By Alicia Dziak
It’s January— the snow is finally here, the ski resorts are open and it’s National Learn a Snowsport month. Even if you already know how to ride or ski, the season is just getting into full swing and now’s the perfect time to take a lesson and improve your skills.

Holiday Valley
Lessons are broken down by age and ability to ensure a fun and tailored experience for everyone.
For the kiddos:
Three-year-olds who want to try skiing will love Cub Kadets Skiers, which provides a 50-minute private lesson, introducing the child to the world of skiing and snow and includes free rentals.
Three-year-olds who are eager to try snowboarding can take part in Riglet Park Riders, for a 50-minute private lesson in the Riglet Park, which also includes free rentals.
Kiddos ages 4-6 can take part in the Li’l Troopers Skiers, where they’ll get a two-hour group lesson geared toward younger new skiers. Riglet Park Riders get a two-hour group lesson in the Riglet Park, a terrain-based learning area specially designed for youngsters.
For all of these programs, register directly at Creekside Lodge. If you would like to include Day Care, register at the Day Care Center. Reservations are required for all 3, 4, and 5-year olds by calling (716) 699-3505.
Kids ages 6-11 can participate in the Scouts Learn to Ski and Goat Ropers Learn to Snowboard programs for first time skiers and riders. Packages include a beginner lesson, rentals, School Haus-area lift ticket and a hot chocolate break; the all-day program includes lunch.
More advanced skiers in that age group can move their way through the Pathfinders, Explorers and Trailblazers lessons, while snowboarders can take part in the Bull Doggers and Bronc Busters. These programs include the lesson, all-area lift ticket and a hot chocolate break, as well as lunch for the all-day program attendees.
Various lesson packages are also available. Visit for more info and pricing.
For tweens, teens and grown-ups:
Those ages 12 and up can learn with other older children and adults by choosing beginner lessons, group lessons or private lessons.
Group lessons are broken down for beginners, intermediates or advanced.
Newbies can take advantage of great deals throughout the month with half- price learn to Ski or Ride packages for ages 12 and up.Register at the Ski School Desk on the ground floor of the Holiday Valley Lodge, or, if you’re a first time skier/rider, register at Creekside Lodge.
HV is also offering a “Bring a Friend Challenge” all season long. When a skier or rider brings a new person who purchases a learn to ski or snowboard package, the “ambassador” receives a 50 percent discount coupon for an adult 8-hour, all-area lift ticket for their next visit to Holiday Valley. The ambassador can also enter the national promotion at to win great prizes.
According to Jane Eshbaugh, Holiday Valley’s marketing director, “First and foremost, lessons at Holiday Valley are about Safety, Fun and Learning in that order. Whether it’s a 3-year-old in her first Li’l Troopers lesson or a lesson in the moguls for a seasoned skier, we aim for a safe experience that’s tons of fun and the skier/rider goes home with some new skills.”
Bob Armour, Holiday Valley’s Snowsports School director, added that, “Our instructors try to create a connection with the guests on a personal level, to let them know they’re truly interested in making skiing or snowboarding more fun for them. A successful lesson is a delicate balance of people skills – making the guests feel good about themselves — with technical skills – the actual mechanics of making the ski/board turn.”
For more info about lessons at Holiday Valley, visit
At HoliMont, the public is welcome Monday through Friday to take advantage of lessons and specials.
Learn to Ski or Snowboard Packages for first-timers are 1.5 hour lessons offered Monday through Friday at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Packages include beginner group lessons paired with the beginner area-only lift ticket and basic equipment rental. They’re10 percent off during the month of January.  HoliMont also offers 1.5 hour Weekday Group Lessons Monday through Friday at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. for intermediate and advance skiers/riders.
Interested in learning the fastest growing snowsport around? Check out the Telemark Group Lessons offered Wednesdays and Fridays at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. These 1.5 hour lessons will have you living the free heel life in no time.
Private lessons run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and are broken down into the following tiers:
The Silver Bullet, a one-hour refresher, The Gold Nugget, 1.5 hour private lesson and The Platinum Plus, a two-hour in-depth private lesson. Add-on options are available.
“The Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors Eastern Division are teaming up with resorts across the East to raise awareness of the fun of skiing and riding, plus the benefits of taking a lesson from a pro,” said Wendy Frank, HoliMont’s Snowsports School director. “All of our HoliMont instructors are PSIA/AASI trained,  Training clinics for the staff are held every weekend to ensure consistency and quality in our group and private lessons.” Frank cites low student-teacher ratios as a differntiator. “Come and see us at HoliMont Snowsports School and make winter your favorite season by taking a lesson with a pro!” she added.
For more info about lessons at HoliMont, visit
Adaptive Lessons
Both Holiday Valley’s Lounsbury Adaptive Program and HoliMont’s Phoenix Adaptive program offer lessons and equipment for those with physical and cognitive disabilities. Be sure to check out the details on the resorts’ web sites.
Whether you’re just getting started, or you’re aiming to improve your skills this season, the best way to navigate the slopes is with confidence. And what better way to get that confidence than to learn and keep learning. Book a lesson, practice all day and have a blast out there!