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Child Ski & Snowboard Group Lessons
Bring the little ones out to Sugar Bowl Ski Resort for a fast, easy and fun way to introduce them to snow sports. Our friendly instructors will help them become familiar with the mountain environment, their skis or snowboard, chairlifts, and every other aspect of a day on the slopes. The perfect way to build a strong foundation of skills that make skiing/riding enjoyable for years to come.
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First Day of Ski & Board Lessons
A Spoonful of Sugar
So you’re coming to Sugar Bowl Resort and planning to take your first ski or snowboard lesson, how exciting! Taking a ski/snowboard class as a beginner is a great way to learn basic on-the-slope skills and give you more confidence with things like loading on and off the chairlift, how to put your skis or snowboard on, and more. Here are a few tips to prepare for your first day of dipping your toes into the world of skiing/snowboarding.
Before You Show Up
Make sure you show up ready to go! There are a few things you’ll need to do to make sure you’re all set up for your lesson.
1. Reserve your lesson at least 48 hours prior to arrival. All lessons can be booked online or you can also call us for availability at (530) 426-9000. Try to plan at least 2 weeks in advance for weekends, as our lessons do sell out.
2. Give yourself ample time to get your rental gear and get to your lesson meeting spot. Look for the big white tent near Judah Lodge, that is the Ski Board School Tent.
We recommend at least an hour and a half. Another gentle reminder that the rental shop on weekends is likely to be busy. Giving yourself plenty of time means you’ll be able to show up to your lesson on time and ready to go.
3. Make sure you’ve got all the clothing you need. Sugar Bowl does not provide any of these with our lesson packages, so you’ll want to pack accordingly.
- Warm Jacket & Waterproof Pants
- Waterproof Gloves
- Sunglasses or Goggles
- Warm Hat or Beanie
- Good Socks (not cotton, wool is best)
Rentals are available for helmets. Dress in layers, as this helps, so you can add more layers for warmth or remove clothing if you are getting too warm. We also highly recommend wearing and packing some high SPF sunscreen.
4. Lunch and snacks! Especially if you’re doing a full-day lesson, you’ll want to make sure you have fuel to get you through. Decide ahead of time if you’ll be eating in one of our establishments or if you’d like to pack your own lunch. Our cafes (Judah, Nob Hill and Mid Mountain) offer hearty meals or grab-and-go items that are quick and easy.
What Can You Expect To Learn
Sugar Bowl Resort’s instructors are some of the best around. They are going to make sure that you learn the necessary basic skills to get going on the slopes with a smile on your face. Some of the things you’ll learn:
- Loading onto and off the chairlift safely.
- Instructors will give demonstrations and have the chairlift slowed down for you.
- How to make turns. What way to point your body, best tactics for staying on your feet and going the speed you’re comfortable with.
- How to stop, which may be the most essential skill!
A lesson is a perfect way to ease into the big world of skiing or snowboarding! Don’t forget to take a few moments during your day to soak in the spectacular view at Sugar Bowl Resort and enjoy your surroundings. It’s not every day you get to frolic on the slopes. We look forward to hosting you and your loved ones during your trip to Tahoe.
Our instructors are certified by the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) and have the highest level of teaching expertise.
Bonus: Everyone in the lesson can access the chairlifts faster by using the express line bypassing the general line.
What to Wear Skiing & Snowboarding
Let’s Get Comfortable
Dialing in your outerwear and gear will help you have a great day on the slopes. Here is some insight on how you can prepare for your best day possible. Forget something? Stop by one of our retail stores at the Judah Lodge or the Village Lodge. We have just about everything you might need.
Our California winters run the full spectrum of Sierra weather. Conditions at Sugar Bowl range from blizzard days with gale-force winds to sunny spring T-shirt weather. Be prepared to dress for success in a variety of different weather scenarios.
Start with the basics: a wind & water resistant jacket and pants. As with all ski gear, there’s a wide range of price/quality in outerwear. You can kit yourself out with brand name Gore Tex, or there are plenty of budget friendly options out there. Some retailers even rent soft goods, so you don’t have to buy a full ski kit to get started.
Pro Outerwear Tip
The water resistant pants you choose should have a wide enough cuff to fit over your boot. This will prevent snow from getting into your boots. Try to choose jackets and pants with thigh/underarm vents if possible to help regulate your body temperature.
The Beauty Within: Layers!
Next, make a plan for your layers underneath. Non-cotton, sweat-wicking pieces of clothing will help keep you dry and comfortable. If it’s a sunny day and temps are above freezing, you may choose to simply go with a light pair of long underwear or yoga pants underneath your ski jacket and pants. If it’s a cloudy day or temps are below freezing, you may want to add additional layers, like a fleece or wool sweater.
Pro Layering Tip
if you are bundling up, try to choose some upper body layers that don’t all have hoods. Stacking too many hoods might make you feel like you’re in a straight jacket once you zip everything up!
Fingers and Toes
Your socks should follow the same rules as your layers— no cotton. If possible, choose a pair of ski-specific socks. Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to double up socks, it doesn’t help.
How can I keep my feet from getting cold?
Start with a high-quality pair of ski-specific socks. Look for a non-cotton, wicking pair of socks that fit slim to your foot without wrinkling or bunching. Next, if you’re wearing ski boots, you can unbuckle your boots as you walk across the parking lot or every time you ride lifts. This will help get the blood flowing through your feet while you aren’t using your boots for downhill performance. Just remember to rebuckle before you take your next run.
While you probably don’t need to run out and buy a new pair of gloves just for skiing or riding, here are a couple considerations. It can be helpful to choose a glove with a synthetic exterior, like nylon, that has some kind of a water resistant layer. Choosing a glove with some insulation will help you stay warm in cold, wet conditions. Ski & ride-specific gloves will often have abrasion-resistant patches on the palm and fingertips for durability.
Pro Gloves Tip
It can be helpful to stash an extra pair of gloves in the car, even if they aren’t the ones you plan to ski in. If you have to put chains on before arriving at the mountain, you won’t want to get your gloves sopping wet before you even start your day. It can be nice to switch gloves midday or before your après activity.
Get your Head in the Game
Let’s protect your noggin! First, we always recommend a helmet. If you don’t want to purchase one, many retailers have helmets for rent. If you are taking a ski or board lesson at Sugar Bowl, we’ll include a complementary helmet rental.
Next, given our weather extremes in Tahoe, we highly recommend goggles over sunglasses. If it’s snowing, sunnies just don’t cut it. If it’s a bluebird day, the sun will be reflecting off the snow and you’ll want eye protection from all angles. Getting a sunburn on your eyeball is not a good look.
The third element you should plan for is a balaclava or neck gaiter. Depending on the temps, you may want a light stretchy neck gaiter for light sun and wind protection. If it’s really cold, you may choose a fleece neck warmer. Our go-to choice is typically the light stretchy neck gaiter. If it gets wet, it’s really easy to have an extra one stashed in your jacket (they are inexpensive and fold up really small!)
Pro-tip: How should my helmet fit?
Your helmet should be snug but not so tight that you can feel pressure on the sides of your head. A good test is to rock your head side-to-side / yes-and-no. If your helmet sloshes around, it’s too loose. If it’s giving you a headache, too tight. There are many different helmet types to accommodate different shaped heads. A good rule of thumb is to use a helmet that is 5 or less years old.
How to Properly Wear your RFID Ticket
Seems simple right? Buy your ticket online, use the QR code to redeem it at a kiosk, then pop it in your jacket pocket… You’d be surprised how many people get stuck in the lift line because they’ve done it wrong! Here’s a couple things to remember (in additional to zipping your pocket up tight!)
- Choose a pocket on the left side of your jacket.
- Your ticket rides solo, not in your wallet or with a phone.
- Don’t punch a hole in your ticket
- Essentials for the other pockets: sunscreen, lip balm, medicine if needed, and a Cliff Bar or other light snack.
5 Exercises for Skiing & Riding
Want to know how the pros are getting ready for ski season? Check out this 5-part preseason exercise series with Jamey Conley, Director of Performance at Sugar Bowl Academy. Jamey shows us five ways to prepare the key muscles, or “primary movers” that you’ll use skiing and riding this season– think knees, thighs, glutes and core. This series of exercises are simple to do at home and they don’t require any specialized equipment.
A couple benefits to preseason training include:
- Building overall strength and endurance
- Preventing injury
- Being a little less exhausted on the first powder day of the season
A little background on Jamey…
Jamey has a BS in Athletic Training from Springfield College, where he played on the Men’s Lacrosse Team. He is a Certified Athletic Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist with experience working in collegiate and professional sports settings, as well as in the private setting working with middle school, high school, collegiate, and professional athletes. Prior to joining SBSTA, Jamey was a Performance Coach for Altis Performance and for U.S. Ski & Snowboard High Performance.
Exercise 1: The Classic Squat
- Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart (Slightly wider is okay, but avoid trending too wide)
- Get tall through the top of your head and keep your back straight
- As you descend, your goal should be to descend straight downward
- Keep your feet flat on the ground- you should feel weight in your heels all the way to your big toe.
- Make sure your knees are tracking straight over shins
Exercise 2: Lateral Lunge
- Similar to the squat, remember to stay tall in your upper body with a straight back
- From standing, keep one foot anchored while stepping the other foot out to the side.
- Try to hit a 90 degree angle between your hip and your knee
- Drive from the inside edge of the foot
- Lateral Lunges are an important movement especially for skiing. When you are making a big arcing turn with speed, you’re using the same lateral movement as this lunge. Lateral lunges also help us train the muscles that absorb impacts on the hill. Stability prevents injury.
Exercise 3: Single Leg Squat
- Stand facing away from a stable surface (like a coffee table, chair, or bench)
- Shift your weight onto the foot of the leg you’re going to be squatting towards. Slide the other foot forward and lift it off the floor.
- Keeping your upper body tall, squat straight down to tap the bench and be sure to keep your knee tracking straight over your toes.
- This is a great exercise for building stability in the knee joint and preventing injury.
Exercise 4: Dead Bug
- Lay with a flat back on the floor and bring your arms and legs up to 90 degrees (like an upside down table.)
- Take turns extending an opposite arm and leg outwards.
- Keep your back flat to the floor and remember to take deep breaths.
- Building a strong core is essential for being able to control our turns.
Exercise 5: Squat Jumps
- Get tall and set up like you would for a squat.
- Get low and bring your arms down towards your sides (your arms will go where ever your hips go.)
- Explode up to the ceiling and bring your arms up overhead.
- When absorbing the landing, don’t stop stiffly or drop all the way to the floor, try to stop somewhere right in the middle.
- Jumping exercises help build explosive strength in our legs.
While Sugar Bowl Ski Team alumni have gone on to become members of the U.S. Ski Team and to compete at the NCAA Division I level, SBST’s primary objective is to provide a fun environment in which kids learn to love the sport of skiing. They emphasize character development through the challenges faced here on Donner Summit.
Adult Ski & Snowboard Group Lessons
Whether you're still a beginner looking to improve the basic techniques or an advanced skier/rider looking to hone your technical skills, Sugar Bowl has a program to help progress through all ability levels.