Just about every ski resort operates a ski and ride school where never-evers can get a start or more advanced skiers and boarders can hone their skills. From the basic hour-and-a-half lesson, to an all-day adventure, a onetime class or a season-long program, there’s a huge variety of options. Let’s take a look at a few of the more unique snowsports school offerings in the region.
Pats Peak in New Hampshire is an easy drive from the more populated cities of Concord, Manchester and Nashua and attracts school programs from these and many other towns and cities, large and small, from the southern part of the state to the seacoast. These programs have been going almost as long as the ski area has been open — more than 50 years.
Students sign up through their school or town recreation program. Depending on the day of the week and the individual school, the kids might get out of school as early as 1:30 to arrive in time for an early afternoon lesson. Others arrive after school for a late afternoon or early evening lesson. Pats Peak has lighted slopes, so after their one-hour lesson, the students can continue to ski free until closing at 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 p.m. on Fridays.
The class levels vary from beginner to freestyle and are taught by regular Pats Peak instructors. The number of participants, mostly from elementary and middle schools, varies depending on the day of the week, with Friday being the busiest with 1,500 student skiers. Two five-week sessions are offered, early January to mid-February and mid-February to mid-March. Students can sign up for one session or both. The area charges a very reasonable fee for the program — $175 for a lift ticket and lesson. If students need rental equipment, the entire package including lifts, lesson and rental is $230. As an incentive, those going through the program receive the NH Ski and Ride Bonus. This includes a free ticket for a day of skiing at Cranmore, Bretton Woods and Pats Peak.