or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Beginner Zone › Teaching a newbie to ski black diamonds in a week? [A Beginner Zone thread]
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Teaching a newbie to ski black diamonds in a week? [A Beginner Zone thread]

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi y'all!

 

I'm a college student currently living in Scotland but originally come from VT and return for a few months in the winter. My Scottish boyfriend will be joining me for a few weeks and for some reason he has this obsession with skiing. We went together last year once to Bolton Valley as he is a beginner (only gone a couple of times in Scotland before that) and I had just had ear surgery a day before and wasn't supposed to be doing activity. He managed the greens and blues pretty well (tbf the conditions were the best I had ever seen that day) but this year he would like to make it onto a black. I don't think this should be a problem as he's pretty athletic (plays for Team GB) but how would you go about progressing someone that quickly? I myself am an average recreational skier having no problem with most of the blacks in VT but it took me a few years to get to that level. Training plans? Advice? Thanks! xoxo

post #2 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by skivt802 View Post
 

Hi y'all!

 

I'm a college student currently living in Scotland but originally come from VT and return for a few months in the winter. My Scottish boyfriend will be joining me for a few weeks and for some reason he has this obsession with skiing. We went together last year once to Bolton Valley as he is a beginner (only gone a couple of times in Scotland before that) and I had just had ear surgery a day before and wasn't supposed to be doing activity. He managed the greens and blues pretty well (tbf the conditions were the best I had ever seen that day) but this year he would like to make it onto a black. I don't think this should be a problem as he's pretty athletic (plays for Team GB) but how would you go about progressing someone that quickly? I myself am an average recreational skier having no problem with most of the blacks in VT but it took me a few years to get to that level. Training plans? Advice? Thanks! xoxo


Welcome to EpicSki!  I have a friend who has been living and working in Europe for quite a while (from Ohio originally).  European holidays can be so much better than in the U.S.

 

I'm going to page @scottydonald .  He's a Scotsman who's been able to get his GF skiing some blues and blacks in the Rockies after only a few years on skis.  Might have some suggestions for you.

 

So did he take a lesson at all?  Or did he just head out to figure it out for himself?  There are usually good package deals for lift ticket, rental gear, and beginner lesson that are well worth it to avoid developing bad habits.

 

Where else have you skied in VT in recent years?  Only groomers or do you go into ungroomed terrain?  I know you are asking for advice on how to help him improve, but it helps to have a better idea of what you are comfortable skiing.

 

Mod note: please remember this is a Beginner Zone thread when you reply

post #3 of 14

Should not be a problem; it's a question of attitude.  I can remember enjoying black runs when I had very little skill.  I could do a hockey stop, a snowplow turn and straight line.

 

I would recommend that you spend some time practicing edge control by side-slipping a few relatively steep bits, work it into a falling leaf (sideslipping down the hill while controlling which goes down faster tip or tail and also controlling where you are on the hill (left to right) as you do it.  Don't spend more than 10 of 15 minutes at a time doing this, it gets boring.

 

Also try to teach him to do a hockey stop, so he can use that if he gets going too fast on a run too narrow to turn uphill.

 

I'm also a big fan of private lessons if you can afford them.

 

Oh, and don't french fry when you should pizza

post #4 of 14

this is an interesting question... 

 

To me skiing is all about confidence... without it you wont improve fast....

 

AS mentioned i have helped many friends to ski and its all about taking them to the right run at the right time... sometimes even tricking them but before that its about judging their technique... never take someone on a run that they do not have the potential to ski that time on the run - simple or this will hurt their confidence... video it so they can see how they did...

 

Where are you going to ski in Scotland???

 

interesting what is his main sport???

post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by skivt802 View Post
 

Hi y'all!

 

I'm a college student currently living in Scotland but originally come from VT and return for a few months in the winter. My Scottish boyfriend will be joining me for a few weeks and for some reason he has this obsession with skiing. We went together last year once to Bolton Valley as he is a beginner (only gone a couple of times in Scotland before that) and I had just had ear surgery a day before and wasn't supposed to be doing activity. He managed the greens and blues pretty well (tbf the conditions were the best I had ever seen that day) but this year he would like to make it onto a black. I don't think this should be a problem as he's pretty athletic (plays for Team GB) but how would you go about progressing someone that quickly? I myself am an average recreational skier having no problem with most of the blacks in VT but it took me a few years to get to that level. Training plans? Advice? Thanks! xoxo

 

Totally possible.   It won't be pretty, but it's totally possible.

FIRST - get him boots.  Get him the best the best durn boot fit you can.     If you can get him into a race-level or close-to race-level boot fit (10-13mm)  then do that.    

Recreational-level boot fits are comfortable but slow down progress because the skier has less feedback from the snow.     This speaks to scottydonald's point. and somewhat to Ghost's.

 

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Welcome to EpicSki!  I have a friend who has been living and working in Europe for quite a while (from Ohio originally).  European holidays can be so much better than in the U.S.

 

I'm going to page @scottydonald .  He's a Scotsman who's been able to get his GF skiing some blues and blacks in the Rockies after only a few years on skis.  Might have some suggestions for you.

 

So did he take a lesson at all?  Or did he just head out to figure it out for himself?  There are usually good package deals for lift ticket, rental gear, and beginner lesson that are well worth it to avoid developing bad habits.

 

Where else have you skied in VT in recent years?  Only groomers or do you go into ungroomed terrain?  I know you are asking for advice on how to help him improve, but it helps to have a better idea of what you are comfortable skiing.

 

Mod note: please remember this is a Beginner Zone thread when you reply

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottydonald View Post
 

this is an interesting question... 

 

To me skiing is all about confidence... without it you wont improve fast....

 

AS mentioned i have helped many friends to ski and its all about taking them to the right run at the right time... sometimes even tricking them but before that its about judging their technique... never take someone on a run that they do not have the potential to ski that time on the run - simple or this will hurt their confidence... video it so they can see how they did...

 

Where are you going to ski in Scotland???

 

interesting what is his main sport???


Thanks everyone! Been squashed by coursework the past few weeks :eek I usually ski Sugarbush myself with a season pass but Bolton is the easiest to get to from where I am from. He's not taken any lessons that I am aware of but is one of those people that are annoyingly good at anything they try. I really am a recreational skier, I was an athlete myself and for a few years I was forbidden from skiing (worries over injuries) but do blues and blacks without much problem as long as the snow quality is decent! If it's too icy I worry too much and have no desire. I'm probably the only person on this forum who is not super into snow sports :) 

I feel like I should specify that we will be skiing in VT again this year and won't be skiing in Scotland (the white Christmas is a big draw as is the better exchange rate!) He's actually a hockey (field) player which I was surprised to find out as it is typically a female sport in the US. Regardless, he's pretty fit and has great coordination. 

I think I may just trick him onto one of those tiny blacks that you can take as a short cut between a green and blue or whatever. He can say he did one and no one is worse for the wear!

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by skivt802 View Post
 

Hi y'all!

 

I'm a college student currently living in Scotland but originally come from VT and return for a few months in the winter. My Scottish boyfriend will be joining me for a few weeks and for some reason he has this obsession with skiing. We went together last year once to Bolton Valley as he is a beginner (only gone a couple of times in Scotland before that) and I had just had ear surgery a day before and wasn't supposed to be doing activity. He managed the greens and blues pretty well (tbf the conditions were the best I had ever seen that day) but this year he would like to make it onto a black. I don't think this should be a problem as he's pretty athletic (plays for Team GB) but how would you go about progressing someone that quickly? I myself am an average recreational skier having no problem with most of the blacks in VT but it took me a few years to get to that level. Training plans? Advice? Thanks! xoxo

Quote:

Originally Posted by skivt802 View Post
 

Thanks everyone! Been squashed by coursework the past few weeks :eek I usually ski Sugarbush myself with a season pass but Bolton is the easiest to get to from where I am from. He's not taken any lessons that I am aware of but is one of those people that are annoyingly good at anything they try. I really am a recreational skier, I was an athlete myself and for a few years I was forbidden from skiing (worries over injuries) but do blues and blacks without much problem as long as the snow quality is decent! If it's too icy I worry too much and have no desire. I'm probably the only person on this forum who is not super into snow sports :) 

I feel like I should specify that we will be skiing in VT again this year and won't be skiing in Scotland (the white Christmas is a big draw as is the better exchange rate!) He's actually a hockey (field) player which I was surprised to find out as it is typically a female sport in the US. Regardless, he's pretty fit and has great coordination. 

I think I may just trick him onto one of those tiny blacks that you can take as a short cut between a green and blue or whatever. He can say he did one and no one is worse for the wear!

Yep, field hockey was a British men's sport long before girls' prep schools and women's colleges in New England made is a standard fall sport.  I was a soccer player back in the 1970s (unusual for girls) but had to learn field hockey at my prep school near Boston.

 

There are plenty of lurkers and newbies around EpicSki who only ski once a year.  They just don't post much.

 

Remember you came here for advice about "training" for a beginner who is an athlete.  A little "tough love" below . . .

 

My advice as an older skier who learned quickly as a teen, but then didn't ski much as a working adult, is that spending a little money and time for a group lesson on the first day skiing in VT is worthwhile.  I have no doubt your BF could figure out ways to get down blue and black slopes without ever having a lesson.  But he will probably be developing bad habits without ever realizing it.  If he thinks that falling is no big deal and should happen often as a beginner . . . he needs a lesson or two from a qualified instructor.

 

If you want advice from an instructor who teaches in VT, I can call on a few to reply in this thread.  But won't bother unless you really want to know the quickest way for him to learn how build fundamental skills as a skier that would allow him to progress quickly to being a skier comfortable skiing down any black in New England.  As opposed to just sliding down on skis trying not to fall too often.

post #8 of 14

If lessons are not going to happen, he can watch how-to-ski youtube videos for beginners.  There are many.  

 

Fearless, athletic, strong and fit beginners can have a blast without lessons.  On icy New England groomers (blue ones, not to mention black ones) they are a danger to themselves and others, but that doesn't cut out their fun if adrenaline rushes float their boat.  What happens with these beginners is they use trial and error and find something that works down on the easy terrain.  Then they lock onto that, repeating and exaggerating it all over the mountain. The problem with this is that what trial and error produces is almost always a dead-end technique that will fail when speed increases on blue terrain. The black groomers that he longs to ski will simply bring out the weaknesses of his technique quicker, before he gains speed.  Blues can be more dangerous than blacks because confidence allows the fearless to go fast before something bad happens.  When it does, they are smashing into others below them or into the trees.  Someone mentioned hockey stops; yes, teach him to do those.  But you already know on icy man-made snow those hockey stops take a while to stop you.

 

If he watches videos beforehand, takes what the instructors are saying seriously, imagines making those turns in his mind's eye frequently before hitting the snow (visualization is really helpful), then he will have a chance of getting onto blues and blacks and not hurting himself and others by skidding down out of control.  A lesson would be better.  Watching videos and taking a lesson would be the best of all.

 

SNUG (aka tight) boots are going to be very, very helpful, as already suggested above.  If you can get him in boots that have no slop, that are difficult to wedge his feet into, that threaten to hurt -- until he stands up in them for a while and realizes they are OK, then he'll have more control over his skis and learn a lot faster.

 

Enjoy your vacation!  Watch those instructional videos together and enjoy the stoke. 

post #9 of 14

I would pass on the boot advice. Just get a good fitting performance boot from a good rental shop. If you don't know what kind, ask the boot guys on this forum. Buy a super feet footbed, a green one. Put him in PRIVATE lessons, 3 hours day one 3 hours day 2, free ski, 3 hours day 4, and then just ski! As long as he can make a strong traverse and a turn he will have fun and be fine. Drink wine and wear a helmet.

post #10 of 14

Okay ... we're a little short of information here and the OP likely has schoolwork to focus on. OP says boyfriend will be here for a few weeks, but does not say how much skiing will be done. My general rule is if one plans to ski > 8 days/year, buying equipment starts to make sense. With respect to renting boots, you don't have many options. But simply renting from a ski shop vs the mountain will generally get you an upgrade in boot quality. You don't need advice from the boot guys, you just need to find a good shop. With respect to buying boots, I always recommend footbeds, but not everyone needs them. With experience, skiers will tend to prefer cork or plastic options. Good bootfitters tend to have their preferences as well and tend to have limited options for what they'll work with. I'd say choose the bootfitter vs choose the footbed. But we're getting a bit off track here. These are college kids and the presumption is they have limited funds.

 

The first question was, given the background, are black trails doable? The answer is certainly. The caution is that everyone advances at their own pace and that everyone encounters "stumbling blocks" along the way. I've seen people do blacks on day one and I've seen people take years to get there. It's all good. A go for it attitude needs to be balanced against taking silly risks that a beginner may not be fully aware of yet. But trying to talk sense into young male athletes is usually pointless because they believe themselves to be indestructible. Remember that the "black" rating is always relative to other trails at the same mountain. Choosing a mountain that is generally easier may be the best way to manage risk.

 

With respect to training plans and advice, getting a helmet is always good advice. Lessons are a question because 1) privates are generally out of the price range for college students and 2) there is already a history of no lessons. My recommendation would be a group lesson to make sure bad habits are not ingrained and see how it goes from there. The goal can be accomplished without a lesson, but I still recommend at least one. I love the idea of finding an easy black and seeing if that clears the bucket list item. The key things I look for are short (with a flat runout), flat (no moguls) and wide, not necessarily the least steep. As an instructor who often leads students down their first black run there are many things I look for to see if they are ready (too many to list). Conditions and traffic volume are always things to consider. Emotional state is another. Then we get down to the skiing skills necessary to stay safe. I've also found that when taking people down their first black that selecting where to turn, keeping speeds very slow and stopping at the right intervals are key success factors. Following a better skier is better than going solo as long as the better skier is purposely taking it easy. Whatever you do and however it turns out, celebrating at the end should not be forgotten. It is an important milestone in a skier's career. High fives at the bottom are better than premature apres ski activities.
 

post #11 of 14

Well we sure aren't short of information now. LOL

post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by skivt802 View Post
 

Hi y'all!

 

I'm a college student currently living in Scotland but originally come from VT and return for a few months in the winter. My Scottish boyfriend will be joining me for a few weeks and for some reason he has this obsession with skiing. We went together last year once to Bolton Valley as he is a beginner (only gone a couple of times in Scotland before that) and I had just had ear surgery a day before and wasn't supposed to be doing activity. He managed the greens and blues pretty well (tbf the conditions were the best I had ever seen that day) but this year he would like to make it onto a black. I don't think this should be a problem as he's pretty athletic (plays for Team GB) but how would you go about progressing someone that quickly? I myself am an average recreational skier having no problem with most of the blacks in VT but it took me a few years to get to that level. Training plans? Advice? Thanks! xoxo


1% athletes usually pick up on things much MUCH faster than the rest of us. I've seen a world class gymnast make very decent telemark turns on a blue groomer after a couple of days on skis. How did he do it? Natural gifts, and skiing those couple of days with a very savy and very good telemark skiing buddy who happens to also be able to teach simply, and effectively. The athlete also had a long history of 'being coached'.

post #13 of 14

Only 1%? I have been teaching for 20+ yrs. (even I am yawning at that) But without exception every athlete that I have encountered takes to skiing and snowboarding quicker than anyone else. It could be be in part to their athleticism, or it could be in part to the way an instructor approaches a lesson with an athlete. I am guilty of treating fellow athletes differently and relating better so it could be one or the other or both. 

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Wow, thank you all for all of the information! I don't think we'll be buying boot as helpful as they may be as purchasing and THEN shipping them back to the UK is pretty pricey. Unfortunately the skiing doesn't look like it's going to be the best with warmer temperatures and a severe lack of snow :/ so I will see in a few weeks. Quality of snow makes a big difference for me how steep I'm willing to go.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Beginner Zone
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Beginner Zone › Teaching a newbie to ski black diamonds in a week? [A Beginner Zone thread]