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Beginning Intermediate wanting good lesson at Breck or Steamboat

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi!  I know this post is similar to some other recent posts about lessons but didn't want to hi-jack anyone else's post :-)

 

Husband and I are heading to Breck on Saturday (2/21), will be there a week and then go to Steamboat for a week.  I just picked up skiing in the last 6 or 7 years (I'm about to hit 50) and only ski when we go to Colorado for a week or two (annually). I usually take a group lesson at whichever area we're skiing (will be our 3rd time to Breck, have been to Keystone, Winter Park and Copper).  I'm mostly a greens skier, have done some of the easy blues at Breck (Peak 8 and 9) and some easy blues at Winter Park (both last year). Took the Beginner Level 4 lesson at Breck last year and was underwhelmed. When I asked the instructor to critique my skiing and how I could improve my turns he said that he doesn't focus on the negative and never tells anyone what they're doing wrong. Unfortunately, he also didn't provide any instruction on what I needed to do to correct my issue (one of my weaknesses is that my turns tend to be sharp "z" turns rather than nice "s" curves). Anyway, the day was more a day of being led around the mountain than ski instruction.

 

That being said, I would like to take a lesson again this year, but am looking for instructor recommendations and/or assistance in how to articulate that I want an instructor that WILL critique my skiing, let me know what I'm doing incorrectly and then explain and show me how to do it correctly. Someone to teach me some drills, someone dedicated to their craft. Is this too much to expect in a group (Ultimate 4) lesson? I really don't need catered to, I just want feedback and correction/explanation for what I'm doing (not the generic outside edge, big toe, little toe, etc unless THAT is what I'm not doing). My husband and I are considering a private lesson - with me being instructed in the morning and then he would get the instructor on blacks in the afternoon (he's been skiing most of his life but has only taken one lesson so he thinks he would like a lesson as well). But, as we all know, it's a lot of money. Not saying it isn't worth it, but it's a lot of money!

 

Any advice, suggestions or recommendations would be much appreciated! 

 

Please and thanks!

Amy

post #2 of 14

I work at Breck as an instructor.  I am sorry for your less than good experience with ski school there last year.  If you take a lesson at Breck again this year I recommend you let the ski school supervisor know (the supervisors will be in red coats, the instructors are all in blue) in the morning what your experience was last year.  Let the supervisor know what your expectations are for the lesson this year (the supervisors have a pretty good understanding of how the different instructors manage their lessons).  What you say you want/expect is what the instructors are suppose to do with every class/every student.  At the beginning of the lesson (or even before the lesson begins) the instructor should be talking with all clients in their lesson.  The instructor should be trying to find out your motivations for taking the lesson and what your goals are for the day.  Throughout the lesson the instructor should not only be giving instruction, but they should also be checking for understanding from the clients and providing feedback to the clients.

 

Private lessons are great, but they are expensive.  If you can afford the money your plans for a full day private are very good, with one getting instruction in the morning and the other in the afternoon.  I commonly do this when teaching privates.  I typically start the day with one or two runs with everyone together be it a couple or a family.  This gives me a chance to get an understanding of each persons' motivations, what they expect from the day and a chance to see how they ski.  Sometimes we find everyone should stay together for the day other times we split the time like you are thinking about doing.  Sometimes everyone gets back together for a run just before lunch, sometimes we do this at the end of the day, or we may do it before lunch and at the end of the day.

If you are more comfortable with the cost of an Ultimate 4 go for it.  In my opinion the Ultimate 4 is the best deal in ski school.  You are in a small group of people at a similar ability level.  Each person gets quite a bit of individual attention but it also allows peer support between members of the group.

 

Being a female would you prefer a female insructor?  For some women this can make a big difference for other women not so much.  Depending on what issues you have in your skiing or what you are working on, would you be able to better relate to a female instructor?  Would a female instructor have a better understanding of any issues you may have (womens bodies are very different than mens and sometimes it can take a woman to understand and explain things to another woman).  My wife took numerous lessons when she was learning to ski and when she ended up in a lesson with a female instructor things just clicked for her.  If you think you would do better with a female instructor let the supervisor know this in the morning when you first show up for the lesson, maybe the supervisor will be able to put you with a female instructor.

 

Ski safe and have fun!

post #3 of 14
Excellent technical female instructor at Breck: Jenn Losch. Can't say enough good things. Also Jane Hamlin.

You know uhh ..... I have been taking over a dozen lessons every season for five seasons now, am a confident double black/"extreme" skier, and a recent comment made to me about toes helped me a lot. I don't think there's a skier on the mountain at any level who can't benefit from reminders about edges. Hey, wait, what *are* you doing with your outside edge? That sounds wrong. Anyway, if your issue is Z turns - talking toes and edges is deficient part of the fix. Maybe you just didn't connect with that instructor's teaching style, or maybe they weren't that great. But my bet is that they were also trying to help you fix that Z turn.
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by bounceswoosh View Post

Excellent technical female instructor at Breck: Jenn Losch. Can't say enough good things. Also Jane Hamlin.
 

 

I did not want to put out names, but the two you put out are both excellent choices.  Both of them are Breck ski school trainers and I have had some awesome clinics with both of them.  Another good female instructor for the intermediate skier looking for a break through would be Jane Tarlow.  Ms. Tarlow is the one that helped my wife make some big advances in her skiing.  All three of these instructors work out of the Beaver Run ski school location (on Peak 9).  If you can get any of them as your instructor I think you will be happy with the results.

post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinopups View Post
 

Hi!  I know this post is similar to some other recent posts about lessons but didn't want to hi-jack anyone else's post :-)

 

Husband and I are heading to Breck on Saturday (2/21), will be there a week and then go to Steamboat for a week.  I just picked up skiing in the last 6 or 7 years (I'm about to hit 50) and only ski when we go to Colorado for a week or two (annually). I usually take a group lesson at whichever area we're skiing (will be our 3rd time to Breck, have been to Keystone, Winter Park and Copper).  I'm mostly a greens skier, have done some of the easy blues at Breck (Peak 8 and 9) and some easy blues at Winter Park (both last year). Took the Beginner Level 4 lesson at Breck last year and was underwhelmed. When I asked the instructor to critique my skiing and how I could improve my turns he said that he doesn't focus on the negative and never tells anyone what they're doing wrong. Unfortunately, he also didn't provide any instruction on what I needed to do to correct my issue (one of my weaknesses is that my turns tend to be sharp "z" turns rather than nice "s" curves). Anyway, the day was more a day of being led around the mountain than ski instruction.

 

That being said, I would like to take a lesson again this year, but am looking for instructor recommendations and/or assistance in how to articulate that I want an instructor that WILL critique my skiing, let me know what I'm doing incorrectly and then explain and show me how to do it correctly. Someone to teach me some drills, someone dedicated to their craft. Is this too much to expect in a group (Ultimate 4) lesson? I really don't need catered to, I just want feedback and correction/explanation for what I'm doing (not the generic outside edge, big toe, little toe, etc unless THAT is what I'm not doing). My husband and I are considering a private lesson - with me being instructed in the morning and then he would get the instructor on blacks in the afternoon (he's been skiing most of his life but has only taken one lesson so he thinks he would like a lesson as well). But, as we all know, it's a lot of money. Not saying it isn't worth it, but it's a lot of money!

 

Any advice, suggestions or recommendations would be much appreciated! 

 

Please and thanks!

Amy


Welcome to EpicSki!  Are you aware of PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America)?  Is the professional organization that provide a way for ski instructors to be certified for specific levels of skiing and teaching expertise.  My experience is that any Level 3 instructor is well worth the money for a private lesson, whether individually or a small group (2-3) of skiers of similar ability.  Most Level 3 instructors out west seem to have 15+ years of experience.  A trainer at a large ski school is likely to have 25+ years of experience.

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for your input, very valuable. I'm pretty sure I'll try a group lesson on Tuesday next week and ask for one of the instructors mentioned. Added bonuses - #1 we stay at the Doubletree so Beaver Run is perfect; and #2 I received an email yesterday from Breck good for 25% off an adult group lesson or 25% off a private afternoon lesson.  And Bounceswoosh, hope I didn't come across as if I don't think edges are important or that I don't need more instruction about them! I realize that skiing is about the edges and I think understand what I need to do (at least at my learning level) and I think I do it (haha), but as you said, "what *are* you doing with your edges?" -- exactly, that's the individualized feedback I'm looking for!  After the experience last year I was thinking that maybe I had the wrong expectation out of group lessons at Breck. Sounds like I should be okay in a group lesson and, if not, maybe we'll spring for the private. For retirement my husband really wants either live near the Rockies or spend a significant amount of each year there (skiing) so I'm committed to learning all I can and trying to make sure I have a solid foundation even though we currently only spend a couple of weeks skiing right now!

 

Thanks again!!!!

Amy

post #7 of 14
Hi Amy,

I get it! If you are sure you'll want a private lesson Tuesday, call ahead and ask for one of those instructors. You'll get a discount, and they will get a bonus, and you will be more likely to actually get the person you want.
post #8 of 14

If you take a group lesson you most likely will not get Jen Losch or Jane Hamlin they teach mainly private lessons or Level 8 or 9 groups.  There is a slight chance you will get Jane Tarlow, it is not uncommon she teaches intermediate group lessons.

 

If you take a group lesson out of Beaver Run ski school the supervisor for adult groups will be Jacek (ya sick) if it is not his day off.  Try to get there early, about 9:45 (group lessons start a 10am), find Jacek and let him know what your experience was with the group lesson and instructor last year.  Tell him what you are looking for this year.  He knows his instructors well and will do his best to get you with an instructor that is good at seeking the clients' understanding and supplying very good feedback to their clients.

 

Good luck, have fun and ski safe!

post #9 of 14

I'm also an instructor at Breckenridge, Peak 8 adults. Unfortunately, you don't normally get to select a specific instructor in an Ultimate 4 lesson unless you fill the entire group. Specific instructor requests are addressed via a "Request Private" on an as-available basis. That said, I do agree with John that it would be worthwhile to mention your previous experience/concerns to one of the supervisors. 

 

I hope you have a great lesson, a great trip, and especially have fun and be safe. 

post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiwithjohn View Post
 

If you take a group lesson you most likely will not get Jen Losch or Jane Hamlin they teach mainly private lessons or Level 8 or 9 groups.  There is a slight chance you will get Jane Tarlow, it is not uncommon she teaches intermediate group lessons.

 

If you take a group lesson out of Beaver Run ski school the supervisor for adult groups will be Jacek (ya sick) if it is not his day off.  Try to get there early, about 9:45 (group lessons start a 10am), find Jacek and let him know what your experience was with the group lesson and instructor last year.  Tell him what you are looking for this year.  He knows his instructors well and will do his best to get you with an instructor that is good at seeking the clients' understanding and supplying very good feedback to their clients.

 

Good luck, have fun and ski safe!

 

Thanks, John. Good points. I do the lesson club at Breck at levels 8 and 9, so I'm not super familiar with how a visitor experiences Breck lessons.

 

Amy, listen to him more than me =) But if you spring for a private, you can definitely call ahead and request a particular instructor. And please be aware there are many really great instructors at Breck. I was just riffing off of John's suggest about female ski instructors, and I only have experience with the ones who teach high level lessons. I am sure there are many great instructors who teach intermediates.

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by bounceswoosh View Post

Thanks, John. Good points. I do the lesson club at Breck at levels 8 and 9, so I'm not super familiar with how a visitor experiences Breck lessons.

Amy, listen to him more than me =) But if you spring for a private, you can definitely call ahead and request a particular instructor. And please be aware there are many really great instructors at Breck. I was just riffing off of John's suggest about female ski instructors, and I only have experience with the ones who teach high level lessons. I am sure there are many great instructors who teach intermediates.

The ladies who teach high level lessons well teach any lesson level well.

Trying to book a specific instructor in the next few weeks will be very difficult because the demand is very tight. I was trying to get the ladies already mentioned for a client (I'm off with Achilles repair) and they already were booked.
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by bounceswoosh View Post



The ladies who teach high level lessons well teach any lesson level well.

Yes. It's just that I can't make recommendations for other instructors who may not teach the 8s and 9s, because I'm not in their lessons abd haven't met them.
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiwithjohn View Post
 

If you take a group lesson you most likely will not get Jen Losch or Jane Hamlin they teach mainly private lessons or Level 8 or 9 groups.  There is a slight chance you will get Jane Tarlow, it is not uncommon she teaches intermediate group lessons.

 

If you take a group lesson out of Beaver Run ski school the supervisor for adult groups will be Jacek (ya sick) if it is not his day off.  Try to get there early, about 9:45 (group lessons start a 10am), find Jacek and let him know what your experience was with the group lesson and instructor last year.  Tell him what you are looking for this year.  He knows his instructors well and will do his best to get you with an instructor that is good at seeking the clients' understanding and supplying very good feedback to their clients.

 

Good luck, have fun and ski safe!

Telling the supervisor who is organizing group lessons as much as possible is always a good idea.  The more info you provide, the better.  If you happen to have a sense of your learning style (visual, like to get more explanations, etc.), that's helpful as well.

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks again everyone!  I will definitely try to find Jacek and let him know what I'm looking for; and, just in case, if it's not working out I now know to find a red coat and try to resolve immediately.  My husband made some calls yesterday to the ski school and will be calling again today to get something scheduled. Can't wait to get there, I love Breck :)   (Wish I could have been there this week for the women's program!!)

 

Best to all,

Amy

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