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How many Lessons?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
In response to a recent post, someone asked: "Do your kids really need 20 lessons", or something to that effect. My kids are 5 (boy) and 9 (girl) years. My nine year old has been skiing for 5+ years, and my 5 year old, for 2+ years. We have a home in Utah. I do a lot of skiing with my wife (She rips)! Skiing is a very important part of our lives. On average, we get up the hill about 25-30X/yr.
Since my daughter has been 4, she has taken between 12-20 private lessons/year. (She rips too). We tried group lessons, but she hated them. (Eight kids...going over each others' skis; running into each other; having to go to the potty). As soon as we placed her into privates, her entire attitude towards the sport changed. Now, she loves it. In fact, she can just about handle any type situation.
My son has been in privates for 2+ years. He is starting to feel very comfortable on the Blues of Utah, and he loves skiing.
Everyday, my wife and I ski together in the morning, and then take a few runs with our children, before heading in for whatever. We also, ski 1/2 days with our children about 10X/yr.
THe problem is that if it were not for private ski lessons, my wife and I would not be able to ski as much as we do together; my kids would not enjoy skiing as much as the do (at 5 and 9); they certainly would not be as good as they are; and skiing with my kids would probably not be as enjoyable as it is. Of course, this all comes at great expense, and I am by no means rich.
Have I done things wrong? How many lessons are "enough"? In current $$, it will cost me $35-$40K/yr/child to send them to college. Isn't giving them a proper ski "education" worth it?
post #2 of 23
Canyons

thanks for your post. I thought I was the only one thinking along these lines. I have 2 kids - 7 and 11. both have been skiing since they were 5. I have always been putting them in Group lessons. I take my kids skiing about 10 days a year. some of my reasons are the same as yours. 1) My kids ski blues and I won't get much skiing done (on blacks and double blacks) If I ski with them. 2) my kids enjoy group lessons.

Every ski trip - i ski with my kids for one day. But I see other parents ski with their kids all the time. I have always wondered - whether I am the only a) parent foolish enough to spend money on lessons or b) parent - not patient enough - to teach his own kids or c) selfish parent - who is more interested in his own skiing.

It feels good to note that i am not the only one in this boat.
post #3 of 23
Lessons are great! Every time I ski, I thank my Dad for making us take lessons as a kid. We took group, private, and family group lessons every season as we were growing up. He gave us a sport that we can probably participate in for the rest of our lives. After family lessons, we would ski together and work on what we had learned. We had a great time!

All I can say now is "Thanks, Dad!"
post #4 of 23
I've got 3 kids that have been skiing since they were 3yo. None of them have ever taken a lesson and they ski on par with thier friends who have taken lessons. If they stop progressing I will consider a lesson but until then I'll spend that money on beer instead.

Edit: 15 years ago I was a level 2 Instructor and a level 2 coach. That may have some impact on my kids ability. That and the fact that they ski 30-40 days a year.
post #5 of 23
Why not a race team? The kids won't ski over each other, and they'll have good coaching.
post #6 of 23
Wow, 20 private lessons per year? That can't be cheap.

My son no longer takes lessons, other than race training/race camp. When he is freeskiing, we usually ski together. Race training is also not cheap, although probably cheaper than 20 private lessons. I would guess it is a better value in terms of the instruction gained and in terms of what he is learning about commitment and participation.

It does free me to ski O/B and to cut loose a bit more than I would otherwise, but my son is now capable at 10 of keeping up with me on most terrain - a good testament to the value of race training outside of the course as well.
post #7 of 23
Hey Canyons,

Will you adopt me?!?!?!

PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASE??????!!!!
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lurking bear
Hey Canyons,

Will you adopt me?!?!?!

PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASE??????!!!!
I am sure that you are nice, but, believe me, two are enough!!!
post #9 of 23
I personally think there is no substitute to working with your kids on your own (caveat: I used to teach skiing myself). We make a point to spend at least one day of the week working w/ the kids on technique and another day just free-skiing for mileage. At this point all the hard work has payed off, as both (9 & 6) can now ski just about anything on the mountain, including steeps and powder. I think, as with all sports, that you have to put in the hard work and some sacrifice in order to enjoy the latter years.

Powdr

Edit to add: Now that they are a little older, they want to go through the whole farm team thing, which I have deep reservations about.
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canyons
In response to a recent post, someone asked: "Do your kids really need 20 lessons", or something to that effect.
No. But my kids say that I do.
:
post #11 of 23
Lots of ski areas have seasonal programs that focus just as much on camaraderie and fun as they do on technique. With the freeskiing community becoming so widely marketed, many of these programs don't focus just on racing, but cover the spectrum of 'stuff you can do on skis'. The best programs are the ones where the kids stay with the same coach/instructor through the whole season. When I taught at Sugarloaf, the program was called 'Bubblecuffers' - from 7 year olds to 13-15year olds (who usually went into either racing or junior instructors at that point) - the kids would have a blast and we always thought of it as organized chaos with greater comfort on skis resulting! Look into programs beyond the private lesson vs. group lesson scene and you might be surprised.
post #12 of 23
Unless you're totally into the new equipment and the advances in technique it provides, you probably aren't really helping your kids if you become their instructor.

I'd think that kids who already are skiing at a pretty decent level of ability would have a good time in group programs for better skiing kids. That might be a better deal per dollar of free-time for mom and dad to ski together.
post #13 of 23
My son started off in a ski nursery at 2 years old. I insisted that he take a ski week of group lessons (5 days) uintil he was 18. There were a few years of 4 hours per day programs such as SuperStars at Killington. Some years he loved the idea. And we would ski together in the afternoons. After 15, he didn't want lessons at all. And he didn't want to spend the afternoons with his mother and me. But we worked it all out. Some weeks there were big breakthoughs.
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by gotamagal
Lots of ski areas have seasonal programs that focus just as much on camaraderie and fun as they do on technique. With the freeskiing community becoming so widely marketed, many of these programs don't focus just on racing, but cover the spectrum of 'stuff you can do on skis'. The best programs are the ones where the kids stay with the same coach/instructor through the whole season. When I taught at Sugarloaf, the program was called 'Bubblecuffers' - from 7 year olds to 13-15year olds (who usually went into either racing or junior instructors at that point) - the kids would have a blast and we always thought of it as organized chaos with greater comfort on skis resulting! Look into programs beyond the private lesson vs. group lesson scene and you might be surprised.
Hello fellow 'Loafer, I remember the Bubblecuffer program. I taught at Sugarloaf from 93-95 but lived in the area for almost 15 years. That program turned out some really good skiers, and they had a blast too.
post #15 of 23
I don't think there is a right answer.

My 6 & 8 year olds can ski almost anything and they have never had a lesson. We always thought that keeping them comfortable and having fun is all that mattered until they are 10 or 11 and then we could consider lessons or Racing if they wanted to.

Just skiing has made them better than most kids on the hill.

Our schedule is I free ski for an hour in the AM when I like it best, but it is the coldest. Then we ski together for a few hours, then we have lunch and either ski the PM or head for the swimming pool. Mom Free skis over lunch or in the PM while we are in the pool.

Every 3rd weekend we ski we do so without the kids to get time together, and we do 1 trip a year out west with the kids and 2-3 together.

There is no right or wrong way. Just do what makes everyone happy.
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by skion

Our schedule is I free ski for an hour in the AM when I like it best, but it is the coldest. Then we ski together for a few hours, then we have lunch and either ski the PM or head for the swimming pool. Mom Free skis over lunch or in the PM while we are in the pool.
Hmm...I wonder if "Mom" would like some of those fresh tracks some morning. She must be a great powder day buddy.
post #17 of 23
She loves to ski, but has the most appreciation for steep groomed runs.

Trees and powder are completly optional for her, but coffee and coffee and coffee in the AM are mandatory.
post #18 of 23
I have two active young skiers in the family, 5 and 8. I believe in lessons, particularly good ones, because I have observed much success with the kids in them. However, whenever I find it convenient or not cost effective to send them to a lesson. I ski with them. The percentage works out to be about 60-40, slightly more towards lessons.

This arrangement (by coincidence and not by design) has worked out quite well and their progression has been quite satifactory (modestly speaking ). They are the kind of kids that love to take lessons from anyone anytime (private, group, don't matter). And, for whatever reason, when they are not in lessons, they enjoy skiing with me. They pick up their skills from their instructors/coaches and they get to showoff/practice with me. Also, I'd like to tag along with the lesson whenever allowed (I know that does not work with a lot of kids), so I get (or steal) a lot of tips from the instructors/coaches. Now that my older daughter is skiing beyond me (literally), I actually see being there in her lesson as a 2 for 1 (well almost). And, when freeskiing, we can now ski together like any two ski buddies would (except I still have to here her whine).
post #19 of 23
I taught my 10-yr-old kids (twins) to ski. We only get out a few times a year, and most of the places we go don't have terrific instructors. I have had no difficulty getting them to the point of stem-christie turns (they aren't naturally athletic).

Last week we took a mini-trip to northern MN, skied 2 days. I put the boys in semi-private lessons the first morning, and it was wonderful. I'm fairly certain the instructor didn't tell them anything much different that I would have, but kids often listen more to other adults than their own parents! The next two days the worked very hard at practicing what they had learned in the lesson, and their technique improved with every run.
post #20 of 23
FWIW:

Since the ski school wouldn't take kids under 4, my daughter started out with me teaching her the basics. I think that worked well enough ... there wasn't a ton of advanced technical knowledge necessary to getting her into a gliding wedge and putting some miles behind her.

Since then, she's generally had lessons, mostly with the main ski school at the area where we ski. Very good instructors, very good with kids. Typically group lessons, though at the local ski school that usually means 2-4 kids. One season she did an 8-week series with another ski school, which I was a lot less impressed with ... so yes, the ski school (really, the instructor) does matter! Her elementary school also takes off eight Fridays in the winter and the kids go skiing and have group lessons (from the main - good - ski school).

I think the instruction helps her skiing ... plus the instructors make it fun ... plus she likes the cameraderie of skiing with other kids ... plus, if the only skiing she did was with me, one or the other (or both) of us would be doing a lot less skiing.
post #21 of 23
I used to make my son take lessons from about age 3 & 1/2 when he started to about 6 or 7. After that point, I just skied with him. He's 11 now and he rips pretty well. I just give occasional pointers, usually situational such as, "Stay agressive and reach forward and make solid pole plants on this steep part and let me know how it feels." That way he tries it and can instantly see how it works. I don't harrangue him with a constant stream of instruction.

Lessons can be good, but kids just wanna have fun. Dads too!!!
The two of us took a private lesson together at Okemo last year and that went well
post #22 of 23
My son has been skiing since 4. Although he gets a few lessons every year, some bad habits persisted, like the wedge, hands back, etc. Every time we go out, it was a bit of a trial and tribulation. He wanted to ski the trees, find the jumps, and dad wanted out of the trees, and no jumps. Dad wanted to give him lessons, and he wanted to play.

He is 9 now, and he is spending his first season in the pre-race training program. He's found a few good buddies, and he is raring to go do the Screaming Eagles thing every morning. The coaches put them through a lot of mileage, interspersed with some drills. They find the jumps, they find the trees, they set up gates and run them, they find the moguls and play in them. The coaches give great instructions, plus he gets to hang out with the older kids on the racing or freestyle teams which really serve as role models for him. They meet every Saturday for training and skiing, and every sunday is a race event, mostly GS or mogul. They get to participate in resort events, such as torch light parades and penguin paddles, etc. The end of the season is capped off by a downhill race on a meandering green-blue run plus a giant picnic party. From my end, I see his skiing improve dramatically. Moreover, when we do ski together, which is usually a few runs after his Eagles program is over, we ski just for the fun of it.... basically father and son bonding and having fun. No pressures, no agenda. Overall, without reservations, putting my son in a pre-race season-long program is about the best thing I can imagine doing for him, skiing-wise.
post #23 of 23
Kids, skiing and lessons are there any correct answers? No!!! Only what works for your kids.

Here’s what worked for mine (boy - 10 and girl 4 - he started at age 4, she at age 2). Daughter started well before the ski schools would take her even though she was potty trained. I simply bought a long leash/harness and let her make runs till she was tired (about 5 runs/one hour then she needed an hour in the warming hut). That lasted for one year and most of the next. We only took her skiing during really nice weather.

Just before she turned 4 we enrolled her in all day group lessons. Son was always enrolled in group lessons. The key to group lessons for young kids is to pick the days you take them carefully. We would take the kids the week before Xmas because it had less than half the crowds of the week after Xmas. We would choose long weekends, which were not holidays for the same reason. The kids still averaged about 15 days of skiing per year during the early years (2-5). This Xmas daughter skied in group lessons with groups ranging from 1 (yes, just her) to 4 kids and averaged 3 kids. So, we got the benefit of near private lessons at the cost of group lessons, and we got to ski all day.

Daughter is currently at a level 4 and likely to move to a level 5 within the next month or so but at least by the end of the year.

We spend about 2 hours per day skiing with her on lesson days and I spend about 1 out of 4 days skiing with her all day.

Son took lessons for three years (from 4 - 7) and after that he could ski with parental supervision. After one year of skiing primarily blues and groomed blacks, he has spent the past two years skiing everything at Mt. Bachelor.

It is worth the $70 per day for me to have someone ski with daughter 3 out of 4 days, so I can ski where I want.

Mark
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