Sponsored by Ski New Hampshire
Skiing and snowboarding can be intimidating for beginners, especially if you have to buy new equipment before you even know how to make your way down the slopes safely. However, New Hampshire ski areas are paving the way for accessibility and affordability, making it easier than ever for people of all ages to learn to ski and snowboard.
Already a skier or rider? New Hampshire ski areas offer tons of opportunities for existing skiers and riders to elevate their skills. Continue reading to discover all the different ways that ski areas in the Granite State are making it easier to learn to ski and ride.
Private and Group Lessons
Ski areas across New Hampshire offer great private and group lessons for skiers and riders of all abilities. You’ll want to factor in your budget, skill level, and goals as you’re considering what type of lesson to purchase. The benefit of group lessons, especially for kids and teens, is that they can learn from others in the class. Private and semi-private lessons cost more but offer much more one-on-one attention.
The opportunities to learn to ski and ride are endless at New Hampshire ski areas. Bretton Woods has half-day, private, and semi-private lessons for ages four and up. The Half Day is a great option for both new skiers and those looking to upgrade their skills. This 3.5-hour lesson has a max of 4 people, of similar ability level, and offers more customized instruction. Bretton Woods also offers a group cross-country ski package that includes a lesson, gear, and trail access. Jackson XC and Great Glen Trails are two other great cross-country skiing locations that offer lessons.
Some New Hampshire ski areas offer longer programs, which are great for those learning to ski or ride for the first time. Whaleback Mountain offers adult group clinics for skiers and riders just starting out. These smaller group lessons last for 5 weeks to allow students to continuously build on their skills with the same instructor.
If you’re a season passholder, look into discounts with your pass. Epic, for example, offers 20% off lessons at its New Hampshire ski areas, which include Attitash Mountain Resort, Crotched Mountain, Mount Sunapee, and Wildcat Mountain.
Discover more programs at www.skinh.com/learn/learn.
New Hampshire ski areas offer a variety of programs designed specifically for kids. Kids can start learning to ski at New Hampshire ski areas as early as three years old. Live in New Hampshire? Find out if your child’s school offers a program. Attitash Mountain Resort, for example, encourages local schools to set up programs to get kids on the mountain. These five-week programs are designed to grow students’ confidence over time. Students get lift tickets, rentals, and an hour-long lesson at a discounted rate.
At Crotched Mountain, group lessons are offered for snowboarding and skiing, and split up by age. There are three to four, five to six, and seven-plus age brackets that keep class sizes to a maximum of six kids, ensuring a more tailored experience. Ragged Mountain offers an Adventure Camp for beginner and intermediate skiers between 6-12, while they have a season program for intermediate to advanced skiers aged 7-14.
Consider a week-long winter camp for your kids during their winter break. Whaleback Mountain offers a Vacation Camp during select weeks during the winter. These are available for skiers and riders of all abilities, four years old and up, and consist of half-day or full-day options.
King Pine offers a unique week-long camp in February. Since 1939, Camp at Tohkomeupog has been giving kids a chance to enjoy a week of ski or snowboard lessons on the slopes of King Pine Ski Area in Madison. Lessons are followed by supervised free time on the mountain to help campers solidify their new skills.
Discover more programs at www.skinh.com/learn/kids.
New Hampshire ski areas are committed to getting more women on the slopes. Many ski areas offer specific women’s programs to help skiers and riders learn and progress alongside fellow women. Mclntyre Ski Area hosts their Women of Winter program every Monday. The program includes a lesson taught for women by women to create a comfortable and fulfilling learning experience.
Pats Peak offers its WOW Program, otherwise known as Women’s Only Wednesday. Pats Peak encourages women to get out to the mountain together, learn more about skiing, and enjoy clinics taught by expert female instructors every Wednesday morning for seven weeks starting in January. For women who only have a day or weekend, there are a number of unique programs, like Gunstock Mountain Resort’s Ladies Love Winter weekends, which takes place on select weekends for lower intermediate to advanced skiers.
Discover more programs at www.skinh.com/learn/women.
New Hampshire ski areas also offer options for adaptive ski programs to help ensure all skiers and riders who want to learn have the opportunity. New England Disabled Sports (NEDS), headquartered at Loon Mountain Resort and Bretton Woods, is a nationally-recognized program that helps hundreds of student-athletes enjoy winter sports, including alpine skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and Nordic skiing.
At Waterville Valley Resort, the Waterville Valley Adaptive Sports Program was created to aid those with both physical and cognitive disabilities through targeted instruction that builds confidence on and off the trail. The program has more than 70 volunteers and instructors, and offers lessons Tuesday-Sunday with special adaptive equipment included in the lesson price.
Mount Sunapee offers lessons with their adaptive learning center through the New England Healing Sports Association. This organization is run by individuals with disabilities and helps participants create lasting relationships with winter sports. Elsewhere, Gunstock Mountain Resort works with the Lakes Region Disabled Sports non-profit to offer lessons for those with physical, sensory, cognitive, and learning challenges.
Discover more programs at www.skinh.com/learn/adaptive.
Preparing For Your First Lesson
Once you’ve decided what lesson is right for you, you’ll want to do a little preparation ahead of your or your child’s ski lesson. Learning to ski and ride involves being outside and exposed to the elements for long periods of time, so it’s imperative to have the right gear for protection from the wind, snow, rain, and cold. Proper base layers, a warm mid-layer, and waterproof outer layers are a good starting place. It’s better to over layer, so you can shed layers as the day warms up and you get more active.
Must-have gear includes a helmet, which is often included in a lesson package. Other things we recommend include ski goggles, protection for your face and neck like a balaclava, and waterproof gloves. Some ski resorts and rental shops include some of this gear in the lesson package, or they offer it as an add-on. Make sure you don’t forget sunscreen.
As you’re planning and booking your lesson, inquire about breaks and snacks. This information is often included in a confirmation email, but we recommend double checking and making a plan ahead of time. Take a reusable water bottle, and stuff a couple power bars in your jacket pockets.
This is just a sampling of New Hampshire’s great ski areas and programs for learning to ski or snowboard. Black Mountain, Cannon Mountain, Cranmore Mountain Resort, and Dartmouth Skiway are among others that have great programs for new skiers and riders.
Start planning your trip at www.skinh.com.