Kids ski school located at the Sierra-a-Tahoe Ski Resort with group and private and group lessons for young skiers and snowboarders at all skill levels.
To determine if your 3 or 4 year old is ready for ski school: http://www.sierraattahoe.com/info/winter/lessons.asp#ready
Amazing ski school and hands down the best value at almost half the cost of a 3 day lesson/rental package at Heavenly. The instructors are amazing!! My 5 year old was able to ski from the top of Grandview after only 2 days of lessons this year. We were astonished at how quickly he learned even more by the end of day 3. Drop off and pickups could be smoother, but they do try their best and every person I met went out of their way to make us happy.
Our 4.5 year old was ready to learn how to ski this year and we decided to let him take a lesson at the ski school. The dropping off was a little hectic since all the parents were trying to get there child signed in. I felt a little rushed at saying goodbye so quickly.
I was able to watch my son a little bit at the bottom of the ski school area, it was nice because you are far enough away to not be a bother yet still see the kids.
The ski class was small and my son said he had a great time. We ended up purchasing more lessons that day for him.
Make sure to keep your check in tag, they don't let the kids out without you showing it to them. We lost ours and had to get a replacement which included showing ID. Needless to say security is a priority here.
“Can we go skiing again RIGHT now?” asks my 6-year-old son when we picked him up from his second day of lessons at the Wild Mountain Ski/Snowboarding School at Sierra-at-Tahoe. “What?!” I asked, “You just finished a FULL day of skiing!” I was a bit surprised by his question because I assumed that he would be feeling exhausted and spent after working so hard on the snow for the last 6 hours, but he was rearing to go again. He had obviously had a fantastic first day on the slope thanks to Wild Mountain Ski School.
What we liked:
1. High Security
You receive a ticket when you drop off your child that you must return in order to pick up your child. If you lose your ticket, you must provide a valid driver’s license and a phone number that matches the one on file.
2. Excellent ski instructors!
Coaches Molly and Renee had a big part to play in helping our son make so much progress in just one day! Both instructors were patient, energetic, encouraging, and excellent teachers. My husband and I watched her as she had the kids observe other children and adults get on the chairlift for a good 8 minutes before having them try the lift for the first time.
3. Low student to instructor ratio
I was also quite impressed with the low student to instructor ratio (which averaged from about 3-4 students per to one coach). By working with a small group, able to ease the beginner level students into their first experience on skis. On Day 1, the kids were taught to put on their own skis, walk on both skis, jump in their skis, create wedges with their skis while walking around in a circle. They were also taught to use the wedge to change direction and control their speed. They also had to learn to ride the “magic carpet” on their own which was basically an uphill conveyor belt that they would step on and off with both skis in order to get back to the top of the little hill. Day 2, involved making right and left turns down the hill while practicing how to stop. They also practiced sidestepping up the hill and they worked on getting up from a fall on their own by placing their skis across the slope.
4. Perfect terrain for beginner skiers
Getting a Report Card at the end of the day was motivating. Parents received a written report each day with a checklist of skills their child has mastered with notes to the child from his/her instructor. Our son loved receiving this and used it to set goals for the next class.
5. Lunch is included in full day ski class for your child
With the large crowds in the dining room the day we there, I was so glad that our kids’ lunches were taken care of. It also allowed mom and dad to make the most of their time on the slopes.
6. Ski and boot rentals are included with the class.
7. Reasonably priced half and full day ski school packages.
What Could be Improved:
1. Drop Off for the Preschoolers felt abrupt
Our daughter who is 3 was signed up for ski school as well. Even though she met all the criteria listed on Sierra-at-Tahoe’s website, the drop off experience at ski school was a little abrupt. It didn’t cater well to easing the transition for preschoolers who might be nervous about the new experience. We ended up having to pick her up after an hour. Our daughter is usually fearless at and energetic about learning new things. However, our daughter can also be cautious and timid about new situations without mom and dad. There is a “No Parent Drop Off Zone” at Wild Mountain Ski School, so we weren’t given the opportunity to help her transition or introduce her to her ski instructor. As an elementary school teacher, I understand that children do better when parents say goodbye at the door on the first day of school. However, I’ve found that allowing students to meet the teacher and walk through their new classroom goes a long way in helping kids transition. If Sierra –at-Tahoe could tailor the drop off experience for preschool aged children, I think my daughter would have had a fabulous time at ski school, instead, I ended up having to pick her up after about an hour. Fortunately, we were able to drop her off at the day care.
2. Check in staff were rushed
The day we were there was one of the most crowded days of the season, and staff members who were checking us in were not as helpful as I would have hoped with answering questions. Like most parents arriving for our first day on the slopes, we were pretty stressed out getting out the door and navigating this new experience. Having check in staff who are patient and understanding would have made the check in experience go much more smoothly.
Don’t forget your child’s sunscreen! We forgot our sunscreen back at the hotel and asked if the school would apply sunscreen on our children. We were told that they don’t supply sunscreen and that we could buy our own in the Wild Mountain Store. They didn’t have any hypoallergenic or sensitive skin sunscreen specifically designed for kids.
The kids spend the majority of class time outdoors. Make sure they are dressed in layers and in the appropriate waterproof ski clothes. It is also nice to make sure they have a wool or fleece hat to go under their waterproof hood and warm, waterproof mittens. Especially if it is snowing, you will also need goggles which aren’t provided but can be purchase for a premium at Wild Mountain store.
Label your child’s clothing and personal items.
Cell service is not always available on the resort. If you are skiing on the mountain, make sure you constantly check the message boards to make sure that there aren’t any problems with your child.
*This review is based on 2 complimentary full day lessons at the Wild Mountain Ski and Snowboard School at Sierra at Tahoe. I received no other compensation and the owner did not express any requirements that I express a particular point of view.