As March hits the midway mark, it’s crazy to think that our snow school season at Sommet Olympia is almost over. It’s been a year of learnings for us as parents and for the kids. This was the first year we had both our kids in the snow school program, and the second year for our oldest son.
I find that snow school (ski school) can be somewhat of a daunting idea for some parents, especially if they aren’t avid skiers themselves. I wanted to take a little time to share our experience at Sommet Olympia’s Snow School and highlight what we loved, and what could use some improvement. I will take a moment to say this review is not sponsored in any way. We spent our hard earned money to enrol our kids and pay for our own lift tickets.
About Sommet Olympia. This hill is part of a family hills called “Les Sommets“(including: Saint Sauveur, Avila, Gabriel, and Morin Heights). All the hills are close to Saint Sauveur (a town about 40 min north of Montreal), and the Saint Sauveur hill is the main hill of the series of hills.
We choose Sommet Olympia as we’ve heard great things and that it’s very family oriented. Also, the ski hills which are part of Les Sommet are known to be the best snow school in North America. I don’t have the data to back up this claim, but it’s all over their website, so they must have a reason for putting it there.
As mentioned, there has been a lot of learnings for us this year as parents. We learned that our 3 year old wasn’t ready for a group class… a private lesson would have been better for him. We also learned that the earlier class would have been better for our kids (they wake up VERY early…), and we learned that our oldest is pretty much a pro now and isn’t afraid of skiing in the woods.
So what has our experience been like at the snow school? I thought I’d break it down through a pros and cons list.
- The instructors are great. Both of my kids have great instructors that really seem to love skiing and helping our kids improve. The instructors always include an overview of what they have learned that day and if there were any concerns or areas of improvement.
- The learning hill is complete blocked off from the rest of the hill making it feel very enclosed and safe.
- Each little kid in the snow school wears a bright yellow bib with their name which is displayed. This helps other instructors and the magic carpet operators address the kids.
- After most classes, the kids get a sticker for their helmet… which is a REAL high point for them.
- Sommet Olympia, is very family focused as they almost always have Squikky (sp?) their mascot out for the kids to see.
- On very cold days, they head into a special chalet dedicated just for ski school to have some hot chocolate and warm up.
- They have a lot of green and blue trails for the kids to discover and “sous-bois” (trails that are in the forest) for little kids to learn how to ski between the trees.
- They offer a parent seasons pass, so you have a special price for your pass that is for every saturday or sunday for the entire season. Great for parents to ski together for a few runs during the class.
- They always seem to have early bird specials if you book in advance. The best savings are on now, but the prices are still very advantageous in the fall.
- Kids 5 and under have their seasons pass included with their snow school registration.
- The first 3 weeks there is a lot of changes. I was told this was because those weeks are focused mostly on assessing the kids ability and potentially switching groups. My 3 year old had a few instructor changes and was placed in a group with a 5 year old – to which we flagged. He then was placed in a better group and the instructor has been the same week after week. Consistency is key at this age, so since that third week mark we’ve noticed an improvement in his motivation to want to ski.
- The little kid drop off area (5 and under) can sometimes be very confusing and hectic. It’s a little like bull pen and in those first few weeks there is some confusion. By week 4/5 this wasn’t as bad, but it was worth a note.
So those are my overall impressions and thoughts on our experience in snow school at Sommet Olympia.
My final thoughts? We really loved it at Olympia, and although the first few classes were a bit frustrating to navigate for our 3 year old, our 5 year old hit the ground running and it was a great experience for him. If you’re looking for a family friendly hill that is equally nice for parents, Sommet Olympia is for you!