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Lessons in Utah - Help!

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

I will be going to Utah for a short trip Jan 12 - 15.

 

On the 14th, my ski buddy (my dad), has a business conference to attend so I will be on my own for the day.

 

I'm thinking I'd like to take a lesson for at least a couple of hours that day.

 

I don't get many days on snow per year but I'm an advanced aggressive skier (would say expert but based on my technique I'm not, but in my ability to make it down almost anything within reason, I would say I am) that skies pretty much everything.  I've been to UT, CO, Whistler, and enjoy challenging and myself and always trying to improve on every run I take.

 

From MA analysis I have gotten on this forum (if it would help you answer my question, please look at my posted threads to get a better idea of what I'm looking to improve upon), I need to work on turn initiation and turn shape.

 

I'm not opposed to group lessons at all depending on the size of the groups and the level of individual attention I will get.

 

I think I would like to keep it to under $300.

 

Also have considered doing an hour early bird private lesson and then doing a less expensive half day group lesson.

 

So what mountain would you guys recommend for the best lessons focused on what I am looking for and are there any instructors in particular that you would recommend I try to book?

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcl116 View Post
 

I will be going to Utah for a short trip Jan 12 - 15.

 

On the 14th, my ski buddy (my dad), has a business conference to attend so I will be on my own for the day.

 

I'm thinking I'd like to take a lesson for at least a couple of hours that day.

 

I don't get many days on snow per year but I'm an advanced aggressive skier (would say expert but based on my technique I'm not, but in my ability to make it down almost anything within reason, I would say I am) that skies pretty much everything.  I've been to UT, CO, Whistler, and enjoy challenging and myself and always trying to improve on every run I take.

 

From MA analysis I have gotten on this forum (if it would help you answer my question, please look at my posted threads to get a better idea of what I'm looking to improve upon), I need to work on turn initiation and turn shape.

 

I'm not opposed to group lessons at all depending on the size of the groups and the level of individual attention I will get.

 

I think I would like to keep it to under $300.

 

Also have considered doing an hour early bird private lesson and then doing a less expensive half day group lesson.

 

So what mountain would you guys recommend for the best lessons focused on what I am looking for and are there any instructors in particular that you would recommend I try to book?

 

Thanks!


Would you consider driving to Snowbasin?  Only reason I suggest the idea is that the lesson prices are lower there than at Alta/Snowbird or Park City.  The Snowbasin ski school has a well-deserved excellent reputation.

 

On a weekday, any group lesson is usually small and likely to be taught by an experience instructor at a destination resort because they tend to be full time.

 

I know of several very experienced Level 3 instructors at Alta.  Shoot me a PM if you decide that's where you want to go for a private lesson.  Note that at Alta, it's possible to schedule for 2 hours and opt to extend for another hour if you like.  I've been lucky to be able to set up semi-private lessons with a friend or two, which makes the per person cost pretty reasonable.

post #3 of 28
I vote for a 2 hour lesson at Alta as well. Their ski instructors are very experienced and the pay by hour private lesson means that you can keep going if you are learning a lot without paying upfront for a half or full day.

I also recommend their afternoon mountain workshop. You pay $75 to be part of a group tour/lesson for the entire afternoon each day. One of the best values in ski instructions, in my view.
post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 
I'm thinking I would probably go to alta but looked up the prices at alta, snowbird, Brighton, snowbasin, and solitude.

Snowbird is too expensive.

At alta, or any of these places for that matter, the group deals seem like a great value.

How many people are typically in an advanced/expert group lesson on a Friday?

Would I get enough individualized instruction to see an improvement/get enough to work on on my own?
post #5 of 28

The 2.5 hour Off-Trail Workshop at Alta for advanced/expert adults for $85 every afternoon is not really a lesson.  That's why it's so much less than any "group lesson" offered by destination resorts like Snowbird or Park City.  Each small group is guided by an instructor, so can get a few pointers by asking questions.  There is a ski-off at the beginning to divide into small groups by ability.  Can be a good way to end up in fun snow when conditions are not stellar or visibility is poor.  

 

post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcl116 View Post

I'm thinking I would probably go to alta but looked up the prices at alta, snowbird, Brighton, snowbasin, and solitude.

Snowbird is too expensive.

At alta, or any of these places for that matter, the group deals seem like a great value.

How many people are typically in an advanced/expert group lesson on a Friday?

Would I get enough individualized instruction to see an improvement/get enough to work on on my own?


What lessons have you had before?

 

As background, I found that I could learn useful fundamentals in a couple hours from an experienced Level 3 instructor at Massanutten, which is a tiny ski area in northern Virginia, that proved very helpful for skiing at Alta and other places in the Rockies.  My coach told me early on that it would take a season or two to ingrain new habits, especially since I was skiing about 25 days a season.  Learning how to practice was very helpful in the long run.  I still work with him, as well as take a few lessons during trips out west.  Five years ago at Alta in April skiing Ballroom was a challenge in less than optimal conditions.  Last April I was having a great time on some of the steeper sections off Wildcat after powder storms, and skied Stone Crusher off the Saddle Traverse in soft cut up spring snow.  Was well worth the investment of money and practice time for me.  YMMV.

post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
Good to know about that off trail workshop - seemed like it was too good of a deal.

I took some lessons although reluctantly when I was a little kid.

I learned mostly by following my dad around the mountain.

Now that I'm a bit older and wiser, I see the value in taking lessons.

I took an hour lesson last year at a local mountain that was ok. Had me working on pivot slips as well as turning with lifting the tail of the new inside ski as drills to do.
post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcl116 View Post

Good to know about that off trail workshop - seemed like it was too good of a deal.

I took some lessons although reluctantly when I was a little kid.

I learned mostly by following my dad around the mountain.

Now that I'm a bit older and wiser, I see the value in taking lessons.

I took an hour lesson last year at a local mountain that was ok. Had me working on pivot slips as well as turning with lifting the tail of the new inside ski as drills to do.


How many more ski days do you think you'll get this season?  Next season?  If not that many, a group lesson on a Friday at Solitude or Brighton might make more sense.  You'll definitely learn something, especially if you ask questions.  Would you learn more in a private lesson booked with a recommended instructor?  Mostly likely yes, but it doesn't seem worth the money for an expensive private lesson if you can't follow up with enough practice.

post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 

I usually get in 10 days of skiing a year.

 

Not much, but one of the things I enjoy most about getting out there is trying to improve on each run I take, so getting good instruction in the one lesson I'll take this year is very important to me.

 

Are there no normal group lessons at Alta?

 

At Solitude or Brighton, are the groups typically large there?

post #10 of 28

Things may have changed over time but having taken the PM workshops at Alta for various reasons over the years I'll offer this comment.

 

The highest level group is basically a guided off trail tour. Strong 'get down anything' skiers that aren't really interested in a 'lesson'.

 

The next lower group is much more of an 'high level off-piste lesson'. People who can ski off the groomed and like it but really want to get better at it as opposed to just wanting to ski more of it. Interestingly this group usually has the more highly skilled skiers, more subtlety and finesse rather than strength and force.

 

fom

post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcl116 View Post
 

I usually get in 10 days of skiing a year.

 

Not much, but one of the things I enjoy most about getting out there is trying to improve on each run I take, so getting good instruction in the one lesson I'll take this year is very important to me.

 

Are there no normal group lessons at Alta?

 

At Solitude or Brighton, are the groups typically large there?


There are group lessons for adults at Alta.  A friend of mine took an Intermediate lesson midweek last Jan.  Can't remember if she was the only student or if there was one more skier.  That lesson was taught by one of the very experienced Level 3 instructors in Alta Ski School.  They worked on fundamental skills on groomers for two hours.  My friend is a Level 7 skier who learned in the Mid-Atlantic and only started skiing out west a few years ago.  She has progressed relatively quickly because she works with experienced instructors in group and privates lessons closer to home, as well as investing in lessons during trips out west.  Later that season, I booked a couple semi-private lessons with Kristen with my ski buddy  The two of us learned a lot and we are older Level 8 (of 9) skiers.

 

In short, if you are interested in learning fundamentals then head to Alta for an Intermediate group lesson and you won't be disappointed.  Better yet, take a group lesson earlier in your ski trip and then you'll know what to practice on groomers between more adventurous runs.  You might be surprised how much instructors can work on even on cat tracks.

 

Might learn something useful from this Beginner Zone discussion from the off season that was geared to aspiring intermediates who ski <20 days a season but would like to improve in order to have more fun off groomers during trips to big mountains.  I skied very little as a working adult.  I know what it's like to be stuck at what's commonly called the "terminal intermediate" stage for a few decades.  Still thoroughly enjoyed the few ski trips I took out west only skiing groomers.  But very glad I started taking high level lessons in recent years.

 

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 #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatoldman View Post
 

Things may have changed over time but having taken the PM workshops at Alta for various reasons over the years I'll offer this comment.

 

The highest level group is basically a guided off trail tour. Strong 'get down anything' skiers that aren't really interested in a 'lesson'.

 

The next lower group is much more of an 'high level off-piste lesson'. People who can ski off the groomed and like it but really want to get better at it as opposed to just wanting to ski more of it. Interestingly this group usually has the more highly skilled skiers, more subtlety and finesse rather than strength and force.

 

fom


I'm guessing, but perhaps what happens in the All Mountain Workshop group depends on the group dynamic.  I only did it once several years ago.  I was in the group with the least off trail experience.  But except for one man who owned a condo in Alta, the other skiers weren't asking the instructor who led the group any technique questions.  He gave us a few tips at the beginning before heading into a short off-piste section, but that was about it.  It was my first day after flying in from the flatlands so I was more interested in learning where to go than concentrating on technique, so that worked out fine.  I still have a good time in some of the short shots he showed us that afternoon when I'm skiing solo a day or two after a powder storm.

 

My friend who skied Alta with me that day was in the middle group.  It was his first day ever at Alta.  That group skied off the High T in limited visibility.  He had a good time but had no idea where they went.  I don't think that group took much time in the way of instruction either.

 

That said, the All Mountain Workshop is a great deal if you understand what it is and don't know Alta well.

post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 

Definitely not looking for what essentially amounts to a guided tour.

 

I'm definitely looking for solid instruction where a high level instructor is watching what it is that I'm currently doing and help me start to progress to what I should be doing.

 

As I've said I don't mind if that's in group form, so long as I do get a decent amount of individual attention (I would say a group no bigger than 4 could provide that no?).

 

Is the general consensus that Alta has the best instructors?

 

I've looked at the prices elsewhere and it seems their private lesson prices are better than the other mountains.

 

Just want to make the right decision here since I will be spending a considerable chunk of change on what will most likely be my only lesson for the year.

post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcl116 View Post
 

Definitely not looking for what essentially amounts to a guided tour.

 

I'm definitely looking for solid instruction where a high level instructor is watching what it is that I'm currently doing and help me start to progress to what I should be doing.

 

As I've said I don't mind if that's in group form, so long as I do get a decent amount of individual attention (I would say a group no bigger than 4 could provide that no?).

 

Is the general consensus that Alta has the best instructors?

 

I've looked at the prices elsewhere and it seems their private lesson prices are better than the other mountains.

 

Just want to make the right decision here since I will be spending a considerable chunk of change on what will most likely be my only lesson for the year.


Since you seem interesting in taking a lesson at Alta, look for a PM (envelop icon in top right corner for Private Message).

post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 

just as a quick update...

 

I've scheduled a 2 hour private lesson with an instructor that marznc highly recommended.

 

I'm extremely excited to get back to UT and even more excited to take this lesson.

 

Will let you guys know how it goes!!

 

Happy new year!

post #16 of 28

How did you lesson go?  I have a trip scheduled for 2/20-25 and like to take a lesson on each trip to improve my skills.

 

Could you send me the contact info for the instructor?

post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiWV1220 View Post
 

How did you lesson go?  I have a trip scheduled for 2/20-25 and like to take a lesson on each trip to improve my skills.

 

Could you send me the contact info for the instructor?


Welcome to EpicSki!  Are you skiing at Alta?  Or other places near SLC?  Where do you ski most often?

post #18 of 28

We are getting the SuperPass but will likely stick to Snowbird and Alta.  I'm a season pass holder at Snowshoe Mtn in WV.  I ski about 15-20 days per year.  I skied Jackson Hole for 4 days in 2015.  

 

I can make solid turns on all groomed runs.  Want to get better on off piste skiing.  I don't get regular access to bumps to practice and when I do they are usually east coast mounds of ice.  

 

I took a full day lesson at JH and got a couple of good tips but the real value was a tour of the mountain and encouragement to go places I would have shied away from.

post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiWV1220 View Post
 

We are getting the SuperPass but will likely stick to Snowbird and Alta.  I'm a season pass holder at Snowshoe Mtn in WV.  I ski about 15-20 days per year.  I skied Jackson Hole for 4 days in 2015.  

 

I can make solid turns on all groomed runs.  Want to get better on off piste skiing.  I don't get regular access to bumps to practice and when I do they are usually east coast mounds of ice.  

 

I took a full day lesson at JH and got a couple of good tips but the real value was a tour of the mountain and encouragement to go places I would have shied away from.


Next time you go to JH, book a lesson with @tetonpwdrjunkie .

 

As for Alta, I work with Arthur Haskell.  You can book him thru the Alta Ski School.  Or send me a PM (Private Message) if you want his email address.  When Arthur is not available, he gave me a list of other instructors.  My friends and I worked with a couple of them last season when he was on the injured list.  All Level 3 instructors with 15+ years of experience.

 

I have a lesson booked with Arthur coming up soon.  He was an instructor at Snowshoe before deciding to spend his winters at Alta quite a while ago.  He lives in central NC in the off-season.  I got his name from the owner of C&R Ski in Hillsborough.

 

You might pick up some ideas from this thread.  You fit the description of the people I was thinking about when I started it.  I was in that category for 5-6 years after I started skiing with my daughter as she learned (ages 4-10).  Meaning a flatlander mostly skiing <15 days in the southeast plus one trip out west.

 

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 #20 of 28
Thread Starter 

I wound up taking my lesson with Arthur during a snow storm that dumped about 6-8" on us in very stormy conditions.

 

As I think I mentioned in my first post I'm an advanced/expert skier that will ski pretty much everything at Alta minus the extremely hairy stuff so maybe my experience will be a bit different, not sure.

 

Immediately asked me about my skiing, my experience, what I think I do wrong and what I want to work on and then quickly had my skiing figured out half way down the first warm up run.

 

He demonstrated and discussed with me a couple of things he wanted me to focus on and then watched me replicate that.

 

Before each part of the run, he would give me some positive reinforcement, which is always good for the confidence, and if he saw fit, would remind me of what to remain focused on, or point out new things to keep in mind.

 

He took me to some awesome areas where I had never been before (it was my 6th time at Alta) and we skied some awesome faces with untouched snow.

 

It was a perfect mix of technical instruction, coaching and guiding for me.

 

Not only was it great from a skiing standpoint but Arthur is a great cool.  Super easy going and truly loves skiing and truly loves Alta.  We had a good time making turns together.

 

I would highly recommend him to anybody looking to take a lesson there.

post #21 of 28
Aside from the higher cost, are there any notable instructor names at Park City that come to mind?
post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelF View Post

Aside from the higher cost, are there any notable instructor names at Park City that come to mind?

Mike Wilwert, Jose Maghiar, Don Sears, Peter Strumpf, Thad McGowan, Bob Skinner (although I doubt you could get him).
post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by HardDaysNight View Post

Mike Wilwert, Jose Maghiar, Don Sears, Peter Strumpf, Thad McGowan, Bob Skinner (although I doubt you could get him).

Both Don Sears and Bob Skinner are awesome skiers, in the course and on the hill. Since they both coach Masters full time and Don is running the program, I think it would be very difficult to get either of them.
post #24 of 28

So I'm back from Utah and had a great lesson with Arthur at Alta.  I booked a 1/2 day lesson and we met at the Albion Center at 9:30AM.  Arthur assessed my skills and quickly gave me two areas of focus that made a huge difference for me.

He spent some time reviewing how the different joints work to allow the upper and lower body separation. He constantly reinforced the athletic position.

We took one short break and he showed me some video.  Then we went back out and he took video of me and analyzed it on the lift.

 

I was worried that I would get the value of $300 but he made my trip a very different experience.  I tipped him $40.  I'm not sure what the standard is maybe somebody could chime in on that.

post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiWV1220 View Post
 

So I'm back from Utah and had a great lesson with Arthur at Alta.  I booked a 1/2 day lesson and we met at the Albion Center at 9:30AM.  Arthur assessed my skills and quickly gave me two areas of focus that made a huge difference for me.

He spent some time reviewing how the different joints work to allow the upper and lower body separation. He constantly reinforced the athletic position.

We took one short break and he showed me some video.  Then we went back out and he took video of me and analyzed it on the lift.

 

I was worried that I would get the value of $300 but he made my trip a very different experience.  I tipped him $40.  I'm not sure what the standard is maybe somebody could chime in on that.


Thanks for the update.  Sounds like well worth the investment of time and money, which has been my experience with Arthur as well.

 

Lucky for me I'm usually with a friend interested of similar ability who will do a semi-private lesson with me at Alta.  Like the other very experienced Level 3 instructors I've worked with out west, Arthur is great at giving personal attention and direction so it feels like a private lesson.  Plus I get a lot out of what he does with my friend.  Helps to see a slightly different approach towards the same overall objective sometimes.

 

I had a lesson with Arthur in late Jan.  Turned out to be a powder lesson after a 16" inch powder dump the day before. :D

post #26 of 28

Since this is the latest thread with instructor recommendations for Utah, adding link to a related thread from Feb 2014.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/126170/utah-ski-instructor-recommendations

 

Does anyone have a current recommendation for Snowbird?  Solitude?  Snowbasin?

post #27 of 28

If you can get them.

 

At Alta, besides Arthur, I would also recommend Andy, (not sure his last name). Extremely knowledgeable. He's also a current Examiner for Intermountain. Also Mark Quaintance was very good.

 

If you head to Snowbird, Joey (steep and deep) and I think Maggie is still there. 

 

If you ever get a chance, Rob Sogard is a lot of fun to ski with and like Scott Matthers I don't think he does much instructing for the general public any more but either of these two guys can hook you up with very competent instructors at their respective mountains.

post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by dchan View Post
 

If you can get them.

 

At Alta, besides Arthur, I would also recommend Andy, (not sure his last name). Extremely knowledgeable. He's also a current Examiner for Intermountain. Also Mark Quaintance was very good.

 

If you head to Snowbird, Joey (steep and deep) and I think Maggie is still there. 

 

If you ever get a chance, Rob Sogard is a lot of fun to ski with and like Scott Matthers I don't think he does much instructing for the general public any more but either of these two guys can hook you up with very competent instructors at their respective mountains.

 

I have friends who stay at Alta Lodge who were happy with a lesson with Andy in late season 2015.  Arthur was on the injured list for most of last season so gave me a list of recommendations.  I had a couple very good lessons with Kristen Beard in April 2015.  A couple friends worked with her this season.  Last season, those two friends had a very good lesson with Connie Knabb.

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