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Skiing is a lot like a video game

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I don't know how many people are familiar with the "freemium" category of video games, the ones you can download and play for free, but there are various options you can pay for. Most people can play free for a while until they hit a plateau, where it becomes frustrating to continue. Before this stage, paying can speed up your progress, but not essential. However after the plateau, it's pretty much required to pay to continue progressing. But no matter if you pay or not, time investment is still required.

Skiing is a lot like that isn't it?

Ignoring equipment and lift tickets for a moment, since those are bare bone essentials, akin to having a computer or phone. Everybody is free to ski, but lessons is the "mium" part. A beginner can just jump on a pair of skis, and figure out things himself. Getting lessons certainly helps at this stage, but not absolutely required for progress. However they soon hit a plateau, some further up the ladder than others, but it always happens (very few exceptions, perhaps). Progress grind to a halt, and the person isn't sure how can he continue improving, aside from step into the premium group of users by taking lessons. And at this point, cheap lessons at local mole hill probably isn't useful anymore, it'll have to be an expensive one at a larger place, or super expensive private. Thus like the gamer, the skier face the dilemma, stay free and mediocre, pay for the premium option (that he may or may not be able to afford, or willing to pay for), or quit and go play something else.

I don't know about skiing, but for games, people taking the first and third option far outranks the second.

Anyway, it's just some random rambling relating to personal experience when I should really be sleeping.
post #2 of 20

Sounds about right to me.

post #3 of 20

I never had a formal lesson in my life but I attest to the philosophy of finding someone better than you and ski with them, same on  a bike or many other sports. If you pay attention you will improve. It is easier to have someone else help you push your limits.

   Of course if you are the best on the hill you are SOL. :) 

post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdog View Post

Of course if you are the best on the hill you are SOL. smile.gif 

Speaking of that... racing is tonight 5-8:30. See you there. biggrin.gif
post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by sofort99 View Post


Speaking of that... racing is tonight 5-8:30. See you there. biggrin.gif

  I am headed to Johnson City this afternoon for the funeral service of the owners mother and won't be back until late:30

post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdog View Post

  I am headed to Johnson City this afternoon for the funeral service of the owners mother and won't be back until late:30

I heard about that. Didn't know the funeral was today though. Please give mine and Donna's condolences.
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by jzmtl View Post

I don't know how many people are familiar with the "freemium" category of video games, the ones you can download and play for free, but there are various options you can pay for. Most people can play free for a while until they hit a plateau, where it becomes frustrating to continue. Before this stage, paying can speed up your progress, but not essential. However after the plateau, it's pretty much required to pay to continue progressing. But no matter if you pay or not, time investment is still required.

Skiing is a lot like that isn't it?

Ignoring equipment and lift tickets for a moment, since those are bare bone essentials, akin to having a computer or phone. Everybody is free to ski, but lessons is the "mium" part. A beginner can just jump on a pair of skis, and figure out things himself. Getting lessons certainly helps at this stage, but not absolutely required for progress. However they soon hit a plateau, some further up the ladder than others, but it always happens (very few exceptions, perhaps). Progress grind to a halt, and the person isn't sure how can he continue improving, aside from step into the premium group of users by taking lessons. And at this point, cheap lessons at local mole hill probably isn't useful anymore, it'll have to be an expensive one at a larger place, or super expensive private. Thus like the gamer, the skier face the dilemma, stay free and mediocre, pay for the premium option (that he may or may not be able to afford, or willing to pay for), or quit and go play something else.

I don't know about skiing, but for games, people taking the first and third option far outranks the second.

Anyway, it's just some random rambling relating to personal experience when I should really be sleeping.


This is a funny analogy. As a gamer. I always pony up for a full subscription if available. At least if I plan on being active for a while.

 

Skiing I just spent a lot of time myself concentration on aspects that I wanted to. When I finally did take a lesson(PSIA III instructor with 20 years) the feedback and suggestions were minimal, but really good.

 

I didn't take the lessons because I felt I had reached a plateau, but more because I wanted an evaluation of where I was.

post #8 of 20

The idea that an instructor or a lesson at a local mole hill is intrinsically worse than a lesson at a major resort is fundamentally flawed. While the general level of expertise at a major mountain is better, you can get a mediocre instructor at a big mountain, and a phenomenal one at a tiny one.

 

Case in point. I work at Stowe. We have a great instructor corps. However, about 40 minutes away, there is a tiny mole hill. 2 or 3 runs, a rope tow in a backyard. But there, you can get something you can't get at Stowe, the most expensive resort in the East. There, you can get a lesson from an Olympic gold medalist. Can't really beat that.

post #9 of 20

Building off of the freenium idea, a lot of games don't have restrictions on what you can do without paying, but make you pay in lots of time instead of money. I personally wonder why people spend so much money on Facebook or cell phone games in order to reduce the amount of time and enjoyment playing the game. If the game is making you grind out long hours to get money and if that's not fun, it's probably not a very good game.

 

With skiing, if sufficient focus is applied over a certainly longer period of time than someone who takes a lot of lessons, someone can get to almost any level of skiing skill.  The skier might not enjoy taking lessons, instead preferring to ski the hardest terrain available to their ability level, which can certainly cause progress, but probably won't as fast as a lesson or two. This compares closely to my view on playing games that try to get you to pay, but the fact that skiing is something I see myself doing over a lifetime where video games are just a way to entertain myself when I want to makes the difference for me where I'm willing to put in the money to take lessons for skiing versus not paying for freenium games.

 

Additionally, on a semi-similar note, if anyone's interested in a cool mountain biking edit that plays off the whole sport as a video game theme, check out this video from Crankworx that I saw awhile back:

post #10 of 20

I think part of it also has to do with people's goals in skiing.  I have several friends who think they are great skiers because they can make it down the mountain faster than anyone else.  This means they go pretty much straight down the mountain with uncoordinated and irregular turns only to slow them down.  If that is their goal, then who needs lessons?  

 

When thinking about my own skiing, I took lessons for the first 10 years of my ski career (thank you, parents), and then hadn't had a lesson until 10 years later.  While I didn't think I needed to learn anything else, I was amazed how much better my technical ability improved from just a few pointers.  I don't ski anything I hadn't already (since I was already skiing pretty much anything), but I definitely am more balanced and graceful as I do it.

 

I guess what I'm trying to say is I completely agree with the analogy.  It all depends on your goals.

post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post

The idea that an instructor or a lesson at a local mole hill is intrinsically worse than a lesson at a major resort is fundamentally flawed. While the general level of expertise at a major mountain is better, you can get a mediocre instructor at a big mountain, and a phenomenal one at a tiny one.

Case in point. I work at Stowe. We have a great instructor corps. However, about 40 minutes away, there is a tiny mole hill. 2 or 3 runs, a rope tow in a backyard. But there, you can get something you can't get at Stowe, the most expensive resort in the East. There, you can get a lesson from an Olympic gold medalist. Can't really beat that.

Still, that's more the exception than rule. When the hill charges $40 an hour for private, I don't think there's enough pay that goes to instructor to attract higher level talents (although I'd be glad to be proven wrong!).

Another thing is limited terrain. I'd like to take a mogul lesson, but mole hill had only tiny strip of them that turns into iceberg quickly, and after the rain, they just bulldozed it altogether so there are none left.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by mook View Post
 

I think part of it also has to do with people's goals in skiing.  I have several friends who think they are great skiers because they can make it down the mountain faster than anyone else.  This means they go pretty much straight down the mountain with uncoordinated and irregular turns only to slow them down.  If that is their goal, then who needs lessons?  

 

When thinking about my own skiing, I took lessons for the first 10 years of my ski career (thank you, parents), and then hadn't had a lesson until 10 years later.  While I didn't think I needed to learn anything else, I was amazed how much better my technical ability improved from just a few pointers.  I don't ski anything I hadn't already (since I was already skiing pretty much anything), but I definitely am more balanced and graceful as I do it.

 

I guess what I'm trying to say is I completely agree with the analogy.  It all depends on your goals.

 

just take them to bumps they will quickly realize how much they do not know. 
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Matta View Post


And that's also sort of my point, is that they don't care to ski or learn to ski bumps. But I'd agree, they'd have no shot, which is why they stay away. If, let's say, lessons were offered for free to them, the question becomes would they change their minds and want to progress, or are they still content with where they are now?
post #14 of 20

Quote:

Originally Posted by jzmtl View Post

 When the hill charges $40 an hour for private, I don't think there's enough pay that goes to instructor to attract higher level talents (although I'd be glad to be proven wrong!).
 

 

 

 I can't prove you wrong but instructor pay generally is so atrocious that pay is similar enough from large to small hill that you can find very talented instructors at nearly any bump that can scrape up a staff of over 40 people.  The love of teaching while still having a "real" career keeps many formerly full time instructors working in smaller venues.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jzmtl View Post

Another thing is limited terrain. I'd like to take a mogul lesson, but mole hill had only tiny strip of them that turns into iceberg quickly, and after the rain, they just bulldozed it altogether so there are none left.

 

There is the real problem. Limited terrain also cuts into the opportunity for instructors to learn and teach. Still I have taught a lot of mogul lessons over the years without moguls that the clients were thrilled with. You do need to go into the bumps to see if it works but most skiers moguling will benefit more from working on balance and steering issues on the flat then jumping right into the bumps.  A good instructor will find a way to help you too your goal even if you don't see it.

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by jzmtl View Post

Still, that's more the exception than rule. When the hill charges $40 an hour for private, I don't think there's enough pay that goes to instructor to attract higher level talents (although I'd be glad to be proven wrong!).
 

Wow, did you invent that number?  Red Lodge is not exactly the upper crust of ski areas, no on hill lodging for one thing, but a one hour private lesson is $79.  At Bridger Bowl the minimum time is 1.5 hours and the cost is $105.  At Bid Sky, the minimum time is 2 hours and the cost is either $305 in morning or $285 in the afternoon.  You are correct about not enough money going to the instructor.  I don't know about Bridger but at Red Lodge, the instruction gets $10-15 for that one hour private, unless the instructor has been specifically requested and then he/she gets 75% or about $60, at least that is what it was 3 years ago.  That is how an instructor can make quite a bit of money but it takes a while to build up a reputation so that they get enough requests.

post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post

Wow, did you invent that number?  Red Lodge is not exactly the upper crust of ski areas, no on hill lodging for one thing, but a one hour private lesson is $79.  At Bridger Bowl the minimum time is 1.5 hours and the cost is $105.  At Bid Sky, the minimum time is 2 hours and the cost is either $305 in morning or $285 in the afternoon.  You are correct about not enough money going to the instructor.  I don't know about Bridger but at Red Lodge, the instruction gets $10-15 for that one hour private, unless the instructor has been specifically requested and then he/she gets 75% or about $60, at least that is what it was 3 years ago.  That is how an instructor can make quite a bit of money but it takes a while to build up a reputation so that they get enough requests.

Nope, it's actually $38. But remember it's a tiny molehill in the east, 50 acres and a bit over 400 ft of vertical, only 20 minutes from major metropolitan area and catering mostly to beginners and kids. They hire crapload of fresh kids each year and put them through their own quick program to teach beginners. They claim to be the largest ski school in Canada, so I'd imagine they make up the low price with sheer numbers.
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by jzmtl View Post


Nope, it's actually $38. But remember it's a tiny molehill in the east, 50 acres and a bit over 400 ft of vertical, only 20 minutes from major metropolitan area and catering mostly to beginners and kids. They hire crapload of fresh kids each year and put them through their own quick program to teach beginners. They claim to be the largest ski school in Canada, so I'd imagine they make up the low price with sheer numbers.

 

Sounds a lot more like an issue with the way that particular hill is run, rather than a general commentary on big hill vs. small hill issues in general. I think the disparity between big hill and small hill quality of instruction generally shows in group lessons, rather than privates. Privates are generally taught by the best instructors on the hill. A great instructor is a great instructor, regardless of where they ski. I've worked at big mountains, and I've worked at a small mountain. The best instructors at that small mountain could have gone toe to toe with the best instructors at the big mountains. It's when you work your way down the instructor scale that the drop off occurs. Where I am now, we have over 50% certification across our entire instructor corps. At the smaller mountain, it was closer to 10-15%. There's your difference.

post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
 

 

Sounds a lot more like an issue with the way that particular hill is run, rather than a general commentary on big hill vs. small hill issues in general. I think the disparity between big hill and small hill quality of instruction generally shows in group lessons, rather than privates. Privates are generally taught by the best instructors on the hill. A great instructor is a great instructor, regardless of where they ski. I've worked at big mountains, and I've worked at a small mountain. The best instructors at that small mountain could have gone toe to toe with the best instructors at the big mountains. It's when you work your way down the instructor scale that the drop off occurs. Where I am now, we have over 50% certification across our entire instructor corps. At the smaller mountain, it was closer to 10-15%. There's your difference.

I can see that might be the difference.

 

Only if the private isn't taught by the top instructors, it could be a problem given the much lower standard of the AVERAGE instructors in the smaller hills. 

post #19 of 20

at our adult group line up today at stowe we have over 300 years of experience out there working group lessons, numerous L3 in some cases ed staff all waiting to teach the general public at a group lesson.  quite honestly our mid week group lessons are a deal when you consider that. 

 

with that said the top 10 private guys/gals at stowe are some of the best people I have had a pleasure of working with ever, 

post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Matta View Post
 

at our adult group line up today at stowe we have over 300 years of experience out there working group lessons

 

Art and who else? Just kidding!

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