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Good private lesson length?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I'm a newbie learning to transition from wedge turns to true parallel turns, and I think I am about halfway there. Most of my turns end in parallel although I still tend to push out in a wedge if I'm tired or I think I'm going too fast.

 

I had my first ski day last week and am going again this weekend. I figure that I've "warmed up" my muscle memory enough to benefit from a private lesson. What's an ideal private lesson length? I was thinking of taking one hour (group lessons are two hours), but I don't know if that is enough time for the instructor to assess my skill level and give good feedback that I can work on. 

 

The main concern is that I *am* a newbie and I start to get fatigued at the 2 hour mark. 

post #2 of 16

It is really hard to do much, if anything in just an hour - unless you have a very specific issue you need help working on.

 

I'd suggest two hours minimum. I think my mountain this year is making 1/2 day (3 hours) the minimum that they'll sell at the ski school desk.

 

Or, if it isn't crowded, you might get away well by taking a 'group' lesson in hopes that it won't be very full. If there are only 2-3 of you in the lesson, you can get pretty good attention even though it isn't a private lesson. Plus you can assess the instructor and see if he/she is someone you'd want to request for a private lesson in the future.

post #3 of 16

I'd say an hour is the minimum to get anything out of a good lesson.  A good instructor will be able to pinpoint what you need to work on in your first few turns.  Then the instructor should be able to come up with a lesson plan that helps you develop.  Here on the East Coast the mountains are "shorter" so an hour lesson can work.

 

I'd say that two hours is the upper limit for a private.  You start to get memory overload in that period of time.

 

 

 

post #4 of 16
Depends on your location/the hill you ski at. If it's a short area where you can get to your type of terrain with just a few minutes on one lift, a one-hour lesson can give you enough to work on for a while before the next lesson. If you have to spend 15-20 minutes riding lifts to get to your terrain, a longer period is required.

I used to conduct a lot of one-hour private lessons at an area with a 500-foot hill you could get to the top of in three minutes.

At Breck, I think a three-hour is the minimum you can get.
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plainswalker View Post

I'm a newbie learning to transition from wedge turns to true parallel turns, and I think I am about halfway there. Most of my turns end in parallel although I still tend to push out in a wedge if I'm tired or I think I'm going too fast.

 

I had my first ski day last week and am going again this weekend. I figure that I've "warmed up" my muscle memory enough to benefit from a private lesson. What's an ideal private lesson length? I was thinking of taking one hour (group lessons are two hours), but I don't know if that is enough time for the instructor to assess my skill level and give good feedback that I can work on. 

 

The main concern is that I *am* a newbie and I start to get fatigued at the 2 hour mark. 

About how many days do you think you'll ski this season?  Do you think you're going to be a weekend warrior doing one day mostly every weekend, or a two-week vacation skier plus a few other days every now and then?  Can you ski on weekdays or at nights instead of just on weekends?  Are you out west skiing at a big resort, or in the middle atlantic on a small hill?

 

This might affect how you plan on investing in lessons.  Let us know more.  Lots of advice will follow.    
 

 

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

Well, I would say I'm going to be mostly of the "a day every now and then" skier, maybe with a long weekend in there somewhere. I'm fortunate that I live in Vancouver, which has three decent local hills 30 mins away (with night skiing), and Whistler Blackcomb a mere 2.5h away. Lots of options! And my brother and I have been tossing around the idea of going for a few days in interior British Columbia and checking out the hills there (Big White, Silver Star, or Sun Peaks). I definitely won't be a two-week vacation skier.

 

Basically, my short-term goal is to be proficient enough to enjoy the majority of greens and blues at a "big" resort. Operative word on *enjoy* - I don't want to have to keep struggling just to get down a long green run, or be exhausted after fighting my skis and the hill for a couple hours. I'm thinking to do my learning on one of the local hills (probably Cypress Mountain) and reward myself with a visit to the big boy runs at Whistler.

post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

Oh, and the lifts at Cypress aren't too long - 5 mins to the top of the hill max, I think.

post #8 of 16

Sounds like an hour long lesson every now and then, with practice on what your instructor suggested in between, should do the trick.

 

"Group" lessons during the week may end up being groups of one at your local hill, not sure, while weekend group lessons may be groups of 8-12.  

 

What you need in that lesson is a seasoned teacher who watches you ski and figures out by working with you during that hour how to help you progress, with your anatomy, your gear, your body awareness, and your goals and aspirations all taken into account.  Then after the lesson you need to work on what the instructor showed you; the changes get their start in the lesson but don't usually snap into place and become "natural" until much later, after some deliberate attention on your part and hours on snow.  

 

Welcome to the world of skiing.  The learning process is fun, and the learning curve is steep (you'll progress fast) when you are just starting!  You'll find out later if you can concentrate on improving your form while skiing with friends, or if you can focus on your turns better alone.  Skiing at night after work can do you a world of good, by the way.

 

Enjoy.   


Edited by LiquidFeet - 12/7/11 at 4:55am
post #9 of 16

The best approach is regular interaction over a season as opposed to one or two intense sessions.  However most people dont have that option particularily if they only ski limited amounts or are not close to ski hills.  BUT DUDE YOU LIVE IN VANCOUVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

All 3 local hills offer very cheap seasons passes and lesson packages which you can do at night.  You would have to check the prices but I wouldnt be surprised if you could get a whole seasons worth of lessons at Grouse for the price of 1 half-day private at Whistler.  I have found the caliber of intructors at the local hills are actually quiet high, so you can get a quality lesson even in a group.

 

FYI - the minimum private at Whistler is 3 hours.  If you watch thou you can get sales on lessons, usually around now, and just after the Christmas season.

post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plainswalker View Post

I had my first ski day last week and am going again this weekend.


When you are this new, I think that it is important to have alot of instruction to get you going in a good way.

 

Agree with above posters that at least 2 hours would be good... and if you can afford it get several lessons over a period of time.  But I'd also say that maybe between lessons try to get some time on the hill working on stuff from last lesson and getting comfortable being on your skis.

 

 

 

The most important thing with all of this is to make sure you are having fun at all times when learning to ski!  If you do that, you are doing it right.

post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitamin Ski View Post


When you are this new, I think that it is important to have alot of instruction to get you going in a good way.

 

Agree with above posters that at least 2 hours would be good... and if you can afford it get several lessons over a period of time.  But I'd also say that maybe between lessons try to get some time on the hill working on stuff from last lesson and getting comfortable being on your skis.

 

 

 

The most important thing with all of this is to make sure you are having fun at all times when learning to ski!  If you do that, you are doing it right.


I agree wholeheartedly. I do have to clarify, I really just started skiing during the latter half of last season (3x up the mountain, I think), with a group lesson under my belt.

 

I do intend to take lessons spaced out over a period of time. Just like dancing, it's not nearly as effective if you just keep taking lessons but not take it out on the dance floor/hill. Time on floor/hill helps :).

 

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

The best approach is regular interaction over a season as opposed to one or two intense sessions.  However most people dont have that option particularily if they only ski limited amounts or are not close to ski hills.  BUT DUDE YOU LIVE IN VANCOUVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

All 3 local hills offer very cheap seasons passes and lesson packages which you can do at night.  You would have to check the prices but I wouldnt be surprised if you could get a whole seasons worth of lessons at Grouse for the price of 1 half-day private at Whistler.  I have found the caliber of intructors at the local hills are actually quiet high, so you can get a quality lesson even in a group.

 

FYI - the minimum private at Whistler is 3 hours.  If you watch thou you can get sales on lessons, usually around now, and just after the Christmas season.



I have to say, when I read the "lift ticket pricing model" thread, I'm thankful I live in Vancouver. We have such a wealth of cheap local hills with good instructors.

 

Bit the bullet and booked a 1-hour private this Sunday. If it works well, hopefully I'll be able to book a subsequent one later in December or early January after adding a bit more "time on hill" :).

post #13 of 16

With what you've said, I'd get a one hour lesson, and tell the instructor that you want them to identify the single most important thing for you to work on, and how to improve that.  Limit your instruction to one thing.   After the lesson spend the day working on just that one thing, then integrate that one new or improved movement into your skiing.  We cannot learn too much too quickly, it just doesn't happen, so put limits on what you try.  One big improvement is far better than nibbling at half a dozen things and learning none of them.  Keep in mind that your are hiring the instructor; they work for you.  Don't let them try too much.

post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 

Just to report back, I did a 1-hour lesson with Irena at Cypress Mountain (thanks Irena!). She evaluated me on the bunny hill first, and she said that I didn't have any major problems with my skiing - it's mostly correcting my posture to flex the knees more and put the weight forward over my skis. She had me do a number of drills focusing on that, which wiped me out in an hour. I think I would not have been able to do 2 hours productively. She said, and I agreed with her, that the drills will help, but it will take time, and just keep skiing and focusing on those two things, and it will come.

 

I did do a few more runs afterward (and after lunch as well) and it did improve my skiing already. The major thing for me is to trust the skis and fight the instinct to lean back. I find the difference quite noticeable if I'm at speed on a flatter run - I tend to lean forward more and maintain control. Once the terrain gets too steep, I start leaning back and lose control, which ends up with me automatically wedging more to slow down. That's a problem as the inside edge of my uphill ski can dig in and flip me (which happened a couple of times).

 

 

post #15 of 16

I have found that one of the keys to skiing improvement is to learn to enjoy doing drills - don't view them as taking you away from skiing, view them as opening skiing to you. I do drills for hours and hours every ski day. I would also recommend writing down all of the key points of the lesson and drills - it will help keep you from forgetting a position or thought and therefore practicing bad form.

post #16 of 16

Your stance is the basis for all other skills. If you don't have that, everything else will be more difficult. Most skiers will flex their knees too much and not enough at the other joints. You don't get weight forward (more accurately centred) by flexing your knees more. You do it by flexing your ankles.

 

http://www.turnshape.com/2011/08/listen-to-your-feet-part-2-your-ankles.html

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