People are confronted with skiing during the winter months even if they do not ski. There are ski sporting events on television, commercials for ski vacations, and sporting goods stores highlight ski clothing and equipment.
Before giving in to a magazine's ski cover photo and buying an airline ticket, consider several basic points:
- Skiing alone or with friends and family? If traveling with a group, discuss how much time will be spent learning to ski and how much may be spent sightseeing, shopping, or doing other activities.
- Where to ski? There are ski schools all over North America. Determine which is either geographically closer, which may mean a lower cost to get there, or compare the cost of ski lessons.
- Group lessons or private? A group traveling together may want to start with a group lesson and then after a day or two may want to break up into smaller groups or even private lessons to focus on what each person needs. There are websites such as the Ski School Guide that offer articles to help find the right ski school for everyone traveling.
- Catering to families? There are ski destinations just for families all around the country.
- Are there children or guests with special needs? There are ski schools which cater to adults, families, and people with special needs. The Adaptive Sports Center in Crested Butte, Colo. offers ski lessons to children and adults who have special needs. They will also offer lessons to those traveling with the person with special needs, so everyone can have lessons at one location. There are similar ski schools around the country.
- Where to stay? There are often hotels next to ski schools, which means just walking from one place to the other. This can save time and money driving to get there while in town.
- Lodge, motel, resort? Determine the level of amenities needed by those traveling. A resort will likely have a spa, pool, fitness center, etc. A lodge or motel may have a kitchen where guests can bring in groceries and prepare meals to save money.
- Well known city or remote location? There are ski destinations in Alaska, California, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, and throughout Canada, to name just a few. This means there are a lot of destinations to consider in order to find the right match.
Skiing is not an inexpensive hobby. Until someone knows if they will like skiing and will stick with it, they should try to save as much money as possible.
- Borrow clothing from a family member or friend if possible. Base layer undergarments, ski pants, ski jackets, heavy gloves, snow boots, etc. can be expensive. Try to borrow some of these items before making a huge investment in ski clothing.
- Find out what comes with ski lessons. Ski boots, helmets, goggles, skis, lift tickets, and other equipment very often come with the price of lessons, but confirm with the ski school to be sure.
- Seek a second opinion. Friends, family members, or travel agents may be able to recommend specific resorts or ski schools to make a good match for those taking their first ski lesson.
Before making an investment of time or money, do the necessary research to find the best ski location for anyone traveling alone or with a group. Planning ahead will help make the experience a good one for everyone involved.