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How often to take lessons?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Hellow,

 

I'm a newbie to skiing, and about about a week ago went up to the mountain and slid around for a day, including having a two hour group lesson (it was a quiet day and there were only three of us which was nice!), which I found super useful. My question is - I might have an opportunity to go up again soon, and I'm wondering if it would be more worthwhile to have another lesson (at a level higher than the first lesson, I guess) or to just... keep practising what I learned last time (essentially, SKI 101. I could already start and stop but learned to do controlled wedge turns in both directions. I'm awfully newb, I know!) and try to cement that before attempting to learn more.

 

I hope that all sort of makes sense! :P

 

Thoughts?

post #2 of 20

 

How often to take lessons; let me see; I take a lesson every 15 to 20 years.... BUT

 

At this stage in your learning (new skier), imho, it is very important that you take another lesson sooner rather than later.  The danger is that if you don't keep up the learning pace, you will end up forgetting stuff and repeat the same beginner lessons over and over again, to your detriment.

post #3 of 20

The easy answer is as often as you can afford. I started as an adult and found that the more lessons, the faster the progress. One of the keys is actually practicing what you were taught . A surprising number of people practice wrong technique. At some point before too long, you will probably want to start adding in private lessons. As I improved, I went from liking skiing very much to completely loving skiing and wanting to become better and better at it. After skiing for 15 years, racing (and winning), and having had lots of lessons, I still benefit from both formal and informal lessons. I had a couple of sessions last year in fact.

post #4 of 20

fgor, go ahead and take lessons next time you go.  As stated learning the Correct basics will prevent you from practicing the wrong technique.  This will make your progress faster and more correct thusly  more meaningful.  You will reach a point where you have been taught quite a bit and then it is time to stop and practice.  Good instruction is important but  Time on the Snow becomes paramount.  Mainly have fun and enjoy yourself.

 

Spend some time and really review the Beginners Forum, go back to its beginning and there are some really worthwhile threads for new skiers.  Welcome to Epic.

post #5 of 20

I'm sure the answer will be specific to the individual.  Some people (such as my wife) want skiing to be fun, and feel that taking lessons too often makes skiing feel like work.  Other people (such as myself) naively put all the emphasis on improving as much as possible, as fast as possible, and therefore take lessons as often as they can afford, and work on technique constantly in between lessons, and therefore find it easy to forget to have fun.

post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 

 

Thanks everyone for all your opinions, I went skiing yesterday and went right ahead and booked a group lesson at the next level up from what I'd done last time (at the place I ski - Mt Ruapehu - you can get a group lesson for just an extra $20 as a package with lift pass and rentals). I want skiing to be fun -- and feel that I can achieve this better by being able to ski better :P
 
I went up to the mountain hoping to improve my turns on green terrain (the only snow I've touched has been on green runs), and through a series of unexpected events actually got more than I bargained for :P the rental place was fairly busy and after rejecting a pair of boots which caused pain in my feet withint 5 minutes of putting them on, sound young guy convinced me that a pair of boots which I felt were too loose would be okay. Being a newb, I went WELL OKAY THEN and it wasn't until I'd taken the lift to where my lesson would start and actually jumped on the snow that I realised they were far too loose and I wouldn't gain anything from skiing in them. I had to waste a lot of time taking the lift back down and replacing them (the lesson coordinator agreed that they were a terrible fit), missing my lesson and wasting even more of the day, but they compensated by giving me an hour long private lesson instead :P
 
It probably improved my skiing as much as multiple group lessons would have, just because the instructor assessed where I was at then pushed me further than I would have pushed myself. He taught me to turn much more effectively on the green stuff then took me up to spend time skiing down some blue runs eek.gif I learned a ton, and after taking a break post-lesson, went up again with a friend and skiied down one of the blue runs with a reasonable degree of confidence biggrin.gif
 
Can't wait to go up again and practise what I've learned! I find it amazing how just a few small pointers drilled into my brain (the instructor skiied down backwards ahead of me while I negotiated the blue runs, constantly watching what I was doing and calling out reminders) improved my skiing immeasurably! I feel like I'm starting to become a real skiier now cool.gif
post #7 of 20

In my personal experience and from watching my kids I have learned the following:

 

1.  Private lessons over group if you can afford them.  Caveat, if you have time to check out the local mountain, see when group lessons have few or no people and schedule a group then.  You can often get a private or semi private for the cost of group lessons.  Check for deals, some resorts offer ski rental/lesson packages that may be worth your while.

 

2. Privates are a bit pricey, but the solo attention and pointers to advance your ability really help you experience and enjoy more of what the mountain has to offer.  You are going to pay for the daily or seasonal pass whether you only hit the easiest bambi trail or tackle everything it has to offer.  Lessons are a tool that helps you access more of the terrain.  Its like learning to drive.  Day 1 you aren't hitting 110mph in 5th gear, but you don't want to be stuck driving 15mph for the rest of your life either.

 

2.  Be cool with the instructor.  If you take the time to be friendly, attentive, polite, and try to get to know them a bit they will really go out of their way to try to help you meet your goals.  They will anyway, but I found if you can get a friendly vibe going then the whole lesson just seems to go better.  I try to keep the attitude that I am going to spend an hour or two with this person, it's more fun to ski with a friend than an instructional robot.

 

3. Instructors are people too.  At the end of the lesson throw them a few bucks to buy a beer or sandwich later.  I find this helps them remember you if/when you have the chance to take another lesson.  I always try to throw in a nice tip if the lesson has been for one of my kids.  These guys and gals aren't babysitters.  They are professionals helping to share their knowledge with my children.  Their love of the sport encourages my kids love of the sport.  It's a retirement plan, I hope the kids will drag me up the mountain when I am a broken down old man.

 

4.  You are never too old or too cool to take a lesson (I'm not dropping off cliffs, so this may not apply to the truly epic skiers out there).  I still try to get in one or two lessons a season and find technique tips and new ideas help me ski better.

 

5.  It sounds like you really love skiing already.  It only gets better.  There are cheaper hobbies, but how many put you on a mountain in the middle of winter, fantastic scenery, terrain, and opportunity for great times with family and friends?  The cost of gear and lessons isn't a factor that can overcome that, only slow the progression.

 

6.  Skiing is fun.  If you hit a time when you are too frazzled, upset, or down right out of step with the world, take the day off.  Your attitude goes with you everywhere.

 

 

post #8 of 20

/\ /\ /\ Good stuff.

 

Remember;  Bode and Lindsay are still being coached.

 

fgor,

Sounds like you're off to a good start.  It's amazing how unfortunate events can make it work out better for you.

 

Starting out skiing is like starting out with anything else; you're learning.  I would say take lessons as often as you can absorb/afford it while making it fun.  Now is the time to invest heavy in your education.  I'm not saying this because I'm an instructor.  I'm saying this because it is a belief I have in education in general (invest heavy in your kids education when they are young and college will fall into place).  Now is when you are building your foundation. The stronger your foundation, the more you'll be able to do later. 

 

Ken

post #9 of 20


Amen!  Time on snow.  I will add that there is a lot that can be done to improve your skiing before lessons.

 

1- boot fit and alignment- I can't even begin to reinforce the need to have this done beofre you ski

2- fitness,including flexibility and balance. you can get into 1/2 decent shape if you work hard in about 90 days (try P90X as a great resource) but without a certain level of fitness especially balance and flexibility.

3- mindset. If you go out with a mindset that you are afraid or worried or look at lessons like a 1 hour insta-ski solution, it aint gonna' happen.  This all gets back to Time on the snow.  There is simply no substitute. Reinforcement of movement; getting the "feel for it" takes time.

 

MOST IMPORTANT: as said by Pete, have fun.  SKiing should be fun, don't get all frustrated when you just have a shitty day and nothing works, stop what you are doing and change up the game.  Don't spend your whole day doing drills and obsessing on menucia. it will come in time. If you don't ski a lot, you are goign to have to accept that it will take you a long time (if ever) to reach the "expert" status. 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post

fgor, go ahead and take lessons next time you go.  As stated learning the Correct basics will prevent you from practicing the wrong technique.  This will make your progress faster and more correct thusly  more meaningful.  You will reach a point where you have been taught quite a bit and then it is time to stop and practice.  Good instruction is important but  Time on the Snow becomes paramount.  Mainly have fun and enjoy yourself.

 

Spend some time and really review the Beginners Forum, go back to its beginning and there are some really worthwhile threads for new skiers.  Welcome to Epic.



 

post #10 of 20

If you decide you really like this sport, make the investment and buy yourself a pair of good fitting boots so you don't have that same experience again. You can still rent skis and poles until you get to a point where your skiing plateaus a little or the economics make sense (economics don't apply in the boot department IMO).

 

If you can ski mid-week, the advice of signing up for a group lesson works great, you're very likely to end up in a private / semi-private lesson since there are relatively few people about.

 

Tip your instructor - they'll remember it, and you, even if it is only $5.

 

Move to the US. Your season is ending and ours is about to start.

post #11 of 20

At the end of the lesson, an instructor should recap what you've learned, your next steps for continued improvement, and some drills to do on you own.  Standard part of a lesson, but it doesn't hurt to specifically ask about drills during the lesson.  Whenever you're working on a new skill, the instructor watches you and gives you feedback.  Ask the instructor for keys how to self-evaluate when  you're doing the drill on your own, after the lesson.  This will let you continue making progress before your next lesson.

 

Also, in a group lesson, pay attention to the feedback the instructor gives to other students.  Learn from other people's mistakes, and start developing an understanding what is correct technique and what is not.  Frequently, instructors use corrective drills, which exaggerate some correct movement.   Just keep in mind that you understand the full context.

post #12 of 20

I'm really happy someone asked this question because I was about to.  I'm taking up skiing in my early 30s after relocating to New England, and I took a few lessons last winter, my first skiing.  I'm looking forward to picking up where I left off and am planning on getting a lesson to refresh myself when the snow finally hits!

 

I went to Building19 last year when they had a clearance and for ~$150 got used skis and boots, poles, and a helmet and goggles.  I found that I really enjoyed skiing, but I experienced severe foot pain.  I recently went and spent time with a boot fitter and purchased a pair of Dalbello boots, and can't wait to use them.  From what I've been told by friends and colleagues, boots really can make a world of difference and I hope they're right. 

 

I look forward to learning a lot from the Epic Ski members and hope to one day be a contributor! 

 

Now where's that snow?

post #13 of 20

Quote:

Originally Posted by fuzinboston View Post

From what I've been told by friends and colleagues, boots really can make a world of difference and I hope they're right. 

 


Boots are way more important to your skiing than skis.  With properly fitting boots I can have a pretty good time on just about any ski.  With poor fitting boots I will not have a good time no matter how good the ski is because my attention will be focused on trying to deal with the pain in my feet.  The old cliche is that you marry boots but only date skis.

 

post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzinboston View Post

I went to Building19 last year when they had a clearance and for ~$150 got used skis and boots, poles, and a helmet and goggles.  I found that I really enjoyed skiing, but I experienced severe foot pain.  I recently went and spent time with a boot fitter and purchased a pair of Dalbello boots, and can't wait to use them.  From what I've been told by friends and colleagues, boots really can make a world of difference and I hope they're right. 

 

 

Awesome! In one paragraph you went from a horrible decision to a great one. Well done! Have a great season. And since you can easily spend $150 on goggles or a helmet, your Bldg 19 investment was probably a good one even w/out the boots.

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinecure View Post

 

Awesome! In one paragraph you went from a horrible decision to a great one. Well done! Have a great season. And since you can easily spend $150 on goggles or a helmet, your Bldg 19 investment was probably a good one even w/out the boots.



Yeah - I think the $150 was well spent.  Even though I ended up purchasing new boots and skis this year (prior year model, clearance), I was properly fitted for them by an expert, local business.  I tend to play a lot of golf, and was scared about the costs associated with entering this sport.  I figured if I went skiing 2-3 times last winter, I would have been even when you factor in waiting and sorting through the rentals at the mountain.  Even local shops here charged a similar amount for seasonal rentals. 

 

For $150, I had more flexibility (at least in my mind) and figured out that I enjoyed skiing and was willing to make the investment to get in.  Like last winter, I'm looking forward to taking some lessons and picking up where I left off.  I've set some goals so I'm hoping to meet or exceed those in Year 2!

post #16 of 20

bump for 2012-13 new members wondering about lessons . . . start reading at Post #1.

 

Other good basic info about buying gear for the first time here:

http://www.epicski.com/atype/9/First_Run

post #17 of 20

Guided improvement, then add mileage. More guided improvement then add mileage. Structured mileage makes the improvement take hold. Then build on that with your time on your own.

 

A good instructor will give you as much homework as you can handle and bit more to find time for.  Take another lesson and if you can track who taught you before so he can build on your relationship if you found their instruction worthy.  This might be hard to accomplish , maybe not. But be clear in your next lesson where the last one took you. You're the driver of this relationship. Make the most of your opportunity

post #18 of 20

TAKE THEM AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Here is the deal. Don't learn from my example: I took no lessons and tore my ACL while teaching myself how to ski. Don't get me wrong, I had a good start with right people giving me right tips and pointers but it wasn't enough. I was 24 when I started. Two years later, I watched my 35+ old brother in law take few lessons and get his level of skiing to mine 4x faster.   

 

You do need to give some time in between the lessons just so you can grasp the new concepts and ideas. The key word there is "PRACTICE"  what you learned in the previous lesson to the point where you are using the new skill constantly and naturally. 

 

Skiing is a beautiful sport, your soul will have a celebration each time you get out and ski some steep fresh snow. It also can be pretty destructive if you don't go serious about it. Invest into your equipment and skills (lessons). Some other forum on epic had a quote "your most valuable equipment is your body" - it is true. 

 

Have fun! 

post #19 of 20

Give yourself time between lessons for practicing.  Beginner lessons don't get you much time actually skiing.

post #20 of 20

Fgor, you know how a spinning top rights itself?  It starts out wobbly, but then in a few seconds it rights itself and spins smoothly?

 

That's what happens with lessons.  In the lesson, the students get instructions for doing something new, and they are wobbly as they try.  Then when they work alone on these skills after the lesson, if they keep trying the things they did in the lesson (essential) they smooth it all out.  The mataphorical top rights itself.  It's time to take another lesson when the wobble is diminished and confidence is growing.

 

When someone takes a new lesson they get new wobbly things to work on.  It's best if it's the same instructor as last time.  Then ski alone practicing what the lesson taught, until the top rights itself.  Spaced-out lessons with the same instructor is a great way to go.

 

Working to consolidate and smooth out new movement patterns inside a lesson can be prohibitive (disclaimer:  this is not always the case).  The instructor might introduce something new before the previous skill is embedded, before the metaphorical top is spinning smoothly.  This can get to be too much too fast.  Also, working on a new skill alone, without the instructor watching, means there is no one coming along pointing out what needs to be fixed again, or even watching and seeing the wobble.  The skier knows the wobble is there and doesn't need constant reminders of it.  Even a quiet instructor can instill self-doubt in people who imagine what the instructor is thinking as they ski in front of them.  I'm for intermittent instructions.  Skiing with others who are at the same skill level while trying to "right the top" can be enjoyable.  

 

Skiing with a "helpful" spouse at this point can be worse than anything. 

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