Ski Lessons at Ober Gatlinburg

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January is learn-to-ski month and we have taken ski lessons in January since 2015. We did not take lessons last year because, frankly, I was not ready to drive up Ski Mountain road six weeks after the devastating wildfires of November 2016.

Family skiing at Ober Gatlinburg

Our family skiing at Ober

But this year is a different story. We have gotten over the shock of the fire and we were ready to resume our skiing careers. Plus, our daughter is seven, which is the recommended age to start.  Continue reading »

For your information, they will take younger children, like five and six, but they prefer them to be seven and older. Our son got started at seven and he is 10 now. He loves it and is in the intermediate class. Our daughter is in the beginners.

The classes happen on Sunday mornings. Beginners is at 9:30 and Intermediate at 11:00. The class lasts an hour. The instructors are patient and courteous. Adults are encouraged to join the adult classes for their respective level, which happen at the same time as the children’s.

Mom and son skiing

As you can see, my son is almost as tall as I am and he is only 10.

If you can ski already, you just drop off your child with her class and go have fun on the slopes. There is a designated area where you have to pick up your child at the end of the class.

Our daughter made tremendous progress in just one lesson. She had had one lesson two years ago, so it was not much to build on, but she got over the initial apprehension of the entire routine.

These lessons are a bargain: $160 for four classes and this price includes rental of helmets, skis and poles. It also includes riding the aerial tram if you like that kind of thing. The only other expense is the parking fee, $5, either at the aerial tram or at the resort.

We do not ride the tram. I do not enjoy heights or being in tight spaces with lots of people. We park at the resort and because we get there early we find great places to park. By noon, the parking lot is full at the resort and they put signs at the bottom of the mountain for people not to bother to drive up. Instead, they ask them to park at the aerial tram station and ride the tram instead.

The following year, you receive five vouchers, for an extra visit to the resort, which you can redeem any day you prefer. By the way, you do not even have to sign up for classes for the fee of $160. If you are comfortable skiing, you just pay that fee and it covers your rental and all day fun on the slopes, skiing or snowboarding, but you cannot change the activity in the same day.

2016 Ski Season

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Last year, my son and I started taking ski lessons. These lessons are offered for homeschoolers but we have also met public school children. The lessons happens on Sunday mornings, so it really is an accessible time for everybody. One must be at least seven to start.

Mom and son on the ski slopes

My son and I at Ober Gatlinburg in February 2016

We were both beginners last year. I had been on skis twice before, but without much success. So I really was a beginner as well. This year, we are taking intermediate classes. Riding the chair lift was really scary for me in the beginning, especially when it gets really high in places.  Continue reading »

But practice makes perfect. This year, I no longer feel a panic. Just an amazement that I am actually on that chair again and not feeling terrified.

Skiing is fun. My son falls here and there, but gets up and keeps going. I don’t fall because I somehow got the hang of it and when I feel I am gaining too much speed I slow down. The trick is to always stay in control.

I don’t think we are ready for advanced lessons next year though. The intermediate lessons have been a bit of a disappointment this year. One teacher was too vague, the other too meticulous. I got some more information on technique, but what helped more than anything was to practice what I was taught.

We ski at Ober Gatlinburg, the only ski resort in Tennessee. It is what they call “Southern skiing.” Translation: the terrain changes from slushy to ice from day to day. Most of the snow is man-made and they say this is the best preparation for skiing out West.

We are not yet ready to ski in Colorado, Utah or California. But we are slowly getting there. And they say Ober prepares you for this quite well. So we are on our way…