How to pick a great ski instructor

first time skier

When only a coach fit for a S’No Queen will do

There’s a difference between merely having a title and being true Royalty. S’No Queen understands that a lot of tutelage is required to be Monarch of the Mountain, but how do you choose the very best instructor to transform your skiing? Read on dear S’No Queen.

There’re no two ways about it, everyone can benefit from a little coaching. Whether you’re a beginner on your first trip to the slopes, or a double black diamond Diva looking to further refine, there’s someone who can help take you to the next level.

We invest a lot in our skiing excursions, so it makes sense to do all we can to make sure everything is as perfect as possible. That includes finding an expert guide to help us be the best we can be.


Ask for recommendations

If you have a friend whose skiing you admire, ask her about who taught her and who provides her ongoing instruction. Even if that instructor is booked up, he or she might well be able to recommend another instructor who will be good for you. Instructors who are still taking on students may well recommend themselves irrespective of suitability, so make sure you get the best advice from someone without ‘skin in the game’.


Pay attention to instructor experience and certification

Being able to ski and being able to teach others to ski aren’t necessarily the same thing. An instructor, therefore, should be judged by their instructor level, rather than by their personal ability. Being a great skier is one thing, but teaching others to be great is entirely another. Instructor levels typically go from 1 to 3, with a certification of at least 2 being someone who can adequately assess your ability, teach in the way you learn best and work with you to improve.

The instructor’s teaching experience is also something you should pay attention to. Someone who’s spent 20 years on the slopes, but only just started teaching, is less likely to be able to teach as effectively as someone with 18 years skiing, but with half of that spent actively instructing. Teaching is a skill that gets better with practice.


How long have they been at that resort?

As well as a source of advice for improving your skiing, an instructor is also a local expert. So if your preferred coach has spent year on year instructing in the same area, he or she will no doubt be able to point you in the right direction for the best slopes, the best parties, which restaurant serves the most divine food and any other secrets known only to the locals.


Book your instructor early

If you wait until you arrive at the resort to book an instructor, you’re likely to have a significantly reduced choice as many will have a full diary already. If you make a reservation as soon as your trip is confirmed, you’ll have a much better chance of getting the instructor you want.

Be honest about your ability and what you want to achieve

When booking an instructor, it makes sense to be as clear as possible when speaking to the booking agent. Now is not the time to exaggerate your skills or play down your fears. If there’s a particular aspect to your skiing you want to improve, then say so. If there are things you’re worried about or teaching styles you’re not keen on, then speak up. The more detail you provide, the better the booking agent will be able to do in matching you with someone who’ll ultimately bring out your best.


Have you discovered any sure-fire tips for picking a truly terrific tutor? Share your ski coach selection advice with your fellow S’No Queens below.