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Recommend an instructor at Sugar/Beech?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hello all. 

 

I'll be taking a trip up to Sugar and maybe Beech as well in about 2 weeks and was hoping someone on here could give some insight into a good instructor for an intermediate skier. Skied groomed blacks out in Utah and Colorado pretty confidently. Still making not quite parallel turns. In the process of planning another trip out west for this year and hoping to get some kinks and bad habits worked out on the warmup trip to NC. Any and all suggestions are appreciated. 

post #2 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshinGA View Post
 

Hello all. 

 

I'll be taking a trip up to Sugar and maybe Beech as well in about 2 weeks and was hoping someone on here could give some insight into a good instructor for an intermediate skier. Skied groomed blacks out in Utah and Colorado pretty confidently. Still making not quite parallel turns. In the process of planning another trip out west for this year and hoping to get some kinks and bad habits worked out on the warmup trip to NC. Any and all suggestions are appreciated. 

 

I got my daughter couple private lessons at Appalachian last year and this year.  There was a young lady that did a really good job with her last spring but wasn't still there when I asked about her earlier this month.  I don't have any names for anyone working at either place.  Most instructors in this area are App State students so turnover and churn is pretty high at those three resorts.  I don't think the EpicSki instructor list has ever had anyone from either of those areas active here.  @marznc knows some at Massanutten, VA and @TheRusty works at Whitetail, MD. 

 

What I can tell you is that the private lessons at these local NC resorts are priced VERY competitively.  I always go with a private over a group for the kids when anyone is available to teach the private.  Never had a terrible experience with any of them yet..  But, I don't hold them to very high standards.. as long as the kid had fun and improved some I'm happy.

post #3 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshinGA View Post
 

Hello all. 

 

I'll be taking a trip up to Sugar and maybe Beech as well in about 2 weeks and was hoping someone on here could give some insight into a good instructor for an intermediate skier. Skied groomed blacks out in Utah and Colorado pretty confidently. Still making not quite parallel turns. In the process of planning another trip out west for this year and hoping to get some kinks and bad habits worked out on the warmup trip to NC. Any and all suggestions are appreciated. 


Weekend or midweek?

 

My daughter had a Level II instructor at Beech for a semi-private lesson (2 girls) on a weekend a while back who was pretty good.  But I don't remember his name because after that we got season passes at Massanutten and weren't skiing in NC any more.  One approach is to call the ski school and ask for a PSIA Level 3 instructor for a private.  Even if one is not available, it can be better than just asking for "the best" instructor.  What I've found is that a Level 2 instructor with 5+ years of experience can be quite helpful for an intermediate skier.  In the southeast, my sense is that most instructors with 10+ years of experience are pretty good, even if they haven't taken the time to get PSIA certification.

 

Any particular reason you are going to Banner Elk instead of Cataloochee?  Only reason I ask is because there is another guy in GA who is doing a lesson series at Cat.  Here's his thread from the Beginner Zone:

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/130104/beginner-going-out-west-my-plan-of-attack-a-beginner-zone-thread

post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Weekend or midweek?

 

My daughter had a Level II instructor at Beech for a semi-private lesson (2 girls) on a weekend a while back who was pretty good.  But I don't remember his name because after that we got season passes at Massanutten and weren't skiing in NC any more.  One approach is to call the ski school and ask for a PSIA Level 3 instructor for a private.  Even if one is not available, it can be better than just asking for "the best" instructor.  What I've found is that a Level 2 instructor with 5+ years of experience can be quite helpful for an intermediate skier.  In the southeast, my sense is that most instructors with 10+ years of experience are pretty good, even if they haven't taken the time to get PSIA certification.

 

Any particular reason you are going to Banner Elk instead of Cataloochee?  Only reason I ask is because there is another guy in GA who is doing a lesson series at Cat.  Here's his thread from the Beginner Zone:

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/130104/beginner-going-out-west-my-plan-of-attack-a-beginner-zone-thread

Ill be up there Thurs-Sat., so a little bit of both. Thanks for the good advice on calling and asking for a specific level instructor. I had no clue where to even start. I went with Sugar/Beech because I'd heard they had a little bit better terrain for intermediate/advanced skiing. 

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
 

 

I got my daughter couple private lessons at Appalachian last year and this year.  There was a young lady that did a really good job with her last spring but wasn't still there when I asked about her earlier this month.  I don't have any names for anyone working at either place.  Most instructors in this area are App State students so turnover and churn is pretty high at those three resorts.  I don't think the EpicSki instructor list has ever had anyone from either of those areas active here.  @marznc knows some at Massanutten, VA and @TheRusty works at Whitetail, MD. 

 

What I can tell you is that the private lessons at these local NC resorts are priced VERY competitively.  I always go with a private over a group for the kids when anyone is available to teach the private.  Never had a terrible experience with any of them yet..  But, I don't hold them to very high standards.. as long as the kid had fun and improved some I'm happy.

This is one of the main reasons Im looking at taking a couple days of lessons here, and then maybe a half day when I get out west. 

 

And I knew it was sort of a long shot for someone from here to be an instructor at one of those two areas. Thanks for the reply. 

post #6 of 16

Let us know when you'll be there.  We might be able to grab a couple laps together..  Here's the thread to chat about meet ups and current conditions at those places..

 

The 2014-15 thread for NC, VA, SC, GA, WV, etc.. - Page 4

post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshinGA View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Weekend or midweek?

 

My daughter had a Level II instructor at Beech for a semi-private lesson (2 girls) on a weekend a while back who was pretty good.  But I don't remember his name because after that we got season passes at Massanutten and weren't skiing in NC any more.  One approach is to call the ski school and ask for a PSIA Level 3 instructor for a private.  Even if one is not available, it can be better than just asking for "the best" instructor.  What I've found is that a Level 2 instructor with 5+ years of experience can be quite helpful for an intermediate skier.  In the southeast, my sense is that most instructors with 10+ years of experience are pretty good, even if they haven't taken the time to get PSIA certification.

 

Any particular reason you are going to Banner Elk instead of Cataloochee?  Only reason I ask is because there is another guy in GA who is doing a lesson series at Cat.  Here's his thread from the Beginner Zone:

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/130104/beginner-going-out-west-my-plan-of-attack-a-beginner-zone-thread

Ill be up there Thurs-Sat., so a little bit of both. Thanks for the good advice on calling and asking for a specific level instructor. I had no clue where to even start. I went with Sugar/Beech because I'd heard they had a little bit better terrain for intermediate/advanced skiing. 


Yeah, Cat is pretty small.  Makes sense to do the longer drive since you can ski midweek.  With that schedule, I would be inclined to check out Sugar one day and Beech the other.  Then schedule a private lesson for Saturday at the place you like better.  That way to can skip out on lift lines most of Sat.  Usually lines don't build up until about 11am.  On Sat, best to get to the parking lot about an hour before the lifts open.

 

If you schedule a private, ask beforehand if it's possible to extend for another hour if things are going well.  Given the terrain, I don't see much reason to go longer than 2 hours.  That's how long the Silver Clinic is at Massanutten and it's enough.  Out west, I usually do 3 hours for a private/semi-private.

 

I would be tempted to give a group lesson a try on Thu and/or Fri morning since it's about half the price per hour.  Quite likely to end up alone with an experienced instructor.  The experienced instructors are the ones who work on weekdays.  If you find a compatible instructor, can do a private with them later.

post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
I would be tempted to give a group lesson a try on Thu and/or Fri morning since it's about half the price per hour.  Quite likely to end up alone with an experienced instructor.  The experienced instructors are the ones who work on weekdays.  If you find a compatible instructor, can do a private with them later.

Isn't this Christmas Break week we are talking about?  Quite likely for every group lesson to be full and every private slot to go quickly first thing in the morning even on weekdays next week.

 

I will likely be at one or the other Tuesday with hopes to book a private for my daughter when we arrive, probably arriving around 10 am.  I am not optimistic that we will get a private lesson arriving that late,but don't want to book ahead either because I'd rather not feel pressed for time on the drive up.  I'll try to report back Wednesday with regard to availability of private lessons and group lessons based on what I experience Tuesday. 

post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
I would be tempted to give a group lesson a try on Thu and/or Fri morning since it's about half the price per hour.  Quite likely to end up alone with an experienced instructor.  The experienced instructors are the ones who work on weekdays.  If you find a compatible instructor, can do a private with them later.

Isn't this Christmas Break week we are talking about?  Quite likely for every group lesson to be full and every private slot to go quickly first thing in the morning even on weekdays next week.

 

I will likely be at one or the other Tuesday with hopes to book a private for my daughter when we arrive, probably arriving around 10 am.  I am not optimistic that we will get a private lesson arriving that late,but don't want to book ahead either because I'd rather not feel pressed for time on the drive up.  I'll try to report back Wednesday with regard to availability of private lessons and group lessons based on what I experience Tuesday. 


OP is going mid-Jan, not next week.

post #10 of 16

 

 

Weekdays should be wide open then..

 

If we get a good lesson I'll try to grab a card/name when I hand the tip.

post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 

Just an update to this I had an excellent lesson with an older gentleman by the name of Randy at Sugar on Saturday afternoon. He assured me he was the only instructor named Randy so if you're at Sugar and looking for an instructor I definitely recommend him. I wish I had not waited until the 3pm slot because I would have loved to have had another hour or two to really get everything worked out. After just an hour though I noticed a marked improvement in my skiing, and was confidently skiing all the terrain Sugar has to offer. I think I might have to make a return day trip right before I head out west for a refresher lesson or two.

post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshinGA View Post
 

Just an update to this I had an excellent lesson with an older gentleman by the name of Randy at Sugar on Saturday afternoon. He assured me he was the only instructor named Randy so if you're at Sugar and looking for an instructor I definitely recommend him. I wish I had not waited until the 3pm slot because I would have loved to have had another hour or two to really get everything worked out. After just an hour though I noticed a marked improvement in my skiing, and was confidently skiing all the terrain Sugar has to offer. I think I might have to make a return day trip right before I head out west for a refresher lesson or two.


Thanks for the update!  Did you do a group lesson or did you book a private?  If a private, how were you matched up with Randy?

post #13 of 16

We got the same young lady at Appalachian that my daughter got last year recently.  Her name is Lana.  She is great with kids and adults stuck between beginner and intermediate.  Of course she can teach anyone up through advanced but I only saw her work with my daughter.  She worked very hard on keeping the girl focused and trying to improve. 

post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Thanks for the update!  Did you do a group lesson or did you book a private?  If a private, how were you matched up with Randy?

I booked a private (what a steal at that price), told them I was an intermediate skier, and asked for a PSIA level two (or higher) instructor, or someone with 5+ years experience.  Erased 6 years of bad habits in an hour, which is quite a feat. 

post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
 

We got the same young lady at Appalachian that my daughter got last year recently.  Her name is Lana.  She is great with kids and adults stuck between beginner and intermediate.  Of course she can teach anyone up through advanced but I only saw her work with my daughter.  She worked very hard on keeping the girl focused and trying to improve. 

Thanks! If I head up to Appalachian this year I will keep this in mind and request her if possible. 

post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshinGA View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Thanks for the update!  Did you do a group lesson or did you book a private?  If a private, how were you matched up with Randy?

I booked a private (what a steal at that price), told them I was an intermediate skier, and asked for a PSIA level two (or higher) instructor, or someone with 5+ years experience.  Erased 6 years of bad habits in an hour, which is quite a feat. 


Always glad to hear of a good experience at a ski school in a small ski area.  As I know from personal experience for myself as well as family and friends, an experienced instructor does not need that much time or terrain to make a significant difference when an intermediate/advanced student has an open mind.  Takes being willing to try something that may feel odd but is good in the long run.

 

I had a senior clinic earlier this season where the other student was resisting pretty much everything the instructor was trying to get him to do.  He found it silly to do a drill while going moderately slow on a blue run.  Complained that it was hard to ski that slow.  In the end, we were on a green run because that was the only way the instructor could get him to get close to doing the right movements, one wide turn at a time.  The instructor is Level 3 with 20+ years experience.

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