Ski Lessons: Group Lessons or Private Instructor?

Three women skiers smiling in chairlift selfie photo

two adult skiers enjoy freshly groomed pistes during private ski lesson

What’s the difference between private and group ski lessons?

Generally speaking, the rule is:

Ski school lessons are more affordable and a great way to meet other skiers who are the same ability level as you.

Private ski lessons are more expensive but allow you to progress at your natural pace (however fast or slow that may be) with much more one-on-one support.


Ski School and Private Ski Lessons Explained:

One of the most important decisions you’ll have to make when booking lessons for yourself or your children is the choice between group ski school lessons and a private instructor.

As we’ll see below both types have their pros and cons and whilst they’re both great ways to progress, one type may be better suited to you than the other depending on your personality, your budget, your athletic ability, the duration of your holiday and your specific goals.


Group Ski and Snowboard Lessons, (aka Ski School Classes):

Always offered by ski and snowboard schools, group lessons usually bring together groups of 6 to 10 students at very similar ability levels. This group will share an instructor for a period of time, most often over 5 or 6 days, and progress together as a group.

Group lessons are usually offered as 3 hour sessions in the morning or as 3 hour sessions in the afternoon. Full day groups are sometimes available but they’re most common for very young children or for specific adult courses and camps.

Two-hour group lessons do exist, as do classes that allow you join for one or two days at a time, but neither are the norm.

Smiling woman learns to ski in ski school GROUP LESSON


Private Ski and Snowboard Lessons / Private Instructors

Private instruction is just that – an instructor solely devoted to you for a given period of time.

These lessons are offered both by formal ski and snowboard schools as well as by freelance instructors – certified independent instructors working for themselves or in loose collectives.

Private lessons offer a level of flexibility and individual attention beyond what group lessons can.

smiling child high-fives private ski instructor


Should I Get group lessons or a private ski instructor?


Sociable, outgoing types often thrive in group ski lessons. For adults, group lessons are a great way to meet like-minded people and many people really enjoy the group dynamic – what might be frustrating on your own becomes a funny moment for everyone to bond over when the whole group is dealing with the same issue. Any feelings of embarrassment usually only last for the 30 seconds it takes the next person to make the same mistake you just made.

For many children, group ski school lessons mean being paired up with other kids of the same ages and lessons become a fun play group where they happen to be learning a new skill at the same time.

If you’re more of an introvert then private ski lessons might be a better fit for you. You won’t have to make small talk with a group full of people and after a lesson or two your instructor will start to feel like a good friend. Choosing private tuition also eliminates the chance of being grouped with someone whose personality clashes with yours.

Similarly, shy, anxious and timid children might find that they prefer the calmer environment, full focus and personal attention the instructor can provide them.

Two women laughing on mountain after ski lesson



Group lessons are a great way to learn and improve your technique on a budget. As you’re essentially splitting the cost of your lessons with 5 to 9 other people you get a lot of tuition for your money.

Private lessons are often more expensive as you’re paying for the instructor’s time by yourself. That said, the cost difference can be mitigated by splitting the cost of a private instructor between a group of friends who are at a similar level.

ski instructor in blue jacket leads kids group ski lesson


Athletic Ability:

If you or your children are very sporty and pick things up quickly then private lessons could be a better fit as you won’t be held back by the rest of the group as you progress.

For some people one short, intensive, session with a private instructor will teach them more than they’d get from a full week of group lessons.

For many people, however, the inverse would be true and the repetition and additional practice in group lessons is invaluable.

ski instructor teaches first timer adult skiers the one foot ski shuffle


Trip Duration:

Although some schools – like Adrenaline in Verbier – offer the option to take 2 or 3 day group lessons the vast majority of groups require a minimum 5 day commitment. If you’re just popping over for a long weekend then a private instructor is much more likely to be able to accommodate you.

private ski instructor in red ski suit gives tips to child in kids private ski lesson



Private instructors are able to give you their full attention and can help work on specific issues you’re facing.

In a group lesson the instructor needs to divide his or her attention between the entire class. If you have specific goals in mind you may not be able to focus on them quite as much as you may like. That said, over the past few years courses and camps aimed at intermediate skiers and above have popped up as a way to address specific targets in a group environment.

Adult beginner skier celebrates with arms in air


Do I Need Ski Lessons?

Working in the ski industry makes you understand how important your ski and snowboard lessons are to a winter holiday.

Getting proper instruction from a fully certified expert is an important part of staying safe and improving your technique for all skiers. From first-timers learning the snow-plough to experts looking to master moguls or tackling the most extreme runs the off-piste has to offer, professional ski instruction will help you unlock your inner potential.

An added bonus is that most ski resorts let you skip the lift line if you’re with a ski school or a private instructor so you can spend more time skiing and less time waiting!

large group of happy ski school instructors in red uniforms

Compare and book your ski lessons online!

Hopefully this guide has helped you make the choice between private and group ski and snowboard lessons.

Remember, no matter what decision you’ve come to, we’ve got you covered.

SkiBro is the only place with a complete view of both ski schools and independent instructors across the Alps. Click here to easily compare, browse and book the perfect group or private ski lesson for you.

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