The never-evers of the skiing and snowboarding world can rejoice this holiday season with the opportunity to learn the sport in a mellow, no-pressure setting. The Frisco Adventure Park kicks off the "Adventure Start" ski and ride lessons on the beginner slope, Poppy's Place, Saturday, just in time for the holiday season. Two-hour lessons taught by Copper Mountain Ski & Ride instructors are available starting Saturday for ages 8 and up. The Frisco Adventure Park teamed with the nearby ski area to offer the best training for beginner skiers and riders. "Teaching kids is a labor of love - all our coaches are selected by their aptitude for working with kids," said Cory van Gulden, the ski and ride school supervisor at Copper Mountain. It takes a special person with patience and understanding to teach kids, van Gulden said, and each instructor sent over to the adventure park has specialized training to work with kids and skiers and riders with no experience. "Kid's coaches attend extra training on top of technical training to understand the needs of beginners and how different skiers and riders digest information," van Gulden said. Part of the learning comes from having a less stressful environment."It's a nice setting and more relaxed atmosphere - the people taking lessons will have the feeling of being the only ones on the hill, so it's a great option for the never-evers that want to learn," said Jon "Zeke" Zdechlik, the park's general manager. "It's more intimate and quiet with less skier traffic on the hill - it's not as chaotic as other big resorts can be." Zdechlik said the grade of Poppy's Place slope is similar to Midwest ski areas and offers a hill with a gentle grade.Lessons are lead by Copper Mountain Ski & Ride School instructors in two-hour group sessions. Groups will not exceed eight participants. "We keep the group sizes no larger than eight people so instructors can work with each person individually," Zdechlik said. Van Gulden said the instructors focus on adapting to the different learning styles within the group."At the Frisco Adventure Park, the intimidation factor plays less of a role because it's really just the instructors on the hill with those taking the lessons," van Gulden said. "They have the room, the time and the freedom to become relaxed and comfortable."With two-hours lessons, van Gulden said the participants don't get as tired or burned out. Plus, the nearby tubing hill provides variety."Frisco has made it really easy for people to get the best of both worlds - the mellow terrain offers a great learning space and when they're done, they can go tubing," van Gulden said. "It's not easy to get burned out on the day."Special for the holidays, the adventure park is extending its tubing hill operating hours until 7 p.m. starting Saturday through Jan. 6. The last session begins at 6 p.m.Tubing reservations and lessons can be scheduled by calling (970) 668-2558 or online at friscoadventurepark.com. Reservations must be canceled no later than 5 p.m. the day before your reservation in order to avoid a cancellation charge.
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