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Instructors and Lessons

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I have a question about how to find good instructors - both in general and at places I regularly ski.

I have a taken a couple of lessons in the past and found them to be hit and miss. Neither were private lessons but both were "supergroup" lessons at Whistler/Blackcomb where there are 2-3 students in each group. In one lesson I found that the instructor was pretty good but the other student in my group was a little out of his comfort zone and held us back. I tried to change groups but it wasn't practical since the mountain is so big and couldn't find the other group. The second lesson was not as good as the instructor didn't speak english well and my german is non-existent.

In any case, my question related to finding good instructors. It seems most people exclusively use the ski schools at resorts. I was wondering if it is common to use instructors that are not necessarily affiliated with the ski school.

Oh, and if anyone can let me know of the names of good instructors at W/B that I could request I would appreciate it!
post #2 of 11
reggie74,

You can always request the highest CSIA certified instructor available at the resort but be aware they usually only allow requests for private lessons not group lessons. You may want to get some friends of equal ability together and request a private group with a specific instructor? Either way, do not be afraid to request the best the ski school has to offer for the kind of skiing you want to do!

Using instructors not affiliated with a resort ski school is possible though you will have to enlist one on your own and work that out privately. Resorts frown on this practice but if you are skiing one on one with your own private coach, nobody will know or care.

If you would like to take care of my travelling expenses and lodging, tickets, meals, beer, and fees, I would be happy to come to Whistler to ski with you: it's a thought?....

best wishes,
bud
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Bud,

Thanks for the note. I can help with the lodging, meals and beer and if I can pay the fees in US pesos we may be able to work something out !

I will try and put out a some feelers to the ski school and see how they respond. I have also already received a couple of referrals via pm and I will follow up with those as well.

Ian
post #4 of 11
Ian,
W/B should make an attempt to make it right for you. You paid for a lesson you could understand (in English) and at the appropriate level. Did you discuss this with them? Doing so should have resulted in them finding a better fit for you, or offering you a refund if they couldn't accomodate your needs.
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post
Ian,
W/B should make an attempt to make it right for you. You paid for a lesson you could understand (in English) and at the appropriate level. Did you discuss this with them? Doing so should have resulted in them finding a better fit for you, or offering you a refund if they couldn't accomodate your needs.
Also, whether the instructor speaks only Swahili, or whether the class is all students of different levels, I will always take charge of my experience and learn what I need, based on what the instructor has. I always pick up something.
post #6 of 11
Just walk into any bar at any ski area and be social until you come across a ski instructor. Ask him how good he is... he'll tell you.
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Notorious Spag View Post
Just walk into any bar at any ski area and be social until you come across a ski instructor. Ask him how good he is... he'll tell you.
Exactly! That's how I got started!
post #8 of 11
:
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by weems View Post
Exactly! That's how I got started!
Very funny---------------------but true.-------Wigs
post #10 of 11
Reggie,

Good instructors are in the eye of the beholder. What makes an instructor good for you won't necessarily make that instructor good for the next student. Some pros may be better at teaching private lessons than teaching groups. There are lots of other factors (e.g. personality) that can make your experience with a pro different from someone elses. With those caveats in mind, there definitely are instructors that are sufficiently skilled to be rated as good/better by most of their students no matter what the situation is.

There are many ways that people find these better pros. As Bud has noted, certification is one indicator of this. An instructor who is on the training staff for the school also has a high probability of being a "better" pro. Ski magazine puts out an annual top 10 instructor list. Most people find good instructors simply by taking a lot of lessons. A lot of people get recommendations from their friends (e.g. the ones who take a lot of lessons). Sometimes people will "shadow" a lesson to see how good a pro is. Epic tries to help people like you with our "instructor listing" page (note: no Canadien pros listed yet) that let's you search for "good" pros by resort and certification. By navigating from the list back to a pros posts on Epic, you can get a better sense of the pros personality and their teaching skills. It's far from perfect, but it can be another aspect of your search.

With respect to unaffiliated pros, there are different types. The most common are pros that are affiliated with ski clubs or ski camps. Many of these pros are very good to outstanding (especially the "high end" camps). You'll find these through their advertisting, references in posts on Epic, etc. My guess is that camps and clubs teach thousands of sstudents every year, but represent less than one percent of the lesson market. There are also affiliated pros and formerly affiliated pros who teach on an unaffiliated basis. Some of these pros are also excellent. Unaffiliated (aka freelance) teaching is a tiny fraction of the lesson market because business is usually done "under the table".
post #11 of 11
Reggie,

Sad to hear that the lessons didn't meet your expectations. Next time you're up here, please do mention it to Guest Relations, I'm sure they would love to put that right.

Out of interest, were your lessons on Whistler, or Blackcomb. Feel free to PM me if you want to take this off-line.
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