Getting children up on skis . . . Tahoe ski resorts with programs
Putting on skis, learning to snowplow, and riding a chair lift are
basics of alpine skiing, but for a first-time skier, this can all seem
like a great challenge.
To help young beginners meet the challenge, 16 ski resorts in the
Lake Tahoe area–twice as many as in our previous survey in 1977–have
developed ski programs that cater to their needs. Trained instructors
teach children basic skiing and ski safety and create an enjoyable
atmosphere for learning.
Nine resorts offer all-day programs, often with a double-session
lesson, playtime, and snack or lunch. Price includes lift ticket, but
rental equipment is extra except as noted.
It’s a good idea to call ahead for reservations, especially if
you’re planning a trip during the holidays or a three-day weekend.
If you don’t have reservations, check at the resort’s ski
school desk to see if any room is left in the class you want.
Alpine Meadows Ski Area, (916) 583-4232. Children’s Snow
School for ages 3 to 6 includes ski lesson, equipment, indoor and
outdoor playtime, lunch, and snacks for $35.
Children’s Ski School, ages 7 to 12. Beginner class with lift
ticket, all-day lesson, lunch break; $22.
Boreal Ski Area, (916) 426-3666. The Hobbit Ski Company, ages 3 to
12. Morning and afternoon lessons, equipment, indoor and outdoor
playtimes, and lunch; $35. This six-level program awards children for
their progress with badges taken from the characters in the Hobbit
trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Echo Summit Ski Area, (916) 659-7154. Skiwee is a program
developed by Ski Magazine for ages 5 to 12. All-day lesson, indoor and
outdoor playtimes, lunch; $32. Participants get a standardized ski
report card that can be used again as a progress chart at other resorts
offering the program (including Northstar in the Lake Tahoe region).
Children’s Ski School, ages 7 to 12. Double-session 4-hour
Kirkwood Ski Resort, (209) 258-6000. Children’s Ski School
has a beginner special including double-sesson lesson and equipment;
$25. Group lessons for ages 4 to 12 at any level. All-day lessons
include lunch; $25. Single-session 2-hour lessons cost $15.
Mt. Rose Ski Resort, (702) 849-0704. Rosebuds is for ages 3 to 7.
The main goals are to teach children to ski and get on chair lifts
unassisted. All-day lesson costs $35; half-day $20.
Northstar-at-Tahoe, (916) 562-1010. Skiwee and Peewee programs are
offered here. The first (ages 5 to 12) includes 6-hour lesson and hot
lunch; $40. The second (ages 3 to 6) offers 1 1/2-hour lesson,
equipment, indoor and outdoor play, lunch, and snacks; $32, $29 for
Ski Incline, (702) 832-1177. Learn-to-Ski program, ages 6 to 12.
Four-hour lesson $20; 2 hours $14. Beginner special includes 4-hour
lesson, rental, and lift ticket; $25; 2 hours $15; weekends (two days, 4
hours a day) $45.
Soda Springs, (916) 426-3666. Offers the Hobbit Ski Company
program weekends only (see listing under Boreal Ski Area).
Squaw Valley USA, (916) 583-0119. Ten Little Indians Snow School
(583-4743), ages 3 to 5. Lesson, equipment, indoor and outdoor play,
and lunch $32; second child $26. Half-day lessons $22.
Junior Mountain Ski School for ages 6 to 12 has separate programs
for children who have never skied and those who can turn on skis and get
onto a chair lift. Classes run from 11 to 4, with a lunch break; $24
(hot lunch $6 extra). Lesson packages with ski rental are also
The following resorts don’t have full programs for children,
but offer beginner lessons for them–some with adults, others for
Donner Ski Ranch, (916) 426-3635. Half-hour private lessons for
ages 3 to 6; $10. Two-hour group lessons for ages 6 and up cost $7, $14
for 4 hours.
Heavenly Ski Resort, (916) 541-1330. Children’s Ski School,
ages 5 and up. Lift ticket, single-session 2-hour lessons (morning or
afternoon), hot chocolate; $14, $20 for double session.
Homewood Ski Area, (916) 525-7256. One-hour group lessons for ages
4 to 6 cost $6. Two-hour group lessons for ages 7 and up are $13;
all-day lessons $18.
Sierra Ski Ranch, (916) 659-7475. Children 5 and under can have a
private 1 hour lesson for $26. Half-day group lessons for ages 5 and up
are $14; all day $21.
Slide Mountain, (702) 849-0303. Group lessons for ages 6 and up.
Classes usually run 2 hours, depending on ability and endurance of
students; cost is $11.
Sugar Bowl, (916) 426-3651. On weekends, lessons for beginners any
age cost $12 for 2 hours, $18 for all day. Weekdays (same rates),
children must be 7 or older.
Tahoe Ski Bowl, (916) 525-5224. Preschool ski class, ages 4 to 6;
1- to 2-hour lesson $7. Ages 6 and up $14 half-days, $20 all day.
Photo: Learning to snowplow, youngster at Lake Tahoe’s
Northstar resort gets personal coaching from ski instructor while his
classmates look on
Photo: Hot lunch break for student and instructor is part of most
full-day children’s ski programs