Learn a Snow Sport from a Pro

 By: Jill Smi
For many, the arrival of winter is simply something to suffer through until the warmer months of spring and summer. But for others, cold weather signals a time to dust off the skis, grab the snow gear and head outside.

While winter sports like skiing and snowboarding can be intimidating for beginners, especially if they're learning from a friend or family member who's not trained in these sports, package deals and multi-day lift tickets are leading many to rethink giving these snow sports a try.

Whatever your motivation - whether it is beginner's curiosity or the desire to ski triple black diamonds - one thing that can help alleviate any fears you may have is a lesson from an experienced instructor.

The Professional Ski Instructors Association and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors have helped advance lessons throughout the country, and many resorts work to help instructors obtain certifications and become better teachers in general.

Instructors are now trained to not only help you understand skiing and snowboarding, regardless of your expertise or how comfortable you are on the snow, but create an overall experience that is fun, positive and catered to your needs.

In fact, one of the most attractive aspects about learning to ski or snowboard is that they can be enjoyed by all ages, instructors say. Kids start as early as the age of 2, which can promote healthy activity and help them build confidence, develop coordination and appreciate the great outdoors. On the other hand, many adults ski or snowboard well into their 70s, enjoying the experience of outdoor activities with family or other physically active seniors.

Besides learning the proper techniques, instructors will go over safety related information with you in order to reduce accidents. Also, instructors will arm you with skiing and snowboarding etiquette. This includes knowing that the skier or snowboarder in front of you has the right of way and learning to check the snow conditions before you head out to the slopes.

Many people who already have skiing or snowboarding experience also find it beneficial to take lessons. From learning new techniques to testing new equipment, intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders are able to reach new levels with professional instruction.

"Certified professional instructors are dedicated to helping guests get the most out of their experience on the mountain," said Jeb Boyd, snow sports school director at Loon Mountain Resort in New Hampshire.

With resorts like Jackson Hole, Aspen, Telluride, Killington and Mammoth Mountain offering everything from beginner slopes to terrain parks, many are pushing themselves onto the slopes and looking to instructors to help them gain the confidence they need, in an environment that is exhilarating and yet entirely foreign.

Memories of unsuccessful attempts to ski or snowboard leave some with an innate fear of the sports. However, many who venture back onto the snow find that lessons from a certified professional increase their fun, improve their skills and open up a whole new world to them.
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