Excuse the long post, but I’ve come to a bit of a crossroads in my skiing and I’m thinking about a number of different directions. I’m not looking for advice on my skiing per se, but on how I might go about developing my skiing in the future.
Background: 45 yrs old, very fit (run, lift weights, play soccer 2x/week year round). I’ve been skiing for seven years (I did a bit of messing around on skis when I was a teenager, but I don’t count that). I ski 30+ days/year, but several of them are with my kids so the intensity level is not that high.
My local hill has a series of lessons for adults that follows the Programme d’Enseignement de Ski Alpin ( http://www.pesq.ca/sport.php?id=9) which is Quebec’s answer to CSIA. I’ve now completed the series of lessons, having passed the evaluation for the top level, which is as follows (excuse the rough translation).
“The skier performs short-radius (“decoupage progressif” - not sure how to translate this but I’d interpret it as “progressive carving”) turns on a very challenging slope, controlling his speed and keeping the same radius without changing the line of descent. He must master anticipation, edging by angulation, and weight transfer. The turns must be cleanly carved. He must perform the movements in the right sequence and with ease.”
“The skier performs long-radius (pure carve, high-speed giant slalom) turns on a challenging slope, controlling his speed and keeping the same radius without changing the line of descent. He must master anticipation, edging by angulation, and weight transfer. The turns must be cleanly carved. He must perform the movements in the right sequence and with ease.”
I spent the last week at “The Camp” at Whistler Blackcomb, and was classified as level 5+ on WB’s scale (http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/lessons-and-rentals/lessons/adult-ability-charts.aspx). We skied everywhere on the mountain including a lot of the double-diamond terrain in the high alpine, and it went reasonably well.
However, after all this, I still feel like I have no clue how to ski! I feel very comfortable on any groomed run, and in powder and crud. I can function (but not very gracefully) in bumps. In particular, steep, bumpy terrain still messes with my head. And, I have a very serious interest in continuing to get better. It’s one of the things I’ve loved about skiing, and about the lessons that I just finished - I can absolutely see the progression that I’ve made.
I’ve exhausted the organized lessons at my local hill, and while “The Camp” is an instructional program it is more of a “guided-touring/tips/how to exploit WB to the maximum” program.
So, after all that: what do I do next?
My first thought: I simply need mileage in the kind of terrain that gives me trouble. I realize I haven’t been skiing for that long, and that I need to ski terrain that challenges me and work hard at it (and get more days without the kids where I can push myself a bit harder).
My second thought: I’m committed to next year doing my level 1 instructors’ course, either through PESA or CSIA or both. This will open up options for future professional development courses, etc.
Other things I’m considering: should I get a series of private lessons with a good instructor? A day-long private at a big resort ($$$$!)? Other camps that are a bit more instruction-oriented? A racing club (I love running gates)?
Any advice would be helpful, and apologies for the long-winded post.