Holiday Gift? The Case for Beginners to Take Ski and Snowboard Lessons from Professional Instructors


Contact: Mary Jo Tarallo | 202-431-6950 |


December 21, 2016 - Give the gift of skiing or snowboarding this year, say the organizers of January’s Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month/Bring a Friend initiative. The group promotes taking lessons from trained professional instead of trying to teach yourself or have a friend or family member teach you.

January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month when many locations around the country offer special prices on their beginner learning programs. The web site lists partner resorts in 34 states in the Find Resorts menu tab and also partner retail shops throughout the country in the Find Gear menu tab. A sampling of available programs is available in Special Programs.

National Ski Areas Association research called the Beginner Conversion Study has found that the instructor can make all the difference on whether or not a beginner has a quality first-time experience that motivates them to return again and again. The response “Instructor” surfaced to the top when newcomers were asked “What did you like BEST about your lesson”?

Taking lessons from a pro is especially important for youngsters.

“Sometimes parents have higher expectations for their child,” says Kevin Jordan, children’s instructor at Buttermilk and Snowmass in Aspen, CO. “Patience is a pre-requisite for being a Pro. Plus, Pros have the experience to draw from when the child encounters some challenges. Frustration levels can be high for both the child and the parent when the parent is teaching their child. Learning how to ski and snowboard should be all about the fun! So take some runs and put your child in a lesson with a certified Pro. Then take a run with them on easy terrain at the end of the day and of course some hot chocolate for après”!

Heavenly’s Heidi Ettlinger has been working with all levels of skiers for years. She understands what it takes to help beginners learn in a way that makes them feel comfortable.

“Professional instruction helps guarantee that everyone in the family will have a seamless entry to becoming a skier or snowboarder,” she says. “Instructor services range from assistance with gear to making sure that the first experience gliding is a successful one. A certified pro comes with both experience and passion to for everyone in the family to have an incredible first day on the slopes.” 

Both Jordan and Ettlinger are Industry Ambassadors for Snow Sports and members of the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA). Ettlinger is a member of the PSIA National Alpine Team. Snowboard Instructors belong to the American Association of Snowboard Instructors, part of the same organization. 

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