There’s an old saying: give someone a fish, they’ll eat for a day, teach them how to fish they’ll eat forever. Sadly, that saying has almost nothing to do with skiing or snowboarding in Whistler: you can replace “fish” with “snowboard”  and “eat” with “rip” I guess, but even then no one really rips on their first day. Unless they take a lesson.

Along with ensuring your gear is in good shape and your body is up to the task, a quick lesson is one of the best ways to start your season off on the right foot and set yourself up for ultimate rippage all winter long.

Of course, a lot of us feel confident in our abilities but the truth is unless you live here and are riding 5-6 days a week early season, a few hours of professional instruction is the best way to get back into last season’s form, and then up the ante. Here are four good reasons to take a lesson as soon as you can this year:

1. You Establish Good Habits
The truth is everyone’s body is a bit different and we all ski or ride a bit different. That’s ok, but sometimes your default form can be counterproductive to your desired level of ripping. An instructor can spot and correct that.

2. You Build Confidence
Like it or not, mountain sports are as much about the head game as they are about physical prowess. Half the battle— more than half—of  accomplishing anything great in the mountains is believing that you can do it and committing to getting it done. A lesson, with pointers and corrections from a third-party professional, is a great way to build that important confidence and have more fun.

3. You Learn New Zones
Instructors spend a lot of time on the ski hills; A LOT of time. As such, they know a couple good runs and secret little spots that you probably don’t. Half the fun of a good lesson is taking your new skills to a new spot on the hill.

4. You Never Know…
Justin Trudeau, the new prime minister of Canada used to be a snowboard instructor in Whistler. Other instructors are lawyers, world travelers, ex-pro riders…. You never know who you’ll be riding with when you take a lesson and the chance is always there that you will learn a lot more than simply how to fix your form and get the most from your riding. Instructors ski and ride almost every day all winter, they must have something figured out…right?

There’s another saying, from the old GI Joe cartoons: “Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.”  The other half is just getting out, doing it, and having fun.

Lessons for adults and kids will start as soon as the mountain opens. For lift tickets, accommodations and everything else you need this winter, hit up


Feet Banks moved to Whistler at age 12 so his parents could live the dream and ski as much as possible. He ended up living it too. After leaving home Feet did a few good stints in warmer climates and 4 years of writing school before returning to the mountains to make ski movies, hammer out a journalism career and avoid the 9-5 lifestyle as long as possible. He’s been a hay farmer, a hole digger, a magazine editor and has a jump named after him on Blackcomb Mountain, Feet’s Air. It’s tiny.