Originally Posted by tball
Guess I'm all alone here
Maybe there is something magical about the bumps at Mary Jane in creating good skiers. I've seen a pretty large group of friends and ski acquaintances who had little or no instruction and who almost exclusively skied bumps and trees at Mary Jane while developing. Everyone ended up somewhere between very advanced and expert skiers, depending mostly on mileage and athleticism. We were all young and stupid, so fear wasn't really an issue.
Try this: Ski 300 days at Mary Jane, say 30 days a year for a decade. Ski 98% bumps and trees, avoiding the only two groomers on the front side (Sleeper and Jane Trail) at all costs. Ski in all snow conditions: firm, pow, crud, slush, you name it. You'll find a group of good skiers to hang with, and I bet you'll turn out to be a pretty darn good skier with very solid fundamentals.
No, I thought I replied earlier, but didn't push "submit," I guess.
I had your same exact experience. I know a ton of great skiers who grew up at MJ and elsewhere. The drill was that when you were little, your parents would either take you up every weekend or sign you up for the Eskimo bus, which would take you to WP/MJ every weekend. There were some lessons, for some people (mostly through Eskimo), but only until you got to be an intermediate.
The next step was The Driver's License. You could bypass the parents, pile in with your friends, and ski all day. Which of course was way more fun than relying on parents.There was a range of abilities within groups of friends, so you would always end up chasing someone better than you. I knew very few competitors when I was growing up, as well. We were all doing other sports in addition to our skiing, and racing just wasn't part of it.
That said, it's not an appropriate route for everyone. It is largely guys I am thinking of who this worked for. There is a certain amount of who-cares trial-and-error involved (ie, crashing hard), which isn't something most girls are good at. I remember taking big strides in my ability while in college and not playing soccer anymore. I was pretty careful before that, due to being a competitor in another sport. But after I quit college ball (and also sorta just stopped giving a shit about a lot of things for a while), I got a lot better.
And there is a lot of subjectivity in what are described as "expert skiers" and "solid fundamentals." I think this is where the discussion is kind of off in different directions. I think you can be an expert skier without being ready to post video of yourself as an example of solid fundamentals. And I know others who have solid fundamentals but are not expert skiers....
I don't think it is a good idea to avoid groomers totally, though. I used to do that. I remember one time thinking, "Darnit I need a mogul to turn on. I suck on groomers!" That's the downside of growing up at MJ.
Also, there is another thread on epic, from some years ago, about something similar. It might have been by Bob Peters? I just remember it referenced Jackson Hole. Bob or whoever was also discussing this, talking about the great number of skiers there who had no formal training, but ripped hard. IT's just an imitation thing. Some people do it better than others.