A ski school is an establishment that trains skiers. The modern version of the ski school was invented by the Austrian ski pioneer Hannes Schneider in the early 1920s when he formalized instruction methods and established these methods as teaching principles for all ski instructors at his school.
In alpine skiing in North America, many resorts have their own ski school, whereas in Europe, a resort may have many different private ski schools. However, there are some private ski schools, such as Wedge2Edge that send their experienced ski instructors to multiple ski resorts located in various states of the USA. All instructors are trained and certified by their national organizations (i.e. in Canada the Canadian Ski Instructors' Alliance, in the US the Professional Ski Instructors of America or PSIA), which may certify their instructors in an 'international' level, which is overseen by the International Ski Instructors Alliance. Despite different emphasis in each nations qualification you can expect a qualified instructor to provide an enjoyable learning process in safe conditions. Don't hesitate to ask about the qualifications and languages spoken of the instructors in a school you are considering.
Most ski schools offer a wide range of courses to suit your interests and skill and the prices will vary depending on country and resort. Most schools will offer a choice between group and private lessons.
In general group lessons will be less expensive as you join a group of skiers of a similar standard. Expect there to be up to 8 in a group. Any more than this and you should perhaps look elsewhere. Group lessons tend to run all week and can often provide a very sociable way to learn and have fun on the slopes.
Private lessons can often be much more expensive, as you have the lesson to yourself (or shared with people you choose) but the rate of progress can often be much more rapid than in group lessons as the teaching is aimed directly at your needs. Private lessons are often offered on a per session basis of anything from 1 hour to all day.
- Ski Magazine usually rates Taos Ski Valley's ski school as the best in North America.
- The largest ski school company in Europe is the École du Ski Français, a French ski school founded by Émile Allais.
The Ski School of Sarn/Heinzenberg in Switzerland claims to hold the world record with a ski class of 594 pupils - which is really amazing taking into account the size of this tiny resort with one chairlift an one T-Bar lift only.
- Private ski school that delivers ski lessons in multiple US ski resorts
- Switzerland Ski School with class slightly too big to learn