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Recommendations for teenager almost-beginner?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all,

In the winter of 17/18 my family and 2 children (11 and 7 at the time) went to Zermatt for the kids first ski holiday. Had a brilliant time, but we hit a snag I wasn't expecting. I enrolled both kids in group beginner classes, and they were put in with a pile of 5 year olds, since apparently that is the average age for beginners at Zermatt. My 7 year old was ok, but not surprisingly the 11 year old wasn't a fan of babysitting crying Dutch kids who couldn't speak English.

Fast forward to today, and we're planning another holiday in 19/20 - and I don't want to make the same mistake again. Sooo, does anyone have any advice on schools or resorts that have good group lessons for the blue run 12 year olds? She is not old enough (or good enough) to go into the classic teenager freestyle/terrain park group - are there any good schools for this inbetween area?

Thanks for any advice!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@BartMasters, can’t recommend anywhere particularly for that issue, but something to consider is book a series of lessons in the U.K. before going.

My sister took her two for the first time at 7 and 10 at half term. Before going they had a course of 6 lessons on dry ski slopes which meant by the end they could snowplough turn, stop and use a drag lift.

The result of this meant on the snow - be end of first day 7yr old (the more fearless of the two) was moved up a group for the next day. End of day two, 10 yr old moved up a group, and 7yr old moved up ANOTHER group. Day 3 10yr old moved up another group to join her brother.

So although initially they were with some very young ones, they didn’t stay there long and they got to see most the hill. Happy

We were staying in Radstadt part of the ski amadé.
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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?
@BartMasters,

pretty much above.
Some lessons at a snowdome or dryslope
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Meant to also say - they both got to go on the fun parks which I am seeing more and more of now.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
You might consider private lessons when next out. Rather than do group for ours we spent the same money on privates which broadly seemed to buy 4 hours. Given how much they would hang around in group lesson waiting around, not really being taught or taking it in, perhaps not a bad swap.

I suppose could depend on how much you view group lessons as child minding to get you your ski time too. wink
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Thanks for the quick response folks - I forgot to mention that we are coming from Australia (as part of a larger European trip), and we don't do dryslopes here, so that option is out Sad

I have been thinking about private lessons @ster - and that may be where we land - I had been hoping for a group partially for child minding, but also to get them to meet some other kids - after 3 weeks stuck with me and their mother, I'm sure they will want to talk to anyone else!
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I'd recommend somewhere big, busy and popular with the Brits, Saalbach-Hinterglemm for instance. Champoluc with Ski2 would be somewhere that would also work despite being none of the above.

I'd favour Austria over Italy for ski school generally - longer hours and more likely to have English speaking instructors. I must admit I know nothing about ski school in France. I've got a similar issue with a 12 year old who is too cool for school but is now on crutches because she's not good enough to do what she wants to do in a controlled manner.
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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!
@BartMasters, what dates are you talking about as well? The older children get the more stuck they are with school holidays (not that we are allowed to take them out of school even at 5! However parents are more likely to go ahead and pay the fine then vs in secondary school), so that probably has a big impact on number of teenagers being in lessons as well TBH.
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@NickyJ, mid Jan 2020, so we avoid European school holidays (middle of summer hols here in Aus so that bit is all good), which is generally good - but as you say, that does impact on the number of schoolage kids being in the lessons - hmm, hadn't thought about that...
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
BartMasters wrote:
@NickyJ, mid Jan 2020, so we avoid European school holidays (middle of summer hols here in Aus so that bit is all good), which is generally good - but as you say, that does impact on the number of schoolage kids being in the lessons - hmm, hadn't thought about that...


It is both a blessing and curse, quieter slopes, cheaper prices.... but less company the same age.
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BartMasters wrote:
...Dutch kids who couldn't speak English.


Where did you find these mythical creatures???

Serious answer - outside of the peak times will be cheaper, but without the UK kids to ensure the lessons are majority English speaking. Either pay the extra to go at half term (busier slopes as well), or pay for private lessons, or contact the ski school in advance and ask them to ensure the lesson is in English and the rest of the group are around the same age. Austria is likely to be better than Switzerland, especially places like Saalbach-Hinterglemm where there are multiple ski schools and people from many countries travelling there who don't expect the instructors to be able to speak Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, or Czech. Note though that many of the instructors are Dutch, so having a teenager in a mixed group with Dutch kids may mean that the lesson is split between Dutch and English, or could just be in English for everyone as 95% of Dutch kids will speak good English at 12+
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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.
ousekjarr wrote:
Either pay the extra to go at half term (busier slopes as well)...


...or New Year might work better with kids' holidays.
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@BartMasters,
Difficult one, my general impression is that some of the big resorts like Val D'Isere have a fair number of children through the season, but as my kids have always been in Euro holiday time I've never had to test it.
If it was me I might contact club med who have quite an International clientele and ask them which of their resorts they'd recommend.
Club Med holidays are all inclusive including food, lessons etc. I have never been, they are not for everyone but the people who I know who have been have been really positive about them.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Most ski schools split their groups by both age and ability. It should be pretty clear if this is the case when booking lessons as they'll make you select the right age group. If you're not being asked for their age, then look elsewhere. If you have a shortlist of resorts then recommending specific ski schools will be easier.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
ster wrote:
You might consider private lessons when next out. Rather than do group for ours we spent the same money on privates which broadly seemed to buy 4 hours. Given how much they would hang around in group lesson waiting around, not really being taught or taking it in, perhaps not a bad swap.

I suppose could depend on how much you view group lessons as child minding to get you your ski time too. wink

Some years ago we used BASS (British Alpine Ski School) in Morzine (It's a long time ago.....) and arranged private lessons for Sunday Tuesday and Thursday mornings. It worked well for us in that the children got tuition then time off to practice and then another session and so on. This was in the first week of January, so low season.
We reckoned the cost was pretty similar to a full week of half day lessons for three children
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Private lessons.

1-2-1 problem spotting and fixing.

Group lessons are a waste of cash.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Riccardo wrote:
I'd recommend somewhere big, busy and popular with the Brits, Saalbach-Hinterglemm for instance. Champoluc with Ski2 would be somewhere that would also work despite being none of the above.

I'd favour Austria over Italy for ski school generally - longer hours and more likely to have English speaking instructors. I must admit I know nothing about ski school in France. I've got a similar issue with a 12 year old who is too cool for school but is now on crutches because she's not good enough to do what she wants to do in a controlled manner.

+1
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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:

Where did you find these mythical creatures???


In their defence, they were 5 years old - the main problem was at that age struggling with cold and being away from their parents, which my then-11-year old wasn't real impressed with...



Thanks all, you've given us a few good pointers to look at, and thinking about lack of kids because of being at school I'd only thought of as a bonus. Mid term is out due to scheduling and having to be back home to start school here in Aus.
Right now we don't have a preferred resort, rather a shopping list of what-we-want and what-we-dont-want which has us wandering all around the alps - so some of this points will help us narrow down our search - I like the idea of looking at places which are popular with Brits and assuming we'll get some who have snuck out of term for a holiday, or just biting the bullet and getting a few private lessons.
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BartMasters wrote:
I like the idea of looking at places which are popular with Brits and assuming we'll get some who have snuck out of term for a holiday


You may not find many with the penalty of £60 per child (maybe per day) when unauthorised absence and maybe a criminal record to boot. Or you may get those with parents happy to fib to get kids out of school.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Independent schools sometimes put their holidays the weeks either side of the standard school holiday weeks, so you may find that gives you the benefit of other children but without the crowds. Even the standard half term school holiday week isn't consistent across the whole country.
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@BartMasters,

I'd also suggest private lessons unless the ski school can tell you that they have a suitable group running that week (may not know until you turn up).
You'll only get a couple of hours a day (unless you have very deep pockets) which will give you less child-free skiing (sounds like you are looking for that) but they will make great progress and skiing with teenage kids is great fun IME.
My kids did a bit of ski school but most of there lessons were private 2-1 and it worked well for us. There is only a 2 year gap and they (mostly!) get on very well but given your two have similar experience I think it would work for yours too.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Private lessons should push then on in leaps and bounds. They could be outsking you very quickly! So you can ski where you want with them in tow (or is that you in tow with them).

My 12 year old is already faster than me after a few on groups yhen 2 trips on privates.
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