Skip to content

Believe it or not: How booking a private ski lesson saved us money

Jan. 24, 2022
4 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Ski trips are, unfortunately, often on the expensive side of things. There are definitely ways to save money and skiing doesn't have to be caviar-level expensive, but it is still a financial commitment.

This is especially true for the out-of-town and once-a-season skiers and boarders who likely have to rent gear, book in-season lodging, get lift tickets and potentially also pony up for ski lessons.

While some costs are unavoidable, a recent ski trip to Winter Park, Colorado, was a great reminder that you shouldn't make assumptions when it comes to booking a ski trip in the most economical way. Just as sometimes a ski pass of some sort can be cheaper than just getting individual lift tickets, booking a private lesson for my daughter made the trip more affordable than if we went the group ski school route. Here's how.

Get the latest points, miles and travel news by signing up for TPG’s free daily newsletter.

Private lessons vs. ski school

For years, I've favored private ski lessons for my kids over group ski school. While private lessons usually cost significantly more than a group ski school lesson, I've found that my kids' skills progress much faster with individual attention and -- more importantly -- they often have a better time.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

The pandemic took me from dabbling in occasional private lessons to going that route whenever possible to reduce the chances of them getting sick while away from home. The economics of a private lesson versus a group lesson can improve if you are able to put two or three kids with the private instructor for a family lesson that usually costs the same as a one-on-one lesson, but rarely is a private lesson going to result in cost savings over the more traditional ski school class.

But, fortunately for us, rarely doesn't mean never.

Related: The right age for kids to start learning to ski

Discount lift tickets with a private lesson

During our recent winter weekend dates at Winter Park, adult lift tickets were $209 each while child lift tickets were $139 each.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

A half-day group kid ski school lesson was priced at $219 for my 6-year-old. We were skiing with some family members, so all-in, one child lesson, two child lift tickets and three adult lift tickets for one day of skiing were priced at $1,124.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

However, if instead of a half-day group ski school for $219 we booked a half-day private ski lesson at $699, we unlocked the ability to purchase up to five very discounted lift tickets.

With that private lesson, special adult tickets dropped to just $69 each, child tickets dropped to $39 and the ticket for my 6-year-old was only $10. All-in, for the five people that came to $1,124 in the first scenario, the price was $955.

Not only did booking the private lesson instead of the group lesson actually save us $169 in total on the ski day, but my kiddo got some fantastic one-on-one instruction. If that wasn't enough, when my older daughter and I took a few runs with them to see how she was progressing, we got to skip the pretty long lift lines, too, since we were then also with the private instructor.

Related: Mistakes to avoid when booking your ski trip

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

In a perfect world, we would have had our ski trips mapped long before they happened and would have leaned into free or discounted child tickets and maybe even bought a season pass of some sort. Winter Park specifically is a part of the Ikon Pass program, which can save you money in some situations -- especially if you are able to take more than one ski trip in a season.

However, given the number of our trips that have fallen apart at the last minute in recent months largely thanks to COVID-19, I wasn't sure we would make it to the slopes until we actually arrived. That uncertainty prevented me from committing to expensive season passes and such in advance, so we were left with this unorthodox way to save money on the trip ... by spending more on the lesson itself.

Featured image by (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023