport and even moved to a resort so I could work in child care and take free lessons as part of the employee perks! I would never dream of putting my kid or my friends on the snow without them being in lessons first. its just not safe.

Good luck and you wont regret it down the road when she zooms past you making perfect carved turns down a steep as she laughs at your white knuckles and skidding skis.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
skierwannaBDV either you're a troll or are completely unable to read a question.
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Um. not a troll. and I see... the question wasn't about lesson or not to lesson, but private lesson or not ?? sorry. You're correct Boater Rich. I can't read a question. : ( (just get crazy when someone thinks lessons are a waste of money... i'll be quiet now. sorry. carry on).
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I would say that if you can afford private lessons, do it. Our kids were fine in group lessons but one year we calculated that a 2 hour private ESF lesson for 2 kids was the same or maybe even a smidge less than daylong group lessons but they got more attention and probably even more slope time. The advantage to group lessons is that as a parent you actually get some time to yourself... Toofy Grin
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Lots of good advice here, and I’d agree the answer is yes for private if she’s getting frustrated with the group lessons. The last thing you’d want is for her to be put off skiing (as happened to the current Mrs cardweg as a teenager. She’s only skied twice in nearly 40 yrs as a result, which is a crying shame)
I took our ten year old comfortable blue cruising son on a two hour private lesson in les Houches and he was skiing on reds within the first ten minutes and lapping the black bits of the World Cup Downhill run by the end of the lesson.
I’m not saying that it’s all about blacks, but rather illustrating the amount of progress that can be made in a short period with the right level of attention.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
One issue I have found is difficulty I finding ski schools prepared to allow me to book private ski lesson during peak weeks in some resorts.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
My son always enjoys a private lesson in the snow park. He comes away with a new trick each time.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Have you considered an English ski school with small classes? If yiu can find one she might have a better time with kids her own age etc?
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Mine did 4 years of ski school. The older one from age 7, she's good at listening and liked it. The younger one went from age 4 and really didn't. He got cold, left behind or zooming in front as he has no fear. Last year we swapped to a private instructor (in Austria) for the two of them and the difference was incredible. We've just come back from a few days in France with friends and he was able to keep up with much more experienced children but stay in control (again instructor/ guide for 4 of them). More enjoyable and he's a much safer skiier.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Think it is a case of each to his own really. Kept ours in group lessons till they graduated with ESF Gold at 9. They liked the group element, and now we ski with friends that they made through group ski lessons. One family always comes back at Christmas and the other at Easter. We've also joined the Easter family for a camping trip in the summer. The friendships they developed and nurtured (once they all go phones) have been great. Also, I have twins, so they were always better with other people rather than skiing just them, as they'd squabble more if it was just the two of them. They liked group element, as it gives them some 'cover' and meant they are not the sole focus and so could relax a bit more. They also know lots of instructors now and so when they are out on the mtn lots of the instructors spot them and stop or a chat, or to comment on their progress. Mine were fine if they were in French only groups, they just did as they were told. Mind you I like them to realise that not everyone speaks English and that being open minded to other languages is a bonus. If private works for you though, go for it and don't worry about what anyone else thinks.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
As a ski instructor I definitely recommend you to do private lessons first.
8 is the perfect age to learn how to ski. Kids at this age are kind of fearless so they will learn very fast. Usually they ski quite well after 2-3 days. So you will also save some money because it takes way more time to teach teenagers, adults and toddlers.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I would say go for lessons always.
But I have mixed feedback on lessons we have had.
I stopped taking the girls in half term because of an experience with the ESF in Valmorel and Les Deux Alpes. Both ski schools were chaos in half term and the standards dropped alarmingly. The Valmorel ESF were exemplary out of school holidays.
Those experiences made me decide that I would then always take the girls out of school whether I was fined or not.
Because I always liaised with their Primary and Secondary schools properly and took work away if required and avoided removing them in their GCSE or A level years, I escaped a fine.
But both mine went through several ski school experiences from kindergarten age upwards. The eldest loved them most but both did ok.
The youngest flourished more from private lessons.
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