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Lesson Time and Level Recommendation?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hi,  I've been browsing the forums for the better part of two weeks in my sudden-onset obsession with skiing.  I'm actually going to Hunter through a NYC bus trip on Wednesday Feb 15, and likely a few more Wednesdays in the coming weeks and maybe some of Spring Break.  Since Wednesdays are Ladies' Days, for $58 you get an all-mountain lift ticket, rentals, lunch, and a group lesson (1-1.5 hrs). 

 

I've skied before, but in far-and-wide times in-between.  I first skied when I was maybe 11-12 years old for three days at some mountain in the northeast (I honestly don't remember - I just remember ski school and my uncle flying/flipping down the mountain in an epic fall).  Next, I skied in high school for two days at Sugarloaf with a friend around age 16 and took two 1-hour privates where I think I was learning parallel turns.  Lastly, I skied when I was 19 for two days and took one 1-hour private at Okemo.  From what I recall, I could ski greens comfortably and parallel, but once I accidentally ended up at the top of the mountain and needed to call snow patrol to snowmobile me down because it was all black and rather terrifying where I would be a danger not only to myself but my peers as well.  Now I am 22, but as athletic as I have ever been - I am recently an ex-waterpolo player and run about 20 miles and swim about 10k meters a week.

 

So onto my question - the lessons run as follows:

 

Ski

  • First Time
  • Control - Want better control of your wedge turn
  • Parallel - Can turn and control speed but want to ski parallel
  • Refresher - Used to ski parallel, but it’s been a while
  • Dynamics - Can ski parallel but want to be more dynamic
  • Quick Feet - Can ski parallel, but want to make shorter turns
  • Extremes - Can ski well but want to master the entire mountain

Session times: 9:30am, 11:30am, and 1:30pm for all abilities (ages13 +).

 

Should I do the 1:30pm lesson so I can figure out if I can do Dynamics after some practice or should I just start at 9:30am with Refresher?  It shouldn't be too crowded as it is Wednesday, but I am also coming with a bus of people from NYC.  Is it better to do a lesson in the afternoon for more attention -- it's been a while since I've had a group lesson, or a lesson at all?  I'm not sure if I need more attention, but given I never actually paid for any of my prior ski trips, I wasn't about to turn down privates.


Edited by swimbaby26 - 2/6/12 at 11:34am
post #2 of 13

I'd recommend the 9:30am refresher class. Let the instructor know how and when you skied last. A good instructor should be able to take it from there. 

 

Getting a good start with a lesson will help you progress faster and have more fun. 

 

Welcome back to the snow. 

post #3 of 13
What T-Square said.

Welcome to EpicSki. Come back and let us know how it goes.

Skiing is addictive. I've been at it since 1945 and still can't get enough.
post #4 of 13

+2

 

Ski a run or two on easy greens before the lesson to loosen up and remind your body what this is all about. It doesn't have to be the bunny hill but don't push your comfort zone or you'll tighten up.

 

You didn't mention equipment but I assume you're renting. Do that at or near the mountain if feasible so they can adjust or exchange if something isn't working.

 

Pay close attention to how the boots fit. The #1 error by all beginners and most intermediates is skiing in boots that are too big, which causes several problems:

  • Lack of ski control (you move your foot but the ski does nothing because your movement is absorbed by slop in the boot).
  • Arch cramps (you "clench" your feet trying to retain control; this doesn't work, it just hurts).
  • Foot pain and even damage (your skis stop fast but your feet don't... until they slam into the front of the boots).

Ski boots should feel snug (but not painful) all around. The only free space inside should be a little up and down wiggle room above your toes. In properly fitted boots your foot movements will translate directly into ski movements and if you're already against the front of your boots your feet can't slam into them.

 

Despite all the above... have fun!

 

post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by DouglySkiRight View Post

+2

 

Ski a run or two on easy greens before the lesson to loosen up and remind your body what this is all about. It doesn't have to be the bunny hill but don't push your comfort zone or you'll tighten up.

 

You didn't mention equipment but I assume you're renting. Do that at or near the mountain if feasible so they can adjust or exchange if something isn't working.

 

Pay close attention to how the boots fit. The #1 error by all beginners and most intermediates is skiing in boots that are too big, which causes several problems:

  • Lack of ski control (you move your foot but the ski does nothing because your movement is absorbed by slop in the boot).
  • Arch cramps (you "clench" your feet trying to retain control; this doesn't work, it just hurts).
  • Foot pain and even damage (your skis stop fast but your feet don't... until they slam into the front of the boots).

Ski boots should feel snug (but not painful) all around. The only free space inside should be a little up and down wiggle room above your toes. In properly fitted boots your foot movements will translate directly into ski movements and if you're already against the front of your boots your feet can't slam into them.

 

Despite all the above... have fun!

 


Bingo on the boots.  icon14.gif

 

Selecting the correct fitting rental boot is easy.  Here's how.  (Remember a boot fitter will fit you differently.  This is to get you into the best fitting rental boot you can.)

  • Get the boot that you think is your size.  (Go with your standard shoe size.  Women should remember they will probably get a man's sized boot so they will be Huge.) 
  • Test the boot on your larger foot.  (Yes, most people have a foot that is slightly larger than the other.)
  • Wearing only a single thin sock, put the boot on.  Buckle it up. 
  • Stand up. 
  • With your legs straight do your toes barely touch the end of the boot?  If not then get next smaller size. 
  • If your toes touch, flex your knees and ankles.  Do your toes touch the end of the boot?  If they do then get the next larger size. 
  • If they don't touch while you are standing in the flexed position then you have about the right size and should be comfortable with them.

 

Now to buckle the boots. 

  • Make sure your sock is smooth when you put your foot in the boot.  Any wrinkles will hurt after awhile.  Only your foot and sock go into the boot.  (No jeans, bunchy long underwear legs, and definitely not the ski pants snow gaiter.) 
  • Make sure the tongue is in place. 
  • Then pull the power strap tight and fasten it.  (The velcro strap on top.  Some rental boots do not have these.)
  • Then start with the upper buckle and snug it up.  It should feel like a firm handshake around your leg. 
  • Then buckle the next one down. 
  • Now on to the toe buckles.  They should snap down, however, don't slam them down tight.  That will compress your foot and stop circulation.  The end result will be cold feet.  Beginner's don't need to clamp the toes down tight.

 

Hope this helps you have a great time out on the slope.

 

post #6 of 13

Thanks. Now if I knew why my post appeared twice I'd fix it. I'm long-winded enough without repeating!

post #7 of 13

Fixed it for you.  wink.gif

post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 

Okay, thanks for all the tips.  I'm so excited :)  The bus leaves from Paragon Sports in NYC if anyone else is going.

 

And yes I am getting rentals - always have thus far.  Depending on how much I ski later, I've read a lot about buying boots on this forum.  But from what I gather, boots seem to last forever so it seems like I should wait to be at least a solid intermediate before getting boots because then you can get something you won't grow out of quickly.  I know I'm probably like all other beginners that overestimate their abilities and I know all you epic skiers are what I (and any normal person, mind you) would call experts simply because most of you dare to go down a double black diamond, so keep in mind my version of an intermediate is skis blue squares.  I do mean ski and not survive though.  Is that feasible though, that if I ski maybe 7-10 more days that I might be alright in intermediate slopes assuming I pick it up alright or is that way out of left field?  I don't claim to be the most athletic of the bunch, but it seems to me from my limited experience that most people (friends, family, etc) in a week-long ski trip are skiing blues at least, well or not.  So it seems I should wait to get better and then get boots?  Please do tell me if I'm just totally wrong on that, but just on a financial scale, it seems more prudent to rent for a week and buy better boots that last 10+ years.

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

Wait wait wait -- why can't I wear my Under Armour compression pants?  I have ski pants from a friend that fit - but it's a good 20-25 degrees colder there than where I am.  I thought I was supposed to wear layers, long underwear, etc.  I don't really have convenient capri length ones that aren't heat-gear.  If I don't tuck them into my boots... do they stay out and cut off circulation through my calves?  Should I just not wear them?  I'm so confused now.  They aren't bunchy like jeans or something thick.  Should I just ditch them and ski hard to stay warm?

post #10 of 13

Use the underarmour just make sure it is smooth.  If your shin begins to hurt, you may have to adjust where the seam is located. It's not a big deal. I sometimes have to shift the seam on my long johns. wink.gif

post #11 of 13



Quote:

Originally Posted by swimbaby26 View Post

Okay, thanks for all the tips.  I'm so excited :)  The bus leaves from Paragon Sports in NYC if anyone else is going.

 

And yes I am getting rentals - always have thus far.  Depending on how much I ski later, I've read a lot about buying boots on this forum.  But from what I gather, boots seem to last forever so it seems like I should wait to be at least a solid intermediate before getting boots because then you can get something you won't grow out of quickly. 

 

< snip >

 

So it seems I should wait to get better and then get boots?  Please do tell me if I'm just totally wrong on that, but just on a financial scale, it seems more prudent to rent for a week and buy better boots that last 10+ years.


That sounds very sensible, and renting different boots will help you develop a feel for what works. You'll make a better choice when you finally do drop the big money.

 

I bought my first boots too early. Like you I was crazy enthusiastic, but not as smart. I didn't know what I was doing and didn't happen to get a good bootfitter, just some kid in a shop. I suffered all those things I described for a couple of seasons before I figured out that being out of control and in pain is not a necessary part of skiing. Unless you have very unusual feet, skiing can and should be foot pain-free. Mine has been for 25+ years.

 

Print a copy of T-Square's (excellent) how-to-fit-rental-boots guide and refer to it when you're getting fitted. Fitting ski boots is nothing like fitting any other footwear, except maybe competition level skates.

  

Originally Posted by swimbaby26 View Post

I know I'm probably like all other beginners that overestimate their abilities and I know all you epic skiers are what I (and any normal person, mind you) would call experts simply because most of you dare to go down a double black diamond, so keep in mind my version of an intermediate is skis blue squares.  I do mean ski and not survive though.  Is that feasible though, that if I ski maybe 7-10 more days that I might be alright in intermediate slopes assuming I pick it up alright or is that way out of left field?  I don't claim to be the most athletic of the bunch, but it seems to me from my limited experience that most people (friends, family, etc) in a week-long ski trip are skiing blues at least, well or not. 

 

That's a sensible definition and a realistic goal. One of the coolest things about skiing is the AMAZING speed at which any tolerably athletic person can progress from never-ever to intermediate or even beyond. There's a recent thread where various instructors described taking some (exceptional) students that far in a single DAY! I'm not an instructor but I took my teenaged nephew from about where you are to skiing (not just surviving) easy blacks in two days. To ski most blue runs in a week from where you are is not just possible, I'd say it's likely.

 

The best way to ensure that it happens is to enroll in a series of lessons. Many movements that are effective in skiing, while easy to learn and apply, are utterly counter-intuitive (unless you're a skilled ice skater/rollerblader). Likewise, some movements that we've learned from everyday walking/running are counter-productive in skiing. A good instructor will assess your existing movement patterns, give you tips for new ones and demonstrate so you can begin to use them.

 

After that it's all about mileage. The speed at which you progress may astonish you! smile.gif

post #12 of 13

I would suggest an early lesson. Let your instructor know that you are involved in athletic sports and explain your past skiing experience.  They are trained to get you balanced and comfortable turning your skis. Let them know you are there for the day and they will let you know what runs are appropriate for you to spend the day on. 

Enjoy your day.

post #13 of 13

Paragon Sports .. wife got her jacket there a few yrs back.

 

say, one thing ...if you chance go out and try on boots up front before leaving to get a quick feel of what range your in.  not a big deal if  you don't or can't but least wise may give you a feel of what to expect and get an idea of fit feel if you get someone who knows how to fit.

 

Rentals tend to be a bit more "packed out" so you may end up with a 1/2 size or 1 smaller than you'd think.  Also, if you arrive the night before, go out and try one the night before and pick em up if possible. 

 

one thing too that i find prior to buckling is with the power strap or first top buckle buckled, lean fore ward to set your heel into the back of the boot first.  Often your toes will find more room prior to locking down the other buckles.   May prevent you from getting too big a boot.

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