Skiing Aspen? Need a lesson? |

Skiing Aspen? Need a lesson?

Aspen Times Staff ReportAspen, CO Colorado
Milka Zambrana, ski instructor at Snowmass, encourages her young students to make their way down the hill during a class at the base of Snowmass Tuesday, jan 25, 2005. Aspen Times photo/Mark Fox

ASPEN If you’re in Aspen or Snowmass in the wintertime, chances are, you’ve come to ski or at least try it. And, the first step to getting better is admitting you need help.It doesnt matter if youre a yard sale waiting to happen on Fanny Hill or a self-proclaimed steeps expert, the local ski and snowboard schools of Aspen/Snowmass and Sunlight Mountain Resort dont discriminate on this point: Everyone could use a lesson. What that lesson entails is completely up to you.

At the four mountains of Aspen/Snowmass (, there are more than 1,300 pros teaching programs to suit every age, interest and ability level. Theres also something you dont see often: a full guarantee. That guarantee includes a free next lesson or a refund if youre not happy with your experience.So there is no risk in trying one, writes Katie Fry, the managing director of the ski and snowboard schoolsIf you learn best in a more-personal setting, consider a private lesson at one of the four Aspen/Snowmass mountains. Daily lessons (9 a.m.-3 p.m.) begin at $605. If you book five full days, there is a discounted rate of $2,850. Half-day lessons (9 a.m.-noon, 12:30-3:30 p.m.) begin at $445 with a discounted five-day rate of $2,045. Theres also the early bird option (8:30-9:45 am.) at Snowmass for $154. You and up to four friends or family members (no additional charge) will enjoy privileges that include custom-tailored teaching, priority lift access, mountain guiding, and overnight ski/snowboard storage. Lessons with pros fluent in many different languages are also offered, subject to availability.For the ultimate in private lessons, theres also the alternative of a Diamond Session ($665 full day, $3,100 for five full days) with a specially trained diamond pro.Weems Westfeldt, the author of Brilliant Skiing, Every Day has assembled a team of experts, each with the character, vast experience, training and credentials to help you achieve the dazzling skiing/riding youve always dreamed about. These special pros will teach you to use the Sports Diamond, which will allow you to self-coach so you can always perform better in both on-snow and off-snow sports. Also included is a download of Westfeldts e-book. Offered for all levels of skiers and riders every day at every mountain, Diamond Sessions are available starting from 9 a.m. or by special arrangement. Reservations are required for Diamond pros and are strongly encouraged for standard private lessons.If youre interested in a private lesson, but cant afford the steep price another option is the Buttermilk Deluxe, a $309 private lesson offered between Jan. 12-30. (skiing, ages 3 and up; snowboarding, ages 5 and up). The special package includes coupons for 50 percent off lunch at any Buttermilk restaurant and 30 percent off Aspen/Snowmass logo wear at Four-Mountain Sports Buttermilk. Reservations are required at least 48 hours in advance.

Group lessons are a more affordable option, whether youre a first-timer looking to make your first turns or an advanced skier or rider ready to take the next step.For beginners, there are the Beginners Magic lessons at Snowmass and Buttermilk for skiers and snowboarders levels 1-4. Single-day lessons (10 a.m.-3 p.m.) begin at $169 with a three-day discount rate of $352 and unlimited extensions (per day) at $125.For advanced riders and skiers (levels 5-9), theres the option of an adult group lesson ($139 full-day, $89 half-day, $119 full-day extensions) where you can learn more with a group of similarly skilled skiers or riders. You can polish your turns and master the bumps, steeps and deeps. Riders focus on all-mountain skills and gain confidence in the park and pipe. Park and pipe group lessons for skiers are also available on Snowmass and Buttermilk by prior arrangement. Skiing is offered every day on all four mountains for intermediate to expert skiers. Snowboarding is offered daily at Snowmass and Buttermilk only for intermediate to expert riders.

Aspen Highlands offers adult telemarking group lessons ($139 full-day) during select dates throughout the season (Jan. 18, 31, Feb. 7, 15, March 8, 14).For skiers levels 5 and up theres also the Mountain Explorers package ($599), a four-day ultimate ski week designed for fun, mountain exploration, learning and camaraderie. Staying with the same certified pro and group for four days allows you to explore local mountains as a team. Mountain Explorers groups begin at Snowmass, travel to other mountains (based on the groups desire), and wrap up with a fun aprs-ski party. For female skiers levels 4-9, there is the Womens Edge package ($599) which features only women-specific, certified pros. Whether you are an intermediate skier looking to build confidence in your abilities or an advanced skier eager for the challenges of double-black terrain, this group package provides an opportunity to advance your skills and develop lasting relationships. Womens Edge packages are offered Monday through Thursday every week from Jan. 5 to March 26. The program includes a women’s luncheon, equipment lectures, and the option to travel to our other mountains with small groups of similar abilities.Theres also a host of various of other adult specialty programs throughout the season, including the Aspen Klug Snowboard Camp featuring local Olympic bronze medalist Chris Klug, Bumps for Boomers, Divas Ski Week and much more. For a complete list of specialty programs and details on all program offerings, go to details and reservations for any of the lessons listed above, call 877-282-7736 (970-923-1227) or stop by any lesson desk at any mountain.

Sunlight Mountain Resort outside of Glenwood Springs also offers a variety of group and private lessons.Group lessons for adults (14 and up) begin at $60 for two hours and are $100 for full-day lessons (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) Also offered are package options that include lessons with lift ticket and equipment rental.Private adult lessons start at $80 for an hour and go up to $250 for four hours. Each additional person is $30 an hour.The Williams Peak Backcountry Experience is $120 per day, with a minimum of two participants. Reservations are required.Other specialty group lesson packages include: Alpine Classic (ages 16 and up, select dates); She Rides (Ladies only on select Tuesdays, four two-hour lessons $150); Learn to Shine (three days of two-hour lessons, lift tickets and rentals; $250 for skiing, $265 snowboarding); and Bumps, Carving, Freestyle, Telemarking and Powder & Crud group sessions.Youth group lessons include half-day group lessons ($60), full-day group lessons ($100), three-day half-day packages (skis $220, snowboard $235) and private lessons ($80 an hour, $250 for four hours.) Rental and lift ticket discounts are also available with all packages.For a complete list of lessons at Sunlight or to make a reservation, go to or call 800-445-7931 or 970-945-7491.

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