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Back to school: The best autumn ski skills courses

Telegraph Ski and Snowboard
The Warren Smith Ski Academy puts on early season courses in Cervinia, Italy

For those stuck on the intermediate plateau, it can feel like there's no way off. Sometimes the only answer is to get the help of an expert.

Various ski schools and instructors run specialised courses in autumn to help hone skills and push intermediates up to the next level or help experts scrub up on their skills – and what better way to improve than to get technique tips pre-season, so that come the main event you'll be putting all that new-found knowledge into practice on the slopes.

Here's our round-up of the best early-season courses, taking place from as early as October in the most snow-sure ski areas and glacier resorts, or at snow centres in the UK.

Courses in the mountains

Transform your technique in Cervinia

The Warren Smith Ski Academy offers five-day early season courses in Cervinia for £469, with the first starting on November 4 and the last on December 2. The Academy has secured discounted b&b accommodation at the three-star Hotel Mon Reve from €60 per person per night in a double room, €90 per person per night in a single room.

Great choice in Tignes

British outfit Snoworks, based in Tignes, offers recreational five-day courses covering a range of skills, including all-terrain, bumps and race carving. The session hours are all day, or “until the lifts close”, with a quick break for lunch – meaning more tuition time for your money. Courses are available throughout autumn starting from October 15 until the end of November, priced from £350, excluding accommodation and travel which is available through The Tignes Chalet Company from £165 per person for seven nights half board.

Resorts like Tignes are open during the autumn for courses from the likes of Snoworks Credit: polly baldwin

Get set in Val d’Isere

Veteran ski instructor Pat Zimmer and leading British ski writer Peter Hardy have been running Premiere Neige performance courses for 30 years, in conjunction with holiday operator Le Ski. The week-long course in Val d’Isère runs from December 1 and costs from £1,269 including six days’ instruction, ski passes, half-board chalet accommodation, flights and transfers, based on two sharing. A four-day minibreak version, departing December 8, costs from £729.

Go further in Canada

All Tracks Academy offer a two-week course across the pond in Whistler for those looking to invest more time and money in their technique and early-season trip. The course includes four full days of coaching each week as well as the CAA (Canadian Avalanche Association) Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 course over the weekend. Group sizes are kept small, with just six people per coach, and the course is split approximately half and half between off piste and on piste skills. The two-week course runs from November 24 and includes accommodation, either catered or self-catered, training, video analysis, a full season lift pass, social events and transfers. Prices start from £5,850 for a self-catered quad-room.

Whistler is home to some of North America's best terrain Credit: mike crane

Advance on piste in Austria

Founder of All Mountain Performance ski school and fully qualified instructor, Mark Gear, runs pre-season performance courses on the Hintertux glacier in Austria and Tignes glacier in France throughout November. A five-day course in Hintertux focuses on piste performance and is suitable for advanced intermediate and expert level skiers, running from November 5 - 9  and costs €740. The price includes the course fee only, covering coaching and video analysis in groups of six people.

Progress in Val Thorens

The Ski Club of Great Britain offers a five-day pre-season progression course for over-55s. It’s based in Val Thorens, where the high altitude (the resort is at 2,300m) means snow is guaranteed. The course runs from December 8 - 15 and costs £1,299, including coaching, flights, transfers and seven nights’ half-board accommodation at the three-star Hotel Le Sherpa. This popular course is already fully-booked for 2018, book in advance to secure a spot for 2019.

Courses in the UK

Indoor expertise

The Warren Smith Ski Academy runs full-day courses in September, October and November at The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead, Chill Factore in Manchester and Sno!Zone in Castleford. These one-day group sessions tackle moguls, steeps, powder and carving. A one-day session costs £139, including tuition, lift pass and equipment hire. The Academy is also running a ski technique tour around the UK throughout October.

Hit the bumps

Snoworks offers UK-based bumps courses at Sno!Zone in Castleford and Chill Factore in Manchester, running in September and October, to improve your technique on moguls. A one-day session costs £125 including tuition, lift pass and equipment hire.