The first ski school in the world opened in 1907 in Austria. The first trained ski instructors in the United States were Austrians hired by Sun Valley in 1936. Every European resort has ski schools for skiers of every age. While teaching techniques may differ, all schools group people by age and base skiing level. Little effort is made to offer specialized teaching for women by women instructors.

Children have their own facilities with their own specially qualified instructors. Ski school facilities for kids are, on the whole, less elaborate than those at American resorts. Children’s instruction tends to be more structured, with less emphasis on “gee, this is fun” than you may be used to. But the kids really learn.

Child care is always available, though the usual minimum age is three.

Lift tickets are sold for a single day, a week, or longer; they’re cheaper, of course, for lengthier stays. Many resorts offer discounts for children 12 and under, and free skiing for those 5 and under. Discounts, or free skiing, for seniors are the norm throughout Europe.

All resorts have ski rental shops. The quality of rental equipment is excellent. I recommend that you bring your own boots but rent skis and poles. If you don’t have to haul your skis around - along with all the other gear you’ll be loaded down with - you’ll find yourself smiling knowingly at skiers struggling in and out of airports and taxis with theirs.

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