One of the most frequently asked questions we get from winter sports enthusiasts is: “Should I choose private lessons or group lessons?”. Although there is no clear answer to this question, in this blog we will list the pros and cons of both teaching methods.
Important factors when comparing private ski and snowboard lessons with group lessons are: price, learning curve, flexibility and of course the need to make new friends in the snow!
To start with price: private ski and snowboard lessons on an hourly basis are without a doubt more expensive than group lessons. However, group lessons can usually only be booked for 5 or 6 whole mornings, afternoons or days, depending on whether you want to start the course on Sunday or Monday.
The price for a week of group lessons varies from EUR 180 in smaller Austrian villages to CHF 700 (approx. EUR 630) in the most expensive destinations in Switzerland, such as Verbier.
The price for private ski lessons or snowboard lessons depends of course on the duration of the lesson. Unlike group lessons, private lessons can often be booked from a single hour to a whole day, often with a discount if you book several consecutive days of ski or snowboard lessons.
The price of private lessons varies from EUR 50/hour at affordable destinations such as Châtel (Portes du Soleil) to EUR 100/hour (!) per hour at fashionable locations such as Zermatt in Switzerland. When you choose for example Ski lessons in Kirchberg, Ski lessons in Ischgl or Ski lessons in Zell am see the prices are mostly real affordable.
To facilitate the comparison in price of private lessons with group lessons, we take a simple calculation example. Suppose you book 5 mornings of 3 hours of private ski or snowboard lessons, then you come in a price range of EUR 750 to EUR 1500 depending on destination, which is 2x to 4x the price for 5 days of 3 hours group lessons per day.
If we use the learning curve that you go through during a lesson as a criterion, it becomes clear that private lessons are not nearly that much more expensive than group lessons. You need much less hours of private lessons to achieve the same result as with group lessons. During a private lesson you get the full attention of the ski/snowboard instructor, while the attention of a teacher in a group lesson is greatly diluted due to the higher number of participants.
A teacher who leads a group lesson will not only be able to give much less attention per participant, but will give much more generic exercises, tailored to the average level of the group rather than to the individual. As soon as you have a lower level than the group average or are a lot better than the average participant, you run the risk that the technique exercises covered do not provide you an optimal learning curve. This is simply because the exercises do not match your entry level.
The number of participants in a group lesson plays a major role in this. Where many traditional ski schools in France and Austria – handle large groups (sometimes up to 12 participants!), there is a tendency for newer ski school chains (such as Evolution 2) to have smaller groups with a maximum 8 participants. We therefore advise winter sports enthusiasts who are looking for group lessons to always inform in advance about the maximum number of participants that the school uses. It goes without saying that you will learn less in a group lesson with 12 participants than in a group lesson with 6 participants.
In a private lesson, both the exercises and the terrain are chosen exactly based on your level and needs. Whether you’re looking for good basic technique as a beginner, off-piste skiing or regaining your confidence after an accident, a private instructor can focus on any goal you choose. This means that you will see progress much faster after a private lesson than after a group lesson.
Finally, there is a crucial factor: the teacher himself. Although we must be careful to generalize, it is well known that ski instructors with the highest qualifications (“Staatlicher” in Austria) are more likely to be employed in private lessons and teachers with lower qualifications (“Anwärter”). This is because lower qualified ski and snowboard instructors often only teach during holiday weeks, which are precisely the periods in which the group lessons are given. A ski school might not be inclined to put an overqualified ski instructor with a higher hourly rate in front of a group if it can also employ a cheaper worker. The ski or snowboard school will rather employ the higher qualified ski or snowboard instructor if there is a request from an experienced skier who, for example, wants to ski off-piste.
In short: when it comes to learning curve, private ski lesson or private snowboard lesson wins without a doubt over ski or snowboard lessons in a group.
We have already talked about the duration of a group lesson versus that of a private ski/snowboard lesson. Private lessons offer the freedom to book from a single hour to a full week of lessons, while for group lessons you are usually limited to 5 or 6 half-days. Please note that you book private lessons on time! As the holiday weeks get closer, private lessons quickly sell out. This is not only due to the high holiday pressure, but also to the fact that many ski schools prefer to use their teachers for a group rather than as a private teacher for financial reasons.
Make new friends in the snow!
Finally: if you are looking for fun in the snow, group lessons are of course recommended! Although small differences in level may exist within a group, the group will initially be composed on the basis of level. Going on an adventure in the snow with a friendly group can only increase the holiday fun, including après-ski!
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We are happiest when we can share our love with others. Whether you are new to winter sports, want to improve your technique, teach your kids or want to go on an Alpine adventure – you’ve come to the right place. Ski-Pro makes the most of your precious time – both online and on the slope – with a choice of 250+ ski schools and instructors in the Alps. Add competitive prices, personalised service and a good dose of fun, and you are guaranteed to get great value for money and, most importantly, an amazing experience.