[Editor Note: From time to time, we’re going to dip into our extensive archives for a story that might be useful, interesting, or entertaining.  Here’s one from 2014 from correspondent Harriet Wallis.]

Starting right sticks all season.

My friend says the same thing every winter. She says wants to take a lesson as soon as there’s more snow on the ground or when she has more ski days under her belt.

That’s been going on for as long as I’ve known her, and she still hasn’t taken a lesson.

If you’ve ever said that, you’re not alone. Many skiers and riders think that more snow or more ski days are the prerequisite for a lesson.

So I asked some ski pros about it.

Start early and bond with your instructor! Credit: Harriet Wallis
Start early and bond with your instructor!
Credit: Harriet Wallis

“Skiing is a seasonal activity, so whether you’re a vacationer who skis once a year or whether you ski all season long, you come back to it fresh at the beginning of the season,” said Tom Pettigrew, director of skier services at Park City Mountain Resort in Utah. Early season lessons are really beneficial because “all of your movement patterns are not totally engaged yet, so it’s easier to learn new patterns before you get entrenched in old ones.”

In addition, while the terrain might be limited, it’s actually an advantage. You can get comfortable on your skis and make learning breakthroughs without being distracted by vast terrain choices, Pettigrew said.

Scott Mathers, ski school training director at Alta, UT, says the same thing in a different way. “Your senses are heightened when you first start to ski again. You’re aware of how your body is moving and what it’s doing. But as you ski more, you get desensitized, making it harder for you to make changes.

“It takes a lot of practice for something to become ingrained,” he said. “An early lesson gives you something to focus on for the rest of your vacation or for the season.”

Will you take an early season lesson this winter?

To read more from Harriet Wallis, click here for her articles on SkiUtah!


  1. Our December BUMPS FOR BOOMERS mogul skiing clinics are our most popular ski lesson programs of the season because they enable our Boomer clients to get “dialed in” on techniques for good balance and good control at the very beginning of the season. This way you can get rid of any bad habits or inefficient techniques or things that you may have forgotten over the summer which results in more successful skiing experiences for the balance of the season.

  2. Perfect timing! I’m going out in January and wanted to take a lesson and was trying to decide when to do it. I thought I might need to “take a couple days to warm up” before taking a lesson. But this reminds me that my warm up days could be ingraining the wrong technique so I’m taking the lesson on day 1!!

  3. Hi Harriet,
    I’ve emailed you in the past about skiing on two replaced knees. Enjoyed your article about that. First day on the slopes this week 11 months after both replaced and it is great to turn without pain!
    Thanks for the encouragement that we can still ski after knee
    replacement (s)!

  4. My pre-season training consists of watching old Warren M. films.

    Lessons in the early season are watching Jerry Of Day videos.

    ‘Formal Lessons’ most seasons… Really.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *