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Ski Clinics

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'm an advanced intermediate skier who is good on the groomers but average in the bumps and powder. I enjoy working with instructors, and over the last two years, I've taken around 5 half day lessons. Although my skiing has and is improving dramatically, I'm still waiting for that breakthrough that will allow me to really ski aggressively off-piste. (For those of you who live near a resort, imagine how much this frustrates me as I write this post from the 21st floor of a Los Angeles office building).

I'm thinking that a several day clinic with constant coaching would probably result in quicker gains in comparison to taking sporadic lessons during my ski trips. Does anyone have thoughts on this subject? For example, for someone like me who will ski between 10-15 (and with some luck 20) days this year, is an intensive clinic the most effective option? And if so, are there particular clinics you would recommend in the western US (i.e., CA, CO, UT, or WY)? Right now, I'm considering the X Team clinic in Squaw Valley at the end of the month.

BTW, I just discovered this site a week ago, and I can no longer get any work done. I spend all day reading and exchanging posts about gear reviews and the Harold Harb / PSIA debate. When I am fired, I will ask your advice as to which ski town I should relocate to.

"Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put." Winston Churchill.
post #2 of 11
A clinic can do a lot for your skiing. How about our own EpicSki Academy??


post #3 of 11

If you want to ski aggressively off-piste, just go to Steamboat. They have a ton of gladed in between trail terrain at lots of different levels of difficulty.

In general, more training will help you learn faster than less training. But it may not be worth the money. If you're the kind of learner than understands quickly, but needs lots of practice to lock things in and you have the discipline to do the practice, short lessons would be better than a multi day clinic. If you're the kind of learner that skis better in a lesson, but loses the change afterwards, a multi day clinic may help you lock in learned improvements. But the quality of the instructor and the size of the group is also a factor. A top pro can get more done in a one hour private than a rookie can with a group of 10 for 5 days. Of course, many of the multi day camps are staffed by top notch pros (e.g. Epic Ski Academy). Some of those pros are not even available for private lessons.

At only 10-15 days/year, you can only go so far. For a long time, I avoided lessons because I did not want to waste vacation time. The thought of spending a whole vacation "in class" was just plain rediculous. Now that I'm teaching, I find myself taking a lot of multi day instructor clinics. It's been a real surprise to discover how much fun you can have while learning.

It sounds like you're ready to try a camp and find out for yourself.
post #4 of 11
check out http://skinastc.com

I did an early season, week long clinic with them at Blackcomb a few years ago - it was great. All instructors were PSIA III and we spent most of our time on the mountain skiing, not talking. At night, we had choice of learing about bootfitting/skituning or going out to party.
post #5 of 11
I'll have to agree with The Rusty that the number of days you ski is a critical factor. I was in your shoes for years, skiing 15, 20 maybe even 30 days a year. Last year I decided to really dedicate myself to it and skied 51 days, this year I'm on the same pace. I'm finally making huge progress.

To really learn something involving muscle memory I believe you need to do it 3-4 days a week. I play and taught piano, and could never learn a song playing even 6-8 hours a day on the weekends only. Playing 1 hour every day (for example) works much better (and adds up to many less hours a week.)

I rearranged my life to "work from home" on Fridays and during ski season ski every Fri, Sat and Sun. Then I whenever possible ski on a Tue or Wed morning for 2-3 hours and get to work late and work into the evening. That plus an annual western ski trip gets me the 50 days.

Tough to to I know, but even with this schedule it's taking me two seasons to really get good.

(Maybe if you're lucky you WILL get fired

Also the ESA is a GREAT idea. I did the ETU (only 2 days) this year and it was huge for me. Those instructors are incredible, you'll never match them at a typical ski school situation.
post #6 of 11

Welcome......puhleaze don't open the which ski town is best debate

I don't think you can do any better than the epicski events, unless of course you go to Dumont. Oh my gosh that's merely a joke.:

If the epicski event does not fit your schedule contact a ski school director and ask for recommendatios for someone to help you over the course of a long weekend. I'm sure he'll assign a level III cert, however, just to be on the safe side make it clear you want at LEAST that level instructor. Ask if any trainers or examiners are available.

Ask to talk to the person on the phone. Feel free to do a "mini interview". Hear what they have to say. Describe what you are seeking, where you want to go, listen to what the potential coach has to say. I just did that for thirty minutes last night although I was the person being interviewed! Customers from CU in Boulder are an exacting bunch!

I got the client.
post #7 of 11
Originally Posted by gkorn
(For those of you who live near a resort, imagine how much this frustrates me as I write this post from the 21st floor of a Los Angeles office building)..
You get my vote for weakest excuse.

You are only 4 hours from Mammoth and about 2 from Bear. When I lived in LA I did more free skiing than when I lived in Jackson Hole! And I could ski and surf in the same day!

You want to really get good? Save up your money then go to www.PSIA.org. (it pains me to say that) Look at the press release on the front page entitled 2004 National Team selected. Look at the list of the Alpine team. Start calling those ski schools and book as many full day privates with the appropriate D-team guy as your wallet allows. Personally I'd go with Aspen which has three team members and a manager to choose from including Andy who is at Highlands. And Highlands is great.

Looking at that list, It occurs to me that Vail has fallen off the map. What happened? I guess Aspen is the new instruction powerhouse.
post #8 of 11

We'd love to have you attend EpicSki Academy, January 23-27, 2005, at Big Sky, Montana. Our coaching staff is an eclectic group of experienced, certified coaches (most are/were certification examiners for PSIA) who have earned "Five of Five" for quality in student surveys for that last two ESAs.

(Eric DesLauriers, who is one of the XTeam coaches, is an ESA coach too!)

Immerse yourself with 40-some passionate students in a four-day clinic with expert boot alignment and video movement analysis embedded in it. We will be staying on the mountain at the Huntley Lodge and meeting after skiing in the Yellowstone Conference Center next door. Ski in and ski out, with a big breakfast daily, welcome party, and farewell banquet included.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
I appreciate all of your thoughts.

Nolo and bong, I'd love to attend the Epic Ski event in MT, but I can't miss that much work. I just got back from a weeklong Vail trip, and I'm missing two days of work this week for a Park City trip. Same problem with the NASTC camp in Tahoe, which looks great.

Sidecut, I agree that Mammoth is accessible. (I ski Summit occasionally, but it's almost not worth the drive). The 4 -- more realistically, 5 -- hour drive is not the problem. My job and my girlfriend are the problem! That being said, I'm dedicating myself more this year, so I'm already set to ski about 8 days in February, and if I don't do a clinic this month, I'll probably just head up there.

Thanks again, and I'll be sure to post a review if I make it to a clinic.

post #10 of 11
the girlfriend is easy to fix - get one that skis
post #11 of 11
I second Geezer's recommendation of NASTC (North American Ski Training Center).
Check out their website at http://www.skinastc.

I'm started doing clinics because most of my friends don't ski and I didn't want to go by myself. And also because I wanted a solid block of time to make a breakthrough to the next level.

I've done 3 NASTC trips in the past few years: Portillo, Big Sky and this past August Valle Nevado, Chile and my skiing has improved each time. The owners are Chris & Jenny Fellows. Chris is on the PSIA National Demo Team and all his instructors are Level III's or above and/or are on PSIA regional demo teams.

In addition to great instruction and no class bigger than 6 people, you share hotel or condos with your group and eat meals together and hang out together. I love that because then you have people to be with once the ski day is over, unlike some other clinics where you're on your own after the lifts close. There's a real sense of community. A big percentage of the groups are repeat customers (always a good sign).

What would make it good for you -- since you're in LA -- is they're based in Truckee, California (I think that's by Tahoe?)and offer a lot of 3-4 day and longer clinics that are too big a schlepp for us East Coasters to do.

Of course, I've just discovered Barking Bear Forums, too, and just heard about the Epic Ski clinics-- so now I'm interested in seeing what THOSE are about.
So many things to try!
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