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Lessons sooner or later?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
This marks my 3rd season of skiing. In many ways I feel like a novice still, because I know there is a tremendous amount of skill and technique that I still need to learn. I took up skiing to do something with my wife, she skis at an expert level and she is one of those skiers that learned as a kid and loves to get out on the slopes.

I ski black diamonds just about all day and I am at home on the groomers. Once I get a little off balance on the crud or bumps my edging and technique disappears and I start sitting on the backs of my skis.

My question is: We are heading up to Kirkwood, CA for 10 days of skiing leaving tomorrow. When would you recommend I sign up for some lessons. Would you suggest skiing a few days to get my legs and lungs adapted or would you think it better to sign up for a lesson right away. I've gotten up to Kirkwood twice already and have 4 days of skiing under my belt this season. We still need more snow but there is enough snow for Kirkwood to open the whole mountain including the backside.

As a sidebar, I took a private lesson last year as well as an "advanced" group lesson, where there were 2 of us in the group.

Thanks in advance for your responses. Please excuse my ignorance, I am fully aware that I have more enthusiasm than knowledge at this point in time.

post #2 of 11
We have about the same amount of experience...

I took a private lesson the very first afternoonthis season, after skiing all morning. I think the lesson helped wipe out some of the bad habits I've developed over the past few seasons. I'm very glad I spent the $.
post #3 of 11
You should be able to answer your own question by now. Yes, you don't have a lot of experience. But if you're already skiing black diamonds all day in your third season and your wife is an expert skier and you've taken lessons already, you already know what works for you and whether or not you need more lessons.

There's a point in your skiing career where the first day on snow in a season does not have you feeling your skis like they are alien beings attached to your feet. When you've reached the point, where you can put the skis on day 1 and they just feel like extensions of your feet, then you are ready to take lessons on day 1. If you've been a couch potato all summer, you'll probably need a day or two to "ski yourself into shape". If you've been working out to get in shape, you might be able to jump start your season by getting stuff to work on right away with a lesson on day 1. It also depends on where you were at when you finished last season. It's possible you had unfinished business (i.e. things you can work on without requiring additional help). When your in basket is already full, it does not make much sense to pay to add more to it. If you've got a laundry list of things to work on and no solutions for how to get them done, you're ready for a lesson. You are the only one who can decide how much of a load you need to have before you start the washer.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Rusty I hear what you are saying, and my sense is to get out on the slopes and ski for a couple days working on my fundamentals and working the legs. I've been active during the summer months, cycling, hiking, and doing some ski related workouts. I also think the 4 days of "blue square" skiing I've logged in this season was a gentle way of working the ski muscles.

But I've also been kicking around the idea of just getting a lesson on day 1 (of this trip) and hammering it for the next week and a half. Like Trurl2003's post.

I'm still feeling a little goofy out there and I am thinking way more than doing. I also know that while lessons will help, it time on the skis that will create the most progress in my skiing.

post #5 of 11
My thought would be to hit the lesson early, get some input on what you're doing and then use the rest of the time to play with things, maybe take a follow up lesson later in the vacation, possibly with the same instructor. Ask for a Level III certified instructor. Otherwise, enjoy the new snow that is on the way.
post #6 of 11
As an instructor I know how much I need a "tuneup" to start the season out on the right "ski." I normally like to get my feet under me with a day or two of skiing then get into some good clinic/lessons to have someone else look at my skiing. This it the "tuneup" I need to get back in the groove as quickly as possible. This year, with the lack of snow here, I ended up starting out in a clinic in Colorado. It was great, I got back in the groove right off the bat. It made for a great rest of the week. (None of my old habits had a chance to sneak in.)

If you have a couple of days of skiing under your belt right now, I recommend that you take the lesson as soon as possible when you get out there. That way you can really enjoy the rest of your stay.
post #7 of 11

Lessons, who needs lessons...

I still remember starting out. A carload of friends. One of which was a Canadian (Ryan). They ski right? 17 yrs old. My friends said, "Ryan has been skiing all his life. He even taught skiing". Well then. "17 yrs old is a lifetime of experience. Right?"

Well I survived. It went fine. My new, $99 skis, $49 M46 bindings, and $79 rear entry R3 Raichle boots. Don't laugh (too hard), they were still safer and more technically advanced than some of the "old-timers" starting set up.

Well, the sport was great. Picked it up quick. Up to the black runs in the first season. But not until I started skiing with my first "coach" did it really progress. Ralph Moreno. My Guest Service Supervisor at Bear Mtn, CA. He was the "Kelly Leak" (bad news bears) of the ski area. But goodness could he ski. Better than any of the ski schoolers. And he was a pretty good teacher too.

Well that is the long way to say, coach or instructor. Find a model. Someone who will take you under his/her wing and help you improve. Obviously you have some good natural ability and skill. Now you can hone it.

Postscript. Later a trainer, Doug Radford (now at Snow Summit), to a group of 35 instructors (level 2 and below) and trained us. This guy can teach, even if it is based on tough love. Of those 35, 33 have become full cert and above, 21 became resort trainers, 14 divisional trainers/examiners, and 1 on the National Demo Team.
Doug Radford was instructor/coach/guide trained to help his skiers succeed. I am a huge believer in what a certified instructor can do for skiers and rider.

to your sliding success,
Jon L

post #8 of 11
post #9 of 11
Sooner is better than later. If it were me, I would get a 1/2 hour of skiing in just to work out the kinks, and then take the lesson.
post #10 of 11
Take group lessons in the mornings so you get a "Tour" of the trails that will challenge you without scaring your socks off. Ski school should be a very useful tool to not only impart skiing knowledge but a good instructor will show you around the mountain or resort as well as show you how to get down the hill. Then in the afternoons take your sweetie and show her where you went and what you did.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
First off, thanks for the words of wisdom, the above input gave me some good points to consider.

As it turned out I didn't take any lessons during our ski trip this winter break. I got 11 days of skiing in but the days were variable both in weather and snow. Several of the days presented with high wind putting the upper mountain on wind hold. We had a couple storms work their way through but the wind followed and limited our access to the fresh pow. It is still early season in California and we need more coverage to ski the steeps with a clear path down the mountain.

On the brighter side, I did get out all of the 11 days we were up at Kirkwood. On the 4th day one of my ski buddies came up for the last 7 days and we skiied a bunch together. Ever since I started skiing he has been a mentor of sorts. When I ski with him I ski better and he takes the time to share a couple pearls of skiing wisdom. This trip he talked to me about "extending and elongating" which made my edging more definite and more intuitive. He also helped me work on my technique in POW.

All in all it was a great trip, next trip I will probably take a group lesson or a Expedition Steeps Class.

Enjoying the journey
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