or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Time for Lessons?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Newish skiier here, started skiing on a regular basis beginning of last season when I bought my skis (got about 10-12 days on them total). The year before was my first season, butI went less often and rented skis. Took a group beginner lesson the first time I went out, but since then have predominantly figured things out on my own. As a result, I just know I'm doing a lot of things wrong. Mostly I just watch the better skiiers and try to do what they do.

As I'm hoping to get a few intermediate private or group lessons this season to improve technique, I found myself wondering what most other people have done to get themselves better. Did you take lessons from the beginning, teach yourself, or did you do like I may do and wait a bit before getting formal instruction.

Also, suggestions on types of lessons would be appreciated? I know that particularly in private lessons you should go in with goals of things you want to focus on? Or will the instructor help you determine what you need to work on?

post #2 of 12
Hi K and wellcome to epic. If you want to improve, and I think you do, lessons mixed with lots of skiing on your own will do the trick. Watching other skiers is dangerous as only resort of technique input since you have no clue to wether something is right or wrong.

If you want to improve over time group lessons is a great way and if you are lucky you will meet new friends and have a really good time. Taking private lessons is more expensive. My advise would be to start off with a private lesson and aske the instructor which group to join. The best way is to ski with a group and take private lessons from the instructor inbetween.

I started in ski school back in 66 when I was 4y old. Switched to private lessons at about 12y. I have been teaching myselfe for 10y now and still take lessons. Skiing is great, stick with it
post #3 of 12
Well we can't see you ski so it has to be general. You are due for a lesson at this point. A private would be the best way to go.

I'd pick a short trail for the first part and just watch you ski .... to do an evaluation.

Probably what I would find is that your shoulder and hand position need correction.
post #4 of 12

If you like 1 on 1 attention and instruction and have the money, then yes you might find Private lessons to be a good route for you.

There are other routes and there are trade-offs for them.

Most ski areas will have some form of Adult clinincs that you can partake in the $/hr rate is much better but these things can fill up and often are only offered on specific weekends so a call ahead of time to see if a clinic is available is wise.

And the traditional Group lessons are always available but again you dont choose the instructor and start/end times are usually more regimented.

I agree with the poster who said you need mileage to practice the skills and tasks you learn and to experiment on your own in how to apply them to different terrain conditions and speeds.

I know some folks will use groups lessons as sort of a test drive for the instructor and if they found real value in the instructor will often come back and request him/her for privates. This also serves as real result-driven customer oriented feedback for the instructor.

Enjoy the journey!
post #5 of 12
Well lets see...

what did I do?

I never skied a day without a lesson for about 4 years or so....:

For a normal person that is probably overkill++++++

For me it was necessary but maybe a tad excessive if you look at the physical reality... unfortunately I had my own demons to overcome mentally as well.... so for me I did what I needed to allow me to do what I loved to do!

Take a few lessons.... groups, privates, whatever .... try a group lesson - if it works for you do that.... if not try a private.... REMEMBER - you need to tell the instructor what you want(not need - he can probably see that before you do more than a half a dozen turns), what is(are) your aim(s)....If you go the private lesson you must keep in mind iit really is YOUR lesson... make sure you feel you get value for money -if not tell the ski school..... Hell if you are less than satisfied with the group tell them also.... you are the CUSTOMER....

Remember also - you are pretty rarely LOCKED into a decision or course of action.... if you find you need something else at some point - talk to them & work ourt how to get that...

HINT: Take a notebook & a small pencil....
Write down the stuff that gels for you(in your words).... repeat what you wrote to instructor if needed to make sure you got it right....
post #6 of 12

Welcome to Epic. As far as lessons go, your mileage may vary. Every person is unique with respect to their needs. I grew up taking lessons every time I went until I got old enough and good enough to ski the blues on my own. As an adult I used to take lessons only when equipment changed or I discovered I had a problem (I used the keep doing it until you got it method of learning). Now that I teach skiing and riding, I'm taking more lessons than ever because I can get more out of them. What you need will depend on your goals, your time, your money, your physical abilities, your learning style (looks like you rely more heavily on what we call "visual" learning) and your motivation and commitment. You may want to experiment with different types of lessons to see what works best for you. One unique alternative is the Epic Ski training camps. These camps offer the ability to learn from extremely high quality coaches and interact directly with lesson junkies as well as plain old skiers. Check the thread off the main page for more info. We just finished a weekend a Stowe that had 5 different groups covering all levels of ability.
post #7 of 12
If you decide you want to take lessons on a regular basis, it'll help if you can get the same instructor every time. There are a couple of ways to make that happen. One is to get private lessons and request a specific instructor. the other is to look for a weekly program where you buy a package of lessons (6 lessons for example), and you come back the same day of the week, every week for however many weeks, and ski with the same group and instructor. That's probably the cheapest way to go, as you'll get some sort of discount over the normal group lesson rate when you purchase a package.

Mosy people take a lesson their first time or first few times, then don't for a while (or forever in some cases). You are already going about it differently than most. My guess is that if you've learned by yourself by watching, and have become comfortable on the skis on anything steeper than the easiest trails, then you are probably somewhat athletic, and would get a lot out of lessons.

I agree that once you get to a low intermediate level, you don't know right from wrong, so trying to learn by watching may lead to developing bad habits or get you stuck in a rut. Basially, there are a lot of skiers out there who may look good, but have very inefficient, innefective styles. You won't know unless you learn from someone who does know.
post #8 of 12
I'll take the other side of this, even though I am a professional instructor. I never took lessons. I attended a couple of lessons with my wife and I didn't really enjoy them. I prefer gaining skills through self discovery. Feedback and information are very effective and for most people will shorten the learning curve, but solving a problem on your own is far more rewarding. I have no personal goal in regard to shortening my learning curve. If you are solving problems and progressing, I wouldn't recommend a lesson. If you are frustrated, a lesson will often provide you one or two pointers that will have immediate results. Yuki may have done that for you already.

I look at some lesson goals as a part of our instant gratification society. Others may look at me as doing it the hard way. The reward in skiing is not found in being a better skier, it is found in becoming a better skier, IMO. It is not the destination, it is the journey. It is our struggles that make our acquired skills mean something.

Sorry for the philosophical answer to what was probably intended as a practical question.
post #9 of 12


Hey KimmyT,

Welcome to Epicski. As you can see, when you ask a question here you get answers.

I was in your position two seasons ago. I tried to teach myself and ended up in the emergency room with a broken humerus. End of season.

They have an incredible deal here on my local mountain for lessons that I've taken advantage of. The group lessons are usually fairly small with solid attention by the instructors. I've even had the fine occasion when I was the only one in the group, very nice.

I've found that at our early stages we don't know what to look for when watching other skiers. A good instructor will be able to quickly evaluate what you need to work on. Then one step at a time you progress. There will also be those "light bulb" moments when suddenly "Grasshopper" you will see the way.

Personal opinion, books and videos are great, but if that was all we needed we would only need libraries, not universities. Get some good instruction and ski and ski and ski. Most of all have fun. And for me, a good lesson is fun. I seem to learn and get better with each one. Still a long way to go.
post #10 of 12

Again, welcome to Epic.

Whether you choose group or private instruction is a function of many factors.

Here is a short synopsis of what a good instructor is going to think about in either sort of lesson:

What are your goals?

It is the starting point both in the mechanical task of the lesson content and understanding you as a student.

Where are you now?

This involves both seeing you ski and determining your understanding of the mechanics of skiing as well as your learning style(s).

Where do we need to go?

This involves developing and sharing in an overall lesson plan as well as determining a presentation that works with your learning style(s).

How do we get there?

This is the specific drill/progression and terrain choices which will constantly evolve as your lesson progresses.
post #11 of 12
Great advice above, but don't fully agree with retiredat40.

I know that particularly in private lessons you should go in with goals of things you want to focus on? Or will the instructor help you determine what you need to work on?
The answer is both. You want to cut the chase and get better and not practice an innefective movement until you have it perfect. If you ever ski in the Catskills (NY), pm me.

post #12 of 12


Kimmy, I'm an instructor too but you've received real good and varied info. on lessons. A little different approach to the same subject: join a PA ski club, race club, check out the makeup of membership to see if compatible. When you make friends they will help you progress. Myself I got invol ved in racing and learned how to ski that way. Took very few "lessons" but had a lot of race coaching. Initially having to turn at a gate instead of where I wanted to made a big difference. You could start with NASTAR and progress. Find some other skiers with similar interests etc. and join in. The real bonus is you will meet some great people some of which will become friends for life. Good luck!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching