Vail “ROCKS!”

As we walked up to the Vail ski school my son, Christian, said “The mountains here are HUGE!” He has only been skiing for 1 season, at a smaller mountain out on the East Coast. As we entered the hubbub of the Vail Ski School, we were welcomed by the friendly staff. I signed up Christian and by the time we were all set for the next day of skiing Christian was ready to move in to the fun filled ski school and become a full-time ski bum.


First Day:

“I want to go on the big hill with you!” said Christian. “After you can ride the chairlift and practice turning and stopping, ” I replied. Thus we made a promise that if Christian could complete Vail’s Ski School level BC 2 he could take a few runs with Mom and Grandpa on the “Big Mountain”.


Christian arrived at 8:30 am on the first day in full ski gear and ready to go. First he would have free play inside and then head for the gondola at 10:00am. Once up on the mountain he enjoyed a morning of instruction with his instructors, and then at noon, he headed in to The Lookout for lunch.


By 1:15 pm his group was back out on the mountain and had his afternoon lesson until 2:45pm when the group headed down the mountain for 3:00pm snack time at the Lionshead ski school base, by 4:30 I arrived and picked him up to hear the tales from skiing on his first day on the mountain at Vail.


“Mom this is so cool! They have a really cool place like an igloo where you can go in but we didn’t have time today, maybe tomorrow. We had hotdogs for lunch they were good . . . oh and guess what, I’m a Superstar and I’m on level BC1 today. Tomorrow I will go to BC 2 . . . remember you promised if I do good tomorrow on BC2 then I can go on the big mountain!!!,” said Christian.


Second Day:
By 7:00am on the second day, Christian was jumping on the bed ready to get me awake and head off to ski school. We geared up and headed off to Lionshead. We stopped at one of the ski shops that also visited a coffee bar for some shopping and breakfast. After purchasing some Vail goodies and scarfing down juice/ coffee and a delicious blueberry muffin, off to ski school we went.


Christian put on his own boots and told me, “Mom, I think you better go now, Ski School is for cool kids like me, no grownups allowed!” Ok that was my cue to leave.


I met up with Christian’s class on the mountain and WOW we met them just in time for riding on the chairlift for the first time. I was able to ride with Christian on the chairlift and I was impressed. I think I was more nervous then he was. A successful loading and unloading!


I then watched as the class made some turns and played follow-the-leader. There were a few falls along the way, but the class made it down to the chairlift, again, for another triumphant ride up the mountain. By the end of the day when we met up with Christian, up on the mountain, I fulfilled the promise to ski with me and Grandpa on the “big mountain”.


Vail is a wonderful place for families; great ski school, friendly staff, a vast variety of activities for the whole family both on the mountain and down in the village. We are already planning or next trip back, as Christian put it, “THIS PLACE ROCKS!”


Advanced Reservation

Kid’s instruction is offered for all abilities and disciplines. You can contact Vail ahead of time to register and rent equipment, which will save you time and hassle. Upon registration, kids and teens str grouped based on their ability and age to make sure they receive the right level of instruction. Be sure to book early for holiday seasons.

If registering the morning of, please allow a minimum of 30 minutes prior to lesson start time to pick up tickets and get fitted for rental equipment.

Registration and check-in for kids’ ski and snowboard school and day care begins at 8:00am regular season and 8:30am during the value weeks. Kids are grouped by ability level (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and by age (3-6 and 7-12).

The best time to register is the day before the lesson start date: 11a.m.- noon, or 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. or 4:00 – close.

School Basics

Vail Mountain is home to a host of programs designed to captivate kids and teens. And the teachers are lifelong kid’s instructors, which mean they’ve got the experience (and patience) to make sure your kids and teens have the time of their lives while improving their skills.

Helpful Reminders for Mom and Dad:
First, do you know what your child’s ski or snowboard level is?

• Kids must be 3 years old, potty trained and willing to learn to ski and to participate in ski school.
• Ages 4 and under ski for free. Children’s lift tickets start at age 5 and go to age 12. Children ages 13 & over are considered adults and pay the adult price.
• The Kids Ski & Snowboard School offers packages that include lift, lesson and lunch or lesson and lunch so it could be helpful not to purchase lift tickets for your kids if you plan on putting them in ski and snowboard school.


What to bring:
Lunch is included with all full-day programs, ages 3-12. Parents may also give their child additional spending money. Bring warm, waterproof gloves or mittens, goggles or sunglasses with UV protection, sunscreen, warm jacket, hat, snow pants, and a neck warmer (for colder days). Please label all personal items.

If your child has special food requirements for example: is a vegetarian, severely allergic to peanuts or can only eat Kosher food, we strongly suggest bringing their own food for lunch.

The Golden Peak and LionsHead Kids’ Ski and Snowboard Centers offer ski and snowboard equipment rentals and helmet rentals. Our knowledgeable staff will fit your child in the latest equipment. Ski storage is complementary. Boots must be taken home at night. For more information about the Teen rental programs, please call 970-479-3280 for Golden Peak and 970-479-4450 for LionsHead. The alpine and snowboard boots will fit up to a men’s size 14, youth skis range from 70 centimeters to 150, and youth snowboards range from 90 centimeters to 161. We highly recommend teens call in advance for proper sizing information or get fitted the day before the lesson starts to assure equipment availability. There is an adult rental shop at both LionsHead and Gold Peak if the Vail Kids’ Centers cannot fit your teen.

Private Instruction
You and up to five of your friends and family members can have a personalized private lesson, tailored to your individual skill levels and styles with one of our world-renowned pros. You can structure your private lesson however you choose, whether it’s a fun-for-the-whole-family affair, or a couple’s escape to Vail’s remote reaches. No matter what you’re after, we’ve got just the right instructor to get you wherever you want to go.
Each instructor is like a personal concierge, dedicated to revealing hidden treasures and remote runs, so you get exactly what you want out of Vail Mountain, it’s the ultimate specialty experience at a great value.

Private Lesson Amenities
Exclusive Ski & Snowboard School lift lanes provide quick access to the slopes.
Free overnight equipment storage (where available) reduces hassles.
Try out the latest equipment at our on-mountain demo center.
Video analysis helps you perfect your form.

Private Instruction Pricing

· Full-day: $525 (value), $625 (regular)

· Half-day: $ 400 (value), $425 (regular)

One and two hour Private Lessons are available on a walk in basis only and are subject to availability.
Prices do not include lift tickets or rentals.


Group Instruction

Ages 3 – 6

Children of all levels will have a blast learning new skills and meeting new friends. Each day consists of entertaining educational themes that make learning fun. Registration begins at 8 a.m. during the regular season, and at 8:30 a.m. during value weeks. Your child must be registered and ticketed by 9:30 a.m.

· 3 – 6 half day (ski only): $72 (value), $81 (regular) available morning only

· 3 – 6 full day (ski only): lesson + lunch: $103* (value), $122* (regular)

· 5 – 6 full day: lesson + lift + lunch: $120 (value), $139 (regular)

* Free lift ticket for 3 – 4 year olds.

Rental Pricing

· Ski package (boots, skis, poles if needed): $17 (value) $21 (regular) per day

· Snowboard package (boots, snowboard): $26 (value) $30 (regular) per day

· Helmet: $11 per day

Ages 7 – 12
Programs for older kids offer engaging activities like Race Day, SKE-COLOGY, and adventures in our terrain park, making every lesson a ton of fun. Registration begins at 8 a.m. during the regular season, and 8:30 a.m. during value weeks. Your child must be registered, fitted for equipment and ready to meet their instructor by 9 a.m.

7-12 Full day (ski or snowboard): lesson + lunch: $103 (value) $122 (regular)

7-12 Full day: lesson + lift + lunch: $ 120 (value) $139 (regular)

Rental Pricing

· Ski package (boots, skis, poles if needed): $17 (value) $21 (regular) per day

· Snowboard package (boots, snowboard): $26 (value) $30 (regular) per day

· Helmet: $11 per day


Teen programs are simply ‘too cool for school.’ Your teen will have the opportunity to experience a whole new dimension in skiing and riding; they’ll meet new friends, explore the mountain and receive just the right amount of instruction to conquer the slopes, parks and pipes with confidence.

· Full day: lesson + lift: $137 (value), $147 (regular)

· Full day: lesson only: $110 (value), $120 (regular)


Ages 5 – 6: Snowboard Semi-Private (Golden Peak Only)

This exciting semi-private lesson, known as ‘Mini Jibbers,’ focuses on pacing and small class size to give your 5 – 6 year old the opportunity to learn to experience the thrills of snowboarding.

· 5 – 6 Full day: lesson + lift + lunch: $162 (value), $173 (regular)

Specialty Programs

Kids Camps: Ski & Snowboard

These fun five-day camps for intermediate and above skiers (levels 5 – 9) and advanced-beginner snowboarders (levels 3 – 9) run Monday through Friday at the Golden Peak Kids Center (December camp runs Tuesday through Saturday). Book through Children’s Online Reservations or onsite; drop-ins may be accommodated on a space-available basis, pro-rated by day.

Offered Dec. 26 – 30 /Jan. 1 – 5 /Feb. 19 – 23 /March 12 – 16 /March 19 – 23 /March 26 – 30 /and April 2 – 6.

· $885/5 days – includes lesson, lift ticket, lunch, video analysis, camp ball cap, and more

· $750/5days – lesson only

Night Owl Program

Kids ages 7 – 12 can live it up Wednesday and Thursday evenings with exciting activities like tubing and snowmobiling. All Night Owl programs include dinner, Tubing and kids snowmobile reservations must be made by noon the day of participation.

· Evening: $70

Small World Playschool Nursery

Kids 2 months to 6 years will have a terrific time in our colorful vacation child care centers. We have separate playrooms for infants (2 months- 15 months), toddlers (16 months- 29 months) and preschoolers (30 months- 6 years old). Kids should come with disposable diapers/pull-ups, a change of clothing, clothing for outdoor play, shoes for indoors, and a special sleep toy or blanket. Please provide any specialty foods for your kids (formula, infant food or special dietary needs). Reservations strongly recommended. The nursery at Golden Peak is open 7 days a week 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. during the regular season, and 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. during value weeks. Call 970-479-3285 for more information.

· Full-day (Advanced Reservations): $87 (value), $97 (regular)

· Full-day (Walk in rate): $102(value), $112 (regular)is an additional $15/day

· Half-day: $65 (value), $72 (regular) *If space is available.

Ian Fehler
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