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Learning to ski and snowboard in Chamonix

board riding lesson in Chamonix

Chamonix is a really good place to learn to ski and snowboard and its the perfect place if you are looking for lessons to improve your technique. 

You can take lessons with several different Ecole Ski Francais (ESF) schools located throughout the valley. 

Also, Chamonix has private ski schools with a higher percentage of english speaking instructors and some of the private ski schools are owned by English speaking people. In the valley there are English, Russian, Spanish, Italian and obviously  French speaking ski instructors. Just check our links below and you'll find what you need.



You can take specialist lessons in skiing variants, such a telemark skiing, ski de fond, also known as cross-county skiing, freeride skiing  and advanced techniques to improve your ability and enjoyment.



Anyone can learn to cross country ski (aka Langlaufing or Nordic Skiing) which is known as ski de fond in France.

As a beginner, the lesson will be only on flat terrain. The instructor is not going to divert to a route with a slope until you both agree you are ready for that.
If you are looking for a serious cardio workout, ski-de fond is excellent, you can quickly learn the technique to move fast.

In the Chamonix valley there are 15 km is flat pistes. They are marked with the colour 'green'. 9 km of these are start from Chamonix Town, so this is the best place to lean to ski de fond.

A lot of people who  are hesitant about learning to downhill ski, prefer to learn to ski de fond. There is a real sense of safety and security , ideal for people that find the whole idea of sliding on snow to be a bit 'unusual'.



Telemark skiing is a whole different skill set. You should only take lessons in telemark skiing if already you are a proficient down-hill skier. As with all ski training, the instructor will start you on a gentle, green slope to get used to 'free heel skiing'. When you have the hang on that, you will progress to blue slopes to learn to carve a turn with only the toe of the boot connected to the ski. This is a serious skill and will take some time to learn, mostly practising with friends or on your own. If you like a challenge, telemarking is for you!



Also  know as 'off-piste' skiing. Before you take a lesson in free-ride skiing, you need to be a competent downhill piste skier. You must be able to navigate all red pistes easily and a black piste should not be particularly challenging for you.

A lot of people simple go 'free-riding' when they feel the time is right, or when the peer pressure is difficult to resist.  Some people venture off-piste too soon and get compromised and maybe injure themselves and other people. 

Smart skiers take the transition from piste to off-piste with free-ride lessons. 

You will learn about the different way to position yourself over the ski, and learn many different techniques for how to ski in different snow conditions. 

If you want to put down those beautiful slalom tracks in fresh powder, with style and finesse, save yourself a lot of hassle and take a few lessons in freeride skiing.

Another advantage of taking free-ride ski lessons is  that you will gain some mountain awareness and begin to learn about mountain safety.  

Freeride skiing might sound like advanced skiing. Its not, read on.



Become a master skier. Essential if you want to become a ski-instructor and if you want to be that effortless super-cool skier who is always in perfect control and has the most pleasure at any time on any day.

The lessons will surprise you. At the beginning, and then returning to this throughout the course, your ski instructor will teach to precision skiing at very very slow speed. Its all about gaining the muscle memory to apply the perfect cut of a ski into the snow for any given manoeuvre. Once you master perfection on a blue piste, the process is covered again on red. The steeper the slope, the greater the level of precision. Its all starts on blue.