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Copper Mountain - Group Lesson or Private Lesson?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

First time poster, long time lurker.  I am traveling to Copper Mountain in late January on an annual ski trip with a group of friends.  I haven't had a formal lesson in several years, but understand I need more than the advice of my friends (some of whom are really good skiers) to progress to ungroomed and steeper terrain, so I am committed to taking at least a one day lesson (four day trip).  I have skied Copper before and can comfortably ski all of the blue runs.  Does anyone have any thoughts on the difference between an all day private lesson and all day group lesson at Copper.  The price difference is pretty significant, so it would be helpful if anyone has any thoughts as to the class ratio on group lessons for someone at my level.    

 

Thanks for any advice.   

post #2 of 11

Lessons never hurt.

 

If you can talk you skiing buddy's into splitting cost of a private you will probably get better results.

 

Taking a group lesson is sort of a crap-shoot.  I've had group lessons where I was the only student.  On Slow days they might build a larger group by mixing a couple of 'levels' together.  This results in the lower level skiers being over their heads in terrain they can't ski OR upper level skiers being bored with the terrain.

 

Instructors who handle privates are generally more experienced and have higher levels of training.  Most are making a living teaching skiing.  And bar tending, carpenters, insurance sales, real estate sales..... Who am I trying to fool, Nobody makes a living instructing.

 

Instructors who handle group lessons are a mixed bag.  They might be very experienced with great training.  They might be someone who instructs only for the free lift ticket and are disappointed that the get assigned a group on days they would rather be with friends.  

 

I don't take lessons often, but when I do it's with Copper's Ski School.

post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ali pine View Post
 

Lessons never hurt.

 

If you can talk you skiing buddy's into splitting cost of a private you will probably get better results.

 

Taking a group lesson is sort of a crap-shoot.  I've had group lessons where I was the only student.  On Slow days they might build a larger group by mixing a couple of 'levels' together.  This results in the lower level skiers being over their heads in terrain they can't ski OR upper level skiers being bored with the terrain.

 

Instructors who handle privates are generally more experienced and have higher levels of training.  Most are making a living teaching skiing.  And bar tending, carpenters, insurance sales, real estate sales..... Who am I trying to fool, Nobody makes a living instructing.

 

Instructors who handle group lessons are a mixed bag.  They might be very experienced with great training.  They might be someone who instructs only for the free lift ticket and are disappointed that the get assigned a group on days they would rather be with friends.  

 

I don't take lessons often, but when I do it's with Copper's Ski School.


+1

 

I've learned a lot in recent years by taking private lessons with recommended PSIA Level 3 instructors.  I started skiing off piste terrain out west in the last decade as an older skier with more time and money for trips out west.  If the price is right, like at Bridger or Snowbasin, I'm willing to pay for a private on my own.  Have been able to talk friends into doing semi-private (2 or 3 total) at places like JH and Alta to cut the cost somewhat for a half-day lesson.  For me, doing a lesson with one other person who skis about as well or better works very well.  I get as much out of observing what the instructor works on with my friend as I do out of instruction directed at me.  My ski buddies general have been skiing harder terrain longer than I have but have not bothered to take lessons for a long time.  I think they've been surprised at how much difference an experienced instructor can make it a few hours.

 

There are two instructors listed for Copper in the EpicSki Instructor list.  Look at the top of the Ski Instruction section for a link.  Perhaps @Bob Barnes would pop in with some advice, although he is no longer at Copper.

 

I have learned a lot from my Level 3 coach at my small home mountain (southeast) so a lesson for skills related to skiing harder terrain does not require complex terrain.  It all depends on the attitude of the student.  I take advantage of a 2-hour clinic offered for folks over 50 for a very low price that can be a private half the time.  The advantage of a private or semi-private during a trip out west is that the instructor has more flexibility about where to take the student(s).

post #4 of 11

when in jackson i took some lessons to avoid the lines on the tram, groups were fun and any questions i had were answered. Lesson in the mornings then practice in the afternoon, because the all day lesson might be a bit much

post #5 of 11

As a senior instructor at Copper, I can assure you we do not "build a larger group by mixing a couple of 'levels' together."  Many is the time I have taken out one black-level skier who would not fit with our blue or blue-black groups going out that day.  The advantage of a private lesson is that you can request a particular instructor/coach.  If you have skied with a coach who has the right "keys for your lock," one that connects well with you, by all means, go with that person if he/she is available and your financial situation permits.  Since you don't know our Copper instructors, I can certainly recommend some top people there for you.  As far as group lessons go, you can't pick your instructor but, in general, we only send our top instructors (those who normally do private lessons but are not booked that day) on upper-level group lessons.  We will ask you at the meeting area what terrain you ski comfortably, what you want to focus on that day, and only put folks with the same skill level and terrain desires together.  All our group lessons go from 10 AM to 3 PM, so you will get plenty of practice time and we'll ski at the dynamic level and pace that is appropriate for you.  Private lessons are three hours in the morning, or three hours in the afternoon, or all day.  I strongly suggest you book your lesson on your first day there, so you will be able to enjoy the rest of your trip by skiing better!  Don't take the first day or two to "warm up."  You'll only be working harder than you need to.  If you need specific info, feel free to PM me.  Good luck!


Edited by mike_m - 12/30/14 at 5:58am
post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ali pine View Post
 

Lessons never hurt.

 

If you can talk you skiing buddy's into splitting cost of a private you will probably get better results.

 

Taking a group lesson is sort of a crap-shoot.  I've had group lessons where I was the only student.  On Slow days they might build a larger group by mixing a couple of 'levels' together.  This results in the lower level skiers being over their heads in terrain they can't ski OR upper level skiers being bored with the terrain.

 

Instructors who handle privates are generally more experienced and have higher levels of training.  Most are making a living teaching skiing.  And bar tending, carpenters, insurance sales, real estate sales..... Who am I trying to fool, Nobody makes a living instructing.

 

Instructors who handle group lessons are a mixed bag.  They might be very experienced with great training.  They might be someone who instructs only for the free lift ticket and are disappointed that the get assigned a group on days they would rather be with friends.  

 

I don't take lessons often, but when I do it's with Copper's Ski School.


Unless they do.  I've had good lessons, excellent lessons,eh lessons, and lessons that hurt.  At Copper.  Screen your instructor carefully.  Be open-minded.  Don't get talked into anything.  Be safe.  Have fun.

post #7 of 11

Two half days are better than one full day IMO, so better a 1/2 day private than a full day group.

 

The second half of the day is not worth as much because there are only so many things you can really attend to and change or improve in your skiing in one day. This means that in a private all-day, some of the day will be instruction and some will be observed practice. The latter is important, but it takes miles under your skis to really dial in a change in movement habits and you don't need to have your hand held for all of them. Ask your instructor to help you identify feedback cues so you can practice on your own. 

 

Think about what you want out of the lesson (to ski bumps, to get over fear of steeps, to be more in control, to go faster, etc.) and what sort of instruction you think you would respond to (more of a buddy that gives you tips, a confident coach who will give you drills? do you respond to verbal explanations or do you prefer to observe and copy? Man, woman, mature, younger and energetic?) and then be clear about  your needs and expectations when you book. Ski schools want you to have a good experience and will do their best to accommodate you.

post #8 of 11

Seems like every time I've signed my wife up for a group lesson out west it wound up being a private lesson.  Take the lessons during the middle of the week at a time they are not busy and don't forget to tip the instructor.

post #9 of 11

Wish the Ski/Ride Schools would post instructor's resume.  I'd be more likely to go for a private if I knew the instructors qualifications before making plans.

 

It's nice to have a couple of instructors names in your rolodex so you can contact directly to find out their schedules. 

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

This is all great information.  I think I'll do a one day group and see how it goes.  I'll report back my experience.  

post #11 of 11

See if you can get Jonathan Lawson.  He's a superb instructor, and quite fun.

 

Mike

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