Let me start by saying that my family is new to skiing. We were in Vermont visiting relatives, and we saw a deal where you can learn to ski, rent, and take a 90-minute lesson for $29 per person (also a limited lift ticket is included). They had this deal for the month of January and only a limited amount per day. I thought, "heck yeah! Let's try it!" I believe the ski resort industry has begun this program to introduce people to the sport and hopefully create a nice enough experience that they keep coming back. I hadn't skied in over 20 years, nor had my wife. My kids had never really been. By the end of the lesson, I could ski again, my wife was back to it and my son (age 10) was good enough to ski the beginner slopes. My daughter (age 6) had a few of the basics, but was well on her way. She didn't want to leave because she was having so much fun.
My wife and I had quite possibly the best ski instructor in the world. OK, he is the only ski instructor I have ever had, but he was still awesome. He taught us the very basic premise of skiing, instilled confidence and a few important skills. We had 5 people in our group and by the end of the 90 minutes, we were all skiing down the hill without falling and in complete control. If you are looking for an adult beginners instructor, ask for Gary at Sugarbush. He told us he has been teaching skiing for 40 years and only teaches adult beginners - he knows his niche and clearly enjoys it.
Here is what I liked abou the children's lessons: you drop them off and go. They took care of fitting them for their rentals, feeding them, keeping the warm, and teaching them to ski. I had to worry about nothing other than getting them there. They have this down pat.
The resort seems to really want you to have a good time. They take care of the little things so you feel at home. For example, it was pretty darn cold up there, and everyone has runny noses, so they had tissue boxes everywhere. Beats using your sleeve. What a good idea!
The kids liked the "Magic Carpet" lift, which is a giant conveyor belt that takes you up the hill. It is a very easy way to get people up the hill without the J-Bar or T-Bar pulling you up. Every resort should have one of these on their beginner slopes.
The nice thing about their regular chair lifts is the 2-speeds. The chair is slow to pick you up, but once it is going, it speeds up to get you to the top faster, then when it gets to the drop-off area, it slows down again. Another ingenious idea to move people fast and safely.
Bravo Sugarbush! You got me and my family hooked on skiing, you made the experience enjoyable and you earned a new customer. Next time we are in Vermont during ski season, we will definitely return. I look forward to exploring the rest of the mountain.
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