We understand you have lots of questions when it comes to booking ski lessons for your child.
We hope the following information will answer many of your questions, but feel free to contact usdirectly to discuss any specific queries you may have.
Ski Lessons for Toddlers
We would be delighted to welcome your toddler to join us on the slopes.
We pride ourselves on making our lessons fun regardless of whether your child is in group or private lessons. We want your little one’s early experiences of skiing to be really positive and to ensure every child goes home with a big smile on their face and that they look forward to their next lesson with us!
To meet the needs of our youngest skiers we offer a choice of group and/or private lessons.
Private Lessons for toddlers from 2 years old
Children from two years old can be taught in private lessons.
In our experience, at this stage of their development, our youngest clients benefit from individual support. This allows our instructors to devise activities according to their physical strength, stamina and concentration.
Older children may also benefit from private lessons if they need to work on specific skills, if they don’t feel comfortable in groups or if practically the timings of groups do not suit your needs.
Group lessons for children from 3 – 5 years old
Group lessons can be a great opportunity for your children to begin their skiing adventure!
When children reach the age of 3, they can join a group lesson.
Children from three to five years old can join our Polar Bear groups. To guarantee that your child gets all of the attention they need we have a maximum of 4 children in our Polar Bear Group lessons.
Sometimes during a peak week, we may have 2 Instructors for the group. If this is the case, then there will be a maximum of 6 children in the group. This means that even in groups, you can expect that each child will continue to receive personal and individualised attention.
Group lessons for children of 6 years plus, have a maximum of 8 children in the group. Sometimes these groups have two instructors, but the maximum class size will always be 8.
A key benefit of group lessons is that they allow children to make new friends and play games together while learning to ski.
We have a fantastic team of Instructors who are experienced in working with children and can adapt their teaching to suit each child. They will design activities to suit the different needs of each group and each group member.
Their job is not only to teach children to ski but to make sure that while they are learning they are having lots of fun playing games on the snow with their new friends.!
For our Polar Bear groups, for 3-5 years, these group lessons only last for a half day, from 9-12 as we know from experience that the full day can be too tiring for this age group.
Sometimes for a variety of reasons, we may not have four children in a group We will never cancel a group lesson once it is booked in and has been paid for though. The only change that there will be to the lesson is it will run for a reduced time of 2 hours instead of 3 hours for a half day, this gives your child the opportunity to have a private lesson with their Instructor! As soon as anyone joins the group then it would run for the full 3 hours.
The end of a week’s lessons is an opportunity to celebrate the progress each child has made. Instructors will decide whether each child has gained all the new skills and is ready to move up to the next level Every child leaves ski school at the end of the week with a detailed report of the progress and a prize bag.
The prize bags usually contain a certificate, badge (if they pass), balloons, stickers, chocolates and some other small prizes. If you are with us during peak weeks, we hold a prize ceremony at the Relais des Neiges Restaurant, where the children will be presented with their prize bags from their Instructor in front of all the other children and the proud parents!
This is always an enjoyable finale to the week, where the children, their families and the instructors can celebrate each child’s achievements! We will also offer some complimentary drinks and a raffle! (with some great prizes to be won!) Here you will have the option to have an end of week chat with your child’s Instructor and discuss the next steps to help your child the best skier on the mountain!
Meals and Snacks
We don’t offer lunch to our youngest age group as we realise that they generally need more one to one attention than older children during mealtimes. However from 6 years plus, you can book children in to lunch from 12-1 as an addition to a half day group lesson. For 6+ years, we also offer full days from 9am-4pm and the price for this includes lunch each day.
The instructor will make time each day for a short break and we recommend that you put CHF 10 in your child’s pocket for them to have a hot chocolate or snack. We don’t recommend that your child brings a backpack with snacks in it, as this can be a distraction for the children. A backpack can also pose a safety risk by making it harder to get on the chairlift and risking the straps becoming tangled on chairlifts and tows.
Please tell us on booking if your child has any dietary or medical conditions that you would like us to be aware of! We will respect the confidentiality of this information and it will be shared only with those members of staff working directly with you child. Our Instructors are all First aid qualified and can carry inhalers, epi pens etc, on their person throughout the lessons. For older children our Offshore Lunches can cater for individual dietary requirements. Your children are in safe hands with us!
Meeting Point for Ski Lessons
From our meeting points whether you are in group lessons or private lessons it is very easy for your children to get to the beginner slope with their Instructor. There is a free public bus service we can use to take your children to Les Esserts. In our peak weeks if we have lots of children booked in for lessons, we provide a private bus to take the children to Les Esserts
Skiing with Childcare
We do not offer full day group lessons for toddlers. In our experience this is generally too tiring for children of this age and children who are over-tired will not enjoy their time on the slopes. However, we understand that parents may want to ski all day.
So, we have partnered with Petit Verbier who provide an after-ski kids’ club. This offers you and your children the perfect combination of morning skiing in lessons and fun off snow activities in the afternoon! Your child will be picked up from their ski lessons by the Petit Verbier staff and taken to the club for a hot lunch followed by a range of indoor and outdoor games and fun activities! This service allows parents to ski all day, with the comfort of knowing that your little one is in great care making fantastic holiday memories!
General advice for young skiers
Readiness for skiing lessons
We know that your children are very precious! Therefore, their safety is always our priority
When thinking about skiing lessons for your children it is important to remember that all children are different. In order to make the experience as positive as possible for them we ask you to consider the following:
- Strength and stamina – Skiing like all sports is physically tiring Children need to be strong enough to walk short distances while wearing ski boots and to participate in physical activity for up to three hours. During lessons our instructors will observe how children are coping with lessons and judge how long they are able to ski for and how much they are able to do. If they feel for example that the group lessons are too demanding they can advise you on the best options for your child.
- Confidence – All children react differently to new situations. Some children require more time and support in order to feel safe and comfortable with new people in a new setting. As instructors we know that feeling safe and comfortable is fundamentally important for children to feel happy, enjoy their time on the mountain and to learn. A good way to think about this is to is think about how your toddler/child is when you drop them off at Nursery/Day Care/School. Are they comfortable leaving you? Do they get upset? What do their teachers say at the end of the day – does your child interact with the other children and their play workers? How your child copes with these familiar settings will help you determine whether your child would prefer group lessons or private lessons. Remember that our instructors have a whole toolbox of games and ski focussed activities to help your child feel comfortable and to allow them to have a positive experience during their lessons. Parents can help by providing information which helps instructors to know how best to support the child.
- Communicating with children – Teaching young children a new skill is achieved through play. Our Instructors speak a large variety of languages however please consider when booking group lessons that they are taught in English. It is not compulsory that your children speak the same language as their Instructor in order for them to join lessons, for example – young children will learn mainly by watching and doing. For safety reasons children will need to be able to follow key short verbal commands, also children will need to be able to communicate basic needs. (e.g. the need to go to the toilet, if they are tired etc)
- Toileting – children need to be able to use the toilet independently. Our instructors are able to help children with the removal of bulky ski clothes but cannot accompany them into the toilet.
Therefore it helps us if you can discuss your child’s needs with us when you are booking lessons so that we can jointly agree how best to support your child and introduce them to a sport which we hope they are going to love.
Safety clothing and equipment
It is compulsory that all children wear helmets in lessons with us. .
Please refer to our Children’s specific equipment blog to find out more regarding tips and tricks for what they should have!
Safety – Using Chairlifts
The thought of their young child using chairlifts is often a concern for parents. This is understandable but be assured we have a strict chairlift policy which all of our Instructors follow to ensure the safety of your children.
Before going on a lift:
All children will have learned to ski on a magic carpet and nursery slopes so that they are comfortable in walking and wearing ski equipment. They will be stable on skis.
They will have learned to use a pomma/drag lift and be safe in joining and leaving the tow.
The earliest a group will go up the mountain is level 3. Please note this will only happen if everyone in the group is ready to go!
Instructors will explain to children what is expected of them on the chair lift – to stay still on the lift and listen to the adults.
The instructor will take two children with them and ask other adults waiting in the lift queue to take care of one child. As Verbier is a large resort your child’s instructor will often be able to ask another ski instructor to help. If none are available, they would choose a member of the public carefully and will ensure they are comfortable on their skis and have used chair lifts before.
While children are learning to use the chair lift, Lift Attendants may be asked to slow down the lift while children are getting on and off the chair. Our smaller skiers will need help to be lifted on and off chairs and where required the lift attendants can help with this.
During their lessons Children will have lots of opportunity to practise getting on and off lifts to build their confidence and independence in this key skill for safe skiing
Tips for skiing with your Toddler
Here in Verbier lift passes for toddlers are free which is a great incentive to get children under the age of 6 skiing! Lift passes for the magic carpet on the beginner slope are also free. You do have to pay to use the pomma at Les Esserts but there is a special lift pass you can buy for this saving you money! Please ensure that your child has the appropriate lift pass in their pocket ready for their lessons. We do not provide passes but can provide advice on your options when booking.
Progressing from the Beginner slopes
The first time up the mountain can be an incredibly exciting and possibly a daunting experience for some children (and parents)! We get this! So, we take every precaution to prepare for both. Le Chaux is a great adventure for all your little ones, whether they are 3 years old or 10 years old! They have the experience of going on the gondola, and then experience the chairlift! There are two perfect blue runs for your children to ski on, they can play games, and get used to skiing on new terrain. There is also a restaurant situated at the bottom of the ski run with the favourite snow slide down to the restaurant for a well-deserved hot chocolate break!
Skiing or Snowboarding?
This is a hard question to answer, as it depends completely on the child, their balance and core strength. Also, their willingness to learn comes into play. There is no reason why your child shouldn’t have the opportunity to learn both. There are some studies which suggest children shouldn’t learn to snowboard until they are 8 years old, however each year with new inventions and updates the technology changes and new equipment becomes available which make it easier and safer for young children to learn a variety of snow sports. For example, there is a special snowboard called a Riglet board which is perfect for toddlers to learn on! Our instructors are up to date with new developments and will be more than happy to discuss options with you.
We offer snowboarding groups for children from the age of 6 years old and for children between three and five we offer private lessons as we believe this allows us to respond more directly to their specific needs and stage of development.
Parents sometimes ask for specific instructors and we will always try to give you the Instructor of your choice for Group lessons (we understand we have a popular team!) however we can’t promise that they will always be available. The best way to guarantee your favourite Instructor is to book private lessons and book early! Some of our most popular instructors are already reserved for next year!
If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to call our team who would be more than happy to help! We look forward to welcoming your family on the slopes soon.