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Thoughts on my strategy options for private lessons for the entire family?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I sent this e-mail to Steamboat's school. Please let me know what you think of my various ideas.

Start e-mail quote:

I am coming to Steamboat with my family right after Christmas. We will be skiing from Sunday, December 28th through Friday, January 2nd. We ski the east about 10-12 days a season and try to get out west at least every other year. I started skiing at 36 and am now 52. I consider myself an advanced intermediate skier. I can carve on blues and easy blacks, although I would like to lose the skid in my transition. I try bumps, trees and ungroomed if the snow is good.

My wife, Gretchen, and her girls, Emmy (nineteen) and Clara (twelve), started skiing when I started dating my wife, coming up on six years ago. They are all intermediate skiers. I believe them to have pretty good form, but they have very different temperaments.

My wife, Gretchen, is a good skier who always finishes her turns parallel. She has "skied" (survived) a bowl at Winter Park, but has told me she is not really interested in progressing past greens and blues. I think she could, but it is obviously her choice whether she does or not.

Gretchen gets nervous about other skier traffic, and I would really like her to gain more confidence. I plan to have her ski "Why Not" a lot to help with confidence and rhythm.

My nineteen year old stepdaughter, Emmy, is a good intermediate. She likes to ski, but not necessarily fast. She is more adventurous about terrain. She learned to ski parallel early thanks to lessons at Sol Vista which emphasized "direct to parallel."

My twelve year old stepdaughter, Clara, is a good intermediate, with similar learning experiences to her older sister. She has, however, become more tentative. She started as a bit of a daredevil. I think it's because her ever growing body felt very different to her last year.

My thoughts about lessons for us are this. I think we should take two privates, with Gretchen and twelve year old Clara getting one instructor and myself and Emmy taking the other. I think that although I am a better skier than Emmy we would have enough time that the instructor could get both of us some good instruction aimed at our own needs.

The other possibility would be to have all three ladies take a private together, and I would take a private alone. I think I would prefer this in some ways, but I also want all of us to get more bang for our bucks.

The other possibility I thought of, if it is possible, is for our two private instructors to meet with us and take a quick run, two instructors and four students, and see how they feel it would be best to break us up. If they would be willing to do that I would certainly trust their judgment.

I am thinking we'd just ski on Sunday to stretch our legs and lose some jet lag, then do a private 5 hour lesson on Monday to give us lots to work on for the rest of the week and season.

/end quote

post #2 of 4

In general, individual privates get more bang for the buck. But there are many exceptions to that "rule" and the loss (e.g. getting less than 1/2 the value of an individual private in a 2 person private) is often not significant, but there is a risk. In your case the risk does not sound too bad. If I was sitting in Steamboat's shoes I'd recommend all 4 starting out with 2 coaches and deciding how to split after a warm up run and then meet at lunch and resplit as needed.

post #3 of 4

Kids and spouses do better as individuals in a group of strangers than they do in a group of people they know very well.  Expectations and the fact that we try harder to accomplish difficult things in the presence of strangers than we do in the presence of our loved ones that we know how to manipulate better.  


I'd either go all privates individually for everyone, or a private for the spouse and group lessons for the kids.  You could also do the half day or full day private but only have one on one instructor to student teaching spread out over the day.


Just my .02c.  The Rusty's been doing this a lot longer than most here and I haven't taught professionally in decades.  I just know it's human nature that kids (and grown ups) usually do better with a bunch of other kids/folks they don't know that well than they do with loved ones or close friends in lesson situations.

post #4 of 4

How outgoing is the 12yo?  When my daughter was a tween, she really enjoyed going to ski school with other tweens.  Full day ski school for kids are a pretty good deal considering the amount of instruction they get.  For what it's worth, I tried a semi-private out west with my daughter once (age 10) and that did not go so well for either of us.  I was distracted by her presence and she was not really paying attention to the instructor because I was right there.  We were about the same ability level at the time.


From your description, mother and 19yo could be a good pairing for a semi-private.  I like having another adult of compatible ability in a private lesson.  Somehow takes the pressure off, especially for a lesson that lasts 2-3 hours.

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