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Do I skip lessons this time round?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
First of all this is my first post so a big hello to all

A quick background...

Earlier this year I went skiing in Portes Du Soleil, with some much more "experienced" friends.

The last time I had been on the snow was on a school trip aged 15 (Some 17 years earlier). Where I did the 6 half days lessons, with "messing about" time free in the afternoon.

Before I headed out. I decided it was sensible to have a private lesson at the local snowdome. All went fairly well, and somehow I managed to get down the slope in one piece.

However the first few days of the proper holiday saw me have some pretty impressive crashes. As the week passed, and my confidence grew I was quickly gaining ground on my more experienced colleagues.

Me and the next weakest person took a couple of private lessons with the local ski school. She found it really useful. I found it only mildly helpful (maybe because she is a 6ft blonde and got most of the attention ?).

On the penultimate day, myself and the strongest skier in our group decided to attempt an "international mission", and skied from france to switzerland.

By the last day, confidence boosted by the trip, I was having so much fun..... I am going back for more :




However this time round I am going with the family : . My wife is a beginner, and neither of the kids have skied before. The eldest 6 is booked in for 6 1/2 day lessons. The youngest has day care arranged.

I had so much fun last time just finding my own way, combined with the fact I am going with effectively worse skiers than last time. Lessons at this time seem like a bit of a waste.

The bug has certainly bitten, and I'm already planning a trip early 06. Where I think I might try and concentrate on better technique (via lessons).

Sorry for the length of the post, but felt it better to give you all a backgorund b4 asking what could be seen as a bit of a controversial statement given my poor skills compared to most on here.


Thoughts, comments or suggestions gratefully recieved.

MM
post #2 of 21
Ski a day to warm up .... then take a lesson,
post #3 of 21
Yep. Get lessons.

Forget the snowdome warmup too - unless you really, really want to go - they're expensive and not as good as lessons in resort.

And at your level, I'd get lessons with a class first - it's more fun with others of a similar level. Move to private lessons as your skill levels pick up.

But enjoy it; that is compulsory. If you don't enjoy the lessons, move to a new class and a new instructor.
post #4 of 21
Where are you going on that ski vacation?
post #5 of 21
macman if you don't feel lessons are worth while and you are satisfied with your skiing by all means skip the lessons. You sound relatively young and very athletic.

Down the road, when you have lost some piss & vinegar, stagnate and figure out that you have perfected bad habits take a good look at lessons again. You have to have a good frame of mind for lessons to be effective. At that point a deeper form of learning can begin.
post #6 of 21
I agree with Pierre. It sounds like you don't want lessons, so don't have them! Lessons improve your technique, your snow tactics and your knowledge, but you are best having them when you are ready for this stuff. You'll know when you are ready.
post #7 of 21
I respectfully disagree with Ant and Pierre. "Respectfully", because I understand their point. But often, "knowing when you're ready" is realizing that you've spun your wheels for quite some time. I've victimized myself in many sports this way.

Instead of not taking them, perhaps take only one each time you go out, if only to clarify and refresh. Lessons don't take the place of practice (just skiing), but they can certainly enhance it as they often help provide focus.

I've been at this a long time and I get coaching every single season. And I get it early in the season, and it sets me up for success.
post #8 of 21
MacMan,

I'm with Weems on this one. You've discovered that skiing is fun and that better skiing = better fun. But at this point your lessons need to be with stronger skiers, not weaker ones. And you need some specific objectives to achieve. By now, you're probably quite capable of progressing on your own at a decent clip. In order for the lesson to be worthwhile it has to teach you something that saves "x" amount of time over what you can do by yourself. You decide the "x". So find something that is "difficult" (e.g. carving, powder, moguls, steeps, stupid pet tricks to entertain friends and family) and make that your lesson objective. Then help the pro give you your money's worth. If it's a group lesson, let the school put you in with others at your level. If it's a private, ask for a level 3 cert. Tell them your objective up front and give them feedback during the lesson (too fast/slow, too much talking vs. skiing/not enough explanation, etc.). Some people prefer tips over drills, but if you ask for drills and write them down, you can get the benefit of lots of lessons by getting lots of drills and perfecting them in your practice time. If you get lucky and find a drill that's hard to do (e.g. tapping your ski tip - lifting the tail), you've discovered an opportunity to take your skiing to the next level. Sometimes all you need is one little tip (e.g. do this, follow me) that does the same thing. That's what you're looking for. Not every lesson will give it to you, but the ones that do can save you 3, 4, or 10 days over what you can do on your own. That's what make lessons worthwhile. Why drink beer when you can have champagne? It's the holidays - go celebrate!
post #9 of 21
I think about early season lessons as a tune up. If you take one and everything is working well, then you will be more confident for the rest of the ski trip. If there is some glitch you are using, why not identify it and deal with it right away. If you are the strongest skier in your family, waiting will be a big part of the vacation. Working on the weaker parts of your technique, while skiing with slower skiers, will keep you from being bored. A win win situation IMO.
post #10 of 21
Hello

First, I'd spend some time making sure the family is getting along well. Your skiing is probably going to depend more on whether they like it than any lessons you take...

If you are intent on becoming proficient. Familiar with someone qualified for US Ski Team, pretty good skier already, has essentially full time coaching.

Skiing is about getting out and enjoying the mountains. Don't let commitments prevent that.

If you feel you would benefit by good example. Certain things you don't learn from the hill. Mimicry works. Monkey see, monkey do. (However, if the class involves a lot of talking, you already know how to talk)

Some lessons are time wasters, despite the best of intentions. You may have hit some that were more oriented to socialization and orientation than your aims. This was good for some but less useful for you. Ask for appropriate lessons. As noted by other posters, skiing with your betters pulls you up to their level.

Mix practice and guidance. If you feel that you have not adequately incorporated what you have worked on, spend some time there before returning for more guidance. Guidance and good example will truly speed development of more efficient technique and open other choices to you.
post #11 of 21

Shop before buy

MacMan,

It may sound rather odd, but I agree with both positions, and would like somehow to reconcile them . Start skiing by yourself, but keep your eyes open for the instructor, whose style of skiing and, possibly, teaching appeals to you, and who you would like to emulate. Only if you find one, come up to him/her and ask if s/he is available for a private or a group lesson. That way you have an idea of where you want to be. It has happened many times to me. Those lessons were most effective for the student and most rewarding for the instructor. He or she may be a higher level instructor or not, as in my case. I have a mere Level 1, but have been able to help higher level instructors and even examiners (who have enjoyed their status for a long time) with the most critical, in my opinion, aspects of modern skiing.

I understand your dilemma very well, as I have been there many times myself. Buying a lesson as an unknown is a lottery. If it were a buck, or two, or a freebee, I would say, "What do you have to risk?" But at those prices at big resorts, I would do my own comparison shopping first. It could be a really worthy investment into your skiing, that would put it on a different level and be most satisfying, or... a disappointment.

Personally I have never had a private lesson. The few group lessons that I had as freebees with my pass were a disappointment, even if the price was right. Partly, of course, what was to blame was my learning style and the inability of the instructor to relate to it. I learned by skiing about a hundred or more days a year (not many can afford that) and emulating the instructors whose style was efficient, making use of the constructive criticism from skiers and instructor buddies whose skiing I held in respect. Later, when I became an instructor, I was able to benefit greatly from Demo team clinics.

So, do your homework before you buy, which is exactly what you are doing now.

Good luck and welcome to the club (I mean both, Epicski and of those crazy about skiing),
AE

P.S. Was that the Swiss Wall that served you as your passage to Switzerland? I hope not! I only ventured that rout about 7 years ago on my last day of the trip, when I had nothing to lose ( I mean skiing days on the trip).
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
Wow, thanks for all the response guys.

AE, nope didn't go via the wall, skirted round it. Did Morzine > Avoriaz > Les Crosets (and back of course ) on reds and blues.

Marc, Being from the UK it's difficult to do anything else other than snowdomes/ dryslopes without taking lots of foreign holidays. + I'm fairly lucky the nearest indoor one is 45mins drive.

I suppose the above also hints at another "resistance point" I have in my mind with lessons. If I'm _really_ lucky I could probably manage 2 weeks in the year at a resort. (1 with family, 1 on my own/ with friends). I know with such a short amount of practice with large gaps in it means I'm never going to become a very good skiier, but I do enjoy the whole experience especially spending quality time with the people I'm going with.

One option I might consider is this... I know my wife will want at least 1 day off the slopes, where as I'll want as much snowtime as possible. So I may book some private tune ups on those day(s).
If I take the above route do you think this may make sense.... spend some time being assesed by the instructor (it is very difficult to make a personal judgement of my abilities knowing most of my skills have been gained by being pulled up by a group) Then get him/her to suggest 1 or 2 key points to focus on. That will leave me some time to head out for some more difficult runs, something that I really do enjoy (Maybe it's the inner adreneline junky in me I suppose ).

MM

PS thanks all for you earlier replies!!
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by macman
Marc, Being from the UK it's difficult to do anything else other than snowdomes/ dryslopes without taking lots of foreign holidays. + I'm fairly lucky the nearest indoor one is 45mins drive.
It's the same for me too

Which is your nearest snowdome?
post #14 of 21
heh. I *know* that lessons will have him skiing better, and enjoying himself more. But from what he said, he needs to arrive at that point before taking lessons.

We all know that lessons improve your skiing, but if the lesson-taker doesn't want to be there, there's no point.
post #15 of 21
That's true, Ant. I get that. One trick is for the lesson taker to make that decision. That comes from the Will. Sometimes I don't feel I really want to do something, but I know that I could be really pleased if I stepped up and did it anyway.
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ant
heh. I *know* that lessons will have him skiing better, and enjoying himself more. But from what he said, he needs to arrive at that point before taking lessons.

We all know that lessons improve your skiing, but if the lesson-taker doesn't want to be there, there's no point.
Yeah Ant but I hesitated posting what I posted but left it anyway.

Why? because macman probably would not have posted his question in the technical forum unless he wanted to be talked into it.
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marc gledhill
It's the same for me too

Which is your nearest snowdome?
Tamworth (I live in Nottingham, so technically I think Swadlincote is the nearest, but seen a lot of people complaining about the Perma-Snow surface they have put in)

Should have realised you would be in the same boat if I'd botherered looking closer at the location bit under the post number. Doh!!!
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre
Why? because macman probably would not have posted his question in the technical forum unless he wanted to be talked into it.
Am I that transparent :
post #19 of 21
Macman - I'm in Ireland atm so similar problem re getting on snow (worse no snow domes here!)

I have found however that a weekend trip can be done to Lillehammer (dunno why but it seems easier to do short trips there)...

Is this possible to get you more snow time?
post #20 of 21
One advantage from taking the lesson the first day or two of the trip, for you and your wife, is that the instructor can show you around to some good terrain for your ability. Lessons aren't only instruction, they are also a guided tour of the terrain.
post #21 of 21
Macman, Maybe you need a reason to take a lesson, is there one aspect of your skiing you would like to adjust, make better, tweak etc. If you as the guest do not have a desire to learn something then go skiing and have fun. When you get to that point in your skiing ability that is hampering you from enjoying your ski day then find a pro. Go for a private so you can get 100% attention to your needs. In a few years if the rest of the family is really into skiing and are improving you might need a lesson to keep up ha ha! Have fun skiing with your family it really is one of lifes best rewards I have found.
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