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Enough with my kid. How about me?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone who responded to my previous question about how best to introduce my children to skiing. The upshot is that I'll probably just introduce my son (child number one - and only, so far) to playing in the snow this year (he won't be two until the end of February) and look to get him on skis a little bit the following year, making use of the ideas that everyone provided.

I need help too. I'm male, 44, 6', 175#, in pretty good shape and fairly athletic. I only started skiing in my late teens and have generally skiied only a couple of times a year ... and not at all for about ten years until two winters ago. Recently, I've gotten my frequency up to a half dozen days and in the future I plan on bumping that up to a dozen or so days each season. I've been stuck on intermediate forever, though I think I did start to get better when I picked skiing up again two years ago. I can get down any blue run with some aplomb, but black runs are usually a matter of trying to stay on my feet. I can't really ski bumps at all, and I know I don't know how to ski in powder, though I can sometimes make my way through. Last year, I finally purchased my own equipment: 175 cm Salomon Crossmax 8 Pilot skis, Tecnica Rival RX HVL boots.

So, thoughts on how best to get better? Certainly, I plan to take lessons and maybe the answer is, in its entirety, as simple as that. I've only ever taken one lesson: a group lesson two years ago. At first, I was non-plussed, but I eventually came to feel that it did help me some. I will ski primarily in the Lake Tahoe area, so any input on resorts/instructors that provide particularly good instruction will be very useful. I'm also interested in thoughts on the value of individual vs. group lessons for someone like me. In perusing this forum, I've seen much discussion about skiing technique, but, frankly, it's all Greek to me. Any input on technique is appreciated, but maybe that's difficult or impossible to provide without seeing how I now ski.

Thanks for your help. Help me avoid embarassment when my son starts asking me to ski black diamonds with him in a few years (I hope).
post #2 of 16
Epic Ski Academy 2006. 4 days of coaching
with phenomenal coaches, video, boot balancing
is the way to go. Skip one of the Tahoe vacations
and spend the money for ESA. The benefits of having
dedicated and intense coaches for 4 straight days
will leave you wanting more. You get lots of
coaching, instant feedback with daily video and
you are grouped with people with similar ability.
post #3 of 16
ESA is, of course, a great idea, but with family it may be hard to get away. You have many resources in the Lake Tahoe area. The very best instruction i ever received was through All Mountain Ski Pros at Sugar Bowl. PM me and I'll give you his name. They have very reasonable private lesson structure, especially mid-week and also offer group weekend clinics. www.allmountainskipros.com
post #4 of 16
And of course, the MORE you ski the better you get. As nice as lessons are if you don't make your muscles LEARN the move, you'll be pretty much starting over each time. Try getting out 25 times a year.
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom
ESA is, of course, a great idea, but with family it may be hard to get away. You have many resources in the Lake Tahoe area. The very best instruction i ever received was through All Mountain Ski Pros at Sugar Bowl. PM me and I'll give you his name. They have very reasonable private lesson structure, especially mid-week and also offer group weekend clinics. www.allmountainskipros.com
This one sounds good, but I heard they teach H.H. (PMTS) system, do I need to relearn everything ?
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky
And of course, the MORE you ski the better you get. As nice as lessons are if you don't make your muscles LEARN the move, you'll be pretty much starting over each time. Try getting out 25 times a year.
I agree and I can attest to the value of simply skiing more, even in a limited way. In the early 90s I spent a long weekend with my brother who was working the winter at Breckenridge. I skiied three days in a row and even over that short period of time I could feel that I had gotten better by the third day (even without benefit of a lesson).

Unfortunately, the closest ski areas to us are about 2.5 to 3 hours away (and the areas around Lake Tahoe, which is where we will primarily ski, are about 3.5 to 4 hours away). That, my work, and the fact that my wife is not a skiier will probably inhibit us (me) from skiing as frequently as you suggest, though maybe when the kid(s) get older, we'll make it more of a priority.
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by RBC
This one sounds good, but I heard they teach H.H. (PMTS) system, do I need to relearn everything ?
I have heard this too, but did not find I needed to 'relearn' anything and the instructor was a former PSIA examiner. I found it focused more on functional skiing, what works for you, rather than any kind of dogma. At least that was our experience.

It's been said elsewhere that only perfect practice makes perfect. You need both mileage and the occasional tweak, IMHO.
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodstocksez
I agree and I can attest to the value of simply skiing more, even in a limited way. In the early 90s I spent a long weekend with my brother who was working the winter at Breckenridge. I skiied three days in a row and even over that short period of time I could feel that I had gotten better by the third day (even without benefit of a lesson).

Unfortunately, the closest ski areas to us are about 2.5 to 3 hours away (and the areas around Lake Tahoe, which is where we will primarily ski, are about 3.5 to 4 hours away). That, my work, and the fact that my wife is not a skiier will probably inhibit us (me) from skiing as frequently as you suggest, though maybe when the kid(s) get older, we'll make it more of a priority.
The only solution is to buy a shack closer to a ski area, keep it stocked with underwear, etc. and leap in the car every weekend. We spent 16 years doing this until we moved to ski country.

Seriously, I was a terminal intermediate until we took what for years was the stupidest move financially we could have made (Sold healthy tech stock and bought in the Poconos right before the Pocono market crashed -- Fortunately right as we moved here, that market semi-recovered enough so we covered our expenses and as it transpired tech stocks didn't stay healthy.) But once we had that investment and season passes we had to get our money's worth and my skiing improved dramatically.
post #9 of 16
Woodstock,

Even at 12 days/season, it will be hard to move from intermediate to expert. Your new skis will help a lot. Learning to edge them so that you are carving at least enough to feel the skis turning you will help you advance the fastest. Lessons will help you get there faster. Private lessons will help you the fastest. Group lessons may get you farther per dollar spent.

How best to get better?
1) Rollerblade in the off season
2) Focus fitness efforts on balance, cardio and core strength
3) Learn to ski backwards on the bunny slope (helpful for helping junior)
4) Read Weems' new book on the Sports Diamond (i.e. make a plan)

Don't get your hopes up for skiing black diamonds with your son. The odds are you'll only have 1-2 seasons of overlap before you'll be eating his dust and your only hope is meeting him at the lodge for lunch.
post #10 of 16
What rusty said and take those new boots to a good bootfitter and get them set up so you get the most out of them.

Quit your job and move to the mountains, 6-12 days a year isn't enough.
post #11 of 16
Great advice above,
It helps to be able ski more than one day in a row. Two days (a weekend) is much better than one. It helps set the (good) movement pattern into your skiing and the second day isn't spent (waisted) getting over the first day spazomania. The people in this forum can give you some names of qualified instructors at the areas you ski. If your time on the slopes is precious to you and if you are skiing on weekends, book a private lesson, you can cut the lift line, do the verbal portion of the lesson on the lift and maximize your time on the snow with the nonverbal portion of a lesson. Contact the area and book the lesson in advance, preferabley in the morning so you have the rest of the day to ski the lesson. Practice any movements from the lesson on easier terrain (like during the lesson) so you can incorporate it into your skiing without trying to just survive on more difficult terrain. After you master the movements on easier terrain, then start to apply them to progressivly more difficult terrain.
About getting your wife to ski, some don'ts--
Don't try to teach her
Don't push her to ski where you like to ski (terrain)
Don't show off your skiing to her
Don't pick her equipment out

Some do's
Do suggest she take lessons
Do allow her to progress at her own pace
Do help her through rentals and be patient
Do be patient
Do let her make her own decisions about skiing
Do spend some of the time watching the children so she can ski,
and do let it be for her and not you

and one more don't,
Don't forget any of the do's and don'ts

Hope this helps.

RW
post #12 of 16
woodstocksez,

May I be so bold as to suggest that there is a surefire way to expidite your learning curve! Lessons are great but before you spend money on lessons you may want to consider having your boots balanced. Having taught skiing for many years and seeing the positive improvements that boot balancing makes without any effort from the skier, I strongly suggest to anyone wanting to ski their best as soon as possible, get your boots balanced. Then sign up for a lesson or two! You can thank me later...
post #13 of 16

You can do it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty
Even at 12 days/season, it will be hard to move from intermediate to expert.
I don't totally agree with this statement. I think you can make quite a bit of progress skiing 12 days/season as long as you make the most of your ski days and trips.

I didn't start skiing regularly until about 21 years old and have avearged 9-10 ski days per year since then for the past 14 years or so. Before that I probably had a total of 15 days skiing. My all time best ski year was 14 days 3 seasons ago. I, like you, am relatively athletic and in pretty good shape. When I started skiing regularly I too was an intermediate, skied all blues pretty easily, could struggle down blacks at major Western destination resorts and was a wreck in the moguls.

Now, I'm a relatively strong advanced skier (somewhere around mid to upper level 8 by PSIA standards) and love skiing moguls, very steep terrain and off piste as much as possible. How'd I get to where I am today? Well, when I got into skiing (and still) I read a lot (mostly ski mags and internet ie Epicski) about technique. When I got on the snow I tried to apply what I read. When it wasn't working or I hit a roadblock I took lessons. I probably averaged 2-3 days in group lessons per year for my entire ski career. That's probably about 25% of my total ski days. I've never signed up for a private lesson due to cost. For the past 5-6 seasons when I take group lessons, especially at larger resorts, I usually get a private for the cost of the group since there are usually very few students in the upper level lessons. During the lessons I asked very specific technical questions since I could talk the talk from all the reading I had done. I found that I got better answers and didn't have to cut through a lot of the positive reinforcement fluff (you're doing a great job, way to go, etc.) that a lot of instructors have to use in order to stroke students' egos. Of course, wanting direct, straight forward feedback without ego boosting is a personal preference.

When I ski, it's at least 3-4 days in a row and have had a handful of ski weeks (6-7 days in a row). I notice the most progress during these longer ski weeks. I would usually take a lesson on days 2 and 3 or days 2 and 4 and try to apply what I learned on the rest of the ski days. It was also a great tour of the mountain and the best way to find out the best runs to ski for the rest of the week. I would also write down what I learned and what I worked on in the lesson (usually 1-2 take home points and 1-2 drills to work on those take home points). I did not (repeat--did not) spend my entire freeskiing days doing drills. Maybe I would spend 1-2 runs every other day working on a specific skill or task on easier terrain, especially if I was struggling with one aspect or another of my skiing. When I skied with my wife (content intermediate) I would work on drills or tasks the whole time. However, by in large, I skied the terrain I enjoyed skiing and pushed myself all the time (lunch on the lifts, skied from opening to closing bell, skied difficult terrain and conditions, skied with better skiers than me).

So, it can be done with the amount of skiing you plan to do. You just have to make the most out of what your ski days and lessons. There are plenty of previous threads on getting the most out of a lesson. PM me if you want more info on what I do to get the best lesson possible. Don't be discouraged. If one man can do it, another can too. Of course, I was 21 years old when I started skiing regularly but (as Warren Miller likes to say) if you don't do it this year you'll be one year older when you do. Most importantly, have fun while you're out there getting better. I know I always do.
post #14 of 16
Prosper,

We are not in disagreement. A lot of progress can be made in 12 days/season. Progress from intermediate to expert CAN be done with this amount of effort. It's just not easy to do. Especially for someone in their mid 40's with a family.
The average skier in this position is not going to make it. Nonetheless, you've hit on the most important requirement for getting it done: a positive attitude.
post #15 of 16
Don't write off group lessons, especially at the intermediate level. If cost is a big issue, then group lessons are the go.

I suspect, from what he's said, that the OP is around a level 6 using primarily strength, putting on the brakes through every turn (this lets you down on harder terrain).

He needs to learn some of the basics that are missing, and practise the new moves. Intermediate level group lessons tend not to be crowded, usually, and you'll get this general/generalised stuff in them. As you become more adept, your ski needs will sharpen and the odd private will be better used to address these.

Some resorts have really reasonably-priced group lessons, and if you use these wisely, your skiing will improve.
post #16 of 16
Rusty,

While I agree that it may be difficult, if I were Woodstock I'd be downright discouraged with everyone's posts. My point is that many answered pretty much the same: that Woodstock had to ski more. While this is probably the best solution, it sounds like one that's not an option for him. I'm just trying to answer the question within the parameters that Woodstock set. If he can't increase his days on the snow I think the best way for him to improve his skiing is to maximize the days he has. I certainly would've gotten to where I'm at faster if I was able to ski more days a season but, unfortunately that wasn't an option for me either. Also, what worked for me may not work for Woodstock but I'm living proof that it can be done. BTW, I'm by no means an "expert", but I am pleased with how my skiing has improved over the years. I still have a long way to go, but don't we all? Yes, our specific personal situations are different but I think it's still doable. I do agree that a positive attitude is the most important component to have in trying to improve. It's definitely taken me a long way. Woodstock, don't be discouraged, you can do it!
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