Guide To Booking Ski Lessons In Niseko
All the answers to the most important questions when booking ski lessons in Niseko.
Booking ski lessons isn't hard, but if you are new to the game there are a number of important questions to answer before you get started. We have put together this guide to help you answer those initial questions and navigate through your booking experience.
Where are you staying?
The first factor you should work into your equation is your location. It makes sense to book ski lessons close to where you are staying, ideally within the same resort area. Each of the four resorts has an official ski school, which will be your easiest option for booking lessons.
- Grand Hirafu → GoSnow (English)
- Grand Hirafu → Grand Hirafu Ski School (Japanese)
- Niseko Village → Niseko Village Snow School (NVSS)
- Niseko-Annupuri → Niseko Annupuri Ski & Snowboard School (NASS)
- Hanazono → Niseko International Snowsports School (NISS)
All four ski schools offer private and group lessons for all levels and ages. Many of the official schools will also have additional perks, such as exclusive access to magic carpet lifts for beginners or priority lift access.
Who are the lessons for?
Once you know where you staying and booking lessons, the next question you need to ask is "who are the lessons for?".
Are you booking just for your children, or are you booking for the entire family? How old are your children? Is everyone in your family beginners or just the children while you and your partner are more advanced?
These are important questions as they will affect what kinds of lessons are most suitable for the participants.
Private lessons or group lessons?
Private lessons give you more control over your learning experience than group lessons. You can take an individual lesson with a private instructor to get one-on-one attention, or you can book a lesson for a small group. Group lessons are less expensive and still great choices, but you cannot control who is in your lesson. Instructors must teach the entire class and choose a pace that everyone can keep up with.
|Private Lesson||Group Lesson|
|Availability||Sell out quickly during peak season, walk in unlikely at this time. Walk in is usually possible during off-peak times of year.||Typically available for reservation in peak season. Walk in is generally available throughout the season, but can sell out.|
|Size||1 – 6 people (varies by ski school)||1 – 9 (varies by ski school)|
|Restrictions||Individual or small private group. One discipline only (ski or snowboard). Riders must be similar level.||Group lessons are divided by age, discipline and skill level. Age categories usually are: young children, older children, adults. Skill levels range from first time skier to expert.|
|Who You Ski With||Solo or with friends and family.||Meet new people.|
Example 1: Family of four, all first time skiers. Parents choose to do an adult group lesson for first-time skiers, while the 7 and 8 year-old children are entered into a group lesson for first-time children. Alternatively, as the family are all first-time skiers, they could choose private lessons. They might be able to start together, but they would likely require two instructors as children tend to progress faster than adults.
Example 2: Family of four, everyone different levels and disciplines. The mother is a high-level skier and the father has just started snowboarding. Their 9 year-old daughter snowboards at an intermediate level, while their 5 year-old son is just starting to ski. As everyone are different levels and disciplines, the best course of action would be to book privates or groups for everyone. The family could look into four private instructors to give everyone one-on-one time or they could look into a variety of group lessons that cater to specific ages, skill levels and disciplines.
What is your ability level?
Every ski school will have a skill chart of some kind to help you decide what ability range you best fit into. For the most part, the division might look like the following:
|First Timer||This is your first time skiing or snowboarding.|
|Beginner||You have tried skiing or snowboarding before and can confidently stop on your own.|
|Novice||You have used a chair lift and can link basic turns on green level slopes.|
|Intermediate||You can parallel turn on blue and red level courses (skiers). You can make varied turn shapes on blue or red level courses (snowboard).|
|Expert||You can ski or snowboard in all terrain and conditions, confidently stopping, staying in control, and making a variety of turn shapes.|
When should you book your lessons?
As Niseko continues to grow more and more popular, we always advise visitors to book well in advance.
If you are looking to book private lessons, this is absolutely necessary. Many ski schools sell out on their private lessons availability during the peak winter times as quick as half-a-year before the ski season even begins.
Are there any discounts?
Many ski schools here in Niseko offer early bird discounts when booking in early summer for the following winter season. Discounts will vary and most schools will have black-out dates during the peak Christmas/New Year and Chinese New Year periods.
Many companies also offer consecutive day discounts when booking group lessons.
What are the cancellation policies like?
Most ski schools are fairly flexible with their Terms and Conditions. Typically, you are still able to receive a refund on your ski lessons or make amendments within a month of your lesson date. Of course, each school is a bit different so be certain to ask before you book.
Where do I book ski lessons?
Here's a list of some of the ski schools you can book lessons through for your next winter holiday here in Niseko.