If You Haven’t Taken A Lesson In A While, These Questions Can Reassure You Are Getting What You Need.

Last week, we listed five scenarios when you should consider taking a lesson. The next logical question is how do I figure out whether or not the ski school and/or the instructor can help me? The bad news is that there is not really a good answer. However, any senior skier considering taking a lesson should try to find the answers to the following five questions that are listed in no particular order. And, the great thing about being a senior skier is that we have the experience to evaluate the answers and separate the truth from the B.S.

  1. Are you certified? Right answer: Yes, I’m level 2 or Level 3.
  2. Have you taken a clinic on teaching senior skiers? Right answer: Yes. Here’s the caveat. The Professional Ski Instructors Association (PSIA) and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (AASI) has not come out with a standard nationwide framework for teaching. Some of the PSIA/AASI regions have their own certification programs but most don’t. Among those that do, the content and rigor varies a lot.
  3. Does your ski school offer special instruction for senior skiers? Right answer: Yes. The problem is that there are precious few ski areas which do. There is a greater likelihood that you’ll find instructors who are senior skiers who have experience teaching their peers than ski areas who have specialized programs for seniors.
  4. How old are you (the instructor)? Right answer: I’m 50+. You want someone who can relate to you and who may share the same physical limitations and challenges facing all senior skiers. There are many instructors who have retired from the business world and work as ski instructors to stay active in the sport. Find them!
  5. How often do you teach senior skiers? Right answer: The best possible answer is, “I teach seniors all the time” or “I only teach seniors.” This is where your instinct comes in. If you get a BS answer, then you have a decision to make.

So those are the questions I suggest you ask. What else you can do in the way of due diligence and how you evaluate your answers is up to you.




  1. PSIA requires educational updates every 2-3 years, depending on the instructor’s age. Next weekend there will be an update for PSIA instructors at Mt. Sunapee, NH. Subject: Senior Skills.

  2. Marc:
    Awesome artcles on lessons and seniors. I am PSIA 3 alpine and 2 Nordic. Had an article published here with some senior skiing ideas and a Nordic addition to skiing as we age. Last week in 4 days had 9 lessons and every lesson was a senior wanting to learn or improve in the Nordic disciplines.

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