F A Q
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How old do my children have to be to take lessons?
A: In order to take group ski lessons, children must be at least 4 years old. Group snowboarding lessons start at age 6. Private lessons are available to all ages.
Q: How do I know if my child is ready for lessons?
A: Children do best in lessons if they are used to being away from Mommy and Daddy for short periods of time.
Q: Should I learn to ski before I try snowboarding?
A: You should try whichever sport appeals to you the most. The ability to ski is not a prerequisite for snowboarding and will not affect your learning outcomes. However, skiing is a great sport, so I recommend trying both in any order.
Q: Can I stay with my child while they are taking their lesson?
A: Mount Pakenham's professional ski and snowboard instructors recommend that you leave your child with the instructor, and try to watch from a distance. Children are distracted easily and usually when they have the choice to pay attention to Mom and Dad or to a stranger, Mom and Dad will win, hands down. The instructors are well trained to deal with children in good times and bad, so even if your child cries when you first drop them off, the instructor will be able to cheer them up very quickly.
If you are interested in staying with your child during the lessons, check out our Parent and Tot Program.
Q: What if the weather is bad or there is no snow?
A: We are open almost every day in any sort of winter weather including snow,rain, and cold. Mount Pakenham has the best grooming and snowmaking in the area which helps keep our snow and ski conditions safe in all weather.We make snow on every run in December and groom all runs every night. Even if you don't have snow in your backyard, we will have snow at Mount Pakenham from December until the end of March.
*RAIN - Although in general skiing in the rain doesn't appeal to many, the conditions are usually very soft and forgiving and the hill is quiet. It is also a great time to learn to snowboard.
*EXTREME COLD - When it is extremely cold outside, Mount Pakenham is a great choice for a ski/board destination. Being a smaller hill, you can usually make it up and down a few times before you have to warm up. Snow suits are made for Canadian winter weather and will keep you warm.
*FREEZING RAIN - Our great grooming breaks up the ice creating a soft enough surface for people to dig in their edges and poles. You will be surprised how good the skiing can be after our grooming equipment has been out on the mountain.
*FRESH POWDER - If you haven't tried skiing powder, Mount Pakenham is a great place to start. In fact Mount Pakenham is the best place to try anything new due to its gentle terrain.
Q: Will Mount Pakenham still run ski and snowboard lessons during bad weather?
A: Mount Pakenham's instructors are trained to deal with all weather conditions. They know to keep their classes moving and watch for signs of frostnip in extremely cold conditions. They will also take class warm up breaks in the lodge. In hard or fast conditions the classes will slow down and use gentle terrain. The instructors will also introduce or focus on edging skills. When it is foggy or visibility is reduced, the instructors will have the class sing or count loudly. When it is raining outside or wet snow, we will provide rain ponchos and keep the class as warm and dry as possible.
Dressing for the Weather Programs run rain or shine, warm or cold. Please dress for all weather.
Mount Pakenham offers you a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. The secret to winter fun is dressing properly for the weather. You'll want to keep warm, dry and comfortable on the snow.
Dress in Layers
Layering for winter sports allows you to accommodate your body's constantly changing temperature. Generally, layering is divided into three areas:
- Wicking layer (polypropylene underwear - top and bottoms) - "wicks," or moves, moisture away from your skin and dries quickly.
- Insulating layer (wool, fleece, sweater) - keeps heat in and cold out.
- Weather Protection - Repels water from snow and blocks the wind while letting perspiration evaporate (both jacket and pants). Choose a lightweight garment that is made of waterproof, breathable material. There are several synthetic materials on the market and available at outdoor sports stores. When buying skiwear, look for fabric that is water and wind-resistant. Look for wind flaps to shield zippers, snug cuffs, collars that can be snuggled up to the chin and drawstrings that can be adjusted for comfort and to keep wind out.
Winter Hats or Headbands
Usually made of fleece or wool, a good ski hat combined with a neck warmer will retain 80% of your body's heat, keeping you warm and toasty even on the coldest days.
Helmets are recommended for skiing and snowboarding and are included in your rental price. Skiers and snowboarders are encouraged to educate themselves on the benefits and limitations of helmet usage. The primary safety consideration and obligation under the Alpine Responsibility Code is to ski and ride in a controlled and responsible manner. It is important to wear a properly fitted, ski/snowboard specific helmet. Helmets should fit snuggly and not obstruct vision. Helmets can be worn with or without a light head covering underneath such as a balaclava.
Gloves or Mittens for Winter Sports
Waterproof, breathable shell and well insulated. Mittens are usually better for those susceptible to cold hands. Hand and toe warmers are available at our Retail Shop.
Socks for Skiing and Snowboarding
One (1) pair of light to medium weight works best. If the sock is too thick or if you're wearing too many, it could make your boots too tight, reducing circulation, which causes cold feet. It's also a good idea to change into fresh socks before putting your boots on. Damp socks quickly become cold and uncomfortable.
Have sunglasses and goggles with you. Skiing and snowboarding are a lot more fun when you can see and it is important to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.
Sunscreen and Lip Balm
Protect yourself from the sun. The sun reflects off the snow and is stronger than you think, even on cloudy days! Keep lip balm in a pocket and apply often while on the slopes.
There's no reason to be cold during your winter experience, and with a little preparation and the proper clothing and accessories, you won't be.
Please visit the Snow Shop for all your skiing and snowboarding needs:
-leashes for snowboards
Q: I have 2 children that want to be in a lesson together. Is that possible?
A: Lessons are grouped according to age and ability level. If the children are the same age and ability, please make the request when you book the lesson and we will do our best to accommodate you.
Q: At what age will my child need to start using ski poles?
A: Most children under 6 do not use ski poles. In fact most beginners in general do not use ski poles regardless of their age. Ski poles tend to get in the way when you are learning, and they make it harder for the beginner to use the lifts.
Q: If my child is only taking a 1 hr lesson, do I still have to purchase a lift ticket?
A: Everyone on the hill must have a lift ticket, which are offered at a discounted rate for Snow School participants when purchasing a minimum of 5 lessons. Beginner Centre lift tickets are also available. We recommend that students spend a little extra time practicing their newly acquired skills after the lesson in order to enhance their learning.There is a $6 charge for lift tickets for children age 5 or under.
Q: How early do I have to arrive for my lesson?
A: That depends on if you are renting equipment or not. If you are renting equipment, you should be here a minimum of 1 hour before your lesson so that you have time to check in at the Snow School Desk, pick up your rentals and have time to spare before your lesson. If you have your own equipment, 30 minutes should be sufficient. On the first day of a program, you should arrive 2 hours early if you are renting and 1 hour if you have your own equipment.
Q: What do I do if I am late for my lesson?
A: There is usually a Snow School Facilitator stationed at the Snow School Sign for about 15 minutes after lesson start time to help latecomers. They will be able to help you find your instructor. Normally this entails standing around by the bottom of the lift until the class comes down. If you cannot find your instructor or a facilitator to assist you, please report to the Snow School Desk. It is always best to be on time for your lesson.
Q: What if I miss a lesson?
A: If you know that you are going to miss a lesson, please let your instructor know ahead of time. That way they can let you know what you will be missing so that you can practice before your return. This will also prevent class disruption on the day of your absence and your return. If your absence is unplanned, please inform the Snow School via phone as soon as you can. Mount Pakenham offers complementary Make Up Days at the end of each season available to all Snow School program participants. Please register for Make Up days at the Snow School Desk.
Q: How many people per class are in a group lesson?
A: In group ski lessons there can be up to 10 students in the class. In a group snowboarding lesson there can be up to 8 students in the class. Our Mini (age 4/5) lessons have a maximum of 5 students per class. Most large groups will have a Teacher's Assistant accompanying the instructor in order to maximize learning outcomes.
Q: How do I know what level I should sign up for?
A: To determine your ability level for your group lesson, please check our Ability Level Chart. First time skiers and snowboarders are Step 1.
Q: Is it mandatory to wear a helmet during the lesson?
A: Helmets are mandatory for anyone taking Freestyle Lessons or Race Coaching. For all other lessons, helmets are recommended for skiing and snowboarding and are included in your rental price. Skiers and snowboarders are encouraged to educate themselves on the benefits and limitations of helmet usage. The primary safety consideration and obligation under the Alpine Responsibility Code is to ski and ride in a controlled and responsible manner. The Ontario School Boards require students to wear a helmet on School sponsored ski trips. Helmets are included in our ski/snowboard rentals.
Q: What forms of payment do you accept at Mount Pakenham?
A: We accept Visa, MasterCard, Debit, Gift cards and cash.
Q: How old do children have to be to go tubing?
A: Tubing is not advised for children under 4 years of age. Children must be at least 42 inches tall and accompanied by an adult.
Q: Can I take my 3 year old in the tube with me?
A: There is only 1 rider allowed per tube but 2 or 3 tubes may descend together.