Taking a ski or snowboard lesson is paramount in learning the basics of either sport regardless of one's athleticism.

Going it alone and charging the mountain is sometimes pressured by friends, parents, or spouses who want to play teacher. The best recommendation, however, is for beginners to learn the basics from a professional.

Attempting to ski or snowboard with little-to-no instruction can be a recipe for disaster, resulting in an unfavorable or disappointing first experience and souring on the sport before it has a chance.

Taking several lessons with a certified instructor, familiar with the mountain and patient in teaching the basics, will equip the new snow-rider with a solid foundation of skills. The result will be excitement about coming back again and again. Every resort offers a variety of programs and packages tailored to ski levels.

There are adult packages, kids programs, private lessons, camps, and masters programs for more advanced skiers and riders.

Some resorts offer more specific programs such as Alpine Meadow's "For Women, By Women" which includes three full days of skiing with the resort's top female instructors, video analysis, advice on choosing and fitting equipment, lunch, and apres ski fun.

There are plenty of resort value packages including rental gear, lessons, and a day-lift ticket. These kinds of offers provide the beginner with all the necessary tools to learn at introductory prices.

Boston Mills-Brandywine, Ohio, for example, offers a Beginner Intro Package that includes an all-day, beginner-area only lift ticket, equipment rental, and a one-hour group lesson for $49. Purchasing the package saves $36, as lift tickets are $40, complete equipment rental is $26, and a one-hour group lesson is $19 if purchased separately.

Be on the lookout for these package discounts, and after that first ski or snowboard lesson be prepared to deal with a life-long hobby.

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OnTheSnow.com editors have produced this comprehensive regional guide for meeting your ski and snowboard school needs: