Part Two: Day-of lesson tips. 

Congratulations! You’re halfway there. You made the smart decision to sign up your children (or yourself) for ski and snowboard lessons. Now it’s the big day. Keep the day fun and carefree by knowing what to expect.

Let’s look at some the most common ski and snowboard lesson questions you may have for day-of arrival.

Aside from rentals, how early should we arrive at the resort?

The day of your child’s lesson, be sure to leave yourself plenty of time.

“Just walking from the parking lot can take you longer than you think, especially if you’ve got little legs along,” Ashley Herrmann, Ski School Coordinator at Magic Mountain Ski Area, said. “Parents end up rushing a lot and it can be stressful for everyone. Plus, if you are late for the lesson, you run the risk of your child missing critical information.”

Try to arrive at the mountain an hour before your child’s lesson begins so you have time to find a spot in the lodge to stow your gear and get suited up. Make sure your child has had enough to eat beforehand and tuck a granola bar or some other easy snack into his or her pocket. And don’t forget to make sure your child has gone to the bathroom before you get him or her all bundled up.

I wasn’t able to get rental gear ahead of time. How early do I need to arrive to go through that process?

If you weren’t able to pick up rental gear in advance, be sure to budget extra time to get it before the lesson. Factors to consider are how busy the ski area is and how far the rental area is from the parking lot or shuttle drop off. During holidays, adding an extra half hour – or arriving 90 minutes ahead of the lesson – is a good idea. Remember that your child will need to be with you to try on boots; have them dressed in their ski socks but not bundled up in all of their gear so they don’t overheat.

One way to avoid feeling rushed or missing the beginning of the lesson is to think about trying to schedule your child’s first lesson at a time when the resort is less busy.

“Try to have your child’s first lessons be when it’s a non-holiday weekend,” Ashley said, “and it will be more relaxing for all of you.”

Smuggs snowboard lesson
Instructors have all the tips for getting kids comfortable for their first ski and snowboards lessons.

How do you prepare your child for ski and snowboard lesson?

Stretching is always helpful. If you’ve got little kids, start the day with a game of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. This will warm them up by having them are bend and reach and help reduce the risk of injury.

Also make sure that your child has a good night of rest and a healthy and filling breakfast before you bring them for a day on the slopes.

How early do you need to arrive to meet your instructor?

Try to get to the lesson area about 10 minutes before the lesson is due to begin to get your child signed in and meet the instructor. Avoid stress and make sure you know in advance exactly where the lesson area is.

“It can sometimes be challenging to know where to go to meet your lesson,” Harley Johnson, Director of the Snow Sport University at Smugglers Notch Resort, said. “Be sure to ask for help beforehand so you know exactly where you have to be.”

Ski lesson at Mad River Glen
Ski lessons are full of fun at Mad River Glen

What should you expect when you arrive at the ski or snowboard lesson?

You may have to fill out a registration card to give to the instructor with your contact information; after you do that you should make sure your child has his or her lift card or pass in his or her pocket.

When you signed your child up for the lesson, you will have indicated to the staff what his or her skill level is. Hopefully you will have picked the right one, but when you drop your child off on the first day the instructor will ask some questions to make sure you got it right. If your child has a specific goal in mind, this would be a good time to let the instructor know.

Once you’ve left your child, the instructor will begin by introducing him or her to the other children. Usually in a lesson the instructor will take a run first unless the students have never skied before.

“With our children who have never skied, we start out with boot games without skis on, and then with one ski,” Harley said. “We explore the rotary movement and how it affects the ski, what would an edge feel like. And then we put two skis on.” Beginning snowboard lessons are the same, including some static practice without boots in the board.

Most lessons will progress from there with skill building. “Then we try to gear the end of a lesson so that it’s ‘let’s play with what we’ve learned,’” Harley said.

When you pick your child up, you can expect some feedback from the instructor about what they did in the lesson and what your child worked on.

Ski and snowboard lessons are great for everyone at every level – kids and grownups alike. Nothing builds skills like working with a trained instructor. And nothing makes it more fun to ski and snowboard than gaining confidence on the mountain.

Smuggs snowboard lesson
An instructor at Smugglers’ Notch pull a new snowboarder along in the Burton Riglet park.

Looking for adaptive options for lessons? Let us help. Read Skiing for All: Vermont’s Adaptive Skiing Programs.



  • Practice everything your younger kids need to do to get dressed and undressed and potty times at home! The more they get used to all the layers, zippers, snaps, boots, and way to tuck things the better and more efficient time they’ll have!

  • – Book a lesson! Most people have better results (and a better time) learning from a qualified instructor, as opposed to a spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend, etc.

    – Arrive early to boot up and get to lesson meeting site.

    – If you’re tired, cold, etc., don’t hesitate to ask for a quick break. Better than getting overwhelmed/hurt.

    – Don’t be too hard on yourself if everything doesn’t click immediately. Remember: you’re there to have fun, and you’ll need to practice those news skills to lock them in.

    – Be honest about your abilities and your goals. No one’s judging you!

    – Have fun!

  • Carry some water in a reusable pouch for a quick solution when your little one complains about being thirsty. Also, gummy snacks for your pocket help distract your little ones when they need a little something.

  • I always give my kiddos one last drink of water before I leave, this way they can’t say they are tying of thirst in 10 minutes. But make sure it’s not enough to undo the post bathroom bundling up!

  • Book half day lessons for young children until they build their stamina. Then you can gather for lunch and let them talk about what they learned. They will love having the afternoon to ride with you and show you all of their new skills! And don’t forget the hot chocolate!

  • Arriving with plenty of time is essential for my kiddo to feel less anxious and more in control.

    Also, this is a product of Covid-times but riding up with her on the chairlift between runs with the instructor is great. This gives her an opportunity to let us know if she needs anything like a bathroom break or snack. We’ll do a different trail but meet at the chairlift.

  • We live in Virginia Beach and our kids are avid skateboarders wanting to transition to snowboarding. We’re planning to take them this year for the first time either here in VA or up to Vermont (where I grew up!) I feel like the most important thing for us is to have the correct gear to handle the cold since our kids aren’t used to it! Haha!

  • Do as much preparation as possible ahead of time to minimize problems. I found with my boys that something will always crop up. If we’re prepped, it’s easier to cope.

  • I know it’s expensive but think about private lesson for at least their first lesson to build confidence, especially if your child tends to be shy. Do anything you can to treat each trip to the mountain like a vacation. Bring snacks that are a special treat, let them pick lunch. Keep it light and fun and they’ll want to continue.

  • I just learned how to ski last season, but I wish I learned when I was younger!! I’m having so much fun and it’s such a great skill to have. Good luck to all the future skiers out there!

  • We discovered that many ski resorts offer lessons for homeschooled kids on weekdays, It was great for the kids to have lessons and practice while the mountain was relatively quiet and less crowded. They looked forward to their lessons and received excellent instructions from instructors who could easily focus on them. The lessons vastly improved the kids’ skiing technique!

  • Looking forward to Magic Mountain this season, have been a few times but can’t wait to get back out there!

  • Schedule the lessons and don’t just assume you can reach your child. Sometimes it’s best to allow someone else to do it.

  • Snacks to keep them going…keep it fun!!! We taught all 3 of our kids to ski-spent many years on a magic carpet or bunny slope and now we can’t keep up with them (13,10,7). The best family fun!!!

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