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What to tell instructor?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

We (wife and I) are traveling to Vail over closing weekend from the Midwest.  Most of our skiing is in Southern Wisconsin with our kids. We are considering taking a lesson when we are there.  I read on this site people saying "just tell the instructor what you are having problems with or what you want to work on".  In my case I guess I don't know enough to tell him what my problem is or what I want to work on.  I guess my thinking is that I would take a few runs and the instructor would tell me what I need to work on most.  Is this the way to go about it or do instructors want some type of direction?  

post #2 of 17

My personal experience is instructors will ask you what you want to get out of the lesson then watch you ski and build a lesson based on what you need fixed.  

post #3 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by weichmanski View Post
 

We (wife and I) are traveling to Vail over closing weekend from the Midwest.  Most of our skiing is in Southern Wisconsin with our kids. We are considering taking a lesson when we are there.  I read on this site people saying "just tell the instructor what you are having problems with or what you want to work on".  In my case I guess I don't know enough to tell him what my problem is or what I want to work on.  I guess my thinking is that I would take a few runs and the instructor would tell me what I need to work on most.  Is this the way to go about it or do instructors want some type of direction?  

 

It is helpful if you tell the instructor what you want to do and they can help you do it.  Do you want to ski trees, bumps, steeps?

Do you want to go in the race course?  Give them an idea of what your goal is so they can help make it a relevant lesson for you.

post #4 of 17

If it's a private lesson they need to match you with the right instructor. If it's a group lesson, they need to make sure you're in the appropriate group. Someone at the ski school will be assigned to have a conversation with you to make sure you end up where you need to be. Likely questions will be 'which trails do you enjoy & which challenge you'. They are pros & know how to get you where you need to be - don't worry about that.  Once assigned to a group or a private instructor, then they'll want to see you ski.

post #5 of 17
You do want to tell the instructor what you would like to get out of the lesson, even if it's in general terms if your not sure. My experience is the more experienced skier the more specific the feedback they can give the instructor. If that's not you it's ok to be general such as "I want to learm to ski ungroomed slopes or whatever". The instructors will get an idea what you need to work on technically when they see you ski.

The 1st time we skied Vail I pretty much had to force my wife to take a lesson. She loved it, spent the next few days doing the same and does lessons everytime we go west. She loves learning and skiing with other folks of her same level.
post #6 of 17

The first questions we usually ask are: "Where do you usually ski?  How much do you ski?  When was the last time you skied?  Have you skied here before?  What do you ski comfortably: greens, blues or blacks?   What gives you trouble?  Do you want to focus on that?"  If you have answers ready for these questions, or volunteer this information, your instructor should have a clear first impression.  After you go up on the lift, all we need to do is watch you make six turns and we should have a good lesson plan in mind.  Good luck!

post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by weichmanski View Post
 

We (wife and I) are traveling to Vail over closing weekend from the Midwest.  Most of our skiing is in Southern Wisconsin with our kids. We are considering taking a lesson when we are there.  I read on this site people saying "just tell the instructor what you are having problems with or what you want to work on".  In my case I guess I don't know enough to tell him what my problem is or what I want to work on.  I guess my thinking is that I would take a few runs and the instructor would tell me what I need to work on most.  Is this the way to go about it or do instructors want some type of direction?  


Have you ski in the Rockies before?  When was the last time you had a lesson locally?  Having a lesson towards the beginning of a ski trip is a good idea.

post #8 of 17

You don't have to be overly specific when you talk with your instructor.  You can just ask what (s)he thinks is the number one thing holding you back.  You can specify the type of terrain (bumps, steeps, etc.) that gives you the most trouble.  You can say your favorite type of terrain and say you'd like to ski it more smoothly.

 

Instructors realize that most of their students aren't particularly analytical about ski technique...  they're not expecting a long explanation.  Just a quick sentence and they should be good.

post #9 of 17

You are paying a lot of money for the lesson and it is your lesson!  Instructors want you to leave happy and excited about what you did that day and to go away with some new/improved skills/tactics/confidence so that you can enjoy skiing more.   Your desires and skiing goals create the framework for the lesson.  Tell them what it is - one sentence or less is fine!  The more information the instructor has the more fun and successful the lesson will be. 

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

Yes we have both skied in the Rockies numerous times.  KevinF summed us up well when he said ". . . students aren't particularly analytical about ski technique".  As I sit here thinking about my response, I realize that it is pretty much what I should tell my instructor - very comfortable on blues without moguls and I feel that my technique begins to suffer on steeper terrain.  I'm not interested in skiing moguls.  We are looking forward to building upon what we already know.  I'm more interested in finding out if I have bad habits that need to be broken.

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by weichmanski View Post
 

Yes we have both skied in the Rockies numerous times.  KevinF summed us up well when he said ". . . students aren't particularly analytical about ski technique".  As I sit here thinking about my response, I realize that it is pretty much what I should tell my instructor - very comfortable on blues without moguls and I feel that my technique begins to suffer on steeper terrain.  I'm not interested in skiing moguls.  We are looking forward to building upon what we already know.  I'm more interested in finding out if I have bad habits that need to be broken.

 

That sounds like just about the perfect  thing to tell your instructor.  Problem solved.  Thumbs Up

post #12 of 17

I am reading the bolded line and wondering what about bumps and steeps give you trouble. It is likely that in this answer you will discover a lot about your skiing.

post #13 of 17
I think a big part of the question is how much instruction you want vs guide/ ski buddy. A lot of people do not want drills etc on vacation.
post #14 of 17
Then don't hire an instructor. Talk to people on the lift, take a tour, etc. Spend the money on drinks for the company later.
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottrmartin View Post

I think a big part of the question is how much instruction you want vs guide/ ski buddy. A lot of people do not want drills etc on vacation.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottrmartin View Post

I think a big part of the question is how much instruction you want vs guide/ ski buddy. A lot of people do not want drills etc on vacation.


That may be true for advanced skiers, but intermediates from the flatlands who take lessons are likely to want to improve technique so that they can enjoy more terrain on future trips out west.  A good instructor does not spend the entire lesson on drills in any case.

post #16 of 17
Lots of people want different things from a ski instructor. Some want a shopping or drinking companion. It is good to be specific about your expectations.
post #17 of 17

The "a lot of folks do / do not want" phrase enters the conversation...

It's almost as bad as the "If I were you but still thought like me" stuff we get so often here.

The OP asked a simple question and it was sorted by post eight.

Simply sharing what situations give you trouble will lead to follow up questions like mine. The answers do not need to be elaborate, just honest. We train our staff to listen to what you say and figure out what would cause those sorts of problems. When skiing their observations confirm those thoughts, if they have asked the right questions.

 

Good Job Kevin

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