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Skiing Breckenridge - a first day with kids lesson-free

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Should we take skiing and snowboarding lessons?

To take skiing / snowboarding lessons or not?  My husband and I had skied and snowboarded plenty of times, primarily before we had children.  He snowboards, I ski.  Our four kids, however, had never been.  

Signing the kids up for lessons certainly seemed wise... until our financial wits kicked in.  We had just completed an interstate move so our year-end travel allowance was nearly nil.  We are budget-travelers with four kids, so when you do the math of $200 per lesson/per kid, you start thinking of a lot of other things you'd rather spend $800 on... like a future vacation. 

EPIC school kids Colorado pack

We were uber thankful our extended family invited us to be their guests at their vacation home in Breckenridge over Christmas Weekend.  Thankfully, a friend tipped us off to snagging the Epic Schoolkids Colorado Pack for elementary aged kids (available for a limited time each fall), so our younger two skied FREE at Breckenridge!  And, we were treated to lift tickets as a Christmas gift.  Sweet!  We also scored inexpensive equipment rentals at Kingdom Sports in Breckenridge -- just $22/person at the time, including helmets.  

But we still didn't want to spend $800 on lessons for our kids.  Yes, the Epic SchoolKids passes offers one free lesson, but the lesson offer was blocked out over the holiday weekend.  Money was tight.  So we did what any cheap-skate, aka budget-minded, parents would do.


Teach your kids how to ski and snowboard

We skipped the lessons.  We opted for learning my immersion.  If it works for learning a second language, it can work for learning a new sport, right?  I'm the eternal optimist.  We rode the Breck Connect Gondola to the base of Peak 8.  We loudly announced "Beginners!  First-Timers!" and ski lift operators kindly helped our kids hop on the Rip's Ride ski lift.  We all exited the lift like a dream.  Just kidding!  Everyone fell down except me.  Dad fell on top of number three.  Bruises.  Tears.  Everywhere.  What were we thinking?

RipStiks and snowboarding are kind of alike, right?  Uh yeah!  Sorta.  Dad was snow-boarding, so he helped kid number one and number three who also chose snow-boarding.  Number one is athletic, and number three is a pro riding her Razor RipStik Ripster at home, so they both picked it up pretty quick with minor frustration.  I'm speaking from hearsay, I was busy with our youngest, number four, who was on skis... 


I prefer skiing, so I helped number four.  "Shape your skis like Pizza! Tips together!"   An uncle and a cousin provided number two with a private lesson.   She did great.  Comically, my youngest tackled skiing the same way he plays soccer:  just go for it, fall, repeat.  At least he's built low to the ground.  

After one really long go down the hill, number four and I stayed off the chair lift.  Too many falls and too many tears - mostly over trying to get back up.  Instead, I practiced with him on a little hill near the lift.  Much better.  A while later, Dad snuck off to the ski school bunny hill with him.  I hung with number three, who was mastering her snowboard quite beautifully.  I was impressed! 


The verdict on lessons

Lunch rejuvenated us significantly, and the kids really started looking good on the green runs!  We had minimal falls off the ski lift and down the slopes.  And the kids were smiling!  We were having fun and making memories!  Learning to ski / snowboard by immersion was actually working!  No broken bones and everyone was asking to ride the lift and hit the slopes again and again.  

As for lessons, we may still take up the free lesson with the EPIC passes for the younger two.  Surely a lesson would help them fine-tune their skills and give mom and dad some time to swoosh down some more challenging blue slopes.  But if we miss that window, I think we'll all be fine!  Before we know it, our snowboarders will be taking jumps and our skiers will master parallel skiing, otherwise known as "FRENCH FRIES!" 


More things to love about Breckenridge:

La Francois French Bakery on Main Street.  We stumbled upon this sweet little pastry shop and were we ever glad!  The most delicious meringues!  Also featuring coffee, hot cocoa, breads, paninis, croissants, beignets, cookies, quiche, and more.  Worth every penny.  411 S. Main Street, Breckenridge, CO.

The Flip Side  A family-friendly, rustic, casual burger joint serving great burgers, beers, fries and shakes.  Loved the atmosphere and devoured the food.  320 S. Main Street, Breckenridge, CO. 

Carter Park Sledding Hill 

The day we skied, we lucked out with fantastic weather.  The following day was snowy, overcast, and cold.  We were glad not to be caught up in blowing snow on the slopes.  But in an effort to avoid cabin fever, we pulled on our snow gear, grabbed our disc sleds and walked over to Carter Park for some good old fashioned sledding.  We had so much fun!  And who doesn't like free fun?  300 S. High Street, Breckenridge, CO.


What have you learned from skiing/snowboarding with kids? What are some of your favorite things to do in Breck?  We'd love to hear, so give us a shout!

One more thing!  Wanna know how six of us survive travel packed in a mini-van?

I'm pretty much telling the world, because we love it so much and everywhere we go, everyone is always asking "Where did you get that?"  Read more about the Stowaway Max Cargo Carrier here!