by Kristen Lummis
When people think of family skiing, they often think of families with small children. But families come in all shapes and sizes, and in Colorado, you’ll find plenty of ski resorts with programming for families with teens. As the mother of two teen boys, there is one thing I know for sure: while my sons tolerate skiing with their parents, they’re happiest and most at ease ripping with their peers.
Learn to Ski and Snowboard
Because teenagers are highly social, they tend to respond best to lessons and clinics that group them with friends, old and new. While there is no reason why a teen can’t take an adult lesson, they often learn more quickly when they get to ride with friends. This doesn’t mean they have to know the other kids going into the lesson. It just means that they may be happiest in a lesson that has other kids their age.
Or as Kevin Jordan, the Children’s Coordinator for the Ski and Snowboard Schools at Aspen Snowmass puts it, “teens want to be cool and be part of the group.”
Aspen Snowmass offers Learn to Ski and Ride lessons for teens of all levels, including “never-ever.” The Pros teaching these group lessons have extensive experience with teens so they know how to connect with 13-17 year olds, and understand how important it is to mix instruction with on-mountain exploration. Groups are divided by skill level and goals, with opportunities to learn everything from skiing deep powder to park and pipe to handling steep terrain. Special events like the Lowdown Showdown Park Challenge, ski and snowboard school race day and NASTAR are also incorporated into lessons.
Teen Program and Weeks
During peak periods, including Christmas, President’s Day and Spring Break, Steamboat offers Teen Program for skiers level 6-8 (upper intermediate to advanced). It’s a terrific way to help your skier move to the next level.
Lessons are all-day and include lunch. As with Aspen Snowmass, the instructors are teen specialists and know how to make teen lessons cool. Teen Program lessons are offered on a daily basis.
If your teen is looking for more and you’re spending a week at Steamboat (lucky you!), check out Teen Ski Week. Offered Monday through Friday during peak weeks, the program includes five all-day lessons, lunch every day, a commemorative ball cap, a treasure hunt, a BBQ and an end-of-class race. Students, up to age 15, are with the same instructor and group all week, ensuring that everyone builds significant new skills and makes new friends.
Local Colorado skiers? Look for teen classes like Arapahoe Basin’s Xtreme Teen. Offered on four consecutive Saturdays in January and February, Xtreme Teen is for skiers only in grades 6-9. Designed to foster and channel an adventurous spirit on the mountain, all day classes focus on steeps, chutes, trees, bumps, powder and park. Teens are divided into groups by ability and have the same instructor all four weeks. Lunch is included, making things easy on mom and dad, and ensuring that your busy teen won’t run out of fuel.
Wolf Creek offers a multi-week School Program for local students who want to learn to ski and snowboard. Rental equipment, if needed, is available. Groups are divided by ability and the schools provide transportation. For Wolf Creek kids who are more experienced, the resort hosts the Wolf Creek Race Team and Four Corners Free Style Team.
When it comes to freestyle ski and snowboard training and instruction, Woodward Copper is world-renowned. A training facility for some of the top freestyle professionals, Woodward Copper is also home base for all Copper Mountain Teen Ski and Ride programming.
Lessons are divided between the Barn, an indoor training facility where students use special boards and skis on Skatelite terrain, and the mountain, where participants practice and hone their skills in Copper’s renowned terrain parks.
The Park Rats program, for ages up to 18, is offered in 4, 8 or 12-week increments on weekends. Students spend half their day in the Barn and half their day on snow. Teen Group Lessons are offered every day, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for ages 13-17. These lessons start on snow in the morning and end in the Barn. Lunch is included.
Drop-in sessions are also available at the Barn.
For more Colorado resort teen programs check your favorite mountain’s website.