Keystone Resort’s Perfect Solution: Family Ski Lessons

Keystone family ski lesson
Our family ski lesson instructor talking to my daughter.

Amazingly, I am not too sore today. Last night, when I fell into bed at 8:45pm after popping a few ibuprofins, I was sure I wouldn’t be able to walk in the morning.

Yesterday my husband, 16 year old son, 10 year old daughter, and I took a family ski lesson at Keystone Resort in Keystone, Colo. The lesson ran from 9am to 3:30pm. It was all I could do to get down the mountain at 3:30, even though our lesson started closer to 10am because someone (ahem, me) forgot to put on her snow pants before driving to the mountain. I don’t normally ski a full day, and I was definitely using new muscles while practicing my new skills. Although I was exhausted, it meant I had skied hard, and I was proud of myself and my whole family.

Structure of the Family Lesson

keystone ski lesson
My kids on the lift with our instructor, Joe.

The family ski lesson is a unique concept, and one I’d been wondering about for years. I understand many parents prefer to drop their kids into a lesson and pick them up as confident skiers but I wanted to understand what was being taught to reinforce the lessons later. And I wanted to share the joy of seeing the kids improve on the slopes. Keystone is the first ski resort I’ve found that offers a lesson for the whole family. Yet I wondered how a lesson would work with four people skiing at different levels. Our instructor of 22 years, Joe, after going over the basics, quickly ascertained our skiing levels, pinpointed one skill each of us needed to work on, and assigned us our “homework.” I needed to work on filling out my turns without cutting them too short to check my speed. My husband needed to work on leaning his upper body more to stay over his edges.  My son’s homework was to keep his skis on the snow and on the edges without lifting the uphill ski. My daughter’s was to work on eliminating her “pizza” stance and mastering the J-turn. He expertly reinforced the homework on the trails and on every lift ride, and I never felt neglected while he worked with another family member. There were times that I felt we were moving a little slow and stopping too often to talk, but I’m an impatient person by nature. And then the information clicked and the time seemed well spent.

Kids Feel Comfortable and Everyone Improves

Many of us have kids who just don’t enjoy group lessons with other kids, or even private lessons away from mom and dad. I’ve wanted my daughter to take ski lessons for years, but her first experience was terrible and after that she refused any type of lesson. The family ski lesson offers the perfect solution. It’s also ideal because you are with your kids, observing how and what the instructor is teaching them so you can carry those concepts forward.

schoolmarm trail at Keystone
Schoolmarm family trail at Keystone Resort.

Joe’s most important nugget of wisdom was to coach each person to his/her own homework. We each needed to focus on our one skill and when we “owned it,” in Joe’s words, he’d add on more homework. He also explained the skills in several different ways, knowing that everyone learns differently and one explanation would likely “click.” It worked perfectly. I felt better than ever about skiing on my edges and rounding out my turns, even though my husband had tried to explain the technique to me many times. Sometimes, it just takes someone outside your family to help you make that connection. This is especially true with kids, who tend to tune out us moms and dads! I think it was my daughter who made the most significant improvements, skiing faster, making better turns, and even mastering smaller steps, like getting her boots unclipped on her own.

Later that evening, we received emails detailing the skills we learned and our ski level from Epic Mix Academy. My son came up with the highest skill level – a fact that he will not likely let us forget.

A full-day, private lesson does not come cheap at $695 for up to four people. Our lesson was provided courtesy of Keystone for the purposes of this review, but my husband and I both commented that now that we know how much we’d all improved in one day, we’d pay for the experience in a heartbeat. I can’t express what a difference it made in our skiing. If you can find the funds, lessons like these should be a priority.

To learn more, check out Keystone’s Ski & Snowboard School.


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