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Where to train in Summit County

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

I'll be spending 8 days skiing in Summit County around new years (based out of Breck), and have an Epic Local pass.

 

Can anyone compare and contrast the learning experience* and opportunity for skills development at Keystone and Breckenridge?

 

 

 

 

Fitness: Good

Ability: Advanced (Level 8 on Keystone's scale)

Trip Goal: Identify weaknesses in technique and focus areas for the start of the season.

 

 

 

*P.S.  I don't mean quality of instructor, as I know that both mountains have great people!

 

Apologies in advance if this should be in the Mountain/Resort forum.


Edited by Magi - 11/13/13 at 7:14pm
post #2 of 24
If we get good snow by the end of December, there may be more advanced terrain choices available at Breck. If not, it's probably a tossup.
post #3 of 24

mod hat on

Well, if the question is about training, then it belongs in this forum. No apologies necessary.

mod hat off

 

If you're asking about how the terrain and snow conditions differ with respect to their impact on training, it's not a lot. Breck goes left to right. Keystone goes front to back. Breck may have more steeps, a better park (probably too early for the super pipe) and slightly more vertical. Keystone has slightly more acreage and night skiing. Navigating at Breck can be a little awkward. Breck has a little higher vert. You really should ski both and then make up your own mind.

 

If you're asking about identifying weaknesses for a L8 skier, you don't need a mountain or a school. It's trees, moguls, steeps, park and pipe, racing, powder, ice, balance, edging, timing and tactics, reading snow, strength and flexibility. Around New Years you can usually work on everything but ice at either resort. If you want specific ideas, then you'll need to be more specific. Either mountain will have no problem kicking your butt if you want it too and they have enough snow (new years is a tad early in the season).

post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

... Either mountain will have no problem kicking your butt if you want it too and they have enough snow (new years is a tad early in the season).

 

Thanks Rusty.    At this point (all points?), I think lessons at any mountain will help me improve.  Time on the snow is what I need most to get better, and lessons are there to help me maximize that time.

 

What's throwing me is that Keystone lessons are (significantly) less expensive than Breckenridge.  Having watched the "are private lesson prices too high" thread go to 662 posts - I am explicitly not suggesting that lessons at Breck are "too expensive"!

 

What I am saying is - in my (currently uninformed) opinion - all I see is that I'll be paying $200 for my instructor to wear a different color jacket and pants...

post #5 of 24
Since both are Vail resorts, you can probably pay your Keystone instructor to wear their same color jacket at Breck!

Check to be sure...

Get some mileage at ABasin while you are here as well:)
post #6 of 24

AH - now that is more specific. If you're going to be getting a private, you have the opportunity to know something about which instructor you want before you pay for a lesson. For example, if Bob Barnes was still working at Keystone, you could request him and feel confident that you were not only saving $200 over Breckenridge, but getting a once in a lifetime experience to boot. If you were to simply show up at either resort and request a level 3 certified instructor, you'd probably get a similar (high) quality lesson experience at either resort. But since there a ton (well over a hundred?) of level 3 certs between the two resorts, the specific lesson you get is going to be random unless you request a specific pro. For all I know, Breck could be giving you valet parking, a free back rub before the lesson and a nice frame-able certificate for your extra $200, but if it were me I'd be picking the pro vs picking the price/package. If Bob was at Breck he'd be worth the extra $200. But if you have not had a lot of lessons and you're not a special needs student (i.e. require a unique blend of chemistry and instructor teaching abilities), pretty much any level 3 at either resort is going to deliver the goods for you. It could even be possible that an uncertified or level 2 certified pro would be the best fit for you, but your chances are better and very good just asking for a L3 cert. But your chances are the best when you know who you want ahead of time.

 

Don't know any pros at Keystone or Breck? We've got a bunch here on Epic.

Check out the Epic Ski Instructing listing for Colorado

Gee - it looks like Bob can teach you at Keystone by arrangement and there are a few others to choose from. If you read through their posts you can get a pretty good idea about their teaching philosophies/personalities and you can ask for references from other Epic skiers who have skied with them.

post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
When I took lessons last time, it was in the 2nd week of March - how do group sizes in advanced lessons compare between March and New Years?
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

... if it were me I'd be picking the pro vs picking the price/package. If Bob was at Breck he'd be worth the extra $200. But if you have not had a lot of lessons and you're not a special needs student (i.e. require a unique blend of chemistry and instructor teaching abilities), pretty much any level 3 at either resort is going to deliver the goods for you. ... But your chances are the best when you know who you want ahead of time.

 

The prices I quoted are actually for three days of full lessons (not privates), and though I'm planning to do group lessons this trip, your point is well taken.

 

I had two superb full day group lessons at Keystone last year, both with the same instructor.  I'll seek him out again if I do days at Keystone.

 

As for the instructor listing - it's not very complete for Colorado - but I did use it to contact several of the listed pros I recognized (including @Bob Barnes).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cgeib View Post

Since both are Vail resorts, you can probably pay your Keystone instructor to wear their same color jacket at Breck!

Check to be sure...

Get some mileage at ABasin while you are here as well:)

 

Good idea! :rotflmao:  A-Basin is a great place to ski, one of my favorite mountains.  The group lesson I took there turned it into a group lesson for 1 (my first "private" I suppose).  Do you teach at A-Basin @cgeib?

post #8 of 24
Hi Magi,

No I don't but I am often skiing there so maybe our paths will cross while you are in town. Maybe keep an eye on the Getting Together forum and/or post up a thread...

Lots of talent at those three resorts. I am sure you will have some great instruction while you are here!

Best,

Chris
post #9 of 24

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Magi View Post
 

What I am saying is - in my (currently uninformed) opinion - all I see is that I'll be paying $200 for my instructor to wear a different color jacket and pants...

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magi View Post
 

 

The prices I quoted are actually for three days of full lessons (not privates), and though I'm planning to do group lessons this trip, your point is well taken.

 

 

It appears that the price difference may be a function of group size- You have to navigate a bit around the Breck website, but it appears that they have basically gone to a Max of 4 students for intermediate and advanced adult lessons (while Keystone still offers group lessons that can have more than 4, and likely will during the holidays)

 

Adult Ski and Snowboard Intermediate/ Advanced Lessons

1 Day Intermediate/Advanced Workshop - Lesson ONLY: $164*
2 Day Intermediate/Advanced Workshop - Lesson ONLY: $302*
3 Day Intermediate/Advanced Workshop - Lesson ONLY: $443*
* Lift Tickets Not Included*

Adult (ages 14+) Intermediate/ Advanced Workshop Information: 4 Guests per pro max!

 

post #10 of 24
At Vail resorts, we now ALL wear the same color uniform.

Bob has moved to Aspen and is teaching/training at Aspen Highlands.

The adult workshop lesson at Breck is a four-client maximum in the group. You might see eight or even ten in a group at Keystone, but I think they shoot for a maximum of eight.
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree30 View Post
 

 

 

It appears that the price difference may be a function of group size- You have to navigate a bit around the Breck website, but it appears that they have basically gone to a Max of 4 students for intermediate and advanced adult lessons (while Keystone still offers group lessons that can have more than 4, and likely will during the holidays)

 

Adult Ski and Snowboard Intermediate/ Advanced Lessons

1 Day Intermediate/Advanced Workshop - Lesson ONLY: $164*
2 Day Intermediate/Advanced Workshop - Lesson ONLY: $302*
3 Day Intermediate/Advanced Workshop - Lesson ONLY: $443*
* Lift Tickets Not Included*

Adult (ages 14+) Intermediate/ Advanced Workshop Information: 4 Guests per pro max!

 

Ah.  thanks for spotting it - I assumed it was still a 6 or 8 group limit because the "ultimate four" listing is still present at $280/lesson (with lunch!) . Not sure if that's a mistake (or its an amazing lunch), but that does clarify the cost difference.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

At Vail resorts, we now ALL wear the same color uniform.

 

There goes that idea ;)

post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

Bob has moved to Aspen and is teaching/training at Aspen Highlands.

 

Bob Barnes?  Really?  I saw him all summer at Copper and just assumed he would be back there.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magi View Post
 

Ah.  thanks for spotting it - I assumed it was still a 6 or 8 group limit because the "ultimate four" listing is still present at $280/lesson (with lunch!) . Not sure if that's a mistake (or its an amazing lunch), but that does clarify the cost difference.

 

 

Kneale is probably more up on this than me, but for beginner/Novice lessons at Breck you have multiple options (half day, single day and 3 day with unstated group size, ultimate 4 or private).  For intermediate and advanced lessons it looks to be either the 4 person max workshop or privates.

post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree30 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

Bob has moved to Aspen and is teaching/training at Aspen Highlands.


 
Bob Barnes?  Really?  I saw him all summer at Copper and just assumed he would be back there.


Yes, Kneale is correct, Bob is at Highlands this season!
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by cgeib View Post


Yes, Kneale is correct, Bob is at Highlands this season!

Did he take the Weem's spot?

post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 

Does anyone know first hand how big groups tend to be in advanced Keystone lessons in the last weekend of December and first week of January?  aka will the "max 4" matter? (It didn't last time I was at Keystone).

post #16 of 24
I think the four-client max for adult intermediate "workshop" lessons is a Breck product. The resorts generally have some independence in product parameters because of differences in clients they attract.
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by MidwestPete View Post

Did he take the Weem's spot?

I think Weems was mostly at Snowmass. Bob is doing staff training and conducting lessons at Aspen Highlands.
post #18 of 24
@weems has been at Highlands for a couple years now maybe more. He has had all sorts of new parts installed and is now close to 20 years old again. Take your GS skis if ya go to visit him.

@Bob Barnes will be there too.
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magi View Post
 

Does anyone know first hand how big groups tend to be in advanced Keystone lessons in the last weekend of December and first week of January?  aka will the "max 4" matter? (It didn't last time I was at Keystone).

It is hard to predict, but that is the time of year that all the resorts are usually busiest.  There is a chance that an advanced group could go out with 4 or fewer students but it could also be 8 (or even more depending on KS policy).  

 

That week at Vail, it is not uncommon for us to "sell out" of instructors and I have heard of students being given the choice of being part of a double digit group or not taking a lesson that day. 

post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by MidwestPete View Post
 

Did he take the Weem's spot?

Nope!

post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post


I think Weems was mostly at Snowmass. Bob is doing staff training and conducting lessons at Aspen Highlands.

Weems is at Highlands.

post #22 of 24
Magi, it is a busy time but it sounds like you already have a good relationship with one of our pros. Loyalty means a lot but outside the private request world the desk cannot guarantee you a specific coach. Chances are the group will be assigned to that coach if they are not booked on a private but contacting them directly is the only way to know their availability.
post #23 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

Magi, it is a busy time but it sounds like you already have a good relationship with one of our pros. Loyalty means a lot but outside the private request world the desk cannot guarantee you a specific coach. Chances are the group will be assigned to that coach if they are not booked on a private but contacting them directly is the only way to know their availability.


Thanks for the tip.  Right now I know the reservation system says he's unbooked, but I'll be checking that again as the days get closer (and giving him a call to catch up).  Keystone has been great about accommodating requests in the past.

 

The biggest group I've been in for instruction was 5, and I felt like I still made good progress during it (Mary Jane bump jam).

 

As professional instructors - how much impact does group size have on your ability to coach individuals within the group?

post #24 of 24
Group size does directly effect one on one time but learning is not always about direction from a hovering coach. Sometimes that is necessary but once the student gains an understanding of the changes they are working on, the coach needs to let them experiment. They will struggle and need some feedback but self correcting eventually needs to replace the coaches guidance. That collaborative approach becomes especially important at level 8 since the tactical puzzle piece is often where improvement must happen.

That being said finding a balance between one on one work and self discovery isn't always an easy task. Mostly because that line is always moving. A tune up type lesson verses a wholesale rebuilding of fundamental skills adds to the complexity of offering any meaningful answer to your last question. It's why your past coach might be best qualified to suggest your best course of action.
Edited by justanotherskipro - 11/15/13 at 12:57pm
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