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PA, Usefullness of Instruction (warning: a bit lengthy)

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hey all, I've got a concern about taking lessons.... To fill you in on the background, I've been skiing about 15 years now, I'm 21, and live in PA. I can comfortably ski anything in-state and most anything on the east coast as long as it isn't moguls ( I know, I know .....). Crud, "eastern powder", glades, park, pipe, groomers, etc. are no problem.

I took lessons 15 days a year up until I was about 16 while my family skied the west, so I think I had a good foundation. I remember being 16 and at Big Sky when the instructor said if we had better snow he'd take me and my brother to hit one of the A-Z chutes, if that helps with my ability level.

The problem is I've been skiing so long and in what I would assume is an "athletic" way that I no longer have any idea how I actually ski things. I want to improve my steep glades/crud and bumps (I've even got a short new pair of SX:11's which should be an improvement over my old K2 Enemy 183's) to skiing but I don't know if taking a lesson on my home mountains of Blue Mountain, Camelback, Shawnee, etc will even be worth it. I mean, I've seen most of their instructors ski and I haven't been overly impressed (although the terrain isn't really there to challenge). With the terrain and low demand for high level instruction in my area is there somewhere in southern NY or eastern PA with a very good instructor or staff in general? Should I "burn" one of my 4 ski days out west @ Jackson Hole on a lesson?

As you can see, I'm not quite sure what to do about this. Feedback and comments are obviously appreciated.

P.S. I'm thinking that I may want video incorporated into the learning. I've played many sports and film study for lacrosse and swing tape for golf always proved extremely useful to me. Is there anyone who specializes in this kind of thing? Do most schools offer film? Is it even worth it?

post #2 of 10
I dunno, really. I'd drive up to Gore if I were you; just head up I-87. They do bumps and glades clinics. That place is bizarre, kind of secret and culty, full of 10th Mountain Division "snow marines" and the terrain can definitely kick your ass. That's your closest serious mountain, a 2000+ vert and gondola ... closer to you, Belleayre has great teachers and a huge vert (for the area) but seems better for intermediates. One would think Hunter had a staff with depth?
post #3 of 10
flyman683 I have a couple of suggestions. If you truly do have a good foundation then improvement will be found in the fine muscle coordination end of skiing. That refinement is best done on easy green terrain. On green terrain and slow speeds, the hiccups in your skiing become obvious to you. It also becomes much easier for you to introduce small changes in movement patterns that can produce big results on very easy terrain. This type of training will even improve your mogul skiing although it will not help you with mogul tactics.

You will find some of the best instructors at the cheapest prices stuck at small hills with no vertical and crumby terrain. To me, it sounds like a match made in heaven to go to the nearest podunk ski resort and seek out a top notch PSIA level 3 or equivalent instructor. You should even be able to find one close to your age.

Be prepared to book in advance and bend to the instructors schedule a bit. They are stuck in podunksburg PA for a reason and others have found the secret and booked with these instructors as well.

Another option is to sign up for an ESA event on this web site.
post #4 of 10
Originally Posted by flyman683
With the terrain and low demand for high level instruction in my area is there somewhere in southern NY or eastern PA with a very good instructor or staff in general? Should I "burn" one of my 4 ski days out west @ Jackson Hole on a lesson?
Gore is a great suggestion as is Whiteface both in NY. If you're going to VT then you might as well keep going past SOVT and head to MRG or Stowe.

As for Jackson. If your trip doesn't coincide with one of the many camps they have there then by all means sign up for the all day Mountain Masters groups. These groups SKI and you will hit a lot of terrain that you might never have on your own. Book all day everyday. The big one is a great mountain and you'll be skiing after your trip there
post #5 of 10
Wanna learn bumps. Take a lesson at MRG. My suggestong, is too take it when the bumps are hard and icy. Fluffy bumps although easier and more fun, allow you to fudge turns. Hard bumps will make you learn them "right". I would say MRG or Bush. I had a bump lesson at Sugarbush that was tremendous.
post #6 of 10
I agree with Pierre. I've been teaching skiing since the year you popped out of your mamma's belly (21 years) and work in southern PA (or DID, until this season), and there are pleanty of good instructors. You just need to know enough to ask for one. Find a level 3 cert or Ed staff member, and no matter how small the hill, you'll learn plenty.

Also, you idea of going with video is a very good one. But be sure to specify this well ahread of time, so that they can be prepared. I used to use my own camera and do video as a bene to a few of my better clients. If we didn't have time on the hill or on the lift rides (watching the little screen), I'd do some analysis at home and email the clips to them them.
post #7 of 10

PA, Usefullness of Instruction

Flyman, There are many good teachers in your area that are just as good as the instructors at bigger mountains. Problem is, they don't live near them. Good skiing is good skiing wherever you decide to apply it. I'm sure that you see some instructors that are not world class skiers, but they love to teach and are getting better everyday. But don't judge the whole ski school by what you see on the hill. Ski schools need numbers to teach the masses. Maybe you would like to become an instructor. Look me up! I teach at Blue Mountain and would certainly be able to help you with your skiing. I am PSIA level III Master Teacher certified. I love teaching and talking skiing. Good to hear that you have gone to a shorter ski. I can help you to work that ski. If you put in the time and do some serious practice, with a good coach, you will get better. Also, I teach a three week mogul clinic on Sundays starting 1/30/05. it's a really good deal. Go to skibluemt.com under special programs. Also we do video taping all the time. We could tape you and then see and discuss what's going on in your skiing. Call ski school and ask for Pat T. I would love to help you. Good luck with your skiing!
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks a ton

Thanks for all of the great replies. Pat, expect a call from me as soon as I'm cleared to ski again (I tore my ATFL in my ankle and am out till roughly February). If I can make it back from school in Jersey for a weekend or two hopefully we can set up some kind of lesson. If all goes well maybe it'll even be before my Jackson hole trip Feb 10-16.

Thanks again!
post #9 of 10
Get a hold of the PSIA office for the area you are considering skiing in---they should have a list of examiners and their respective ski areas......Call in advance and book one of those guys---just be ready they are the best of the best.

AND---nice post Pierre----absolutely right on target about perfecting movements on flat terrain---take the hill out of the picture and if your mechanical movements are off, it becomes obvious instantly.
post #10 of 10
Good advice here. Get recommendations, and book a private or two with someone who is recommended, or an examiner.
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