Here's the main question: How do you progress in the limited time / terrain available as an advanced (but only just) DC skier? My goal is to work on skills here that will help me to progress as an all-mountain skier in bigger terrain out west, but the question is less about technique and more about the logistics of skiing in a so-so ski region.
(By way of background: I'm in my 40's at a pretty high fitness level from weights, mtn biking, trail running & paddleboarding. I learned to ski 6 years ago in PA. I've been 30+ days a year since then, though that's been tough and I'll probably ski less the next 5 years. I have skied 50/50 local vs. west, and have skied most of the terrain at Squaw, Taos, PCMR, etc. I can make turns through blue and black runs, crud & bumps included, but find that form and enjoyment start to fall apart on the tougher off-piste terrain. I ski with a group of pretty advanced skiers at Park City: I can keep up with them until they start skiing Jupiter. )
Here are the sub-questions:
What's the best day-trip skiing that can be done on a regular basis? My focus here isn't on which is the most challenging or most fun, but what run can I improve on by doing over and over. I like doing laps on the bumps Exhibition at Whitetail -- the run under the (skier's left) lift. I like Strata and the other one at Liberty, but I feel that the bumps at the top are sometimes really rough and the runout fairly long & crowded, so I find less of a rhythm. Obviously there's more terrain at Blue Knob and in WV, but I think they're more weather-dependent, less "lap-able", and obviously a lot more driving (= less time skiing). I wouldn't swear to it, but my sense is that the PA resorts are often pretty skied out come Monday morning; as a guy who has some flexibility, I think it's best to go Thursday/Friday weekdays, weather & schedule permitting.
Is masters race skiing an option? Does entry level racing for adults exist around here beyond NASTAR? What's the time / money invested? How much instruction is there? How much does it improve all-mountain skiing?
Should I play in the park? I think the answer to this is probably no, since I'm scared of the itty-bitty box jumps my 4 yo does. But on the other hand, there's a lot of skills that would transfer. Is it worth the cost and risk for an old man?
What role should instructors play? I learned to ski with a "mountain passport" at Roundtop and then took lessons every week for a season and a half. I've also done a ski week at Taos and fairly intensive lessons with one instructor 2 seasons ago. In short, I've had a lot of instruction. I tend to get some variation of "your form looks fine, you just need more practice" from most instructors, so last season I only went for lessons when I was at a new mountain.
What's the right goal for an adult skier? I'd like to keep getting better until age 50, maintain until 65-70, and be able to ski with my grandkids when I'm 70+. Does pushing hard now make that more likely (=technique, strength) or less likely (=injury)? I see a lot of greybeards passing me everywhere I go, so i suppose there's plenty of room for growth!
Gear / fitness: I've got a pretty good set up (thanks Ski Center) and I don't suffer any serious aches & pains or physical limitations (save altitude sickness) when I make trips out west. The only thing that makes me curious is a Skier's Edge or similar training machine.
East/west: it costs a lot to fly a family out west every year. Is it better to spend more of that money closer to home, either New York / New England or in the bigger Mid-Atlantic resorts? I'm curious as to how other ski addicts with family approach this? (So far, my kids show no inclination to join race teams -- obviously if that changes, so will the calculus here).
Thanks in advance for any thoughts. I've searched for similar threads but haven't been able to find them.