Ski Schools Worldwide

Sunayana Kumari presents a round-up of ski camps for children of all ages, from Switzerland and Canada to Kashmir and Japan

EUROPE

SWITZERLAND  Les Elfes International Verbier  All the instructors at the school are multilingual. Many Indian kids enrol for its two-week winter camp, December through April. The course is ideal for teens as it includes cultural excursions along with ski training.  

Swiss Snowsports School Mürren-Schilthorn AG The ski kindergarten at the school, Snowly’s Kids Village, is meant for kids under six, where they get to practise on a flat terrain that’s suitable for beginners. The area is equipped with learning aids like harnesses and a moving ‘magic carpet’ ski lift.  

FRANCE Oxygene Ski and Snowboard school Le Plagne & Val d’lsere The school offers great deals on ski lessons for kids. The Best Value Beginners’ package incorporates six ski or snowboard lessons and a lift pass for just Rs19,000.  

Evolution 2 Tignes  An award-winning ski and adventure school with a range of programmes on offer, from beginner courses that last a day to 25 weeks of training required to turn pro. Younger skiers should enrol in its Junior Academy course, where they’ll get to progress from piste skiing to mountain riding.  

ITALY Ski & Snowboard School 2000 Val Gardena This ski school in the Dolomites is specifically designed for kids, with many enclosed spaces to let them practise safely. If you’re going as a family, go for the Val Gardena Super Kids offer, which provides stay for kids at half price.  

The Scuola Sci Courmayeur This school is more suitable for teens as it is located close to the cafés and shops on main street. There are plenty of pistes for beginners, as well as off-piste options for intermediate skiers in the Aosta Valley.

NORTH AMERICA

USA Ski school at Deer Valley Resort Park City, Utah The school conducts week-long camps, December through April. Depending on your child’s age, there are four clubs: Fawn Special, Bambi Club, Reindeer Club and Adventure Club.

Beaver Creek Children’s Ski and Snowboard School Colorado The men’s World Cup in skiing is often held at Beaver Creek. Here, kids are grouped by ability (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and age.  

CANADA Dave Murray Summer Ski & Snowboard Camp Whistler The resort town of Whistler, in the Coast Mountains, is one-and-a-half hours from Vancouver. The camp offers stay and meals. Programmes include Beginners, Freestyle Skiing and Alpine Racing.  

Blue Mountain Ski & Snowboard School Ontario Their Discover Skiing & Snowboarding Newbie programme is great for first-timers. And since last season, the centre has added more beginner terrain.

AUSTRALASIA

AUSTRALIA Thredbo Snowsports School New South Wales This Alpine village, part of the Snowy River Shire, has the longest ski runs in Australia. During winter, from June to October, its snow school offers a wide range of children’s programmes. Especially good is Club Freeride, for teenagers who already know to ski. This programme lets them perfect their skills and compete with each other.  

Snow Sports School Selwyn Snowfields Located in Kosciuszko National Park in New South Wales, this is where skiing first began in Australia back in 1861. The school is suitable for a family of first-timers, who usually opt for their day-long Give It A Go package—to see if they enjoy skiing—before settling down for longer courses.  

Snowsports School Perisher Located in the Snowy Mountains, more than 400 children attend the school on a daily basis. They first master beginner slopes such as Tom Thumb before tackling the tougher Black Diamond trails on Mount Perisher.  

NEW ZEALAND Snowsports School Cardrona In South Island, between Queenstown and the picturesque town of Wanaka, Cardrona has a separate purpose-built area for kids. Parents can watch their children practise from the noodle bar, located on the second floor of the ski school, without distracting them. Kids over five years of age should opt for the week-long Kids Skiwees & Lowriders programme.  

The Remarkables, Otago Just 45 minutes from Queenstown, The Remarkables features a network of progressive terrain parks with wide, gentle slopes for beginners and big mountain steeps for the experts in the family. They have a range of programmes and lessons, but the best part about this resort is that kids under 10 get to ski for free. The Xbox terrain park—where loud music plays—is for teenagers.  

ASIA

JAPAN International Snowsports School Myoko Niigata Just three hours by bullet train from Tokyo, Myoko was one of Japan’s first ski areas. Mini Mountaineers and Alpine Explorers are the two programmes designed for kids aged between three and six, and seven and 14 respectively. Explore the nearby forests and culturally rich villages, while playing games and grasping the basic concepts of skiing and snowboarding from English-speaking instructors.

Niseko International Snow Sports School Hanazono With an average annual snowfall of 52ft, Niseko Hanazono—in Japan’s northern frontier—is regarded as one of the snowiest resorts in the world. The best time to ski here is from December to March. The snow is dry and deep, and kids are first taught basics before advancing on to tougher terrains. Group programmes for kids include the Tic-Tac Kids club, meant for three- to six-year-olds, and the Yuki programme for seven- to 14-year-olds.

INDIA Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering Kashmir Set up by the country’s tourism department, this institute has been providing ski instruction in Gulmarg—India’s premier ski destination—for the past five decades. The school has recently acquired state-of-the-art ski equipment. Popular among adults and kids alike, it organises five, 14-day courses in December, January and February. Applicants have to pass a test at the end of the course to get certificates.

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Sunayana Kumari