Originally Posted by teachskiljp
...If it is someone new, one of the chaperones (usually the lead or me) take them to the beginners area to assess their skills before turning them loose - particularly if they rent and have not signed up for a lesson. The novices usually give themselves away before they even get to the beginners area with questions on how to get equipment on. If we deem that the student requires lessons a call is placed to the parent/guardian and we get a credit card # to get their child a lesson. (some, particularly snowboarders, think that because they slid down the neighborhood hill on a Wal-Mart board, that they are ready to go to the summit)...
For safety reasons, I really like to have just about every kid who has skied less than about 20 days total over the past few seasons take a lesson, and know b4 they leave home that they have to take a lesson or else they sit on their thumbs in the lodge.
The kids I really worry about are those that have skied 5 or 10 times and now think they are invincible "experts". They have just enough balance to get going fast without immediately falling over, think they can come down anything, don't understand differences in snow, crowding, don't recognize potentially dangerous situations (eg, merging trails, stopping below kickers, etc.).
The never-evers should take lessons for all the obvious reasons, but IMHO, they are not involved in too many serious accidents because (a) they can't get up a good enough head of steam to do any serious damage to themselves or anyone else; (b) they usually don't venture too far above novice level slopes; and (c) if someone tries to get them to go down a slope too steep for them, they usually
(but, unfortunately, not always) are scared enough to back off.
Teens who have skied a lot in their lives are occasionally involved in accidents, but they usually seem to keep themselves out of trouble pretty well.
The 20 day cutoff is more stringent than Teachskiljp's approach, but, IMHO, it's worth it
Tom / PM