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Best time for lesson and picking a ski instuctor (Telluride)

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Background: I have been skiing for 5 years and from day one I absolutely love this sport and everything that surrounds it. Unfortunately I don't get much ski time, maybe 10 or less days per year (living in Arizona doesn't help). This year I am working on skiing 12 to 15 plus days (if only I could quit my job for 3 months and ski full time :)). I ski mostly in Colorado, mostly blues and would consider myself an intermediate skier. I own my own boots, but not skiis. I have skied down some relatively steep blacks that have been smooth. However, if the terrain becomes bumpy or I get into heavy crud, I have a tendency to get on my heels. I want to be able to ski down all blacks and eventually powder and backcountry. Becoming a better skier with a good foundation is very important to me. My goal is to ski more and to become an advanced skier and I know from these blogs that taking a lesson will help me to acheive my goals and quicker. Note: the last time I skied was in March.

 

Lessons are available for full day (9-4), half day (9-12 or 1-4) and two hour lessons (9-11 or 2-4). I am going to take a private lesson on either Friday December 18th or Saturday December 19th and I am looking for the most bang for the buck. So here are a few questions:

 

1) Should I take the lesson first thing Friday morning? First time on skiis this season (rentals) before any bad habits kick in. Or, should I get some turns in and take a lesson in the afternoon or on Saturday?

 

2) How long of a lesson? I am considering either a two hour or three hour lesson or would it make sense to do a full day lesson? Or maybe two hours on Friday and two hours on Saturday?

 

3) Are there any key words that I need to tell the instructor so that they understand my goals and how important this is to me?

 

4) Can you highly recommend an instructor or what questions should I ask to pick one?

 

5) Any other suggestions?

 

Thank you in advance!

post #2 of 21

Since all the instructors seem to be busy arguing amongst themselves I will take a shot at answering .

 

1)  I would get in an hour on skis and then take a 2 hour lesson.  This would give you enough time to get comfortable skiing again and then would give you the afternoon to work on what you learned in the lesson.

 

2)  I would think a 2 or 3 hour lesson would be plenty because the instructor should give enough...well instruction, that it will fill your head and keep you occupied applying what was learned for quite some time.

 

3) Probably not so just tell them what you wrote above.

 

4) instructors come in levels 1, 2 and 3.  You would want a 2 or a 3 and can ask for that.

 

5) There is an unofficial guide to Telluride somewhere on this board and I recommend reading it.  It helped me understand the layout of Telluride which is a big area.   The Polar Queen Express lift has a bunch of blue runs and several of them have pitches that are moguled.  My intermediate ski club friends enjoyed working on their bump skiing there last year. Revelation Bowl is another good area for an aspiring intermediate to work on upping their game.

post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiVibes View Post
 

Background: I have been skiing for 5 years and from day one I absolutely love this sport and everything that surrounds it. Unfortunately I don't get much ski time, maybe 10 or less days per year (living in Arizona doesn't help). This year I am working on skiing 12 to 15 plus days (if only I could quit my job for 3 months and ski full time :)). I ski mostly in Colorado, mostly blues and would consider myself an intermediate skier. I own my own boots, but not skiis. I have skied down some relatively steep blacks that have been smooth. However, if the terrain becomes bumpy or I get into heavy crud, I have a tendency to get on my heels. I want to be able to ski down all blacks and eventually powder and backcountry. Becoming a better skier with a good foundation is very important to me. My goal is to ski more and to become an advanced skier and I know from these blogs that taking a lesson will help me to acheive my goals and quicker. Note: the last time I skied was in March.

 

Lessons are available for full day (9-4), half day (9-12 or 1-4) and two hour lessons (9-11 or 2-4). I am going to take a private lesson on either Friday December 18th or Saturday December 19th and I am looking for the most bang for the buck. So here are a few questions:

 

1) Should I take the lesson first thing Friday morning? First time on skiis this season (rentals) before any bad habits kick in. Or, should I get some turns in and take a lesson in the afternoon or on Saturday?

 

2) How long of a lesson? I am considering either a two hour or three hour lesson or would it make sense to do a full day lesson? Or maybe two hours on Friday and two hours on Saturday?

 

3) Are there any key words that I need to tell the instructor so that they understand my goals and how important this is to me?

 

4) Can you highly recommend an instructor or what questions should I ask to pick one?

 

5) Any other suggestions?

 

Thank you in advance!


Personally, I prefer half day (2-4 hours) rather than full day as an older advanced skier who talks friends into doing semi-private lessons at destination resorts out west.  As an intermediate, doing the lesson in the morning has the advantage that the instructor can give you advice about where to ski in the afternoon.  Afternoon should be a mix of fun exploring and practicing one or two things.  Some ski schools allow you to schedule a private for 2 hours, and then make a decision towards the end of a lesson to extend for a 3rd hour.

 

If you can't get a recommendation by name beforehand, the advantage of asking for a PSIA Level 3 instructor is that they tend to have 15+ years of experience.  If one is not available, a Level 2 instructor with equivalent years of experience can be just as effective.  Simply asking for "best available" is not as good an approach when talking with a random ski school person manning the desk/phone.

post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiVibes View Post
 

Background: I have been skiing for 5 years and from day one I absolutely love this sport and everything that surrounds it. Unfortunately I don't get much ski time, maybe 10 or less days per year (living in Arizona doesn't help). This year I am working on skiing 12 to 15 plus days (if only I could quit my job for 3 months and ski full time :)). I ski mostly in Colorado, mostly blues and would consider myself an intermediate skier. I own my own boots, but not skiis. I have skied down some relatively steep blacks that have been smooth. However, if the terrain becomes bumpy or I get into heavy crud, I have a tendency to get on my heels. I want to be able to ski down all blacks and eventually powder and backcountry. Becoming a better skier with a good foundation is very important to me. My goal is to ski more and to become an advanced skier and I know from these blogs that taking a lesson will help me to acheive my goals and quicker. Note: the last time I skied was in March.

 

Lessons are available for full day (9-4), half day (9-12 or 1-4) and two hour lessons (9-11 or 2-4). I am going to take a private lesson on either Friday December 18th or Saturday December 19th and I am looking for the most bang for the buck. So here are a few questions:

 

1) Should I take the lesson first thing Friday morning? First time on skiis this season (rentals) before any bad habits kick in. Or, should I get some turns in and take a lesson in the afternoon or on Saturday?

 

2) How long of a lesson? I am considering either a two hour or three hour lesson or would it make sense to do a full day lesson? Or maybe two hours on Friday and two hours on Saturday?

 

3) Are there any key words that I need to tell the instructor so that they understand my goals and how important this is to me?

 

4) Can you highly recommend an instructor or what questions should I ask to pick one?

 

5) Any other suggestions?

 

Thank you in advance!

 

1) I'd suggest taking the lesson first thing, for a couple reasons. First of all, skiing is a large part muscle memory. If you immediately start with a lesson, the instructor is going help you start ingraining good movements into your muscles. If you start on your own, you'll start by ingraining the bad habits you may have from previous seasons. Then the instructor has to unwork those, and rework the right ones. Strike while the iron is hot, I'd suggest. Also, taking the lesson on Friday is better, because Friday is still a weekday, and you won't be fighting weekend crowds like on Saturday. That means emptier slopes, and a much, much better chance at getting a better instructor. 

 

2) A 2 or 3 hour lesson should be good. A good instructor will focus on one or two of the most pressing needs in your skiing, and will get you doing drills and such to address those needs. After that, it is a matter of repetition until you master those specific skills. A lot of that practice can be done outside lessons, especially once you really have the drills down. In addition, with your limited time on snow, you want the opportunity to get out and just ski as well. 

 

3) Key words to tell an instructor: Make me better. Then a good instructor can take it from there, and give you the road to better. 

 

4) In general, going in blind, you can rely fairly well on the PSIA Certification levels to get a good instructor. Ask for a Level 3 certified instructor, or a senior level 2. There are some very good Level 1 and uncertified instructors, but you would have to know them to ask for them. 

 

5) I'd strongly suggest having fun. :cool

post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiVibes View Post
 

Background: I have been skiing for 5 years and from day one I absolutely love this sport and everything that surrounds it. Unfortunately I don't get much ski time, maybe 10 or less days per year (living in Arizona doesn't help). This year I am working on skiing 12 to 15 plus days (if only I could quit my job for 3 months and ski full time :)). I ski mostly in Colorado, mostly blues and would consider myself an intermediate skier. I own my own boots, but not skiis. I have skied down some relatively steep blacks that have been smooth. However, if the terrain becomes bumpy or I get into heavy crud, I have a tendency to get on my heels. I want to be able to ski down all blacks and eventually powder and backcountry. Becoming a better skier with a good foundation is very important to me. My goal is to ski more and to become an advanced skier and I know from these blogs that taking a lesson will help me to acheive my goals and quicker. Note: the last time I skied was in March.

 

 

 

5) Any other suggestions?

 

Thank you in advance!

Ski as much as possible.   Find a mentor (friend/instructor/coach) whose skiing you like the looks of and ski with them as much as possible.  Get a handle on what are the essential fundamentals  of skiing  and practice those fundamentals regularly.   Discipline yourself to practice skiing part of each day you ski.  Be aware that  you will generally not build new skills in difficult conditions but on comfortable terrain.   Be patient with yourself.  YM

post #6 of 21

Dennis Huis (rhymes with ice) is a trainer at Telluride, and an expert at alignment and boot fitting.

 

BK

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 

Crank, thank you for your advice. I think a 2 or 3 hour lesson will be good and with a level 2 or higher instructor. Thank you for heads up on the unofficial guide to Telluride and Revelation Bowl area.

post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 

Marznc, thank you for the advice. It sounds like the 2-4 hour lesson is the way to go, with a level 3 (or level 2) instructor. It's good to know not to ask for the "best available."

post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 

Freeski919, thank you for the advice. I am leery of taking the lesson while getting on skiis for the first time this season, but I think you are right about muscle memory - I know how powerful it is. As you said, it will also give me the rest of the day to practice. And, when I am "skiing better" I will have even more fun!

post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 

Yogaman, thank you for the advice, I have a friend in AZ that I am planning on skiing with this season, which will be good and I am keeping my eyes and ears open for a mentor. I try to practice when I ski, but it is only from what I have read or heard from others. And since I don't know if I am doing it right, I don't practice as long as I should. I am better watching someone and repeating what they do (that's were your advice on the friend, instructor, coach comes in). I also need to remember to be patient - thank you! I have a tendency to be hard on myself and expect to pick-up things/improve quickly.

post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 

Bode, thank you for recommending Dennis.

post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiVibes View Post
 

Yogaman, thank you for the advice, I have a friend in AZ that I am planning on skiing with this season, which will be good and I am keeping my eyes and ears open for a mentor. I try to practice when I ski, but it is only from what I have read or heard from others. And since I don't know if I am doing it right, I don't practice as long as I should. I am better watching someone and repeating what they do (that's were your advice on the friend, instructor, coach comes in). I also need to remember to be patient - thank you! I have a tendency to be hard on myself and expect to pick-up things/improve quickly.


Since you already know you are a visual learner, it's useful to mention that to an instructor.  I'm an advanced skier and very much a visual learner.  I noticed that no matter how an instructor explained a drill, it always made a lot more sense after the demonstration.  For me, that means I like to talk my ski buddies into semi-private lessons.  I learn from their questions and what seeing what they do right . . . and what they do that that instruction is not as happy with.

post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiVibes View Post
 

Yogaman, thank you for the advice, I have a friend in AZ that I am planning on skiing with this season, which will be good and I am keeping my eyes and ears open for a mentor. I try to practice when I ski, but it is only from what I have read or heard from others. And since I don't know if I am doing it right, I don't practice as long as I should. I am better watching someone and repeating what they do (that's were your advice on the friend, instructor, coach comes in). I also need to remember to be patient - thank you! I have a tendency to be hard on myself and expect to pick-up things/improve quickly.

You are welcome.  Your first note to the forum sounded a little impatient.   If you train well you will improve.   You cannot rush the learning as the body will learn as fast as it can as long as your practice is sound.   Like I said, find a mentor.   There is a saying about medical school that says,  "half of what you learn is wrong,  you just don't know which half".   That's why the right mentor is so important, no sense practicing the wrong s--t, and there is plenty of that out there.   Many of the exercises I use teaching have a penalty if you do not do them right.  That penalty gives immediate feedback on performance.   For example,  learning to traverse a slope balanced on one ski, BTE or LTE on either foot.   If you do it great, if you can't you have to put a foot down to recover your balance, that's what I mean by penalty.    Good luck in your learning.    YM

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 

Good advice. Thank you. I have watched ski videos to pick up as much as I can. However, the angle of the camera (usually below the skier) makes is tough for me to see the actual relationship between the body and the fall line. I think seeing it in person will really help. Thank you again!

post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your advice and your honesty. Now that you mention it, I am most likely impatient - this is my first trip of the season and I have high expectations of how well I will do (not to mention I love Telluride). I think that I am also excited knowing that I have committed to taking a lesson and the thought of becoming a better skier makes me excited as well. You are absolutely right about being impatient - I need to not have the high expectations (the expectation that I will automatically be the level I want to be, after the lesson). I need to live in the moment and remember it will take practice and it will be fun learning and improving. Your medical analogy is good! I think it's the main reason I have been leery of taking a lesson - I didn't want to have to unlearn bad instruction (I coached Little League for several years and saw plenty of that). I believe mentors are important and I am looking for one. I need to move to ski country and find one :). What do you mean by BTE and LTE? Thanks.

post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiVibes View Post
 

Background: I have been skiing for 5 years and from day one I absolutely love this sport and everything that surrounds it. Unfortunately I don't get much ski time, maybe 10 or less days per year (living in Arizona doesn't help). This year I am working on skiing 12 to 15 plus days (if only I could quit my job for 3 months and ski full time :)). I ski mostly in Colorado, mostly blues and would consider myself an intermediate skier.

 

[snip]

You might find some useful info in this thread geared towards intermediates who ski about the number of days you've managed since you started.  As with any thread that goes past Page 1, there is some off-topic stuff mixed in with suggestions from assorted viewpoints.  Far easier to improve technique skiing 10-15 days in Colorado vs the same number of days in the flatlands (midwest, Mid-Atlantic).  Especially with the guidance of good instructors.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/137287/how-does-an-intermediate-adult-skier-in-the-flatlands-get-to-the-next-level-a-beginner-zone-thread

post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiVibes View Post

 I believe mentors are important and I am looking for one. I need to move to ski country and find one :). What do you mean by BTE and LTE? Thanks.

Being a much better skier gives you a certain amount of freedom on the slopes  that a struggling skier doesn't enjoy.  But it doesn't necessarily translate into more fun.  You need to educate your neuro-musculo  skeletal system.  You need to learn what your senses are telling you and how to respond to those senses.  Only comes with mileage and good guidance.   But the fun...?  Enjoy every minute you have your skis on.   BTE and LTE refers to big toe and little toe edges.   The two corresponding sides of each ski.  YM

post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the link.

post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 

Aah... BTE and LTE, got it. Thank you. Looking forward to the experience.

 

 

 

 

Being a much better skier gives you a certain amount of freedom on the slopes that a struggling skier doesn't enjoy. But it doesn't necessarily translate into more fun. You need to educate your neuro-musculo skeletal system. You need to learn what your senses are telling you and how to respond to those senses. Only comes with mileage and good guidance. But the fun...? Enjoy every minute you have your skis on. BTE and LTE refers to big toe and little toe edges. The two corresponding sides of each ski. YM

post #20 of 21
I am going to go a diff direction.2-3 hrs not enough for biggest smile. A full day with a L2 or L3 pro would be sweet. Get a woman if possible regardless of your own gender. Ask for a tour of her mountain. Enjoy the lesson. Specify you would like to be phone videod. You will have the whole day to explore, train, lunch (you buy), chill, video debrief, train, break. Give a nice tip. Maybe follow up with a short lesson later. Sometimes all day sm group (@4 of equal-ish ability) gets most bang for buck. Still buy lunch. Still tip. Have fun. Best way to enjoy a mt is with a local pro!
post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks Pat. Sounds like a fun day of learning and enjoying.

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