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Several General Skiing Questions (Purchasing Skis, Lessons for an Intermediate, etc.)

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hi, I am looking to get back into skiing more this year and have 3 trips booked already.  Plan to ski Northstar for 4 days in early January; then Heavenly, Squaw and Kirkwood for 7 days in early February; and finally 4 days at Beaver Creek in late February.  This will be by far the most I've ever skied in a single year.  Below are my questions:

 

1.  I am already set to get custom fitted for boots with Bud Heishman in Reno before the Northstar trip as everything I've read this is the most important ski equipment to own.   I'm considering also purchasing skis as well.  Curious as to the best way to figure out the right skis to purchase?  Is it best to demo a couple different sets on the first ski trip or is it possible to just pick out a great all mountain ski and go ahead and purchase without trying? 

 

2.  I've never taken a ski lesson before and currently I can easily ski groomed blues and am ok on groomed blacks.  I'm not very good at anything ungroomed, moguls, powder, etc.   I'm thinking about taking a private lesson at Northstar.  Is half a day private sufficient to start with?  Also, does anybody have any recommendations for instructors at Northstar.

 

Thanks in advance for the help.

post #2 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowndes View Post
 

Hi, I am looking to get back into skiing more this year and have 3 trips booked already.  Plan to ski Northstar for 4 days in early January; then Heavenly, Squaw and Kirkwood for 7 days in early February; and finally 4 days at Beaver Creek in late February.  This will be by far the most I've ever skied in a single year.  Below are my questions:

 

1.  I am already set to get custom fitted for boots with Bud Heishman in Reno before the Northstar trip as everything I've read this is the most important ski equipment to own.   I'm considering also purchasing skis as well.  Curious as to the best way to figure out the right skis to purchase?  Is it best to demo a couple different sets on the first ski trip or is it possible to just pick out a great all mountain ski and go ahead and purchase without trying? 

 

2.  I've never taken a ski lesson before and currently I can easily ski groomed blues and am ok on groomed blacks.  I'm not very good at anything ungroomed, moguls, powder, etc.   I'm thinking about taking a private lesson at Northstar.  Is half a day private sufficient to start with?  Also, does anybody have any recommendations for instructors at Northstar.

 

Thanks in advance for the help.

You are going to have a fun winter!  Would help to know where you have skied the groomers.  Big difference between long groomers in Colorado and short groomers in the mid-Atlantic.

 

With a recommendation for an experienced instructor, can get a lot out of a 2-3 hour private lesson.  At Alta, it's possible to book for 2 hours with the option to extend for another hour.  I would think that's also possible at Northstar.  I suggest you look for a PSIA Level 3 instructor or Level 2 with 10+ years of experience.

post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowndes View Post
 

Hi, I am looking to get back into skiing more this year and have 3 trips booked already.  Plan to ski Northstar for 4 days in early January; then Heavenly, Squaw and Kirkwood for 7 days in early February; and finally 4 days at Beaver Creek in late February.  This will be by far the most I've ever skied in a single year.  Below are my questions:

 

1.  I am already set to get custom fitted for boots with Bud Heishman in Reno before the Northstar trip as everything I've read this is the most important ski equipment to own.   I'm considering also purchasing skis as well.  Curious as to the best way to figure out the right skis to purchase?  Is it best to demo a couple different sets on the first ski trip or is it possible to just pick out a great all mountain ski and go ahead and purchase without trying? 

 

2.  I've never taken a ski lesson before and currently I can easily ski groomed blues and am ok on groomed blacks.  I'm not very good at anything ungroomed, moguls, powder, etc.   I'm thinking about taking a private lesson at Northstar.  Is half a day private sufficient to start with?  Also, does anybody have any recommendations for instructors at Northstar.

 

Thanks in advance for the help.

Welcome back to skiing!

 

1.  That's like music to our ears!  Spending the time and money to ensure you're in a proper fitting, proper flexing boot ultimately makes a huge impact on your enjoyment on snow.  As far as skis, it certainly is possible to pick a ski without trying it first and end up very satisfied, but demoing is great if you have the chance.  Although there are a lot of great reviews out there (both here on EpicSki and beyond), every skier is a little bit different.  We'd be happy to chat with you about potential skis, but demoing is great if you can make it happen.

 

2.  What marznc said.  The more experienced your instructor is, the more you'll take away from a private lesson.  After half a day with a good instructor, you should be equipped with the knowledge and technique to start tackling off-piste terrain on your own!

 

Most importantly, have fun!  That's the whole point, right?

post #4 of 13

One thing that can help any instructor is if you know your best learning style when it comes to learning a new physical skill.  For instance, I'm a very visual learner.  So no matter what an instructor says, I can pick up a drill much faster watching a demonstration.  I have friends who need a detailed verbal explanation about why a certain movement is useful before it makes sense, even after a demonstration or even doing the drill a few times.  No learning style is better than another.  An experienced instructor will figure out what works best, but any help you can provide can shortcut that process at the beginning of a lesson.

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

You are going to have a fun winter!  Would help to know where you have skied the groomers.  Big difference between long groomers in Colorado and short groomers in the mid-Atlantic.

 

With a recommendation for an experienced instructor, can get a lot out of a 2-3 hour private lesson.  At Alta, it's possible to book for 2 hours with the option to extend for another hour.  I would think that's also possible at Northstar.  I suggest you look for a PSIA Level 3 instructor or Level 2 with 10+ years of experience.

Thanks, I am really looking forward to it!  I've skied mainly in Colorado (usually Telluride) and Heavenly in the past.  Never skied back east.  Appreciate the tips on the instructor as well.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skiessentials View Post
 

Welcome back to skiing!

 

1.  That's like music to our ears!  Spending the time and money to ensure you're in a proper fitting, proper flexing boot ultimately makes a huge impact on your enjoyment on snow.  As far as skis, it certainly is possible to pick a ski without trying it first and end up very satisfied, but demoing is great if you have the chance.  Although there are a lot of great reviews out there (both here on EpicSki and beyond), every skier is a little bit different.  We'd be happy to chat with you about potential skis, but demoing is great if you can make it happen.

 

2.  What marznc said.  The more experienced your instructor is, the more you'll take away from a private lesson.  After half a day with a good instructor, you should be equipped with the knowledge and technique to start tackling off-piste terrain on your own!

 

Most importantly, have fun!  That's the whole point, right?

 

Thanks, really appreciate it.  I was thinking about waiting until after my first ski trip to make the purchase but was unsure how much I would learn based on skiing a couple of days on the ski since I wouldn't think I'd have a chance to try a bunch of different pairs (don't want to spend my whole vacation swapping out of different skis).  I can get a really good deal on a set of 2015 Blizzard Bonafide.  What is your view on that for an intermediate skier looking to advance?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

One thing that can help any instructor is if you know your best learning style when it comes to learning a new physical skill.  For instance, I'm a very visual learner.  So no matter what an instructor says, I can pick up a drill much faster watching a demonstration.  I have friends who need a detailed verbal explanation about why a certain movement is useful before it makes sense, even after a demonstration or even doing the drill a few times.  No learning style is better than another.  An experienced instructor will figure out what works best, but any help you can provide can shortcut that process at the beginning of a lesson.

 

Thanks, I think I am definitely a visual learner as well but good advice.

post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowndes View Post
 

Thanks, really appreciate it.  I was thinking about waiting until after my first ski trip to make the purchase but was unsure how much I would learn based on skiing a couple of days on the ski since I wouldn't think I'd have a chance to try a bunch of different pairs (don't want to spend my whole vacation swapping out of different skis).  I can get a really good deal on a set of 2015 Blizzard Bonafide.  What is your view on that for an intermediate skier looking to advance?

For my first few trips out west after I started skiing more as a retired parent, I rented demo skis.  It was worth paying a little more to have the chance to check out a few options.  For a trip to north Tahoe, I rented off mountain and changed out each day based on snow conditions and advice from the ski shop.  I was an aspiring advanced skier but still spending more time on groomers than off.  My ski buddy that trip did standard rentals for the week.  He ended up doing an on-mountain rental the day we were at Squaw with 20 inches of fresh snow on top of 10 inches the day before.

 

You might find this Beginner Zone thread about demo'ing of interest.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/142999/what-is-a-demo-day-for-skis-a-beginner-zone-thread

post #7 of 13
Renting demo skis is a great idea. After swapping out skis a few times, you'll have a good idea of what works for you.
post #8 of 13

When renting the demos, you can put yourself in the hands of the demo shop tech-if it's a true demo shop.   They can pick the best ski for the day for you, or give you a recommendation and help you out.

Also if you're intending on buying skis, most will offer 2days of rental fees towards purchase.  That may help you at least break even with your purchase versus searching for the same ski yourself.

It maybe a tossup to demo on mountain (where you can do swaps midday) versus at your bootfitter that you're forming a relationship with who might be able to get you skis cheaper- since you're dropping a bunch of money there, and you have 4 days to try up to 4 skis). (See if they offer demos).

 

As far as lessons, if you're an intermediate, a L2 is fine, so you don't need to demand an L3.  Be sure to go on a weekday and hopefully within your 1st or 2nd day when you are fresh so you can maximize your learning.

I'm not sure but you can inquire in your booking if you get any lesson discount with a seasonpass.

 

 

Not sure, but it sounds like you didn't pick up the squawalpine pass, which does includes pretty good perks for lessons as well as demo skis rentals

post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowndes View Post
 

Thanks, I am really looking forward to it!  I've skied mainly in Colorado (usually Telluride) and Heavenly in the past.  Never skied back east.  Appreciate the tips on the instructor as well.

 

 

Thanks, really appreciate it.  I was thinking about waiting until after my first ski trip to make the purchase but was unsure how much I would learn based on skiing a couple of days on the ski since I wouldn't think I'd have a chance to try a bunch of different pairs (don't want to spend my whole vacation swapping out of different skis).  I can get a really good deal on a set of 2015 Blizzard Bonafide.  What is your view on that for an intermediate skier looking to advance?

 

 

Thanks, I think I am definitely a visual learner as well but good advice.

 

Bonafide:  Very popular ski in tahoe.  Everyone has this ski, and for good reason.  

As your eventual ski to buy or own, you can't go wrong with it.

For learning though, this ski will make skiing easy for you for better or worse.  It may cover up some flaws though and make it harder to learn, since the ski hides the issues, but it'll make your skiing more fun.  

 

I know first few days of a season, I can be a bit rusty and lazy on the bones but the skis will hide the mistakes and the skis will just slarve or just skid out of the way. If I switch to my skinnier ski, I then I can feel the technique mistakes more where I'm not starting or finishing my turns completely and the skinnier ski pushes you to correct your mistake.  Subsequently switching back to the bones, I'll be more precise skier.

post #10 of 13
If it is a screaming good deal for the Bonafides you could do worse.

The Bones are a most excellent ski. They are easy, playful and can rail on the groomers with good form. They are not precise or lightning quick so if you want a big pop off the tail and ravenous carves this is not your ski.

OTOH Blizzard nailed the flex, shape, camber and splay. These babies will sideslip and smear with edges safely out of the way while the edges are right there when you want to carve.

If you like to smear and surf buy them, your instructor may not like to see them on your feet, but it demonstrates your commitment to off-piste skiing. It appears you're ready.
post #11 of 13

Bud's a great instructor too. If you can't get a lesson with him, he can give you a good referral.

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Awesome, didn't realize that. I'll ask him
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Getting a full day private lesson from Bud so appreciate you pointing that at!
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Several General Skiing Questions (Purchasing Skis, Lessons for an Intermediate, etc.)