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Tips for beginners over 40 or 50 or . . . - Page 4

post #91 of 105
Thread Starter 
Recently came across an old thread from 2010 by a 47yo who was both frustrated and exhilarated by her first day on skis. Got support and suggestions from a variety of people. Well worth reading at least to Post #9 that includes videos by a father who started skiing with his son and got completely hoooked. Great videos of the boy's progression the first couple seasons.


Originally Posted by anniegirl View Post

New to the board so I hope I am posting at the right spot.

I am 47 yrs old and had my first ski lesson yesterday.  I never left the bunny hill because I struggled with right turns (could turn left).  I fell only once which made me feel pretty good!  Even though I spent the afternoon on the buny hill with an instructor I still feel like I skied and can't wait to do it again.

I am wondering if anyone else out there feels like me...a really slow learner and that you will never make it onto a lift and down a hill?????????????

I love watching winter sports and have wanted to ski for so long. "Showing up" is always the hardest part they say...Well, I showed up...and I can't wait to go again. I am just slightly discouraged because I feel stuck on that little hill trying to learn how to turn...Looking for some encouragement :-)
post #92 of 105

Yes, this give me great remembrances too!

I'm also begin after 40 and at the very firsts days I cannot believe it could be possible. It had been fantastic on these last 10 years, several lessons, places, mountains, people... And, YES doing it with my child was awesome!!!


post #93 of 105

As others have said but worth emphasizing


Get fit beforehand I do mine in the water because I have a weak knee and where I live on a sailboat the water temp is 82+f year round. But work on your quads at all costs!


As soon as you think you will come back for a second week FIND A GOOD BOOT FITTER AND BUY BOOTS! Do not buy a pair off EBAY but buy in the resort on day one of your holiday and keep going back to the boot fitter until they FIT.


Always come off the hill with one run left in your legs. That last run when you are tired is a leg breaker.


Here are a few things that are just my opinions.


Group lessons are very social especially if you are all roughly of the same age. If time is not important then they are good for many people. I learned at age 30 with 2 weeks lessons 2 hours each morning. BUT If you want to learn fast private one to one lessons are the way to go.


When I was skiing a little better and faster I learned a great deal in a couple of one hour private lessons.


When you are a complete beginner and on the bunny hill and you have fallen over and over on the same hip and now have a large bruise there and it is day 3 or 4 and as you try to get out of bed but everything hurts DON'T GIVE UP. Go out even if it is just for an hour and find something that builds your confidence even if it is snowploughing all the way down the bunny slope. I have cajoled bullied and bribed beginners out on the day when they wanted to give up and a couple of days later bought them down from the top on the green runs. Watching the grins appear at the bottom is very special to me.


Always have a pair of these magic stretchy gloves in a pocket, worn as inners they help cold hands.

Edited by TQA - 5/26/15 at 3:43pm
post #94 of 105
Thread Starter 

For those over 50, many ski areas have lesson options for older skiers that can be a really good deal.  Also formal and informal ski clubs.  Some have an organized ski trip to a major destination ski resort.


In the last few seasons, I've been checking out new places for a day or two.  For midweek ski days, I arrive early and look for the local seniors.  They always boot up in the most convenient spot in the lodge.

post #95 of 105

Started skiing when I was 46 years old. Have not aged since then, and ever since a 5 year old told me "Skiing is good for my soul", heard him, put on the sticks, and the result is when out in public and Driver's License nor Passport need be displayed, my age has receded gracefully to and been capped at 44 and have not aged a day since :D and often I am 39 in the relevant situation, skiing is responsible.


So here is my advice:

  1. Invest in lessons, privates really help, it's much cheaper in Europe, but even the hefty hourly price tag on some small East coast hill is worth it's weight in ski boots. They get you over the initial fear factor and some key lessons most certainly will be learnt.
  2. Watch video, I found Klaus Mair's SofaSkiSchool video on YouTube to be the best 5 minutes I spent learning to ski, and since then his first video was a trusted companion, his new video is even better: On Amazon  the new one, I used the old one as my reference guide throughout :http://www.amazon.com/Sofa-Ski-School-From-Powder/dp/B00IMLJDLG/ref=pd_sim_468_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=0RHSE171VXM6QNZ6GZ9P 
  3. Main reason I liked this was, it is geared to picking up on the most common mistakes beginners make, and then focuses on rectifying them, and the exercises, some are common, others not so. But you have to decide for yourself. Main message from Klaus is, and I concur wholeheartedly, get video from the knowledge-provider of your choice  and watch on your sofa, it's time well spent, internalizing what is being said. You don't have to recall everything you see, just somethings will come to you.
  4. There are others, like Rick's YourSkicoach series, which is seriously detailed and comprehensive, so it's a matter of taste, use YouTube first and foremost, to get a feel for who you like watching or just keep watching YouTube. There is a lot of stuff, much of it good, but avoid information overload, it can overwhelm the senses!
  5. For the over40 and over50 set Lito Tejada-Flores book "Breakthrough on Skis" is very good, he actually articulates several subtle movements on transitions, and steeps and moguls better than most, and he espouses a gentler, graceful form of skiing. Really well-written book even after all this time.
  6. If you can get hold of SKI Magazine's older issues, they are online somewhere, a guy called Mike Rogan (he is a USSA Coach and so on..) used to put out a lesson per issue, priceless, really insightful, simply explained, and you are on your way to expert skiing.
  7. Join Group Lessons, especially when taking a vacation, but even on home turf, skiing with others is a really nice feeling, many will have the same issues, lots of folks offer good live advice, it's a good peer support-pressure device, do it every time, you will not regret it.
  8. Make the time and investment in going to some big mountains, since that is where the full glory of the sport hits you, since there is no feeling in the world like being out on top of a mountain range, beginning your run in the quiet, crisp mountain cold, with nothing but pristine snow in many natural forms in front of you, and then you hear the scrape of your blades as you begin to sway into your run. That my fellow humans is 'heaven on earth'.
  9. And it really on big mountains, you realize what fear is, the first time you look over steep terrain, exposures, traverse over and past a cliff drop, figure out, I better learn a 'kick turn' to get the hell out of there! And just the endorphin high after you are done is sublime.
  10. Miles on the snow bring expertise, and you learn all about the need for speed, and very essence of control.
  11. Finally, NEVER listen to this "Follow me, Dad" or "Follow me, Mom" - just a bad, bad idea!
  12. Also, NEVER Follow your Kid if your stomach is getting butterflies or you begin to think, "uh oh, why is he/she going there?" Again, till you are an Expert, check that ego, and parental instinct for the sake of self-preservation, sanity and avoiding a heli-evac.
  13. You choose the terrain and then say "Lead the way, son" or "Lead the way, lass"
  14. Advantage of starting late is you can Check your Ego at the bottom of the lift, and get going, as you will find the mountain is your friend, the terrain is your new love, and your ego should with the wisdom of the vintage you are at, and can be confined to your profession, your tennis game or your golf handicap! 


Good luck. It's one hell of a ride ! Your own personal Streif! 


PS: Would suggest ignoring most of the noise on Epic's own Ski Instruction and Coaching Thread as it has degenerated into a half-dozen like-minded individuals arguing with everybody else, and none are 'experts'. So you are better off picking one or two folks who have written a book or created a video instruction series and go with it. Skiing is a pleasure, a confluence of many different schools and styles and one can admire all that like dance on the mountain. Some folks are the power Rockettes, others are ballet dancers, some samba, some tango, others salsa on the slopes, it's a sight to behold; and then there are those with two left feet! All fun, all hilarious, a joy to behold.

Edited by dustyfog - 7/3/15 at 10:01am
post #96 of 105

Hi all. 


I'm one of those who suffered not learning to ski over several decades by being repeatedly brought up the mountain by advanced skiing friends and being turned loose to fall my way to the base again and again.  While I perfected my humility I didn't earn to or enjoy skiing much at all.  Living in Southern California it took a few hours of driving to get to the humiliation site (aka ski resort) and I've experienced some of the best... June Lake, Mammoth, Big Bear... etc. and finally decided it wasn't worth the drive. 


Then we moved to Washington State and...


A few years ago my prettier (and wiser) half dragged me off the couch and got us signed up for Nordic ski lessons.  I learned several things with Nordic Skiing -


1.  There is nothing intuitive about skiing.  Lessons are a must, preferably from someone who is on the mountain to TEACH, not just ski.  Like maybe a ski instructor.


2.  Things tend to happen much slower (usually) on skinny skis


3.  It doesn't have to hurt to fall... in fact it usually meant I was testing my skill and was able to integrate the experience into my skiing and not fall the next time. 


4. Take a lesson to help advance your skills and correct self taught bad habits


After a couple of years of Nordic skiing the lower snows melted early leaving the Upper Mountain still available and this time it was me who suggested lessons but this time Downhill/Alpine Lessons.  We were really missing the time on the snow so signed up for an introductory Downhill Group lesson.  The lesson was amazing.  Learned more in two hours of instruction than from all the fall to the bottom experiences of my past downhill mis-adventures.  Also learned that the time on the "quiet side of the mountain gave a starting point for downhill skiing.


We downhill skied for the last few days of the season and had a blast snowplowing down the bunny hill over and over. First chance, purchased downhill skis, boots, poles and season passes for the next winter.  More lessons and we were skiing Blue runs after a bit (actually a lot) of practice and at season two were checking out every blue run on the mountain.


Opening day we were signed up for lessons and have spent the last few years switching weekend days between Nordic and Downhill days as the snow permits. 


Now it was really Discover Skiing time.  Here's where we learned a lot more things got really fun-


1.  Transferred learning from our initial Nordic intro did help us in adding to our winter fun however most important was the Nordic then Downhill instruction - SEEK out and GET INSTRUCTION.   


2.  Time spent on "skinny skis" really helped get us in shape. 


3.  The balance and ski comfort we had developed on Nordic skis was transferrable to Downhill


4.  The design of skis had changed from the olden days when skis needed to be long.  Wider shaped skis were easier to manage and a lot more stable platform for learning. 


5.  Having ones own current and properly fitted equipment really matters, especially boots.  I rented boots (and skis) on a trip to California last winter and found out how much a proper fit matters. 


I was in my 60th year when we took the first Nordic lesson and pushing 65 for the downhill lesson and have been season pass holder for several years now... 


For those of us in the northwest who are in the vicinity of Stevens Pass and are mid level to advanced beginners and beyond (level 3 and up) and admit to being "50 or better" I found the following which I plan to check out this winter, snow willing.  Link below:


Stevens Pass "Boomer on Groomers" multi-week program https://www.stevenspass.com/site/lessons-rentals/ages13up/adult-intermediate-advanced-clinics


And after re-considering, I'll have to admit that Skiing can be more fun than flying... and yes, much less expensive

post #97 of 105
Thread Starter 

@Avcat : thanks for sharing your story.  I have a friend who started with nordic skiing as an adult, with lessons, before deciding that it was worth giving alpine a try . . . with the help of private lessons from a very experienced instructor.  In that case, other members of the family were already good skiers.  So there was strong incentive to learn enough to enjoy family time on the slopes.

post #98 of 105

Avcat.   Nice story and welcome to Epic and Skiing.    Glad to hear you are having a good time with a great sport and lifestyle.    Got a $99 season pass this year to Stevens but have never skied there (Powder Alliance resort).  Have a great winter.  

post #99 of 105

Marznc and Pete -


Thanks for the welcome.  After an almost non-season last year am really hoping for and looking forward to a snowy winter this year.


Our home slope is the Summit at Snoqualmie which barely opened at all last year. We can be there in about 45-50 minutes so it's handy so that's our go-to hill 15-20 days a year.  Disappointing to the point that they gave an 80% credit toward this year's passes. 


For Pete - 


My wife and I took a trip to Sweitzer year before last and had a great time.  We're "blue run" skiers and really enjoyed the slopes. I think we skied pretty much all the blue runs there.  Also took to the Nordic trails and they too were great skiing.


Stevens Pass has a lot of Blue Runs, both front and back side and though a little further for us to drive than Snoqualmie tends to maintain better snow conditions so we ski there about 10 days a season.  This is most likely due to it being about 1000' higher elevation as well as being a bit further north than Snoqualmie.  If you're looking for expert runs Stevens does have its fair share. As for the quality of the runs, the Blue runs are moderate with a few interesting runs but generally a fun ski resort.  The Blue runs are pretty much on a par with Sweitzer but front side runs not as long.  Back side offers a bit more challenging and longer Blues.  I'm not skiing anything with a diamond so can't rate the expert slopes  Stevens also has night skiing so if you're going, check their conditions and calendar for your visit.  Stevens itself has no overnight facilities beyond camper and motorhome hook-ups but the city of Leavenworth is close and offers some nice accommodations.


If you are a Nordic skier, the Stevens Nordic center is about 6 miles east of the Alpine facility and has some nice terrain, we do ski there 4 or 5 times a year , especially when local conditions aren't great.  The city of Leavenworth also has Nordic trails in and near the city so if conditions are favorable (cold and snowy) the Icicle trails are a fun Nordic area.  Not at the level of Methow Valley, but still fun.

post #100 of 105
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Avcat View Post

Marznc and Pete -


Thanks for the welcome.  After an almost non-season last year am really hoping for and looking forward to a snowy winter this year.


Our home slope is the Summit at Snoqualmie which barely opened at all last year. We can be there in about 45-50 minutes so it's handy so that's our go-to hill 15-20 days a year.  Disappointing to the point that they gave an 80% credit toward this year's passes. 

I have good friends who are local to Mt. Ashland.  It's been a tough couple of years.  Certainly hope 2015-16 is snowy in the PacNW.


I understand the new Northwest Ski Hall of Fame opened recently.  Sounds pretty interesting.  I enjoyed visiting the Vermont ski museum that's at the base on Cannon last year.


http://wsssm.org - Northwest Ski Hall of Fame


https://www.vtssm.com - Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum

post #101 of 105
Thread Starter 

When you rent gear, you'll get boots, ski, and poles.  When just getting started, you don't really need to do anything with poles as you make turns on green terrain.  But it helps if you learn how to hold them so that your hands are in the correct position.  Meaning in front of you and not above your shoulders.  Poles are not meant to be held vertically in preparation of stabbing the snow to slow down or stop.  I had a friend who did that and it took a while to figure out what she was thinking.


When you take a lesson, ask the instructor how to show you how to hold poles so that they are out of the way and your hands and elbows are in the correct position as you make turns.

post #102 of 105
Thread Starter 

March is a good time to look for deals on ski gear in North America.  If you have a ski shop near by, you may find as good as deal as online.  For instance, a local shop may have a Buy One Get One sale for a few days.  Go with a friend and you could both get a helmet, or a good jacket, or ski pants, or good gloves, etc.  Note that sales in the flatlands can start soon after President's Day weekend.  By early April many shops have already converted to biking or watersports, even in Utah snow country.

post #103 of 105
Thread Starter 

Came across a story of a man who learned to ski around age 65 at Deer Valley a few years ago after moving to Park City.  He wanted to ski with his granddaughter, who was getting started at age 3.  That reminded me of the man who got on skis for the first time at Snowshoe . . . when he was 66.  You are only as old as you feel. :)


Learning to Ski at 65- Better Late Than Never - March 2013

Learning To Ski At 65: Starting The Season With A Lesson - Jan 2016


post #104 of 105

I taught a few lessons to a fellow who married a skier (second marriage, late in life at age 63 or so).  She married him on condition that he learn to ski.

So he started then.  Fun, fun, fun to teach this guy.  When I got him he had been through a number of lessons, and could turn left and right.  Sort of.

He connected with "separation" when I used Chubby Checker as an example. Turn lower body, but not upper body.


Yup, he got it... at age 73.

post #105 of 105
Thread Starter 

BUMP for the 2016-17 season.


One advantage of getting into skiing at an older age is being that much closer to being able to take advantage of senior rates.  Some small places start at 60, but usually the cut off is 65 or 70.  There are also senior clinics mid-week that can be a great deal.  At my little mountain, there is a 2-hr clinic on Thursdays for folks over 50 that is under $50.  The instructor who usually teaches it is very experienced and can teach any level from advance beginner to advanced.


For an idea of senior rates:


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