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Group vs Semi Private lessons? Lessons everyday?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

 

Hello Everyone, 

Me and the wife will be at Winter Park, CO for 4 days before Dec 16th (before they jack up their rates wink)...With 3 days of actual ski time. 

I am a very much a novice skier and the wife has never skied before. We would like to take lessons together, and were debating on which lessons to sign up for- the Full day Group lessons vs Max 4 Semi Private lessons: 

Full Day lesson: 
"Our Full Day Lesson line up is guaranteed to offer more runs, more turns and more FUN than skiing and riding alone, or you next lesson is free! Full Day lessons run from 9:30am to 3pm. Class sizes may vary during holidays and weekends, but average 6-8 students per instructor." 

Max 4 lessons: 
"Our new MAX 4 program is guaranteed for maximum fun! The semi-private format is limited to 4 guests per instructor. Half Day lessons run from 11:45am to 2:45pm." 

One is 5.5 hours with 6-8 people the other is 3 hours with up to 4 people. Considering this is before the high season, and we would be there during the weekdays would there be a high chance that the Full Day lesson would have less than 6 people? 


So, which would you recommend? 

Also, we have 3 consecutive days we can ski. Would one lesson session be enough - or should we take 2 or 3 days of lessons?

Thanks, 

Bob

 

post #2 of 21

I have signed up for a group lesson at WP in the afternoon during the week in high season and ended up with a personal lesson.  It's a safe bet to have a smaller class, although if Max4 doesn't cost much more it is insurance of a more targeted class instruction.

 

As to how many days?  I find no value in taking the same lesson repetitively.  I want to ski what I have learned, but there is a balance.  You probably won't know what is going to work for you until you spend the first day and figure out how both of you are doing.  If your wife would be only on the lower mountain, you'll be doing pretty minor loops on the same couple of trails, so class will get you up on the mountain quite a bit more and that would be more fun even in class.

 

Enjoy the trip beercheer.gif

post #3 of 21

Honestly a full private lesson is by far preferred. You get full attention, and can continue where you left off from the day before with the same instructor. But being a novice and true beginner, you would be fine with either the group or semi-private (especially because this early the groups will be small). What you will be doing for most of the day can be picked up by any decent instructor the next day, and you will get enough personal attention because what you will really need after some good coaching is just repetitive practice, not fine tuning. Have fun, I love Winter Park.

post #4 of 21
post #5 of 21

Both groups and semi privates would probably both be ok for all the reasons others have mentioned. I would just like to add that you might want to consider what type of learning style you have. Do you like a social group environment  while skiing and constant all day guidance or do you prefer to be shown a technique and then go away to practise on your own. 

 

Also while I understand that you and your partner would like to ski together, it can be more beneficial to each if both are allocated to lessons of your respective skiing levels. This is more important at the beginning stages where a difference in abilities in the group can severely limit the terrain one is brought to during the lesson. For example: you may already know how to snowplough stop but your partner is struggling. The terrain that she is limited to would be fairly flat terrain. You would soon find it fairly unchallenging on that terrain even though a good instructor can still work on improving your technique. You would probably be better off in one level above if you can actually do a solid snowplough stop already. 

 

Having said that, perhaps give it a go together on the first day if you would like to keep your partner company as they are introduced to the sport. Just be flexible in lesson allocation from Day 2. And yeah, I recommend lessons everyday especially at the beginning level. That's the level when you'll see the most improvement in the shortest time. Why not aim to get as good as you can through lessons while you're there. 

post #6 of 21

What Gigatoh said, only I'm going to be more firm.  

 

Take separate lessons.  There are so many reasons to not take a lesson together at this important stage in your progression.

The slowest learner determines the pace of the lesson in most cases, as well as the terrain.  If that's you, how are you going to feel?  If it's her, same thing - how are you going to feel?  And how is she going to feel?  You just don't want to go there.  

 

Take lessons with different teachers during the same time slot, and meet up afterwards.  You can ride up the chair together and report what you worked on.  The slower more cautious skier of the two of you still determines the terrain.  DO NOT go up to ski terrain that the more cautious skier has not been on during the lesson, no no no!  The two of you ski on what is comfortable for the cautious one, or you each ski alone and catch up at the chairlift for a nice ride up together.  

 

Take this seriously.

 

 

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thank you everyone for chiming in!

 

I think for sure we will take different lessons.  Last time I skied, was 3 years ago and I was just beginning to get proficient in turning/speed control.  Seeing how its been a while - it's probably a good idea I start with lesson #2?  Winter Park's lesson plans:

 

 

SKI
 

LEARN TO SKI:
First time skiers will explore the skills needed to stop and ride the chairlift with confidence.  

 

CONTROL BY TURNING:
Focus is on building control and confidence using turns as the way to manage your speed. Learn new skills in Discovery Park and move to new terrain and lifts.
 
INTRO TO PARALLEL:
This level builds on existing skills to make your shaped skis perform even better, allowing you to finish turns with your skis parallel.
 
PERFECTING PARALLEL:
Improve your skills on changing terrain as you learn to maximize the use of your equipment. Move from blue terrain to blue/black terrain.

 

BUMPS & STEEPS:
Our coaches will focus on the tips and tactics that will bring you to the next level while skiing "North America's Best Bumps."

 

 

Alternatively - I could just bum off the first day and see if I can remember how to do turns - but I have a strange feeling it won't be fruitful :-p

 

 

 

 

post #8 of 21
Don't be fooled by the semi private, it may as well be a group. I taught at a ski school that had a similar product with a maximum of 4 people and you still get most of the disadvantages of a group but at a higher cost. Either go with the group, and depending on how you learn don't underestimate how well it's possible to do in a group environment, or go private.
post #9 of 21

I think the downfall of a group in non peak time will be your group may spread out the ski levels too far.  I can teach someone your level on an easier slope while teaching someone to ski that easy slope for their first time idea.  Because their will be pressure to make a full group and less skiers you can end up with too wide of skiing abilities and the resort will often just tell the instructor to deal with it and make sure everyone learns.  The resort will just say, well you paid for a group lesson and that is a downfall to groups.

 

The semi private is more likely to at least keep the group level closer as people are paying more for the lesson and the resort will work with that giving less people if needed to keep ski level more equal.

 

As far as your ski level goes with in this resorts classifications, how many times in your life have you skied?  When going out for your first time in a couple years did you pick up where you left off or forget considerable amount?  What terrain do you typically ski on, all blues on the hill, or just greens?  Are you comfortable with a little speed and feel confident you can make a snowplow and turn when you need?

 

If you are skiing blue runs, feel comfortable making a turn as needed, even though it's in a snowplow, and feel relatively comfortable when you pick up speed you would likely want to be in the intro to parallel.  A competent athletic type learner can hit this level in one day or others may take a season, but they are not saying you are parallel already but they will introduce you to it.  If you are still on all greens and not comfortable you can make a turn when you pick up speed then the "Control by turning" may be be where you should be.

post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 

I think I have had a total of 4 days of skiing over the past 8 years.  The last time I went skiing (3 years ago) - my brother in law had me from public danger on the slope to somewhat competent in turning just getting into parallels in a day.  I was confident in greens, and easy blues.  However that was 3 years ago, I haven't skied since and I'm in crappier shape now (bring advil with me this time) :-p

 

Semi private and public are the same price ($139 w/rental, pass & lunch).

post #11 of 21

Well you and your wife may be very close to the same level after the first day then if she is also some what athletic.  I think based on what you have skied in past you are probably right about the "Control by turning" but you may be in the higher end of that group if it all comes back to you.  Keep in mind an instructor will have to teach to the low end of the group as you can't put someone on a steeper slope until they are capable.  That may be another reason to try the semi private, but would be no guarantee of not having someone in the group who had skied one day and you who had skied 8.

post #12 of 21

Why not let the pros place you in the right group? It may be the same group, it may not be. WP has a lot of instructors and a very good ski school and I doubt that they will force a large split group.

 

All day is great if you are together; the semi private might be nice if you are not in the same group because you can ski a few runs together after each lesson to show each other what you learned and make it more of a shared experience.

 

IMHO, in the beginning, the most important thing is consistency. Pick a product where you can ski a lesson each day with the same instructor.

 

The beginner area at Winter Park, once you can safely load and unload a chairlift, is actually at mid-mountain. It's a great learning area with several chairlifts in easy proximity with varying pitches from very green to almost blue. And, it will be close enough that you will see each other off and on even if not in the same group.

 

You will have a great time!

post #13 of 21

A half day private lesson would be a lot more beneficial than an all day group.  If you haven't skied in a long time and you are not in shape you probably won't be able to last through a full day lesson. Ski instructors I know kind of chuckle when I ask them if the tourists can make it through an all day lesson. They love the all day lessons because they usually are not all day. Group lessons only benefit the worst skier in the group. The instructor is forced to spend most of their time with that person especially in a beginner class. As a beginner you really only need an hour or two to learn basic drills. You can then go and practice them on your own

post #14 of 21

I'm going to have to disagree with you that the lesson will only benefit the worst skier in the group. As an instructor, I work with all the skiers, regardless of where they are. If it's a beginner lesson, I'll get the students doing laps on the handle tow...and each skier may be doing a different drill if there's a significant split. The clients lap the handle tow and I work with each of them at least every other lap.

 

The lowest level skier (or the least confident) may dictate the terrain selection or the speed the group moves down the mountain once the group is away from the handle tow, but EVERY client gets my attention.

 

Private lessons are generally better than group lessons. In the off peak, you may get a private by default...but also remember that lessons are often handed out by seniority. In a beginner group lesson, you are more likely to get a first year instructor than in a private.

post #15 of 21

I apologize iWill.  I know I was generalizing to make a point, but in my own experience that is what happened.  I do not fault the instructor because he had no choice.  The people who were struggling just to get down the hill needed his help or they would have been up there all day.  I would agree with you that private lessons are the way to go.  They may seem expensive, but you can get a lot more out of them in a short period of time.  The op said he and his wife will only be on the mountain for a few days.  I would rather maximize the amount of learning in a short period of time.  This will leave you with a lot more time to enjoy your vacation.

post #16 of 21

I have a thought I want to get a few opinions on and its mostly the same as this, so probably doesn't need its own thread

 

I skied quite a bit in high school, and was skiing most of the mountain, nothing too extreme but plenty of black runs in Jackson and many of the Utah resorts.  I took about 10 years off, college and not having any money and living in Phoenix, so I was lucky to get 1-2 trips in a year most of that time.

Now that I'm back in Wyoming and have time and money I'm going to really try to pick up my skiing.

Other then a beginner lesson my first time out I'm entirely self taught.  Mostly through observation and trial and error.

I feel pretty good and I think I'm doing pretty good, but in terms of technical skills as opposed to simply making it down the mountain, I don't really know where I'm at.  And right now I'm in good shape, the best shape I've ever been in, so I know I could probably muscle my way through some technical problems without realizing it.

 

So I want to take some more lessons.  But what I don't want to do is spend $400-600 for all day private lessons and find some fundamental problems that I'm just going to be spending all day on blue cruisers training through for that kind of money... you know, doing what I should be doing instead of what I think I want to be doing.  Would it be better to start off with an intermediate to advanced group class for 2-3 hours and $40-60 to find out where I'm really at and then look at doing a private lesson later, or will a private lesson be that much better?

 

Another thing that I've really picked up being here is that I really don't know most of the terminology.  Whether or not I'm doing a lot of the techniques and skills, I wouldn't really know them by name either way.  And reading a description and properly applying that to what I'm doing hasn't been very easy.

post #17 of 21

 

Quote:
Would it be better to start off with an intermediate to advanced group class for 2-3 hours and $40-60 to find out where I'm really at and then look at doing a private lesson later, or will a private lesson be that much better?

 

This is probably not a bad idea.  You can also 'audition' potential instructors for a longer private lesson before forking over big money.  If you jump right into private lessons, I'd recommend starting with just an hour or two, or a half day.

 

You could also try going in to the ski school and talking to a supervisor about what you want.  They may be able to recommend someone who would be a good fit for you.

post #18 of 21

Erloas, you say "what I don't want to do is spend $400-600 for all day private lessons and find some fundamental problems that I'm just going to be spending all day on blue cruisers training through for that kind of money... you know, doing what I should be doing instead of what I think I want to be doing."

 

Well, do you want to get better, or just go have fun doing what you've been doing?  It takes instruction and discipline and working hard at it to get better.  Your body needs to be trained by you, under instruction, to do new stuff because if you continue to wing it you'll just do more of what you've been doing.

 

Working on skiing a new and better way, on easy to moderate terrain at slow speeds, out in the public where people can see you doing it, is humbling.  It's not about thrills, it's about understanding what will work best and trying to get your resistant, habit-restricted body to do the new stuff it doesn't want to do.

 

You gotta want it and pay your dues with humility if you want to join the expert club.

post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

Well, do you want to get better, or just go have fun doing what you've been doing?  It takes instruction and discipline and working hard at it to get better.  Your body needs to be trained by you, under instruction, to do new stuff because if you continue to wing it you'll just do more of what you've been doing.

 

Working on skiing a new and better way, on easy to moderate terrain at slow speeds, out in the public where people can see you doing it, is humbling.  It's not about thrills, it's about understanding what will work best and trying to get your resistant, habit-restricted body to do the new stuff it doesn't want to do.

I want to get better and I'm ready to put in work to get there.  Its more a matter of how much I'm willing to pay for certain parts of it.  If what I'm missing right now is fairly basic skills that can easily be picked up in a group setting, get some instruction on them, and then spend hours working on them on easier runs, thats what I'll do.  But that doesn't seem like an effective use of training money for me on a private lesson if most of it is fairly basic drills.  It seems like private training would be overkill if that is what I need to learn at this point.

It would seem to me like the time to do private lessons is once I know I havethe skill set necessary to go out and do a bunch of different advanced terrain and learn a lot of new things at once.

 

Of course I could be wrong, which is the point of the question.  Is it worth the cost of private lessons over group lessons when, going into the lesson, you don't really know what specifically you need to work on, and you don't yet have a specific goal for that lesson?

post #20 of 21

 

Quote:
Is it worth the cost of private lessons over group lessons when, going into the lesson, you don't really know what specifically you need to work on, and you don't yet have a specific goal for that lesson?

 

Well... as with most things, it depends.

 

An instructor can work more closely with you in a one-on-one environment to figure out what you do need to work on, and can spend more time helping you with your specific needs.  One common lament of instructors is that people often show up with totally unrealistic goals, so being open to figuring out what you need may not be such a bad thing.

 

If you just want an overall evaluation of your skiing and a few pointers on things you could improve, you should be able to get that in a group lesson as well.  But you won't get as much focused attention.

post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by erloas View Post

I want to get better and I'm ready to put in work to get there.  Its more a matter of how much I'm willing to pay for certain parts of it.  If what I'm missing right now is fairly basic skills that can easily be picked up in a group setting, get some instruction on them, and then spend hours working on them on easier runs, thats what I'll do.  But that doesn't seem like an effective use of training money for me on a private lesson if most of it is fairly basic drills. 


Erloas,

You have many years under your belt, and you are self-taught.  That means that whatever you are currently doing as you ski is very deeply ingrained.  Your skiing habits serve you well enough, but you want to improve.  That's great - you've found the right place to discuss these things.

 

You are wondering if you might need to work on some fundamentals that you missed years ago.  You probably do, especially if you want to see real progress.  Plenty of people ski without getting lessons and do just fine, but they get stuck because the way they ski reaches a natural dead end, and they stop progressing.  They've hit their plateau and are satisfied.  That's fine.  But you want more. 

 

You think that "fairly basic skills can easily be picked up" with some hours working on them after you get some instruction.  Well, maybe, but most likely not.  The basic stuff is likely to be difficult to learn because your current habits are so stubbornly embedded.  It's very hard to break bad habits that have been used for many years.  Ever tried going on a diet?  

 

You might do much better with an instructor watching you as you work on "getting it," correcting you when you think you have it right but don't.  Also, a longer lesson will allow you to get instructed progressively -- you work on one thing, get some progress on that, then work on another that requires the first, get that working, then move onto another. 

 

A one-hour lesson, or a group lesson, will do you good because it will start you on your way with one or maybe two skills/concepts.  An extended lesson will serve you better.  If you can afford it, get an extended private lesson, or a series of lessons with the same instructor day after day.  If you are on a budget, get a group lesson and see how it goes, then work on your own, then come back for another later in the season.  You'll still progress. 

 

It's all good, because it's on snow.  

 

 

 

 

 

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