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Some advice for begining Bears.

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Sept 15, 2007

Hi Beginning Bears:

By hook or by crook, you have somehow or other managed to "stumble" and find your way to this forum. With close to 15,500 registered members and assuming an average ski duration of 10 seasons for each member and 30 days of skiing per season, that is close to 155,000 skiing seasons and approximately half a million skiing days. Furthermore, with the various levels of competence, coupled with the different schools, philosophy, methods, flavors, styles of skiing represented, you really have a lot of experience and expertise to draw upon.

My well intentioned but unsolicited advice consists of the following five words:

EARLY, EARLY, EARLY, EARLY, EARLY.

One of the most important words in skiing is EARLY.

EARLY SEASON (start skiing as EARLY on in the season as you can. Try to ski as soon as the ski area opens for the season.)

Pros:
  • Steep, steep discounts on lift tickets, rentals, lessons, package deals, lodging. I believe Crested Butte offers free early season skiing when you stay at one of their designated lodgings. My home area, Ski Liberty, Ski Roundtop and Ski Whitetail (in South Central PA) offers early season class lessons for $10.00. The Learn to Ski package, Monday through Sunday, early season is $29.00. The Learn to Ski package includes a lift ticket valid for beginner's area only, rentals and class lesson. Later on, this Learn to Ski package is $66.00 midweek and $77.00 weekend. I believe most areas all have early season incentives. Check with your local area.
  • Un-crowded slopes. Most skiers don't start skiing until or even after the Christmas/New Year week. Get a jump on the season and enjoy the quiet tranquility of skiing as it was meant to be.
  • Safer skiing. The early season skier is usually a professional in the sport or an advance/expert diehard skier. With the low skier traffic and better skiers, the odds of being hit by another skier is much lower. But always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Milder temperatures, which contribute to a better ski experience. Especially with young kids, less chance of frost bit nose, fingers or toes.
  • Excellent snow for learning on. Most ski areas will concentrate and place priority on making snow for the beginner areas. So sometimes early on the best snow is on the beginner trails. Also since the snow hasn't had a chance to thaw and refreeze, the skiing surface (NO ICE yet) is excellent for beginners to learn on.
  • Extends the ski season. This assumes that you will also ski as LATE (rare occurrence where LATE is important for skiing) into the season as possible. Hopefully, helping the ski area shut down for the spring. Last season I helped shut down Ski Roundtop, PA, Timberline, W.Va., Shawnee Mountain, PA and Jiminny Peak, Ma. I was on the last chair up and the last person down at Jiminny.
  • Gentle introduction to skiing. With a low density of skiers/guest, it is much easier to get to know the area, find your way around and learn the sport of skiing. Especially if you plan to (and I strongly urge you to) take lessons. The class size will be smaller and the coaches will be under a lot less strain so as to be better able to provide you with a rewarding and enjoyable learning experience.
Cons:
  • Lesser choice of ski trails. Early on in the season, the full compliment of terrain usually will not be open.
  • Early season startup pains for the ski area. This could include staffing short falls, new employees not being familiar with their jobs, facility related problems such as restroom with over running water etc. Many of the more experienced Ski School coaches may be off taking early season clinics.
EARLY ARRIVAL (for each day of skiing, arrive at the ski area as EARLY as possible. Try to ski as soon as the area opens for the day. Say 7:30 for areas that open at 8:00, for example.).

Pros:
  • Lighter traffic on the way up to the ski area.
  • Choice of convenient close in parking spots. This is very important, especially after you've bought you own equipment. Consider how much of a hassle it would be to walk half a mile or more with kids, skis, poles, boot bag and maybe lunch chest. Note that once or twice every year, my home mountain turns away skiers because the parking lots are full. They are referred to go to our sister area, which is another 45 minutes away with no guarantee that it will not be full as well.
  • None or short lines for lift tickets, rentals (if needed). Get to the rental shop early and get your equipment fitted in a short time span. Early on, the rental technician usually has time and makes the effort for a good fit. Once the crowd hits the fitting and sizing process suffers. In a similar vein, once or twice a season, our rental shop runs out of ski equipment. So in this paragraph as in the previous one "the EARLY bird gets the worm".
  • None or short lift lines. Getting on the mountain as soon as the lift starts you usually get at least two hours (sometimes even 3 and a half hours) of continuous up and down skiing, with no or short waits for the lift.
  • None or short lines at Ski School to purchase lessons or lining up for a lesson. Usually, you will be in a smaller group for the early classes as well.
  • Comparatively empty trails/slopes allowing you to practice your big turns or to just enjoy skiing, without worrying too much on being hit by some out of control skier.
Cons:
  • Difficulty to get the kids out of bed and rounded up (not to mention the difficulty of getting up yourself).
  • An overnight storm or cold spell might be a cause for ice/sleet/snow on the roads. Driving prior to the highway crew getting out to spread salt/sand and plowing the roads might prove to be treacherous. If you expect these conditions, give yourself extra time to get safely to the ski area.
  • Ice and snow on the lift chairs. Grooming might still be going on, thus depriving you of your favorite trail.

EARLY LUNCH


Pros:
  • If you get on the slopes early say 8:00 and ski until 11:00 or 11:30. Go in for lunch. This 30 minute jump on the crowd will benefit you in many ways. You will not be in a long line to order food and another long line to pay for your food. You will have a choice of tables. You can choose to not rub elbows with strangers. When you finished with your lunch (and that is when the crowd gets in for lunch), you will now be out skiing on relatively empty slopes for about another hour, hour and a half. Finally when the lunch people come out, you will have already enjoyed 4 to 5 hours of good skiing and may appreciate waiting in lift line or standing on the slopes enjoying the scenery in order to rest your weary legs.
Cons:
  • No downside that I can think of.

EARLY DEPARTURE (leave the ski area EARLY.).

Pros:
  • Leave the ski area half an hour prior to it's closing. This will facilitate your exiting the parking lot and getting on the road. By leaving early you may also manage to miss the homeward bound traffic jam.
  • Leaving early will provide you with an extra half hour, hour of daylight when going home.
Cons:
  • Lose half an hour to an hour of skiing.
EARLY STARTOFF (start kids skiing as early an age as possible)

Pros:
  • Too many to enumerate.
Cons:
  • Too few to mention.
Hope this helps.

Cheers.

CP

PS: A last piece of advice. Get rid of, or at least, don't show up at a ski area with a SkiTote. You know, the gimmicky piece of plastic garbage which we all bought when we made our very first ski/boot purchase. You will understand as "Time Goes By". Just believe me.
post #2 of 14
CP,
I agree with your post, particularly for EARLY LUNCH and EARLY START.

You can end up spending a lot of time waiting in crowded lift lines to ski down crowded slopes. EARLY LUNCH, I've discovered, helps alleviate this problem. The lodge isn't as crowded, you get in and out faster, and once you're out, a lot of people are in lunching..thus lines are less crowded as are slopes.

EARLY START - Biggest advantage I think is empty, serene trails although they may be more icy first thing in the AM depending on weather. Less wait time for lifts also.

EARLY SEASON- It's a chance to start skiing but there could definitely be limits as to what's open and available...even for beginners. More planning time required to possibly get down mountain if you have to take a gondola/tram and can't ski down to base level There is a reason why prices are lower........but it could still be very worthwhile. After all, every opportunity to ski helps.

I have another suggestion to offer. If you have the ability to do this -- MID WEEK SKIING!! Not a lot of people have this kind of control over their schedules ..so slopes are a lot less crowded!
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgmc View Post
CP,
I have another suggestion to offer. If you have the ability to do this -- MID WEEK SKIING!! Not a lot of people have this kind of control over their schedules ..so slopes are a lot less crowded!
Sept 15, 2007

Hi MgMc:

I agree with you completely. In order to make this suggestion more in line with my earlier "EARLY" motif, can we say this is "EARLY SKIING IN THE WEEK"?

I try to get in 2 half days of skiing mid-week, opps, I mean "early in the week", since my local ski area is only an hour from my office. So, I do three earlies. Early start, Early in the Week and Early departure.

Have a great season. Cheers.

CP
post #4 of 14

Early Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieP View Post
Sept 15, 2007

Hi MgMc:
Have a great season. Cheers.

CP
Thanks CP! I'm going to make it a season to remember and am getting a head start by EARLY PLANNING!!!

Some of us don't live/have offices 1/2 hour from snow:
(envy) so more advance (I meant) EARLY planning is required to get to snow!!!

All the best....
post #5 of 14
Early is good! Like the Early birds gets the worm. Early arrival at the slope gets better parking. Early release of the old turn gets you into position for the new turn...EARLY. A nice and helpful theme.
post #6 of 14
only downside I can think of in this is don't be too rushed. All this early talk and to me personally I'd be anxious about being late, which you don't need.

Keep it light and fun and be patient. If that means getting there early and taking your time to learn at your own pace that's fine. But just remember this is about freedom, having fun and not rushing through it. Enjoy your time at the mountain is all I'm saying (sorry I'm type A in this and if anyone tells me to be early I kind of freak a little .
post #7 of 14
This deserves a "classic thread" nomination. Or a "sticky" at the top of this forum.

Only added point, sort of implicit in your post but worth spelling out: calling it a day 30 minutes before closing is for early season skiers, you get out before the light really starts to flatten out and fade, and before you're exhausted. That's when accidents happen.
post #8 of 14
I go with early start, late lunch, a relaxing beer after the lifts close and a late departure.
post #9 of 14

Early

Great post Early is great Park in front of the lodge, ski early before people are there. Good plan for beginners, if your'er going to rent don't have to stand in line, no lift ticket lines, no lined anywhere. You will be suprized how much skiing you can do before the "crowd" gets there.

Better yet come to northern Idaho and there are no lines anytime of the day.

Good Advice!!
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
I go with early start, late lunch, a relaxing beer after the lifts close and a late departure.
This is my style also . Exactly.
A good early start fueled and ready. A late refueling of something you can burn somewhat readily and then a nice relaxing beer after the lifts close and hang with your ski buddies or co- workers .Ease down the mountain after most of the the crowds have all made their way before you.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieP View Post
PS: A last piece of advice. Get rid of, or at least, don't show up at a ski area with a SkiTote. You know, the gimmicky piece of plastic garbage which we all bought when we made our very first ski/boot purchase. You will understand as "Time Goes By". Just believe me.
Loved the post: good advice. But I'm concerned that I've yet to develop a healthy disdain for the Skitote, even after significantly increasing my ski days the past few seasons (context - that meant 15 days last year). They still seem useful to me. What's wrong with me?
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodstocksez View Post
Loved the post: good advice. But I'm concerned that I've yet to develop a healthy disdain for the Skitote, even after significantly increasing my ski days the past few seasons (context - that meant 15 days last year). They still seem useful to me. What's wrong with me?
Sept 19, 2007

Hi WoodStock_Sez:

In the vincinty WoodStock, NY? I missed the concert in 1969.

There is nothing wrong per se with the SkiTote. In actuality, it is a convenient piece of equipment to transport your skis and poles. Also, it simplifies securing your equipment to a fence or post, if you have a wire combination lock. With that said, the SkiTote has developed a "negative image" in the skiing community. Just as most people would not wear Bell Bottom pants now a days, most skiers would not be caught seen with that particular piece of equipment. With that said, I admire you for your independence and if you find the SkiTote useful, by all means, go ahead and use it. Just be aware of the associated negativity (ref: What is a Gaper thread in General Skiing Discussion).

The reason for the SkiTote falling out of favour is not clear to myself. I stopped using it after the first two or three weeks of my skiing career, a long time ago. Maybe others can elaborate on why the SkiTote is "un-cool"?


Cheers,

CP
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieP View Post
Just as most people would not wear Bell Bottom pants now a days, most skiers would not be caught seen with that particular piece of equipment. With that said, I admire you for your independence and if you find the SkiTote useful, by all means, go ahead and use it. Just be aware of the associated negativity (ref: What is a Gaper thread in General Skiing Discussion).

The reason for the SkiTote falling out of favour is not clear to myself. I stopped using it after the first two or three weeks of my skiing career, a long time ago. Maybe others can elaborate on why the SkiTote is "un-cool"?
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. I didn't say I owned a Skitote, just that I don't disdain them. Tolerance and all is good, but I don't want to be uncool.

I would wear bellbottoms if I wasn't too lazy to go to some secondhand stores and find some. (I had some totally sweet pairs in elementary school, along with some paisley shirts that made young girls swoon. Thanks, mom.)

I too have wondered why Skitotes have been so mistreated. Why all the hate, haters?
post #14 of 14
Good post Charlie. Although I'm not going to leave early, it makes sense for a beginner. They work a lot harder and get tired faster. I know and love the early season at Liberty, for beginners it's perfect because easy runs open first. Starting early in the day is good too for beginners and anyone, but Liberty's flex-pass makes the penalty for getting there late less severe. If you plan to rent and/or take a lesson it is a very good idea to get there early before the rental shop gets crowded and to be on the snow before the first lessons start.

I never had a SkiTote. I don't think they ever "fell out of favour" though.
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