Getting through a long, dark winter can be a difficult endeavor. For decades hardy residents of snowy habitats found the best way to stay healthy and happy during the season was to embrace the snow and cold, head outside and find something fun to do. That is why skiing and snowboarding exists!
Here in the Flathead Valley, where we are surrounded by mountains, and flanked to the north and the south by ski areas. Sliding down slopes on skis or a snowboard are ingrained in our culture. For those of you who are new to the valley, and look up toward the mountains with the desire to be a part of the fun, well then, by all means, come join us! If you’ve never been, now is the best time to learn.
Actually, anytime during the winter is a great time to learn to ski or snowboard however, January is especially good for a few reasons. One, the holiday vacationers have all gone home leaving the slopes, lodges and parking lots easier to access. Two, snow has covered the slopes from top to bottom enabling all of our terrain to be open. Three, by taking a lesson in January, you will still have the months of February and March to practice what you’ve learned before we close for the season on April 5.
You also are very fortunate to live here and be able to take advantage of one of the best Learn to Ski or Ride programs in the industry. We’ve designed an all-inclusive package that gets you started with everything you need and we offer it for a modest price. The package includes two half-day lessons, two days of ski/board rentals and a two-day lower mountain lift ticket for only $85.
You will show up to the Base Lodge where our rental shop staff will outfit you with your equipment, then you head out to our beginner area to meet your instructor. We keep these lessons small, three or fewer students per instructor, and with back-to-back days of instruction you will quickly build on your skills.
Once students complete the program, instructors will present alumni with a “graduate voucher” which can be redeemed for a “Graduate Frequent Skier Card” which will allow grads to continue their new skills on snow with 50 percent off group lessons and rentals as well as daily lift tickets at the price of $54 for adults, $49 for teens and $27 for ages 7-12 which is good for the remainder of the winter, and will bring you back to build on what you learned.
During the 2018/19 season a record setting 1,295 skiers went through this program (912 adults and 383 kids ages 7-12), and an additional 534 snowboarders graduated as well.
Our instructors consistently receive high marks from our guests in instructor competence, personal feedback and attention, overall lesson experience as well as the value of the lesson. Many of our instructors may be certified by the Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA and AASI), and attend trainings to learn how to teach the basics, our ski and snowboard instructors learn how to relate to and engage with their students. We also specifically hire enthusiastic individuals who have experience working with people. They are patient, insightful, caring, and know how to turn an experience that can be scary and intimidating into something rewarding and fun.
You likely have many friends and family members who have offered to teach you to ski or snowboard. Keep in mind that while they may have years of experience, most will not have the skills of our trained professionals. Instructors know how to breakdown each movement, and explain why it makes a difference. They can better answer your questions. They also know all of our terrain and can take you to the parts of the mountain to best work on the skills you need.
Above and beyond learning the basics, ski instructors will also share their passion for the sport and the culture. They teach because they love to be on a mountain all winter long, and enjoy sharing their knowledge for the sport as well as the love of winter fun. Take a lesson and join our tribe!
TIPS for never ever been, don’t know where to start:
- Call and make a reservation for Learn to Ski/Ride at 406-862-2909
- Dress in layers: base layer (breathable, “wicking” materials), insulation layer (fleece, wool, synthetics, or down), outer layer (waterproof jacket, pants, gloves or mittens, neck warmer/facemask)
- Wear one pair of wool or synthetic socks (ski and snowboard boots are insulated)
- Rent a helmet: all of our rental shops offer helmet rentals
- Drink plenty of water
- Arrive with plenty of time before your lesson to get your rentals
- With kids, allow for even more time to get ready and be early to meet their instructor
- If you rent from Base Lodge Rentals you can purchase your lift ticket and lesson from Rentals