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Finding an instructor in Washington state?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I've been a longtime lurker/lover of this site, but this is my first post. Here goes... (apologies for rambling)

I'm in my mid-30s and I've been skiing for about 20 years. I think my last lesson for downhill skiing was when I was 12 or 13 years old (five or six years ago, I did take a tele lesson once, and a snowboard lesson). I consider myself an advanced skier but not necessarily an expert. I would probably be a level 8 skier. At some mellower western resorts, I will try any slope; at others, certain double black diamonds are totally off-limits for me.

I love skiing and try to get out as much as work allows (15-20 days a season?) but I know that on the harder slopes my turns can become "survival" turns.... at the cost of style and energy savings. In big bumps, I can still be a mess, and I tend to lack the confidence to make drops into really steep double diamond slopes (once in, I'm usually fine, though). Cascade crud can trip me up, too, though I imagine it does for most anyone.

Here's my question: Any recommendations on where to go (or who to see) for a private 1 or 2 hour lesson? I love the idea of the multi-day camps but I can't swing it with my work schedule. I ski at Alpental, Mt. Baker, and Crystal the most, but Stevens is an option as well. (I also make a trip to Whistler every year but I'd love to get some tips before my Whistler trip this Spring). I just want to get some pointers that will help me push myself to be better, and have more fun on the slopes.

Judging the above resorts by their overall feel, I'm going to guess that Crystal and Stevens have the most developed instruction program (and maybe the most instructors) but I'm not sure where to begin, what to ask for, or how to get the best private lesson experience when you don't have a specific name to ask for. It's a no brainer when you're a beginner or intermediate to get lessons, but as a better skier i want to make sure I get a better instructor, who will help me tackle the issues I have. Any advice?

Beyond a specific instructor recommendation (which I'd love) I have a more generic question: Is it better to get a private lesson during the weekend or midweek at day resorts such as the above? I imagine the depth and quality of instructors may be better on the weekends at resorts such as this but maybe it isn't. ... (I'm totally guessing on all this).

Come to think of it: Private lesson FAQs would be a great sticky on this forum ... not just a list of good instructors but a list of ways a skier can get the optimum private lesson for themself (one hour, two, etc); what questions to ask the program director; how to pick an instructor; things to avoid or are time-wasters; warning signs that a resort's lesson program may be a waste of your time, etc. just a thought!
post #2 of 3

Welcome to Epic! Thanks for leaving the lurk side of the force!

We do have an instructor page with one instructor listed at Snoqualime, Mike McKimson.

We are also working on a "beginner forum". We will work to incorporate your suggestions.
post #3 of 3

All the ski areas you mention would have competent instructors that could give you some "tips" in a lesson that can make you a better skier (naturally, I would delighted to work with you up at Snoqualmie!).

The best thing you can do, regardless of where you might go for your lessons is to have a clear objective in mind and communicate that with your instructor. Instead of looking for general "pointers" focus your lesson (especially since what you want is a fairly short 1 -2 hour lesson) on improving your "weaker" skills that prevent you from skiing the way you want to ski.

Good luck.


PS - Hey the(Rusty), thanks for the plug!
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