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Sore neck and a sore back. What are we doing wrong?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Two new skiiers here.

 

We've been trying to go a few times/week.  We've taken one lesson but are now well past those skills and will taking another lesson soon.  We're doing pizza-french fries, wedge, wedge christies and some parallel turns on mostly green runs but also the occasional blue run.

 

I (male, 6', 180lbs) have a sore neck.  My partner (female, 5', light) has a sore lower back.

 

Does that point to any obvious problems with technique or posture?

 

Cheers

post #2 of 24
Are you hunching over to get forward?
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 

My partner (sore lower back) is.  I'm not sure if I lean as much. 

 

Should we be trying to keep our backs perpendicular to the hill and bending our knees?

 

post #4 of 24

My guess is that it's at least partly due to how tense beginning skiers are when they first hit the slopes. Too much forward lean is probably part of your partner's sore lower back as well. 

 

Mike

 

 

post #5 of 24

How old are you both?

 

 

It may just be you are brand new to an activity and there is some pain from doing a new movement.  It could also be that one (or both) of you underwent some specific movement/fall/etc that tweaked those areas, and there is mild injury.

 

I'm assuming this all started the day after your first ski day?

post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks.

 

We are mid/late twenties.  We've fallen a few times. 

Sounds like it's a combination of leaning a bit too much, being too tense, a few falls and using some new muscles.  Now that I think about it, the neck could be related to a previous injury as well.

 

For the neck at least, it didn't really start until about my sixth time out.  That's why I am thinking that I might slowly be developing a bad habit.  Time for the next round of lessons.

 

That brings me to another question.  A local resort charges $130 for the first hour of a private lesson.  I am guessing they are paying the kids that teach it $20 at most.  What is a fair price for a lesson if I find someone with qualifications on craigslist and pay them cash?  I am in Canada.

 

 

post #7 of 24

Dont be a douche and go under the table.  Yes the instructors get ripped off, but many are not kids, especially if you are at a real resort, the instructor is queit possibly a seasoned pro who teaches skiing for living.  A crappy living, but a living none the less.  It might cost more then under the table types, but you get what you pay for.

 

Go for a certified professional ski teacher.  In Canada the industry is much stricter than in the US with hirering certified pros.  In the USA it is much more of a crap shoot.  When you book a lesson, ask for a CSIA (Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance) Level 2 or Higher.  Its your money, and they will try to accomodate.  

 

 

 

post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 

I'm actually trying to do the complete opposite of being a douche.

 

Right now the certified professional ski instructors are probably not making much (I guess $10-$20/hour - does anyone know?) and the resort is charging me $130 for the first hour.  Therefore, I'm paying a huge mark-up to the owner of the resort while the instructor struggles to eek out a seasonal living.  Also, I can only afford one or two lessons at that rate.

 

I'd feel much better about finding a certified pro ski instructor (obviously they would have to give me lessons at a different resort from the one they normally work at) and paying $40/hour.  I'm just looking to cut out the middle man.  A bit of extra cash for the instructor and a few more lessons for me.

 

 

 

post #9 of 24

Good guys make around $30/hr out west.  No one of any substance would take a "black private" for $40.  Its just not worth risking their jobs over it, plus if as you say you need to go to another resort, then you need to factor in travel, lift tickets etc.  Would likley require a full-day private at $3-400 to get some interest, for someone worth spending any money on.  If you work major resorts like Whistler or the Okangan of Banff, the good guys will usually have no problem getting full days pay either....so to take your $40 would require them to a day off, or work on their reqular day off....just not worth it.  That is not to say you wont find some guy who pimps himself for $40 on Craigslist, you will probably find someone, but you would be better off just reading here, or taking a video and posting it in the Ski Instruction section.

 

 

If you want to ensure the instructor gets more of the cash, do some research, and request an instructor by name.  Different resorts work diifferently, but if requested by name the instructor usually makes a much higher commission.  50% of the lesson price is common, somtimes it is more, somtimes less.  Hence for your $130 example, that is $65 for the pro.

 

 

 

Final point - rightly or wrongly the ski resorts do have exclusive rights to ski school sales on their hill.  Meaning if they catch someone doing lessons under the table they do have the right to pull the "instructors" pass and escort them off the hill.  Doing under the table lessons at a resort is like opening a hot dog stand in the foyer of McDonalds.  Sure you might not get caught, but it is pretty obvious to see who is teaching a lesson.  Yes you can just say you are friends, and their is no money involved....but that excuse will only work once or twice, anyone doing it under the table regularily will get busted...then you loose your $40.  Also under the table lessons wont be able to cut lift lines etc...meaning you will be spending less of your time skiing, and more of it standing in the lift line.


Edited by Skidude72 - 12/20/11 at 12:51am
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 

Good points.  I live in an area with three hills that are a 30 minute drive from my house and all of them offer night skiing.  I figured it might be pretty easy for a guy from hill A to pick up a few hours (at $40/hour) to give me some private tutoring at hill C.  I'd feel better about leaving more money in his wallet (I understand it's a tough way to make a living) and I'd get more bang for my buck.  A night lift ticket is only around $40 so if I picked up the tab for that it could still be a good deal for all involved.  Travel and opportunity cost should not be a factor since this would be during an evening and a short drive from the other hills.

 

That said, there are some obvious risks for him.  It's probably a small community and he can't really be seen giving private lessons at a different hill if he wants to keep his job and have a chance at getting future jobs.  I haven't read the fine-print on a ski pass but it's probably against the rules.  Perhaps it could also get him in trouble with the CSIA.  Finally, there are all the normal downsides of doing under the table business (no written contracts, no insurance, tax implications.)

 

 

 

 

post #11 of 24

3 hills within 30 minutes.....hmmm, you are in Vancouver?  Thunder Bay?

post #12 of 24

Just get Skidude to pm you his name and request him.

post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

Good guys make around $30/hr out west.  


Oh my, so they actually can make enough to make it a job.  30K a winter, if 5 days a week.  Two days to free-ski.  Not bad.

post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitamin Ski View Post


Oh my, so they actually can make enough to make it a job.  30K a winter, if 5 days a week.  Two days to free-ski.  Not bad.



thats if they work all day long. huighly doubtful

 

post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve2222 View Post

My partner (sore lower back) is.  I'm not sure if I lean as much. 

 

Should we be trying to keep our backs perpendicular to the hill and bending our knees?

 



Is it possible you're only looking at the 10-20 feet of snow in front of you, and bending your head forward to do it?

post #16 of 24

I don't know how it works in Canada but the way it works where I taught last year is that the instructor gets paid the usual rate for a private lesson.  But if the student requests a specific instructor for a private, the instructor gets a very hefty cut, like at least 50%.  Requested privates are how an instructor can make some pretty good money.  But, unless they teach at some huge resort and have a large following most of their income is at the usual rate and generally only for the hours actually teaching.  It is a very tough way to make a living.

post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve2222 View Post

My partner (sore lower back) is. I'm not sure if I lean as much.

Should we be trying to keep our backs perpendicular to the hill and bending our knees?


Light pressure on the tongue of your boots. You don't need to be overly forward. Hunching forward will cause back pain and even neck pain from keeping your head up because you're hunched over. Find a nice easy run and practice your turns while keeping pressure on the tongue of your boots.
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve2222 View Post

Thanks.

 

We are mid/late twenties.  We've fallen a few times. 

Sounds like it's a combination of leaning a bit too much, being too tense, a few falls and using some new muscles.  Now that I think about it, the neck could be related to a previous injury as well.

 

For the neck at least, it didn't really start until about my sixth time out.  That's why I am thinking that I might slowly be developing a bad habit.  Time for the next round of lessons.

 

That brings me to another question.  A local resort charges $130 for the first hour of a private lesson.  I am guessing they are paying the kids that teach it $20 at most.  What is a fair price for a lesson if I find someone with qualifications on craigslist and pay them cash?  I am in Canada.

 

 

 

As has been discussed below, there are perils to paying an instructor "under the table".  However, there are cheaper ways for you to acquire coaching.  There are always group lessons which are invariably much cheaper then private lessons.  If you go at a "slow" time (i.e., mid week afternoons), you stand a decent chance of being the only person in the group and therefore obtaining a private lesson for a group price.  Also, many mountains offer seasonal or at least re-occurring programs -- i.e, once a week, all season long, usually with the same instructor.  If not, ask what is possible to setup.

 

As you have noticed, the ski school price structure does not exist to enrich the individual instructor; it exists to improve the ski hills profit margin.  You want to buy their product, they want to keep you as a loyal customer.  See what can be worked out.  If you're not happy with their product (i.e., you think the instructor sucks for some reason), let them know.

 

You can also use group lessons as an auditioning process for instructors who you might want to later request for a private lesson.  Find the one you really click with before booking private lessons.  Or  post here asking for recommendations.  Just going in and dropping $130 / hour on a random private instructor is usually a bad idea.
 

 

post #19 of 24

Sounds like OP believes their pain will shift a bit lower if they pay the resort for lessonseek.gif

 

I'm going to guess that your pain comes from lots of extra unnecessary fore/aft shifting due to your boots not fitting tight enough.

post #20 of 24

Sounds to me like your in the Barrie area ( 3 hills with night skiing within 30 minutes C/wood, snow valley, and horse shoe) not bad for a guy from South Carolina !!!

Go see LS at Mt ST Louis/Moonstone ask for a request semi  she will get you on the right track. Be cautious though she can be mean !!!

post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitamin Ski View Post


Oh my, so they actually can make enough to make it a job.  30K a winter, if 5 days a week.  Two days to free-ski.  Not bad.



Yes you can make a living as a ski instructor...mortgages, children, car payments.  It can be done.  But its a tough go.  With summer jobs and wifey kicking in, $60k a year for a household income is doable...but $60k doesnt go far in a ski town.



Quote:
Originally Posted by shoal007 View Post



thats if they work all day long. huighly doubtful

 


True, usually 6-7hours a day is what you will get...rare to get 8.

post #22 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys.  Lots of great advice on finding an instructor and avoiding the back pain.

 

We are actually in North Vancouver.  Just heading out for a few night laps right now.  I will try to hunch less and will make sure the boots are super tight. 

 

One of the other nights I made the mistake of accidentally leaving the boots in walk mode for most of the night (they are combination Alpine/Alpine Touring boots.)  I can't imagine that helped.

post #23 of 24

Do you own your own boots or rent?  (I'm assuming the former b/c your boots are AT boots)???

post #24 of 24

If you've taken privates and doing greens and blues but wish to save cash, as suggested prior, group lessons may be a good way to go.  Some resorts let ya pick up a class and lift reduced in price, or multiple days with lifts with greater discounts. 

 

I found that when I learned, the instructor would watch each of use come down or go down a hill and then point out issues and suggest solutions and tricks to correct, or ride next to each of us and encourage the suggestions.  

 

In between his direct time, it gave one time to practice and concentrate on improving.   The big thing was finding an instructor who could eye a whole class and manage us all effectively.  I got lucky and with the group I was with, talked the instructor into coming back the next day and the one after ... he swapped one class and worked the third which was to be a day off.   

 

Given this was a class with 6 then 5 and 5 students, our price was good and while he got book, perhaps more for being requested, he also picked up more in tips than with complete strangers.

 

So, if your learning, it may be good to take group lessons where you can practice your skills in between and for the savings, add to the tip making you and the instructor feel better.

 

If privates are needed, then perhaps after groups.  given the pricing it may be worth trying anyhow.

 

neck wise, the one (and only) time I did ski in my mid twenties, my neck too killed me.  I did a lot of pushing with the shoulders on flats ... a lot of it and even some up mild hills as i feared any speed for an up and over.  really funny when i think of it, I'm certain i looked like a goon thrusting my head forward while pushing the shoulders back.

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