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Best place for week-long lesson for beginner?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Hi bears,

My new girlfriend is willing to spend some time learning to ski (bless her). I know enough to know that I definately won't be any part of the teaching.

She wants to take lessons for 4-7 days straight and figures that will give her enough training to be comfortable, and she'll either love it at that point, or will hate it.

Any recommendations for places that might have good week long programs? I'm thinking that if she's in a class with similar students over a week, it may be better than signing up for 5 days of group or semi-private lessons (same instructors, social part being out with others you sort of know).

And of course, since I may have to join her, it has to have good skiing for an upper intermediate/advanced skier.

Anywhere in North America. The better the weather, the more chance she'll like it.

Thanks for any input.

Gary
post #2 of 27
Well, if it is anywhere in North America, I would definitely come west, if for no other reasons than soft snow, sunshine, and warmer temperatures. Most of the CO resorts will fit the bill well- Vail, Breck, Copper, Aspen, etc, and have a track record for good weather and good ski schools. I would agree with your idea about group lessons with the same group over the course of a week. I would also ask some of the instructors from those resorts that post here frequently for specific recommendations for a beginniers instructor (you want to optimize this experience!!). There also are some good package deals, expecially if you pick a week that is less heavily booked.

Another alternative (if it is still open)- what about the ESA in Utah? You can't find better instructors anywhere, and as a beginner there will likely be only a few people in her group.
post #3 of 27
Nicest winter weather in North America: Tahoe.

My guess is the appropriate program would be found at Northstar.
post #4 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by dp
...Another alternative (if it is still open)- what about the ESA in Utah? You can't find better instructors anywhere, and as a beginner there will likely be only a few people in her group.
If you can still get in, ESA is the ticket!

http://esa.epicski.com/esa2006/index.shtml
post #5 of 27
SolVista in Colorado isn't the greatest mountain by any means, but has one of the finest ski schools that will get her progressing fastest.
http://www.granbyranch.com/ski/TheLe...Center_14.html


Ken
post #6 of 27
Garyk, there is no doubt in my mind that the absolute best opportunity for your girlfriend to fall in love with skiing is the ESA. Founded by a bunch of passionate skiers (members of EpicSki, of course), coached by the very best instructors anywhere, and with Deans who are among the elite of ski instruction (Stu Campbell and Weems Westfeldt). The Snowbird ESA at the end of this month would be an amazing opportunity. Not only is the instruction the best anywhere, but the 4 days of hanging out with other Bears means catching more of skiing than just the on-snow technique. It's the people, the fun, the environment... everything.

I know I'm gushing, but it just doesn't get any better. Come if you can. I'd love to meet you both!
post #7 of 27
And if you don't make it out West where the snow is really nice, I learned at Bromley in Vermont. It is a small mountain with a very good beginner program.
post #8 of 27
A friend of mine is in the same spot and was recomended Alta. Great ski school for her and good terrain options for you.

A really nice touch would be to set up a massage in the middle of the week. Major bonus points.
post #9 of 27
Gary,

Call Alta's ski school. They have a $149 "learn to ski" package for first time skiers. It's unadvertised, and has limited availability (ie not available during high season). I think it's aimed mostly at locals, but from what I know (which isn't much sometimes), it is available to anyone who asks about it. The package includes rentals, 4 class lessons, and lift/slope passes (total value Approx $300). They might be sold out for this year, but it's worth a shot.

The number to the ski school is (801)-359-1078 x271

Good luck!

L
post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for the input. ESA was definatley in my mind - I've been hoping to join it. But I think the dates will not work. So I've been looking for something that may be possible for almost any week we can swing the trip.

gk
post #11 of 27
Make a trip to Winter Park and ski with Rusty Guy, who also posts here.

You'll both improve dramatically.
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coach13
Make a trip to Winter Park and ski with Rusty Guy, who also posts here.

You'll both improve dramatically.
I second that!
post #13 of 27
if the ESA isn't to your schedule, then i'm thinking, "suit the mountain to the student"......i say Okemo.

their gentle, long greens & blues are ideal for beginners and non-beginners to practice just about everything. and their grooming & snow-making is excellent so short of rain, weather won't be an issue.
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coach13
Make a trip to Winter Park and ski with Rusty Guy, who also posts here.

You'll both improve dramatically.
I work at Winter Park in the Children's program, and have taught with Rusty for the last two years - will definitely third this recommendation.
post #15 of 27
I've got to say our Beginner Magic program is the finest in the country. Each year we add to it just to keep it on the cutting edge. This year we created a shop specifically for our new skiers / students. Our students are the only people served in this shop, making it the only shop of it's kind anywhere. Getting set up is so much easier when you only have to deal with the students in the BM program. Along with the shop staff, instructors are there an hour before their lessons fitting boots and helping our guests get ready for the day. Then when you go out on the hill, your instructor will be using the same equipment you are using. Everyone teaching never evers are a full cert or above and we keep a pro waiting just to help with the students that are having trouble. Usually this pro works with you one on one helping you rejoin your group only if/when you are comfortable skiing at that level.
Our work schedule includes a week in higher end lessons followed by a week in the beginner magic program. So everyone here works beginners. If all of that is not enough we guarantee your satisfaction. That's right a full refund if you are not satisfied. Not many schools are willing to do that, but like I said we are confident you will find our program second to none.
Other will tell you we are expensive here in Aspen but after seeing the price at Alta, I must say that is wrong. The 1st day is $129.00 and while 3 and 5 day programs are available, unlimited subsequent days are just $99. So plan however many days you choose and if you change your mind all unused lessons are cheerfully refunded.
Considering everything else there is to do here, not many resorts can even come close to offering you as complete a vacation experience.
Visit aspensnowmass.com for more details and booking information.
post #16 of 27
Didn't mean to sound like a commercial. Obviously I feel strongly that it is everything I described.
post #17 of 27

wa wa?

Gary,

Just a tad off topic but I noticed you live in Boston. Have you ever considered packing her up in the car and driving her to Wachusett and springing for a private lesson? Midweek on a nice day she would fall in love with skiing there. Sundowner area is among the most user friendly green circle areas in New England. You could rent her the gear in a local pro shop of your choice the nite before...show her how to put the gear on, explain how it all works and let her walk around a bit with the ski's on (watch the hardwood floors ) That will get her all pumped up for the next days adventure and take a lot of the fear away.

Take her to wa wa the next day, tell the ski school what your mission is and request a top instructor, at least a lvl 2 cert with experience in teaching adults to love the sport. With luck she'll be linking turns in a couple hours and she can spend the afternoon showing you all her new tricks on ralph's run.....

Then you can pack the bags for Utah...and go skiing...together. Of course she could take higher level lessons if needed or desired at the destination resort of choice.

Just makes sense to me.....but I am a former tiny hill(Yawgoo Valley RI) instructor. I taught hundreds to ski on a much smaller hill than Wachusett. All my students were advised to visit Wachusett after I was done with them. None ever complained.

www.wachusett.com

If you are a se new england aaa member you are entitled to discounts...view the aaa website for details.....
post #18 of 27
you guys/gals are too nice.

the truth is any ski area in the west will do a credible job. winter park is trying to market itself as the learn to ski capital of north america. we do have superb beginner terrain.

it's funny. i can name 100 instructors that would do a better job than i would. lenny blake teaches a superb LTS lesson and is slaying em in the kid's center.

in a group setting you cannot request an instructor. in reality i could always ask to go to our beginner pod on day one and then just happen to be assigned to her day two group, day three group, etc.

pm me or e-mail me at guyrb@msn.com and i'll be glad to get together a few prices.
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
Garyk, there is no doubt in my mind that the absolute best opportunity for your girlfriend to fall in love with skiing is the ESA. Founded by a bunch of passionate skiers (members of EpicSki, of course), coached by the very best instructors anywhere, and with Deans who are among the elite of ski instruction (Stu Campbell and Weems Westfeldt). The Snowbird ESA at the end of this month would be an amazing opportunity. Not only is the instruction the best anywhere, but the 4 days of hanging out with other Bears means catching more of skiing than just the on-snow technique. It's the people, the fun, the environment... everything.

I know I'm gushing, but it just doesn't get any better. Come if you can. I'd love to meet you both!
I have serious doubts that these are the very best instructors anywhere and the best instruction anywhere. Aren't they teaching pencil ski technique while skiing on shaped skis?...still steering and skidding? Just too stubborn to change? Shaped skis just need to be laid on their sides to turn you...you don't turn the skis. Pencil skis need to be steered. Steering skis is hard on the knees using them as if they were a rotary joint like the hips and shoulders.


Ken
post #20 of 27
SSG
Tip and Rip is ten years old and yesterday's news. As a teaching group we focussed way too much on it and produced a whole generation of sidecut riders who can do nothing else. The pencil skis used a different version of steering and skidding, not what we are using today. If you don't believe me read D Ralves' narrative of his BC win. It is especially interesting to read about the "power slide" at 70 and his stivotting maneuvers.
Perhaps before you impune the reputation of some of the brightest and most respected minds in the ski business, you should find out what is widely considered the current state of the art.
post #21 of 27
ESA would be great choice. Also consider private lessons at Deer Valley or private lessons with George Mosher at Grand Targhee.

Good luck!
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy
I have serious doubts that these are the very best instructors anywhere and the best instruction anywhere. Aren't they teaching pencil ski technique while skiing on shaped skis?...still steering and skidding? Just too stubborn to change? Shaped skis just need to be laid on their sides to turn you...you don't turn the skis. Pencil skis need to be steered. Steering skis is hard on the knees using them as if they were a rotary joint like the hips and shoulders.


Ken
sounds like you have not tried to teach someone from India or an overweight inactive couch potato to ski.

If even 10 % of the people that come up for first time lessons had even some strong sport in their background I'd be in heaven.

The sad truth is we live in a society that is overweight and out of shape. Carrying their skis while in ski boots the 100 yards to the learning area is often enough to wind most of our students. Wide stance wedges, some gentle rotary skills and skidding is often the only way they will get down a very flat beginner hill without killing themselves. If there is a smile on their face and they are safe, then tney just might come back and the cycle of sitting on the couch, watching TV, munching potato chips and drinking beer or soda just might be broken.

DC
post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy
I have serious doubts that these are the very best instructors anywhere and the best instruction anywhere. Aren't they teaching pencil ski technique while skiing on shaped skis?...still steering and skidding? Just too stubborn to change? Shaped skis just need to be laid on their sides to turn you...you don't turn the skis. Pencil skis need to be steered. Steering skis is hard on the knees using them as if they were a rotary joint like the hips and shoulders.

Ken
SSG:

Why do you have these doubts? What experiences have you had working with them?

I have worked with several of the coaches on the roster for this years event. Several of them have been fairly detailed in explaining how a ski works and what you can do with it (while attached to your foot!) I would not say any of them were antiquated.

Chris
post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy
I have serious doubts that these are the very best instructors anywhere and the best instruction anywhere. Aren't they teaching pencil ski technique while skiing on shaped skis?...still steering and skidding? Just too stubborn to change? Shaped skis just need to be laid on their sides to turn you...you don't turn the skis. Pencil skis need to be steered. Steering skis is hard on the knees using them as if they were a rotary joint like the hips and shoulders.


Ken

SSG this makes me laugh....
Due to my particular needs I was taught carving & not turning for a LOOOONG time (edges give me better feedback than flatter skis)....
I was then accosted by the austrian instructors (they had a B team member with them that year) who were MOST upset that it appeared I could not TURN my skis but only lay them on edge...
(Actually I could but my skills on flatter/flat skis are a little sparse & I tend not to use flat skis much)
post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cgeib
SSG:

Why do you have these doubts? What experiences have you had working with them?

I have worked with several of the coaches on the roster for this years event. Several of them have been fairly detailed in explaining how a ski works and what you can do with it (while attached to your foot!) I would not say any of them were antiquated.

Chris
chris - he is a HH disciple I think you will find.... hence anti any PSIA instructors
post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy
I have serious doubts that these are the very best instructors anywhere and the best instruction anywhere. Aren't they teaching pencil ski technique while skiing on shaped skis?...still steering and skidding? Just too stubborn to change? Shaped skis just need to be laid on their sides to turn you...you don't turn the skis. Pencil skis need to be steered. Steering skis is hard on the knees using them as if they were a rotary joint like the hips and shoulders.


Ken
I personally enjoy not knowing everything, it gives me a great opportunity to learn. For some reason this reply brings to vision some freshman econ student trying to lecture the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

SoftSnowGuy, Here's a quote you might want to remember "A little learning is a dangerous thing".

The other is, considering the company you're in, "How dare you!!"
post #27 of 27

Weather considerations

I'm back on the weather factor because this was mentioned and you only get one first ski trip.

I've had the pleasure of skiing CO and UT, they enjoy marvelous ski conditions and are stocked with high quality ski teachers. However, IMO the weather is less pleasant than Tahoe. Mild and bluebird with plentiful snow is a combination hard for a beginner to dislike.

I looked at Tony Crocker's website (www.bestsnow.net) to support this but, like a devoted skier, he has many comparative snow observations but less on the sun factor. However, he notes in his review of Squaw: "Sierra snow tends to arrive in massive dumps, with sustained stretches of sunny and mild weather in between." This is exactly my observation.

You may also wish to make an unscientific check such as on the weather reported today at Aspen, Park City UT and Truckee CA. All were 26-27 degrees, cloudy at Aspen, snowing lightly at Park City and ... Truckee was clear. All good but there is a difference.
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