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group or private lessons (me and my wife)

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

So my wife and me started skiing last year, we did group lessons for beginners and by the end of the season we both were able to ski easy black or double black in good conditions (grommed) and also some off piste terrain in my case. 

 

She is much more afraid of falls and cautious than I am, so I tend to get my self on a lot of trouble much more than her.

 

We plan on continue doing lessons this season, but we are not sure what`s the best approach, since I was much more aggressive than she was in pursuing the sport I ended up having more progress than her specially on non grommed terrain which she would rather avoid and I would rather go there even though I wasn`t really prepared to handle it! :-) 

 

So we basically have two options, maybe 3 but the third one would be much more expensive.

 

1 - group lessons again, pros and maybe the only one is that it`s cheaper. But you get what you pay for maybe someone will be much worse of a beginner/intermediate skier than you are and you might have to slow down on your learning because of the group, also we would probably end up on different groups due to my lack fear, if you will!

 

2 - private lessons (for both of us together), pros much more attention from the instructor, cons more expensive but I`m willing to pay or it, second she have different goals than I do. I wanna go hunt off piste terrain, she wanna be more confident on grommers.

 

3 - private lessons (for each of us individually), pros probably the best option for your progress no question. cons much more expensive than first option and almost twice the price of the second option.

 

The package my local mountain offers is as follow:

 

group leassons: $79 per person for 4x 1:45m classes.

 

private classes: $52 1 hour/1 person and you add $20 for each additional person and $40 for each additional hour. so as an example $112 2 hours / 2 person or $72 1 hour / 1 person.

 

Any comment based on your experience is very much appreciated!

post #2 of 23

Does your local mountain have any sort of weekly clinic for women?  Perhaps that would be good for the wife.

 

Having done semi-privates with someone of a different ski level and interest a few times, I wouldn't recommend it UNLESS you get a recommendation for a Level 2 or above instructor.  While it's certainly true that the more advanced/aggressive skier can learn quite a bit doing drills, it doesn't feel worth the extra cost over a group lesson.

 

How do they divide students into groups?  Can you request to stay with the same instructor?  Do you have to go on weekends?  During early season or mid-week, often a group lesson can end up a private or semi-private.

post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 

I don`t think they have women clinics. They offer classes every day of the week. During January and February (Monday to Sunday) so you can pick which day your are gonna be for the group classes once a week which will last for 4 weeks except if you sign up for one of the holiday classes like 12/30, 12/31, 01/01, 01/02.

 

They will divide the groups based on ability pretty much., age might be important to, but mostly to have kids and adults and elder people on different groups.

 

The idea of a week day class might be good, most of the people are working, and if you can have a flex time during one day a week which is pretty easy for her since she is a nurse, I might be able to do the same as well. If you are somehow in a superior level from the others but maybe not so much to catch up with the other group the instructor will talk to you and check out what do you wanna do!

 

I like the weekday idea! Seems to be a semi-private class for the price of a group class! 

post #4 of 23
Quote:
I wanna go hunt off piste terrain, she wanna be more confident on grommers

 

These two goals are not as different as you might think.  The issues that cause problems in un-groomed terrain are there on groomed terrain as well...  it's just that on the consistent terrain of a groomed slope, you don't pay for your mistakes with a fall.

 

A good instructor can see any technique issues on an easy groomed slope; just because you ask for help with ungroomed terrain doesn't mean your instructor will be taking you there.

post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mfa81 View Post

I don`t think they have women clinics. They offer classes every day of the week. During January and February (Monday to Sunday) so you can pick which day your are gonna be for the group classes once a week which will last for 4 weeks except if you sign up for one of the holiday classes like 12/30, 12/31, 01/01, 01/02.

 

They will divide the groups based on ability pretty much., age might be important to, but mostly to have kids and adults and elder people on different groups.

 

The idea of a week day class might be good, most of the people are working, and if you can have a flex time during one day a week which is pretty easy for her since she is a nurse, I might be able to do the same as well. If you are somehow in a superior level from the others but maybe not so much to catch up with the other group the instructor will talk to you and check out what do you wanna do!

 

I like the weekday idea! Seems to be a semi-private class for the price of a group class! 

The price is certainly good for the weekly group lesson, especially if you two can go mid-week.  Could do that for 4 weeks, then decide what to do next.  Always have the option of adding a private or semi-private later in the season.

 

Can you ask if each group keeps the same instructor for all 4 lessons?

 

For a private lesson, many places won't do just an hour.  Probably more worthwhile to do two hours, especially if doing semi-private with different ability levels.

post #6 of 23

One issue you may want to consider, if you haven't already, is: where is this headed?  How happy will you and your wife be if the current divergence in apparent skill level and terrain difficulty continues?  Is skiing "together time" or "apart time" for you as a couple?

 

As a married man, my advice to you is to stick with your wife.  Share some 2+ hour private lessons with a PSIA level 3 (or maybe 2) instructor.  Improve your technique while she improves her confidence.  She may eventually surpass you; one never knows.  Don't offer her any "helpful tips".  When free-skiing, hit the same trails together, but you can aim for the challenging stuff off to the side.

 

One thing I've found about skiing is that it's even more fun with someone to share it with.  Not everyone agrees.  Find your own answer.

post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

Can you ask if each group keeps the same instructor for all 4 lessons?

Most likely the same, that`s the way it was last season, we had the same instructor for all 4 lessons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xela View Post

One issue you may want to consider, if you haven't already, is: where is this headed?  How happy will you and your wife be if the current divergence in apparent skill level and terrain difficulty continues?  Is skiing "together time" or "apart time" for you as a couple?

 

As a married man, my advice to you is to stick with your wife.  Share some 2+ hour private lessons with a PSIA level 3 (or maybe 2) instructor.  Improve your technique while she improves her confidence.  She may eventually surpass you; one never knows.  Don't offer her any "helpful tips".  When free-skiing, hit the same trails together, but you can aim for the challenging stuff off to the side.

 

One thing I've found about skiing is that it's even more fun with someone to share it with.  Not everyone agrees.  Find your own answer.

 

I try to stick together, this is a together thing, since it`s the only outdoor activity we do together. She doesn't hike, doesn't do MTB, so most of the time while she go on the piste I try to go on the side as you said.

post #8 of 23

Imagine what it would be like if she found some women to ski with, and was satisfied with that while on the snow.  You and she could come together to the mountain, boot up in the lodge together, meet for lunch, take a few runs together at some point, but the rest of the ski day you and she would go your different ways, with your wife skiing with friends at her level.  Would you like that?  If so, go with a group seasonal program.  See if you two can form friendships with other couples, so that when the lessons are over there are friendships emerging.  You might find someone to go off piste with too.  Seasonal groups work that way sometimes.

post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mfa81 View Post

Most likely the same, that`s the way it was last season, we had the same instructor for all 4 lessons.

Was the instructor a man or a woman?  Does it make a difference to your wife?  Did she like the instructor?

 

Have you heard of the book "A Conversation with Fear"?  First edition was called the "Yikes! Zone".  Might be helpful for your better half given that she has confidence issues.  Have heard from women who learned as adults that it's helpful.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/100637/a-conversation-with-fear

 

By the way, I'm a ski nut who is a wife married for twenty years to a non-skiing husband.  I applaud you for sticking with your wife.  My daughter and I leave him at home with the dog and cat. rolleyes.gif

post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

Was the instructor a man or a woman?  Does it make a difference to your wife?  Did she like the instructor?

 

Have you heard of the book "A Conversation with Fear"?  First edition was called the "Yikes! Zone".  Might be helpful for your better half given that she has confidence issues.  Have heard from women who learned as adults that it's helpful.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/100637/a-conversation-with-fear

 

By the way, I'm a ski nut who is a wife married for twenty years to a non-skiing husband.  I applaud you for sticking with your wife.  My daughter and I leave him at home with the dog and cat. rolleyes.gif

It was a man and a really nice guy, we liked him and would most likely look for him for private classes if we decide on that. She enjoy her time on the lessons and I don't think it would make a difference, but maybe I'm wrong!

post #11 of 23

With the careful thought you are putting into the options, I'm sure whatever you do will work out fine.

 

Given any thought to meeting some Bears in person at the Big Sky Gathering in March?  You are close enough to drive over for at least a few days.  Your wife would probably really like Bridger and Andesite Mtn (part of Big Sky).  I was with a friend from SC there last winter.  It was her first trip out west and she was definitely a cautious beginning intermediate.  She loved Bridger.  Big Sky was a little intimidating for a flatlander.  But you won't have that problem.  The blue runs go on and on.  The blacks . . . well there are the easier ones and there are the ones that are harder than you are probably ready for.

post #12 of 23

Some women do prefer female instructors.  That's not true for me, so don't assume it would be for your wife.  If she was happy with the instructor and they were able to effectively communicate with each other, he may be perfect for her.

 

Another thought ... if your wife browses online much, she might want to consider looking at the SkiDiva forum.  It's a great place for her to get information geared toward women, get support as she progresses, and maybe find others in your area to ski with.

post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 I applaud you for sticking with your wife.  My daughter and I leave him at home with the dog and cat. rolleyes.gif

I see you've got that worked out well! I know other women who ditch their hubbies to go skiing – and it always gives me great pleasure to hear when this type of situation works out.

post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by vickieh View Post

Another thought ... if your wife browses online much, she might want to consider looking at the SkiDiva forum.  It's a great place for her to get information geared toward women, get support as she progresses, and maybe find others in your area to ski with.

Absolutely!!

post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by vickieh View Post

If she was happy with the instructor and they were able to effectively communicate with each other and he is certified at L-2 or above, he may be perfect for her.

See correction ^^.  Xela is right ... you should ensure the instructor is certified at L2 or above.

 

The skiing skill, the training skill ... in general, the dedication of the instructor to the sport ... become more important as you advance.  Your private lessons are probably going to cost the same whether or not your instructor is certified.  Do yourself a favor and get the most for your money.

 

Also, instructors put a lot of time and money into getting their certifications.  We give back to them by using their services.

 

If the instructor you had is not adequately certified, now is the time to switch.  You can call the ski school at the beginning of the season and find out who on their staff is certified at L-2 or above.

post #16 of 23

Before I even start, I have 9 years of instructing under my belt, and for those of you that like certification stats, I am testing for level 2 because the public seems to think it matters a lot more then it really does.

 

Always try to get an instructor with 5+ years of experience. 

 

 

Most of the advice you have gotten so far is spot on. 

 

My 2 cents.

 

1.  Group lessons are always a good choice. 

 

If you have doubts about the instructor assigned to your group, ask how long they have been instructing for, and if you have an issue with that, politely and non-confrontationally ask where the line-up supervisor is and address your concerns to him/her.  You are the customer, we want you to be happy  *note, if you want to have an affect on the instructor assigned to your group, show up 10-15 min before the lesson starts.

 

2.  At the skiing level you describe you and your wife to be, you should still be able to be taught together in a private.  Most of your lessons will happen on blue terrain.  If you feel that you just are not getting what you want out of the lesson, schedule 1 private individually for each you and your wife. 

 

 

3.  Repeating what many have said.  Unless you have a special relationship with your wife, DON'T EVER try to coach her....  it is a joke/truth among instructors that teaching a loved one is the quickest way to loose them!  (we have much more colorful ways of saying it thought)

 

Finally a closing thought, (for intermediate skiers and higher)

 

Unless you like having an instructor present and the guidance we can provide, you should get enough out of one lesson (ESPECIALLY a private),  to last you for many days of practice by yourself. 

post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by vickieh View Post

The skiing skill, the training skill ... in general, the dedication of the instructor to the sport ... become more important as you advance.  Your private lessons are probably going to cost the same whether or not your instructor is certified.  Do yourself a favor and get the most for your money.

 

Also, instructors put a lot of time and money into getting their certifications.  We give back to them by using their services.

Regardless of what type of lessons you end up with, read a thread about why tipping for a good job is worthwhile.  For a series of group lessons with the same instructor, can wait to tip until the end of the series.  Homemade brownies or cookies are probably always appreciated.  (I am not an instructor.)

post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thank you everyone for the great feedback! We will approach on a mix of different feedbacks! :-)

 

So most of the instructors on their staff have many years of experience, so I think they are good instructors, and they are all at least level II. 

 

So after reading the comments, my plan will be to attempt an early season weekday group class, and see how it goes... give some time to us to ski by ourselves after the 4 classes and them get some private class mid season. Hopefully we will see some great improvement this year!

post #19 of 23
I would recommend the All Mountain Experince class that is offered during the week on Thursdays. This would give you the same instructor for each of the four lessons offered in the session.
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiknight View Post

Before I even start, I have 9 years of instructing under my belt, and for those of you that like certification stats, I am testing for level 2 because the public seems to think it matters a lot more then it really does.

 

skiknight -- I'm not sure if you can answer my questions ... perhaps you already have your L-1 and have always fallen into the "certified" category.  Do certified ski instructors get paid for each lesson?  Do non-certified ski instructors get paid for each lesson?  I know your answers may apply only for the place where you instruct.

 

The financial aspect of these transactions influences my feelings about certification and instruction.

post #21 of 23

Vickieh,  Here is a basic run down of how most resorts pay their instructors. 

 

First off there are 2 types of resorts.  Destination resorts where you will stay for a few days once or twice a year, and Local resorts.

 

Destination resorts usually pay more, and tips are much better, and there is a much larger full time instructing staff. (At destination resorts there is often no other place to make money but the mountain)  (yeah you can bar tend or waitress as a second job)

 

Local Resorts keep a much smaller full time staff, and is made up of many volunteers (yes they are paid the same as others for teaching lessons, but they are not there for the money).  ( local resorts usually pay less as it instructing there is not viewed as a full time job, but more as a hobby)
 

Ok, that might have seemed obvious, but I wanted to set up the pay scales correctly. 

 

Hourly pay

 

Generalized pay.       DESTINATION       LOCAL

instructor 1yr                    10                     7

Level 1                             11                   7.50

Level 2                            12.50                 9

Level 3                             15                    13

 

If an instructor chooses no to pursue certification they can usually get paid almost as much as a level 2 if they put the years in.

 

Some high profile resorts pay more. 

 

Many resorts only pay the instructor for the time spent teaching the clients.

If an instructor does get paid for an 8 hour day, they are kept busy with other tasks when not teaching.

There are perks, such as discount tickets for family, or a season pass for your direct family, there is no standard to the perks, every resort is different.

 

Certification costs.

 

registered PSIA is                      140$ 

Level 1                                       134$  Usually available within driving distance.

 

Level 2                                       160$  for qualifying event (you need to meet this prerequisite

                                                 184$  skiing part

                                                 184$  teaching part

                                                 400$ for hotels, travel and lost work  ( you usually have to travel to these events and get a hotel)

                                                 768$  Total for level 2   ( AT THE VERY LEAST, more $$$ if you fail a test )

 

Level 3                                     768$  to a few thousand , depends on how many times you fail the test.

 

That all said, some resorts will cover part of or all of your cost if you pass a test. 

 

 

Finally, tips and quality of lessons.  If you plan on moving around a lot, get certified, as it will tell your new ski school that you have some skills, and will influence the level clients you get. 

On the other hand, if you stay at a mountain and make it your home, and show the same skills as those with the level 1,2,3, you should expect to get the same quality lessons as they do.... unless your mountain has a PSIA agenda, and a stick up their but!

 

As far as tips go, they are horrid at local mountains, and ok to great at destination resorts.  Where is the money?  either get the highest level lessons and act as a guide, or teach kids!

 

 

My advice to any instructor, TRAIN AND CLINIC as much as possible.  Even if you don't plan on ranking up in the PSIA route, train like your trying to!

 

A good instructor can teach someone how to do something.

A great instructor can teach someone how to do that same thing 5 different ways.

post #22 of 23

To follow my last post, let me tell you why instructing is great and my reasons for doing it.

 

  1. I LOVE skiing
  2. I like helping others discover a way to have more fun in life.
  3. I am a bit of a perfectionist and skiing always provides me with a feeling of accomplishment tempered by periods of frustration and anger, when I try to get better and fail!  lol    Ever see an instructor skiing like they have 2 left feet, or falling on the beginner hill....  Honestly were not bad skiers, were just trying to get better, and that usually leads to some fantastic falls, explosions and general uglyness.
  4. I love being outside (except in the rain, FOR GODS SAKE PPL, if its pouring rain, DON'T TAKE A LESSON !!!!  If you already bought one, ask to move it to a different day.
  5. I get a personal high from seeing a student get better, and knowing that I was the catalyst
  6. The terrain may be similar, but is always different.
  7. Being surrounded by some of the most positive co-workers that you could ever ask for.  We are all there for the same core reason, and this leads to a VERY positive environment.

 

 

So ski instructing for the money..... (Unless your at a HIGH end PREMIER resort), don't make me laugh.... if your lucky you will break even, and if you drink beer with your friends, then just ask for your measily pay check to be forwarded to your bar tab.  Ski instructing for some of the above listed reasons,  HELL YES

post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by vickieh View Post

 

skiknight -- I'm not sure if you can answer my questions ... perhaps you already have your L-1 and have always fallen into the "certified" category.  Do certified ski instructors get paid for each lesson?  Do non-certified ski instructors get paid for each lesson?  I know your answers may apply only for the place where you instruct.

 

The financial aspect of these transactions influences my feelings about certification and instruction.

For more answers inspired by your question, look here:

http://www.epicski.com/t/114023/certification-and-pay-how-are-they-related

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