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Why DON'T you take lessons? - Page 2

post #31 of 64
Originally posted by Bonni:
I know I would benefit greatly from lessons. I just don't have the funds.
Bonnie - don't they do good prices for disabled persons there?

Over here I ski EVERYWHERE for 50% discount(lifts & lessons). WE have a differnet system though - I ski through the regular ski school.

You lot seem to keep us Gumby people seperate(I suppose the regular types are scared they might catch something?). From memory Whistler adaptive offered me a VERY cheap deal on lift/lessons - but don't have enough staff so are booked out months ahead. Challenge Aspen seem most obliging - they will pull my regular instructor in Oz from privates for me - at the cost of $135 per day - including lift tickets & equipment. Otherwise I'm sure some of the guys here can advise re programs in their area.
post #32 of 64
I haven't had a lesson since 98-99. There are a few reasons for that.

I am at a level where I can do everything I want well enough. With a little bit of work I know I could pass the hiring clinic.

I mainly ski on uni trips now and we get lift/lesson packages but I have never used them because they are only for group lessons which are useless.
post #33 of 64
Arnie doesn't take lessons he just gets schooled.
post #34 of 64
The problem with lessons at the more advanced levels is that so many instructors forget they are the ones getting paid, and the students are the ones who really want to ski!!

If I am at a ski area where I LOVE the skiing: What benefit is it to me to get shackled to someone who is going to call all the shots for the day? I don't know about the rest of the crowd here, but I don't get enough skiing in to feel like I can just 'give away' a big chunk of my ski time to someone who may want to 'tear me down and rebuild me'!!

I realize there are many exceptions to this statement; but throwing valuable 'ski time' into that vague 'lottery' called ski lessons is only justifiable to me if I really don't like the skiing where I am, or if I can see an immediate benefit to my personal skiing itinerary.

P.S. - My apologies to all of you earnestly hard working ski instructors who understand this and try to work around it; but your profession is filled with many who think the world revolves around their needs and wishes. -- One bad day of lessons often sets the tone for future judgements on this activity! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #35 of 64
Ant, I typically do take a lesson a year. What prevents me from taking more is:

Size of Groups: I have a hard time with a group of more than 4. I have been in a lesson at Vail where there where almost 12 of us in a lesson. Playing follow the leader with a dozen people all I am learning is what the student in front of me is doing, right or wrong. When you think about the cost vs how much attention I would get from the instructor, there is no value there.

Hassle Factor: a. Have you ever seen the lines at some of the Colorado resorts for ski schools it is a scene! b. Then there is the standing around while instructors divvy up the groups.

Professionalism: At another lesson it seemed they were being put in-groups not according to ability but according to gender and appearance. Will NEVER take a lesson there again.

I did take a wonderful lesson last year at Copper, the Womens Wednesday Clinic and will again next season.
post #36 of 64
I have not skied in Australia since about 1978 - Mt Buller. 1979 saw me in New Zealand for the first time and then there was a 15 year break - due to finances, marriage, children ......
The last few years I have been lucky to ski NZ in our winter and Canada in their winter - it gives one something to aim for.
Unfortuneately, I have not skied with Thredbo or Falls. It just seems more cost effective for us in the deep North to go to NZ.
Should I be lucky enough to get down south at the right time, I will ask you to name names if need be.
post #37 of 64
Never have taken a lesson but sure have thought about it for line cutting privileges on a deep epic powder day! I've seen people doin' it at Jackson Hole so they can do Tram laps!
post #38 of 64
I never took a lesson and I think it was a huge mistake not to do so initially. I am sure that in the beginning I could have used the help and knowledge of almost any instructor and I would have improved faster.

But today it is a different story. I simply cannot trust the ideas of any old instructor. As Frances put it, they contradict each other too often and they all have somewhat different ideas about how one should ski. Besides, spending a considerable amount of time on this forum gives one knowledge and understanding that sometimes surpasses the average instructor. That makes one even more demanding in some ways.

Here is what would be required for me to take a lesson:

1. No hassles - I should be able to do it over the internet, especially for a private.
2. Video analysis - absolutely critical for me. The video analysis will help me determine if the advice from the instructor makes sense for me. I want to see (on video) the problem in my skiing. I also want to see how the correction looks and feels. I definitely do not care for skiing behind an instructor. That is absolutely a waste of time for advanced skiers. The only exception is bumps and then only if the person wants to learn how to pick a good line.

Here is my ideal scenario:

For a nominal fee (say $10, but I would gladly pay more) you could go to a section of the mountain to get yourself on video. At the bottom of the run a senior instructor (or examiner) could tell you what level they think you are and what can be improved. They have to be able to show you on the video why they think you need to improve. Then you have the option to book a lesson if you think you need the improvement in that area. This is where bullshit won't work. The lesson should have more video analysis.

I don't want anyone to think that I consider myself beyond improvement. Far from that. But I want to actively participate in my analysis and correction process. I simply cannot follow instruction blindly at this stage in my skiing development. I hope I did not offend anyone. I should add that there are many instructors here that I would trust completely, but then I had several years to get to know how professional and dedicated they are.
post #39 of 64
TomB - I have ALWAYS had control of what I am doing & where I am going with my ski lessons. If I didn't I'd be back in Ski School asking for that refund. If YOU are paying then it must be a lesson that suits YOU & your needs.

I was offered a choice even as a much lower level skier - did I want them to train me to only ski groomed slopes?(I have trouble with balance & recovery so ANY small bump would cause me grief) If I wanted to be a more VERSATILE skier(anytime & anywhere) I had to TRUST them to help me achieve that - but it was ALWAYS made clear WHY we were doing what we were - so I ALWAYS had a choice.

Re the video stuff - I know a Whistler instructor who was purchasing a video recorder to use in his lessons(privates). He is a mate of one of my Thredbo instructors who does this a bit with me. I can have an email chat to him for you if you want re getting some video analysis etc done.
post #40 of 64
At some less glamorous areas it is highly probable that you will get a private lesson at the group rate if you specify the afternoon class.

At these same less glamorous areas, there are often highly skilled instructors on staff who are employed doing programs for locals, which can be great opportunities to make friends and find compatible ski mates (if you just moved there, for instance--this option doesn't work for visitors). At my area a person can get 10 weekly two hour lessons for $180. The group stays relatively intact throughout the 10 week session, with some flex for people mismatched with session groups. Class size tops at 8.

It is true that outsiders play something of a lottery when they sign up for lessons. The really great instructors were booked for the season in October, so there's probably not a grand prize in your lottery, but there likely will be many very good instructors who have not yet built the clientele to be pre-booked. The trick is to find a knowledgable non-biased advisor to get you those names.

Bergiesbest.com has "best 100" and "best 100 nominees" listings that I think is pretty good (knowing many of the people on it). These recommendations were made by some of the best in the business.
post #41 of 64

Nail on Head!!!

Video is crucial. Equipment is cheap. The resorts act like they need a professional videographer to follow you around with a professional waterproof, steady cam, and since the cost of that is x million dollars they can't afford to offer the service, or only offer the service to select few enrolled in week long clinics. This should be offered to anyone on the mountain, families, individuals, ski school enrollees, anyone, for $5 to $10 per run. It should be set up on a blocked off run area to eliminate skier conflict and should be scenic. A great tool for the average skier and a $$$ maker for the resort. Have you ever seen this? I haven’t. I have seen the resort photographer snapping lots of photos, but not the action stuff.

How much can it cost to buy the sale analog video camera from the local electronics barn, put it in a cheap waterproof plastic baggie housing and set it up on one particular run for a few hours each day? (If they were smart resorts would also set up this kind of system on a good mogul run and let anyone pay $10 to get their run on film, but that is a whole other post).

My eight-year-old son took a golf lesson package from the local park and recreation district. They had video analysis, and video comparisons with the great golfers. It was fun to watch my son and compare him to Wood and others. Oh, the entire week package (spring break) was about $100 for two hours per day 5 days per week. Hmmmmmm!!!!

Also, I agree with your assessment that skiers should be segregated by ability, by a ski school instructor, not the skier or skiers parents. The initial video run would be a good place do the assessment.

What is really frightening is that resorts have free resources like this board and are not utilizing them.


I saw your name at bergiesbest.com, and I thought I had done all my homework with regards to you. Your resume amazes me.
post #42 of 64
Bonnie - don't they do good prices for disabled persons there?

Over here I ski EVERYWHERE for 50% discount(lifts & lessons).
Disski- Not that I know of. At any rate, I don't consider myself disabled. How would I prove that? Note from the neurologist? Placard on my arse (next to the wide load sign)?

Ya can't look at me and see anything. I ski well enough so that you can't tell. But set me outside on a hot and humid day and watch the show. Then you'd know.

How about an answer to disski's question: do disabled people get discounts Anywhere in the US? Just curious.
post #43 of 64
I take a weeks (5 days) worth of lessons every year (since ~1985). In the beginning I learned alot. After awhile improvement slowed but most years I still pick up or improve some skill.

I've been doing this by staying at a resort that offers 1/2 day group (3 to 6 people) lessons as part of their lodging package. The first day is a wasted morning since groups have to be formed. After this I get in two to three runs before the lessons, take the lesson from 10 till noon and free ski the afternoon. This provides plenty of skiing for me.

Maybe I've been lucky but in all those years of lessons I've never had a truly awful instructor and I've had several who were very helpful.

My first run on a black trail, through the woods (Beaver Pond Glade) and on shaped skis (lessons included a day on how to use shaped ski given on demo Elan SCX's back in the early 90's) was in a lesson.
post #44 of 64
I definitely do not care for skiing behind an instructor. That is absolutely a waste of time for advanced skiers.

I find nothing more helpful than synchro skiing behind a better skier. I think of it as osmosis. I see, I do, I feel. Merely following is not so helpful.

I like video, but one must consider the Heisenberg Principle (the observer changes the event in incalculable ways). With video neophytes the first look can be traumatic. The spine-tingling novelty takes many times to wear down to the point where the skier just skis instead of performing like a stiff for the camera.

In other words, their skiing is compromised by attempting to do it correctly for the camera. Timing, rhythm, feel, and flow are often MIA.

It is preferable to have a videographer along for the day, so he or she can capture candid video of a person unselfconsciously skiing. Giving a student just one run for the money is extremely constipating.

NB: I believe Vail tried the public video kiosk idea. Maybe VSP or others would fill us in on how well it was received.
post #45 of 64
On the few occasions recently that I've taken lessons, or been guided, I've learned more by following the instructor/guide than by staying in the middle of the group. The other option I choose is to ski at the back of the group, because then the instructor will have stopped, and be able to watch me longer, and so give me more specific tips.
I find it difficult to take lessons now, partly because of apathy on my part, but also because I believe I will gain most from individual tuition than from group lessons, and that's when costs start to kick in - I'm already paying to fly half way round the world, paying the premium for a single room, etc, it all mounts up. But I'm not saying that private lessons aren't worth it, I just struggle to finance it. Maybe if I quit drinking I could afford them!

post #46 of 64
That reminds me of an exam I took. The examiner chose the steepest run and said "follow me". I did exactly that and he was quite surprised to see me stop right behind him. He then critiqued the rest of the group for me(never saw me ski)(I passed)
post #47 of 64
Why would any strong skier believe that a random ski instructor could do anything useful for him (or her)? Coaching is a little different.
post #48 of 64
Anyone with the time/funds should consider the multi day ski camps offered by folks like NASTC/XTEAM/Steeps Camps Intl. They are fun, challenging and certainly opened my eyes to advanced all mountain skiing.
post #49 of 64
Thread Starter 
This is invaluable stuff, thank you to those who have related their experiences and thoughts (and keep em coming!). I'd like to point out that no one is "right" or "wrong". This is like those mg't brainstorming sessions, where every single opinion is equal, no condemnations. Because, this is what a range of people *really* think about ski lessons. And when you bring a product or service to the market, perception IS reality.

A couple of thoughts: we here all know that a decent instructor cycles the guests so that each one gets to ski behind them at some point. Some like to go at the back (like me, especially when skiing with peers, they are all loons and I want to stay at the back where it's safe!), but just in case there's a bit of visual learning to be had, all should have a go.

And, decent instructors have eyes in the backs of their heads! YOu'll never see their heads turn, but they know exactly what you're up to behind them.
post #50 of 64
Having only ever had lessons in Oz, I thought my comments my be kinda interesting ant...
First of all, I have only ever had one week of ski lessons when I was very little at Thredbo, NSW. Since then my Dad has taught me everything and I have basically ouskied him and taught myself. I doubt my parents would pay for lessons anymore but I will continue with why I wouldnt even if i wanted.
Firstly, group lessons are absolutely shocking. The amount of time that you spend waiting for someone who has fallen over, biding come undone, whatever, makes it often unpracticable. Private lessons would be good but often the cost is quite prohibitive.
Secondly, a group would never ski as fast and aggressively as me, even if members were technically superior> this is the way I ski and no-one really overtakes me. I will put it another way: have you ever seen a lesson overtake you? No, so you are always skiing below the speed that you would like to ski at.
Thirdly, in Australia as a teenager the only lessons options availabe to me are that I take group lessons, private lessons or race lessons.
Too many of my friends go ino a ski school for a week and the school assumes that skiing naturally progresses towards becoming a racer. NO!! I want well-rounded skills. Too many of these junior racers can't tackle much beyond manicured race courses due to their lack of true skiing experience. (although being a downhiller would be good). Another criticism is that all teenagers automatically want to be on twin-tips doing jumps, rails and stuffing around in terrain parks. Honestly, I wouldnt really care if I ever saw another terrain park in my life. It wouldnt fuss me if all the half pipes in the world were bulldozed. THis is not to say that I dont enjoy air off places like the Bluff at Thredbo or launching off natural formations, but being taught how to pull some 'sick' new-school move just doesnt hold my attention.

My ideal ski school would be:
1)The whole group skis really fast.
2)The ski school lets us ski wherever we want on the mountain. The problem is with ski school groups is that everyone wants to ski different terrain and therefore it is a compromise.
3)The instructor gives a tip at the top of each run to the group, and, pays attention to the individuals own style.

Hope you got something out of my rambling saga.
post #51 of 64
Originally posted by Bonni:
At any rate, I don't consider myself disabled. How would I prove that? Note from the neurologist?
Actually Bonni that is pretty much what they do here!
To ski as a disabled skier you MUST join Disabled Winter Sports Australia. They require a medical assessment & they then assess the impact on your skiing. You will then be issued with a passport that states the nature of your disability & whether you will require a 'helper'(Guide or sit ski assistant etc) Also lists equipment you may require.
I ski with the regular ski school - but advise them in advance if I am going somewhere new - that gives them time to arrange suitable instructors & equipment if needed.
As I ski regularly at 2 ski schools there is no problem - they just make bookings with my instrcutors as needed. NO-ONE except me, instructor & person taking money need know I am a disabled client if I wish it otherwise!

No-one can tell I am disabled at first glance.

OH & DWA do give us a little patch we can sew on jackets if we wish - almost a placard on arse!
post #52 of 64
Actually Ant - if he wants to ski Thredbo he SHOULD corner the 'girl' behind the counter - at the private lesson desk. She is the wife of the ski school director & is VERY good at matching customers with instrcutors & products.

Steep & Deep - ask for Monika & have a chat - I would think the Power Slap would be the go.

Otherwise look for a guy in banana yellow pants with a long blond ponytail - Rossco & have a ski with him(but he doesn't do lessons either)
post #53 of 64
Originally posted by Steep'N'Deep:
... a group would never ski as fast and aggressively as me, even if members were technically superior this is the way I ski and no-one really overtakes me. I will put it another way: have you ever seen a lesson overtake you? No, so you are always skiing below the speed that you would like to ski at.
Skiing fast doesn't necessarily mean you ski well.

You will not see a lesson overtake you because each person should be getting critically analysed and then given pointers to improve.
post #54 of 64
In SOME, but NOT ALL cases, I find that the fastest person in the group is actually the worst, and most out of control skier.

This is one of the reasons I now take less group lessons, but will take an occaisional private. I'm completely willing to take responsibility for my own screw ups, but if I get hit because a fellow classmate is out of control, well then my evil twin takes over! But keep in mind, its my livelihood we're talking about. No sick pay, no secretarial skills!

I always find this totally incomprehensible. In the very rare occaision that I do fall, I always manage not to take anyone down with me. :
post #55 of 64
People who think they can't learn anything from someone not at their level should think again. Sometimes something that seems weak or wrong can set off a thought process that will give one a different prespective. I feel I've gotten something from every teacher I've worked with. Sometimes it's awhile before I realize it. Recently at an ed event the examiner asked each one of us to critique his turns. I couldn't put my finger on it immediatly but it looked weird. He was leaving his downhill ski behind him as he finished his turns. On the way home, while reviewing his lesson in my mind, I realized that he was so intent on making the uphill ski carve into the end of the turn that all his weight was uphill over the tip of his ski. He couldn't initiate by tipping the downhill ski because it was unweighted and he'd left it behind. That was the way the guy was skiing at that time. I observed him freeskiing later and he was still doing it. It had not been a "trick" for the drill.
A mentor once told me,"if someone tells you to do something and it seems wrong, try it anyway. It might work and it might not but you'll know what works and what doesn't".
The learning is endless any time spent in a lesson can expand your experience.
You'd love Taos NM(at least back awhile) I did a whole week there, just as you describe, back in 86.

[ June 16, 2002, 12:10 AM: Message edited by: SLATZ ]
post #56 of 64
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by Steep'N'Deep:

3)The instructor gives a tip at the top of each run to the group, and, pays attention to the individuals own style.
While everyone's skiing at mach 1?!!!! I'm not sure about that in practise.

Have you investigated any of the upper level non-race programmes? I think you'd find the gung-ho thing in spades. The top group in Blue Cow masters was pretty high level (and we were allergic to gates). Most resorts have some kind of "rippers" thing going.

The trick is to corner the supervisor (NOT the girls behind the counter!), fix them with a beady eye and grill them as to whether they will cater to YOU. We got to shape Masters over the years to suit us, and it certainly did (lot of off-piste and steeps). These upper level programmes are awesome fun, you ski with people your own level, make friends, learn stuff, and have a ball (with lift priority!).
post #57 of 64
LM - I also don't fall much. My instructors measure their success in the number of my falls though - if I fall a few times in a lesson they are happy - I MUST be trying REALLY hard... :
post #58 of 64
I'll stop falling the day Fox stops drinking. [img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #59 of 64

3383 posts, some obviously done off line with word processing software, but most appear to be extemporaneous responses! Don't kid yourself!

You do a better job, secretarialy,(sp) than most secretaries I have encountered in the 25 odd years since I entered the "real world".

Not on topic, I know, but I had to say it!

post #60 of 64

Skied 40 odd years, never took a lesson until this past season.

Last season, (00-01) I tried snowboarding. Decided to only make the attempt with professional help. Took every step with the help of a friend who is now a level 2 AASI instructor. The process could not have gone more smoothly.

That experience convinced me to seek out some instruction with a quest to pass the Ski Partol senior ski and tobaggon test this past season (01-02).

I took almost 2 days of private instruction from a fellow bear. Kee Tov, thank you!

I have never skied so slowly, or so ineptly! 48 years old and I have to do pizza pie and french fries! How cool is that! Then more and more drills to improve some basic skills that I did not even know I needed to know!

Funny thing was those simple drills had a profound effect on my skiing. Made my decision to seek more instruction next season, much easier.

My instructional seaason ended rather quickly due to crash the following weekend. Took about 6 weeks to get back on course, then the season around here was virtually over.

Next season---bring it on!

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