Honest Review of Schweitzer Ski School (First Hand Experience)

Last week I had a fantastic 2-day trip to Schweitzer Mountain, and one of the big highlights?

The ski lesson I took on day one.

Along the way, I learned lots of interesting things about Schweitzer’s ski school. So, if you’re considering taking a lesson while traveling to Schweitzer, here is everything you need to know! (Plus, my honest review of my lesson!)

Ski Lessons at Schweitzer: Lots of Options!

Whether you’re a beginner, advanced skier, or looking for a lesson program for your kids, Schweitzer currently offers a wide menu of ski lessons, no matter your age or Current Rates.

Schweitzer Ski School for Beginners

If you’re a beginner, Schweitzer offers two options:

  • Adult Group Lessons
  • Adult Private Lessons

Adult Group Lessons for Beginners

Usually, I recommend all beginning skiers take a lesson for their first time on the mountain. It’s what I did when learning to ski in my 20s, and I still consider it some of my best money spent.

However, Schweitzer’s group lesson schedule right now is a little sporadic. Whether it’s because of the pandemic or work shortages, they’ve temporarily suspended adult group lessons for all but the busiest holiday weekends.

You can check the current status of adult group lessons on the official Schweitzer page.

Adult Private Lessons for Beginners

Schweitzer does offer lots of private lessons.

Currently, that includes:

  • Full Day (5.5 hours)
  • Half Day (3 hours)
  • Two Hour (2 hours, obviously!)

Private lessons are the ultimate ski school luxury. You’ll have your very own instructor, who is focused on you the entire time.

Compared to group lessons, this means you’ll get much more individualized attention. If you’re serious about progressing as fast as possible, then a private lesson is the best way to go.

Of course, the big con is that privates cost much more than groups. (More info on Schweitzer’s pricing in a little bit…)

Schweitzer Ski School for Advanced Skiers

Interestingly, Schweitzer does not currently offer group lessons for advanced skiers.

So if you’re an advanced skier, your only option will be a private lesson.

Luckily, they also have multiple options for private advanced lessons. Similar to their beginner options, they include:

  • Full Day (5.5 hours)
  • Half Day (3 hours)
  • Two Hour

Personally, I know from experience that you can cover A TON of ground in a short amount of time with a private instructor, so I chose the 3 hour (half-day) option.

(More info on my experience at the bottom of this post!)

Schweitzer Ski School for Kids

Schweitzer caters to kids ski lessons very well.

They include multiple options for kids, including:

  • Kids Group Lessons: Full or Half Day
  • KinderKamp Lessons: For kids 4-6 years old, this one mixes ski lessons with indoor play time at Schweitzer’s licensed daycare. (Let’s be honest, we all know kids ski school is half lessons and half daycare.)
  • Mountain Xplorers: a multi-week lesson program for kids age 5-12. This is intended more for local, season pass holders.
  • Funatics Ski Program: 8 week program for kids age 7-14.

How much do ski lessons at Schweitzer cost?

You can find the most current rates on Schweitzer’s website. But in general:

  • Kids lessons run from $75 to $150.
  • Adult group lessons from $75 to $125
  • Adult private lessons from $260 to $480.

Personally, I paid $300 for a half day private lesson.

One quick tip on private lessons

One interesting quirk about Schweitzer’s private lesson offerings is that they allow you to bring up to five people along with you. (3 people for the two hour lesson)

In other words, if you’re skiing with friends or family, you can actually split the cost of a private lesson multiple ways.

From what I’ve seen, this is a unique aspect of Schweitzer’s ski school compared to most mountains. I hope more resorts start doing this!

Is Schweitzer’s ski school a good value?

Everything is relative, but the short answer is…

Yes! Schweitzer’s ski school is a great value!

Let’s take the adult group lesson, as an example. This currently costs $75 at Schweitzer. A similar lesson costs $130-160 at Palisades Tahoe, $170-250 at Park City, and $275 at Vail!

Similarly, my half-day private lesson cost $300 at Schweitzer. At Palisades Tahoe, this same lesson* would cost $550! At Aspen in Colorado? $750!!!

*Literally, this would be the exact same lesson. My private instructor told me he had just moved to Idaho from California, where he had been a Palisades Tahoe ski instructor for years!

Your personal opinion on ski lesson value will probably depend on your past experiences. For me, as someone who avoided ski lessons for years in Colorado because of their exorbitant pricing there, I found Schweitzer’s ski school to be great value, comparatively.

In fact, the cheaper rates were a big reason why I decided to make Schweitzer my first ski trip of the year!

Where is Schweitzer’s Ski School?

schweitzer ski school location
Schweitzer’s Ski School is right in the village area, next to the mountain’s main lifts.

If it’s your first time on the mountain, finding everything can be a little intimidating.

But worry not. Schweitzer’s Ski School is conveniently located next to the main ticket office and the base’s primary lifts.

Seriously, once you’re on the mountain, you can’t miss it! There’s even a big sign on the building labeling it as the ski school.

My First Hand Experience with an Advanced Lesson at Schweitzer

schweitzer ski school
Schweitzer’s Ski School, directly behind the clocktower.

As previously mentioned, I went with a half-day private lesson.

At this point, if you’re an advanced skier and reading this, you’re probably thinking, “Cool! I can’t wait to see how this went!”

But if you’re a beginner, you may be thinking, “Hey, wait a minute, how does some dude’s advanced private ski lesson relate to my beginner group experience at all?”

Well, dear concerned reader… In my opinion, you can really tell a ski school by how they do the advanced lessons. I mean, you can get any semi-experienced ski bum out of the parking lot and have them put on a lesson good enough to fool some beginners. But it takes a well-organized and well-ran ski school to impress on the advanced lessons.

And on that note, I was definitely impressed with my Schweitzer lesson!

The Booking Experience

I booked my private lesson over the phone, which was an unusual start to the experience.

I’m not sure if Schweitzer never has an online booking system or this was something pandemic related. But I had to call the number on the website, and then left a voicemail to let them know I was interested.

Oddly, the ski school’s voicemail recording promised they would call back, and then pleaded with callers not to continue leaving messages. (The voice on the answering machine explained they were currently experiencing a staffing shortage.)

So, I left a message, not sure how long I’d be waiting, but was pleasantly surprised to receive a call back later the next day. The agent on the other line was extremely friendly and helpful; she asked me about my past skiing experience, and then promised to set me up with an ideal instructor.

I paid over the phone, and got an email confirmation within minutes. (Although note to self: Listen when the lady tells you where and when to meet for your lesson. The confirmation email didn’t have any of that info, and for the life of me, I couldn’t remember. This meant an extra trip into the ski school building on the big day to confirm, complete with a 10 minute wait in line.)

The Lesson

On the afternoon of the lesson, I pulled up to the ski school a few minutes early and was surprised to see my private instructor already waiting for me.

We got to chatting about my goals for the lesson (improve on steep moguls) and he promised that although the conditions weren’t exactly ideal for black moguls, we’d work on technique in blue and black terrain that would help with my issues.

The next three hours were a whirlwind of instruction, with the big breakthrough being the need for me to focus more on skidded turns in certain situations, versus just trying to carve everything.

As a PSIA Level 3 instructor, he had plenty of drills, cues, and techniques for me to help make that happen.

By the end of the day, I was skiing like a whole new skier!

What more can you ask for with a ski lesson?

Final Verdict

Schweitzer’s ski school is legit! Despite a few odd quirks in the booking process, at the end of the day, they offer world class instruction at a fraction of the price of many other resorts.

Definitely a recommend!