Mountainscape: Learning to Ski in the Swiss Alps

Susan Riva

La Tzoumaz is in the heart of the 4-Valley ski region in the Swiss Alps. The Swiss Ski School welcomes skiers from around the world, offering ski and snowboard lessons. The ski school also trains young skiers to become ski instructors. This learning organization teaches skiing in the heart of a beautiful Alpine Mountainscape. 

I have raised my children in the Alps where our family has been part of the ongoing tradition of down-hill skiing. All of our five children are certified ski instructors and have participated on regional ski-racing teams. Not only did I teach my children to ski, but I enjoyed teaching beginners while my children were young. Ski teachers adapt to their natural environment where the classroom is the Alpine Mountainscape. Intercultural relations are another important dimension of this learning organization where instructors speak multiple languages to tourists who come from around the world to enjoy the excellent slopes. 

We celebrated the 50th anniversary of the ski school in 2019. Political representatives and ski instructors that had taught over the years all came to enjoy ski races and food served on the ski slopes from the ski bar made of snow. We were celebrating more than just the ski school, but a way of life.

Here is a video of this season’s ski instructors following the medal ceremony that takes place each Friday at 17:30 on the ice-skating rink in the center of the village. Students can work at the ski school and become ski instructor apprentices, developing multiple skills to teach skiing. Though it is important to know how to ski and snowboard well, it is also important to know how to develop good relationships with the clientele and provide a safe experience. Language skills are also essential. Most instructors speak French, German, and English.

My husband, Angelo Riva, has been director of the Swiss Ski School since 1986. After he ended his racing career as a down-hill and giant slalom racer, he became a Professor of Skiing. He was chosen to be an expert and a member of the Swiss Demonstration Team. He has carried on the tradition, passing on his passion to our children. Here is a picture of the 2023 demonstration team that our sons participate on together.

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