New this year at Silver Mountain, the magic carpet has been given a roof to save beginners from having to contend with the elements and gravity at the same time.
"We also have a great team of rental technicians that help get you fitted with the right size boots and equipment," says Marketing Coordinator Gus Colburn. "[And] we... have a great team of ski and snowboard instructors with a lot of years of experience and who are trained to handle one-on-one private lessons or big group lessons if that fits your budget and is more your style."
One of the resort's most popular offerings along those lines is the Flexible 5 Pak. For $249, interested skiers and snowboarders ages 7 and up receive a five-lesson package that includes equipment rental and a lift ticket. Starting in January, they'll be able to book lessons with one of the resort's handpicked instructors, and graduates will either receive a season pass that's valid for the remainder of the season or 50 percent off a 2022-23 season pass.
Like many area resorts, Schweitzer offers a full complement of lessons and packages. The popular eight-week Funatics program allows skiers ages 7–14 to hang out and hone their skills with peers of similar abilities. For adults, Schweitzer offers individuals and groups the chance to work with a dedicated instructor and target specific areas of improvement. Whether you're a newbie or a pro, Dig Chrismer, the resort's marketing manager, says that lessons can be a valuable part of any ski or snowboard experience.
"The advice I would offer is to just book a lesson and come up and try it," says Chrismer. "I've been skiing my entire life, but a couple years ago I went out and took a lesson. And I had bad habits that needed to be corrected. Even an expert skier can benefit from some of that instruction. The sport is constantly evolving, and lessons are a really great way to stay on top of that."
"We love getting first-time skiers up here," says Jodi Kayler, Mt. Spokane's assistant general manager, "and we have some really affordable programs to get them on the snow."
A great place to start is with the Never-Ever Lesson Package, a two-hour group lesson for absolute newcomers ages 7 and up. Priced at just $109, it also includes all your ski or snowboard rental equipment and a lift ticket for the Beginner's Luck Chair. The EZ Ski 1-2-3 Lesson Package offers an even steeper discount, giving you three two-hour group lessons on different days over the entire season, plus all the other rental and lift perks for $249.
Advanced skiers and snowboarders of all ages have their share of options. New this season are the Park Club and Mountain Adventure Club multi-week programs for teens and preteens to develop their landing skills and technique with seasoned instructors in the Terrain Park or out on the tree-lined trails. On Friday evenings, Club Shred will keep 4- to 10-year-old skiers occupied with lessons, activities and dinner while their parents enjoy a date night on the slopes.
Over more than 80 seasons, Lookout's free ski school has introduced tens of thousands of kids to the sport at no upfront cost. Spots for that fill quickly, though, so be sure to check the Lookout Pass website for when the signup window opens for the 2021-22 season.
First-timers can also take advantage of Lookout's three-day learners' program for skiers as well as snowboarders. The fee will include lift tickets, lessons and rentals over any three days during the season. The beginner hill is outfitted with a dedicated chairlift and groomed daily to make the experience more relaxed.
"Our key objective is to make it safe and fun for both the employees and the guests," says Director of Marketing Matt Sawyer.
49° North typically sees a good 300 inches of snowfall per year, and its north-facing orientation helps it hold on to much of that snow over the course of the season. And with convenient online booking and plenty of learners' packages and resources for beginners, including a full-service rental shop, the resort aims to make the ski or snowboarding experience as smooth and pleasant as possible, "whether you're coming for your first or your 100th time," says Director of Skier & Rider Services Rick Brown.
With 2,325 skiable acres, it might almost seem like you've got the slopes to yourself. "You never stand in a lift line here for more than 30 seconds, except for maybe the first chair on a powder day," Brown says.