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Best places and programs for an intermediate RMSP+ holder to progress?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hi all! I'm looking for advice on the next steps to improve my skiing. Some background on where I'm starting from:

 

  • I'm 28, and this was my third season. Got in 13 days. Hoping to bump that number up to at least 20 next year.
  • I've got the Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus. I'm most comfortable in Steamboat, but we've been to Copper and Winter Park often enough that I feel good on those. I have no familiarity with Eldora.
  • I've taken at least one lesson every year, though this year was just a one-hour early in the season to get good habits back in mind. Didn't push my boundaries, but it was very helpful and I really liked the instructor.
  • I'd define myself as a high 6. Comfortable on groomed blacks, uncomfortable on ungroomed terrain higher than medium blue.
  • I say "uncomfortable" instead of "can't do," because I've learned to ski following someone who's been skiing since she was 4. I've tossed myself down a lot of things I really don't have the technique to handle trying to follow her.

 

I want to really improve my skiing in less-than-perfect snow, bumps, and trees. Especially trees. For those of you that ski Steamboat, Shadows and I have an ongoing war, and I'm not winning it.

 

Here's the vague plan of attack I've got, which I'm looking for more input on:

  • Off-season conditioning. I start every season barely able to make it through a decent day of skiing. That's gotta change, and there are some great threads on here that I've been trying things from.
  • I need to get some time on the mountain where it's just me and I don't have to keep up with anyone so I can focus on getting better instead of getting down.
  • Early season lesson, probably just half-day. Something I can build on for the season. My questions here are when to do it (what's the earliest point where there should be enough terrain open that I can go to spots that push me), and where's the best place? I'm leaning towards Winter Park, because from what little I know about the skiing world it seems like the natural place to learn bumps.
  • What are good runs to aim for at Copper and WP? Someplace where I can experiment without being stuck on something hopelessly out of my league.
  • I'd like to do Bob's Mogul Camp at Winter Park - is anybody familiar with it? Would it make sense for someone at my skill level, or is it aimed for more advanced skiers?

 

Thanks for all the help you guys have already given in other threads, and I'd appreciate any input you've got on how I can improve!

 

Mod note: moved to General Skiing so more people are likely to notice

post #2 of 19


One general observation:  If your plan is to take one, half-day lesson, and you expect significant improvement, you're not grounded in reality.  All the ski areas you mention have good instructors.  Take several group lessons and you'll find that each coach will approach things somewhat differently and you'll connect more with one than another.  Each coach wants to take you to the same destination, but will take different roads to help you get there.  You'll likely get at least one or two good focuses that click for you from each instructor.  If you can afford private lessons, stick with the instructor you connect with best, take several more lessons and build your foundation throughout the season locking in one helpful focus at a time.  It's like building a 10-story mansion of good skiing.  Keep putting solid bricks in the foundation and the mansion will grow.  Skip foundation bricks and the mansion will topple at a certain height.  Most skiers are not skiing the mountain; they're surviving it.  You can get very good at inefficient skiing and may, eventually, be able to "get down" most of the mountain.  You'll also be working much harder than you need to and will always be lousy at certain types of terrain.  You need to decide what you want to be: a skier or a survivor.  Every great athlete is constantly seeking out coaching.  Why do you suppose that is?

 

In answer to your other questions, let your instructor take you to the terrain that will help you.  He/she will also let you know if your skill level is appropriate for the mogul camp.

 

Good luck!


Edited by mike_m - 5/23/15 at 4:14pm
post #3 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by wewereschizo View Post
 

Hi all! I'm looking for advice on the next steps to improve my skiing. Some background on where I'm starting from:

 

  • I'm 28, and this was my third season. Got in 13 days. Hoping to bump that number up to at least 20 next year.
  • I've got the Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus. I'm most comfortable in Steamboat, but we've been to Copper and Winter Park often enough that I feel good on those. I have no familiarity with Eldora.
  • I've taken at least one lesson every year, though this year was just a one-hour early in the season to get good habits back in mind. Didn't push my boundaries, but it was very helpful and I really liked the instructor.
  • I'd define myself as a high 6. Comfortable on groomed blacks, uncomfortable on ungroomed terrain higher than medium blue.
  • I say "uncomfortable" instead of "can't do," because I've learned to ski following someone who's been skiing since she was 4. I've tossed myself down a lot of things I really don't have the technique to handle trying to follow her.

 

I want to really improve my skiing in less-than-perfect snow, bumps, and trees. Especially trees. For those of you that ski Steamboat, Shadows and I have an ongoing war, and I'm not winning it.

 

Here's the vague plan of attack I've got, which I'm looking for more input on:

  • Off-season conditioning. I start every season barely able to make it through a decent day of skiing. That's gotta change, and there are some great threads on here that I've been trying things from.
  • I need to get some time on the mountain where it's just me and I don't have to keep up with anyone so I can focus on getting better instead of getting down.
  • Early season lesson, probably just half-day. Something I can build on for the season. My questions here are when to do it (what's the earliest point where there should be enough terrain open that I can go to spots that push me), and where's the best place? I'm leaning towards Winter Park, because from what little I know about the skiing world it seems like the natural place to learn bumps.
  • What are good runs to aim for at Copper and WP? Someplace where I can experiment without being stuck on something hopelessly out of my league.
  • I'd like to do Bob's Mogul Camp at Winter Park - is anybody familiar with it? Would it make sense for someone at my skill level, or is it aimed for more advanced skiers?

 

Thanks for all the help you guys have already given in other threads, and I'd appreciate any input you've got on how I can improve!

 

Mod note: moved to General Skiing so more people are likely to notice


Which place do you think you will ski at more next season?  Can you ski mid-week at all, or just weekends?  There are advantages to skiing mostly at one mountain during a season that you intend to work more on improving technique.  Does not need to be the biggest or the place with the most complex terrain when you are learning fundamentals and then need to practice to ingrain new and better ways to make good turns with less effort.  Any place in Colorado with a strong ski school would do.

 

You didn't mention gear.  Did you get boots from a boot fitter?

post #4 of 19

Take lessons, several times during the season.  I've seen the most progress as an intermediate by getting a private to take me places I am just ready for (ungroomed, bumps, trees) and group lessons to build on skills developed previously.  I am envious of your location, take advantage of it.

post #5 of 19

I would recommend taking a one hour private if it's not too pricey for you. In one hour a good instructor can give you enough things to  work on for weeks, if not longer. In the past I've never gotten much out of a group lesson with some exceptions. Work on the stuff you've learned on runs you are comfortable on. No way will you improve your technique following someone down difficult (for you) terrain. When you think you've mastered the new techniques then it's time to go to harder runs. That doesn't mean you can't ski the harder runs in the meantime but you won't be learning much. And when you think you've got the new stuff down it's time for another lesson.

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

@mike_m : I wasn't as clear as I could have been on the plan - sorry for that. I intend to take several lessons, but I can only afford so many. The initial half-day is to start things off, but I was planning to do the camp if it's in my range. If it's not in my range, then I'll just do multiple lessons instead. I get what you're saying about the transition from surviving to skiing, though, and that's my ultimate goal here. I don't have the time or resources to become a true expert, but I want to keep improving as much as possible with the time I have available.

 

Your advice to find out from the instructor at my first lesson if they think the camp would be appropriate for me is definitely smart, and I'll do exactly that. Thanks!

 

@marznc : I anticipate 8-9 days at Steamboat, then as many as I can with Winter or Copper. We do full weekend trips to Steamboat, and just day trips to the others. I'm planning to do some mid-week days, but it'll be mostly weekends. I'd expect mostly Winter Park on those. I've gotten to prefer it a bit over Copper, though I couldn't adequately explain why.

 

For gear, boots were my first purchase. I got them from Boulder Ski Deals, got the custom footbed, and they seem to fit right from what I feel and what I've read. Got skis this season - Salomon Q-98's. I like them a lot.

 

@NovaLoafah : The big lessons will be the first one and either a 3-pack of group lessons or the camp. I do intend to do some shorter ones, though. Because...

 

@oldgoat : The hour-long private is what I did this season. There's a great earlybird lesson deal at Steamboat that I'll probably take advantage of a few more times. 

post #7 of 19

An early bird private lesson at Steamboat sounds like a great way to start off the season.  Even better if you can get recommendations by name for a Level 3 instructor or someone who has 15+ years experience.  You might try sending a Private Message to @Finndog to see if he has a suggestion.  He's the EpicSki Ambassador for Steamboat.

 

Do you know what type of learning style works best for you?  For instance, I'm a very visual learner.  So I do best with an instructor I can mimic who spends less time talking and more time skiing and then giving me feedback.  I have a friend who does better after very complete explanations of how and why a movement should be done.  I know there are instructors who have not gone through Level 3 exams (teaching, skiing) who are very good skiers and good teachers as well.  But I find it simpler to make use of the PSIA certification when asking for recommendations or talking to a ski school without already having a name.  Chances are if there isn't a Level 3 available, I'll get someone who has equivalent experience.

 

What I've found is that if I can tell an instructor first thing in the lesson what works for me, they adjust quickly regardless of their standard teaching style.  That's probably true for any instructor with enough experience to work well with an intermediate or advanced skier.

 

The reason I asked about mid-week skiing is that a group lesson mid-week can end up being a good deal.  My friend who did a "Beyond the Blues" lesson at Alta on a weekday during our late Jan trip ended up working with one of the more experienced Level 3 instructors.  There was only one other student at her level (7 on 9-pt scale).  When I was at Alta in April, I did a semi-private with the same instructor with my ski buddy (both Level 8).  We learned a lot.

 

I like doing a lesson when I'm going to have a chance to practice fairly soon.  For a ski weekend, that mean doing a lesson on Sat morning so that you can practice afterwards.  Note that I don't mean all the time.  It's possible to practice effectively for a few minutes during any run.  Learned several ways to do that during the first private lesson I ever had with a Level 3 instructor.  It was at Bridger before a ski week at Big Sky.  Finished a 90-min lesson with 4 drills to work on that made a big difference.  A couple could be done on cat tracks.  I still do them.  My Level 3 coach (also trains other instructors) at Massanutten practices all the time when we are heading in on the very mellow green trail that leads to the base.

post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by wewereschizo View Post

  • Off-season conditioning. I start every season barely able to make it through a decent day of skiing. That's gotta change, and there are some great threads on here that I've been trying things from.
I'm sure you've found threads on this with specific workouts and exercises, but the first step is to do any activity over no activity. The motivation factor is the biggest part of the puzzle. f it doesn't feel like "work" then you'll actually do it. Joining a class or other scheduled activity can help commit you to do the acitivty versus "plan to go to the gym but then flaking out at the last minute".
post #9 of 19
Glad you followed through with posting your own thread. A few questions, one observation, and two suggestions.

First the observation. You have the great luck of being able to follow a much better skier. Especially because that better skier is a woman. Don't stop, no matter your perceived struggle as long as she is encouraging. Just pay attention.

Some questions.

When you say you are comfortable on steeper groomed trails, what does "comfortable" mean? How do you perceive that you skiing? For example, fast to cover up things you cannot do slowly?

What skis are you using?

Do you think you have any issues with boot fit, body alignment mechanics, or other "I get it, but I can't do it" issues?

Are groomed trails on a storm day still comfortable? If not, why not?

Can you day trip to WP and Copper by yourself?

A couple of suggestions.

Take up mountain biking. This provides a year round downhill brain focus. Depriving your brain of a season off of downhill terrain evaluation will mean you can ski tactically on day one of the season. The fitness benefits for body will translate directly as long as you earn your downhills.

Ski Parsenn Bowl at Winter Park on storm days. There is an excellent variety of tree runs at moderate pitches lapping the same lift all day.

I won't drum beat about lessons. People learn in different ways. Hopefully you are a visual learner smile.gif.
post #10 of 19

I'm copying this another post:

 

Winter Park has a few different options which are one day, three day, or multiple weekend programs. (2014-15 programs)

 

http://www.winterparkresort.com/plan-your-trip/lessons/adult-camps.aspx

 

Bob's Bump Jamboree

1 day camps for total mogul immersion $109/day although I've seen the price reduced for RMSP passholders

 

Bob's Mogul Camp

3 days with video, etc. $519

 

The other offerings are actually through the competition center instead of the ski school.

 

http://www.winterparkresort.com/events-and-activities/competition-center/programs.aspx

 

All Terrain Adult Program

Are your kids skiing faster than you? Then ski with the Competition Center’s most experienced coaches in a casual format designed for breakthroughs in skiing moguls, crud, and all variable snow conditions. This is a program that will explore the mountain at your pace accomplishing your skiing goals. Get ready to take advantage of new overnight snow, or maybe new tactics in a NASTAR course, because we’ll be skiing All Terrain!

Not a Parent? Not a problem! Join the Adult All Terrain Program for a true all-mountain experience. Don’t plateau; go downhill!

2015 Dates:

Session 1- Saturdays or Sundays  Jan 10 thru Feb 8

Session 2- Saturdays or Sundays Feb 21 thru Mar 22

Cost:  $300/session, $500 for both. Drop-in days Jan 11 & Feb 22 $50/day, subtracted from session fees if then enrolled. Season pass not included.

 

http://www.winterparkresort.com/events-and-activities/competition-center/programs/program-detail/all-terrain-adult-program.aspx

 

 

Freestyle Adult Masters Program

Written up in the Denver Post as a sure bet for adult skiers looking to continue to improve their skills and ability to ski difficult terrain, the Freestyle Masters is a unique adult ski program. The program was formed in 1989 and is going strong with over 35 members. The Freestyle Masters will teach you the skills necessary to become a stronger skier and challenge you daily. The coaching staff consists of former Pro Mogul Tour and US Ski Team athletes who know what it takes to develop all mountain and mogul skills. While you will learn new skills on moderate terrain, the coaches will progress you to more difficult terrain as you become more proficient. Skiing with the freestyle masters means you will always have a group of ski enthusiasts to ski with and ski hard.

 

 To sum up the freestyle masters a quote from Coach Mark Kahre: "masters are focused on becoming the best skiers they can be. the passion we share for the sport has created a very close knit unit. We combine the social aspect with expert instruction. I am not aware of any other program like this."

 

Ideal candidate- strong intermediate skier who loves the challenge of skiing moguls and is in good physical condition. Coaching is offered three times a week, since proficiency can best be attained with regular training over a whole season.

 

See the link for one-day/week, unlimited, and drop-in programs.

 

http://www.winterparkresort.com/events-and-activities/competition-center/programs/program-detail/freestyle-masters.aspx

 

For the master's program, I'd probably just be looking for drop-in sessions where you need to purchase 6.

 

Here is the article from the Denver Post on the program:

 

http://www.denverpost.com/ci_17547369

post #11 of 19
Quote: [Post #1]
Originally Posted by wewereschizo View Post
 

Hi all! I'm looking for advice on the next steps to improve my skiing. Some background on where I'm starting from:

 

  • I'm 28, and this was my third season. Got in 13 days. Hoping to bump that number up to at least 20 next year.

​[snip]

 

Here's the vague plan of attack I've got, which I'm looking for more input on:

  • Off-season conditioning. I start every season barely able to make it through a decent day of skiing. That's gotta change, and there are some great threads on here that I've been trying things from.

[snip]

Have you found this thread in Fitness, Health?  Good stuff for hips from a trainer specifically geared towards skiing.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/126100/off-snow-exercises-to-correct-turn-asymmetries

 

My personal trainer showed me the 7-min workout last year.  It's handy when I'm traveling during the off-season because it doesn't require any exercise equipment.  Using the website (free) or app (cheap) makes it easy because there's no thinking involved.  Includes wall-sit, plank, and squats, which are all considered very relevant for ski conditioning.  Done once several times a week, it's short and to the point as a start for improving fitness.  Good to add a few stretches afterwards.

post #12 of 19
If I can be of any help, please let me know.
post #13 of 19
Given your stated goals, the WP multi day camps sound great and a worthwhile investment in your skiing.

Since you live in Colorado and have plenty of opportunity to ski, the all day, multi day clinic program would be your best bet.

In many all day lessons, part of the lesson is learning new skills or tactics followed by lots of mileage where you can practice those skills with feedback from your instructor.

Yes, practice on your own after a lesson is important but sometimes we think we are doing things differently than we are. Skiing with others who can observe and give feedback is an important part of the process.
I am not a fan of the 1 hour private from both the instructor and student perspective. There are better ways to improve.


The multi week programs can also be a great way to meet skiers of similar abilty and you will likely have a whole new set of skiing friends.

To the extent you can, get specific names of instructors. Yes, certification and experience are factors but there is a wide range of personality and skills. Since you are on this forum, you should have no problem getting specific names.
post #14 of 19

My humble advice is:

 

+1 for multi-day camps. Multi-day lets an instructor take you through a longer progression that can really guide you from "here" to "there" that is not easy to do in a one=off lesson. Plus it allows you to work on what your learned in between lessons to really integrate it into your skiing.

 

If you can't do that, go to Mary Jane and sign up for the Max:Four  half day lesson. Often it becomes a virtual private, especially if you are there during the week. It's a great buy.

 

Terrain at WP for practicing:

Bumps

  • is Over n' Underwood (blue black) and the run directly skier's left of it.(easy black) these are forgiving bumps with a sustained pitch and a straight (more or less) fall line.
  • After that Upper Arrowhead Loop on the Mary Jane side (above the top of the Pony express, but below the top of Iron Horse). Really nice, well spaced bumps that are a little hard to get to so they stay smallish. You get there by taking Side Track bumps off the top. (a little bigger and steeper but still blue-black). then cut skier's left through the whoopdeedoos under the SuperGuage lift through the tree slot to upper arrowhead.
  • Then there's the eternal bump run under the Panorama Express on the MJ side. It is not a straight fall-line so it's a bit more challenging but not steep.
  • Bump runs with a bailout are on the sides of Sleeper, Cramner and Bradley's Bash (usually)

 

Trees

  • The Parsenn trees are one of the very best places to get practice skiing trees. IMO better than the 'boat because they are in between the steepness of the 'boat's back side which is basically flat and the Closets/shadows etc. which are putting you at war as you say. There are nearly endless ways to go through those trees. Start with the named runs and then go adventuring. Stay skier's right off the Panoramic Express, take the road on the right along the fence-line and then make a left into the trees wherever you are inspired. you will pass under the lift, just cross it like a highway and keep in the trees. You will have a blast.
  • WP side, not so many tree options, but you can start with the really easy Tweedle Dum glade off the Looking Glass lift
  • Vasquez side has some easy trees you can see from the Pioneer Express lift
  • Eagle Wind (don't go there yet) but... Off the Thunderbird Traverse toward Eagle Wind there is a nice glade that is rarely skied, so it keeps fresh snow. It is fairly flat and runs between the traverse and Village Way. Because it isn't skied a lot, don't go in there alone. If you fall you might never be found!
  • Drunken Frenchman Trees when you get more confident in steeper trees. It used to be really tight, more advanced trees but the bark beetle destroyed so much of it that it's now an open, much easier glade. Warning: it empties out onto Outhouse (giant bumps) if you go too far left.
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the advice, everyone! I've got it all saved where I'll be able to remember things as the season approaches (and the 7-minute workout bookmarked for the whole offseason). You folks are fantastic. 

post #16 of 19

If you would like to get a sense of your weaknesses in terms of fitness, check out the self-evaluation in Bumps for Boomers (Video 2).  The Phase I is a good place to start on deliberate ski conditioning for anyone, not just boomers IMHO.

 

http://www.bumpsforboomers.com/basic-ski-fitness-free-online-video-skiing-exercises

post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 

I did Bob's Mogul Camp at Winter Park over the weekend and it was fantastic. I learned a ton, and feel much more confident all over the mountain.

 

Easily the biggest improvement was just getting myself forward. I've never been able to ski more than 4 hours in a day because my quads would give up long before then (and my last runs were always pathetic to watch). Getting the video and some drills made it a lot easier to realize what "forward" actually feels like. The instructor also noticed that even with my buckles cranked all the way I was still loose, because of my tiny chicken legs, and we through some trail maps between the liner and the shell. Definitely helped a lot, but I'm going to head over to a proper boot fitter before my next trip.

 

I would highly recommend this camp to anyone who wants to improve their bump skiing. Looking forward to Steamboat in two weeks to get some more reps of the new skills!

post #18 of 19

I'm a 20+yr instructor and have great results with my students.  If you are interested in a 1 on 1 lesson at Copper or WP I'm your huckleberry.  I know Copper better and to be honest the terrain is laid out naturally and separates the abilities.  The Black runs are on one side of the mountain and it progresses to green as you move across the mountain.  There are less crowds there and you will have the space to practice and do drills without skiers/boarders buzzing you.  WP is a great mountain but is inherently busier due to its proximity to Denver.  Let me know if you are interested in skiing with me, it will be fun and worthwhile, I promise!

post #19 of 19

I'm a 20+yr instructor and have great results with my students.  If you are interested in a 1 on 1 lesson at Copper or WP I'm your huckleberry.  I know Copper better and to be honest the terrain is laid out naturally and separates the abilities.  The Black runs are on one side of the mountain and it progresses to green as you move across the mountain.  There are less crowds there and you will have the space to practice and do drills without skiers/boarders buzzing you.  WP is a great mountain but is inherently busier due to its proximity to Denver.  Let me know if you are interested in skiing with me, it will be fun I promise!

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