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Where can I get a group lesson? - Page 2

post #31 of 51
Yes, Charlie, group lessons. If you end up coming to Breck, I would be happy to help you and your wife.
post #32 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_m View Post
Copper's all-day lessons are from 10 AM to 3:30 PM and cost about $90. If you're the only one in the top group, you will get the full day.
Mike,

Thanks for the info. That is helpful to know. But, doesn't Copper use a 1-6 level scheme? And, if I can comfortably ski in-bounds terrain but there are things I can improve on in the most extreme terrain, won't I potentially end up with someone who is just trying tor each the point where they are comfortable with basic blacks? Don't they sort of treat it like mixing a strong 7 and a 9?

Smiles
post #33 of 51
Aug 25, 2008

Thanks to skier31, mike_m and theRusty for their unequivocal clarifications. I will definitely take all of you up on this (with the understanding of availability from your supervisors). Especially theRusty, since we are in the same "snow catch" (or more realistically, "no snow") basin of Liberty/Whitetail/Roundtop.

SkiSmiles:

As much as I would enjoy skiing with you, I don't think that you me in the same lesson would be benefical to either. However, looking forward to making a few turns with you.

CP
post #34 of 51

Unlimited Group lessons

Quote:
If you are going to buy a season pass (say the Epic pass if you are not a CO resident), you can buy season long unlimited group lessons for $179...
That's an incredible deal. I have an Epic pass as does my girlfriend and will definitely add 2 of those. Where do you purchase them? I didn't see anything about that on snow.com. I imagine that wouldn't be heavily advertised, though. Do you have to buy them prior to Nov. 15 like the Epic pass or can you just add it at any point in the season? Does it apply to all the ski schools at all the Vail resorts like the Epic pass or do you have to pick one?
post #35 of 51
Thread Starter 
uberdog,

I had understood that the unlimited lessons pass did not go with the epic pass. I am less certain, but I think the unlimited lessons pass is also only for Breck.

Smiles
post #36 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiSmiles View Post
I had understood that the unlimited lessons pass did not go with the epic pass. I am less certain, but I think the unlimited lessons pass is also only for Breck.

Smiles
It looks like you're right and it appears that it's $199 (scroll down to Breckenridge), still an incredible deal, and must be purchased prior to Nov. 15. It also says "Offer only available to 2008–2009
Summit and Colorado Passholders", which makes me wonder if the Epic pass isn't covered (due to the target consumer being out-of-towners).

Thanks!
post #37 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by simonbda View Post
Taos seems like a good fit for you. Their ski weeks are Sunday to Friday with lessons in the mornings and the afternoons are free for you to do as you want. This means that during the afternoons you can either spend time with the family or go rip with your ski school group. The groups are well distributed and I'm sure your wife could get a lot from them too. If you go during January they are dirt cheap too, $90 for the week!.
Another vote for Taos; I did a once-a-week-for-8-weeks locals clinic there a while back. You will be challenged, and you won't be disappointed.

I think the concerns about snow there are justified, but more in terms of depth rather than consistency. Once the snow falls, it tends to stick around and tends to stay pretty soft in most places. It takes a fair amount of snow to cover the steeps. Some nice parts of the mountain, like Hunziker Bowl, which isn't all that steep, are talus slopes in the summer and aren't completely skiable until there is an 80 inch settled base or so.

I came up with a rough metric when I lived in the area that kept me from getting too many core shots. I stayed away from the steeps until they started reporting 72 inches of settled base or more. Some years they got there in January, some years, well, they never made it.

Still, Taos is right up there with any central or northern Rockies area with respect to snow retention. Once they get it, they tend to keep it, and some parts of the mountain, like the upper west basin, tend to stay soft well after a storm has passed.

So I'd say, wait until they start reporting a 72 inch base, then make some plans.
post #38 of 51
Just two questions:

Why won't you ski where you want to ski (inbounds) alone? Are you really trying to learn something every time out, or do you just want a guide? Because this COULD be an entirely different service.

What do you have against private lessons? I'm sure most, if not all ski schools have a handful of instructors who CAN teach the lesson you want, you just need to find out who they are and request them for a private.

post #39 of 51

Squaw

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiSmiles View Post
I've skied at a number of resorts recently where they do not have a group at my level (essentially a 9)
Expert Workshops
Squaw Valley Ski Workshops start where the Ski With A Pro program leaves off. All workshops are approximately two hours long and start at the top of the Funitel at 10am and 1pm.

Level 7 - Expert Skiing (our highest level)

These clinics are for advanced skiers wishing to improve their all-terrain, all-mountain skiing. Each day a specific skill will be taught depending on snow conditions. Skills include: moguls, powder, variable conditions, and steeps.

Three person minimum for two hour group lessons. For groups less than three the duration of the lesson will be reduced to one hour*.

*If no one else shows up, you can get a second hour for $29. (which happens quite often at your level) We call it an "upgrade". You are basically getting a private two hour lesson for under $80 (07-08 prices)...best deal at Squaw!

We also have
The Squaw Valley Xperience where the top pros at Squaw show you where to find the nooks, crannies and secret stashes.

Go to: http://www.squaw.com/winter/skischool.html for info.
post #40 of 51
Thread Starter 
olylady, that is helpful information, and it appears that there is no way to know that without someone in the know telling you that. I've certainly never seen it on the squallywood site. This is exactly why I posted the original request. Thanks.

JayPowHound, there is a lot in the answer to your question. I will ski the inbound trails that have some traffic alone. But, having had friends die, buried, caught in mini-slides, paralyzed, stuck in tree wells, lose skis, get knocked unconscious, etc., all inbounds, I would prefer not to ski alone when in the less traveled areas of the mountain. And, it is not necessarily that I want to learn something, which would be great, so much as having a trained eye identifying what is going on in my skiing. My problem with private lessons is simply the cost, not the availability of talented instructors.

uberdog, I have confirmed that the epic pass is not covered. You are right that the issue has to do with the different target markets.

gnarlito, That's a great locals metric. Thanks.

Smiles
post #41 of 51
Howdy Smiles.

Just chiming in with my 2 cents.

Over the past few seasons, I’ve taken upper level group lessons at Vail, Snowmass, and Snowbird. I’ll probably do the same this season at Jackson Hole.

Have been fortunate enough to never have a group of more than three students, (at Vail there were 7 people in the highest level, but they broke us up into two groups, the four 20-something huckers, and the three over-40 potential bleeders.) In every instance it was made clear to me that if I were the only student in the level, then I’d get a full day private at the same cost of the group lesson. There was not any suggestion that a lesson would be canceled because of a lack of student volume, or that I would be shuffled to a lower level simply because this would be more economically suitable for the resort.

In every instance I had delightful lessons. Lots of skiing, talking mostly limited to the lifts, and most of our mountain time spent on the blacks, just where I wanted to be. Though their personal teaching styles differed, all of these instructors were salty, were my ticket to the best stashes at their respective mountains, and provided enough insider information to make the remainder of my stay at their home hills very rewarding. They all left me a more knowledgeable skier.

I do keep in mind though that when I’m blessed to be one of a small group of students, I am a bit more generous when I tip out at the end of the day. All of these instructors truly earned the right to be able to buy a bit of protein or vegetable matter to add to their bowls of ramen noodles. Maybe even be able to afford a beer.

Cheers and best wishes,
Bazzer
post #42 of 51
I'm in a similar situation and have found that many of the suggestions posted in this thread work. Try to go to larger areas and/or one that have a high proportion of the terrain you'd like to ski: Alta, Snowbird, Jackson Hole, Crested Butte, Vail resorts, Mammoth, Taos, Telluride, Big Sky, Aspen resorts, Squaw. Call the ski school in advance to ask if they shorten the lesson if there are 1 or 2 students in group. A few weeks prior to your trip post on Epicski asking for a few names of good instructors at the resort you're going to be at. At the ski school line up talk to the ski school supervisor. Be honest about your ability level, what you'd like out of your lesson and make your instructor request knowing that you might not get that instructor. If none of your requested instructors are available, request a PSIA level 3 certified instructor or higher.

Personally, I enjoy all day lessons. I know that after half a day of a one on one or small group lesson there's probably not too much more teaching/learning that can be effectively crammed in. But, it's still fun to ski with someone who knows the mountain, can guide to the best terrain/snow and who can continue to reinforce what was already discussed in the lesson.

As far as specific resorts that I've had a good experiences with: Jackson Hole (all day group lesson and Steep and Deep Camp), Vail (one on one all day group lesson), Beaver Creek (one good lesson, one OK lesson), Crested Butte (multiple day one on one group lessons), Big Sky (was there before aforementioned policy change by Little Bear), Mammoth (half day group lesson). I had a bad experience with Snowbird a few years ago but I that was b/c of the specific instructor and the specific lesson taken. Haven't taken lessons at Alta for years but they offer 2.5 hr advanced/expert diamond challenge daily, have great terrain and a great ski school reputation. Haven't been to other resorts mentioned but they have the terrain and good/great ski school reputations.

Don't forget, if you have a good experience be sure to let your instructor know and don't be afraid to tip you instructor (many threads posted on this topic). If you go get the one on one group lesson it's quite a value even if you give a generous tip. If you get a bad lesson, don't be afraid to let the ski school know. At worse they do nothing which shouldn't happen if you have a legitimate beef and you're at a larger resort. At best you'll get your money refunded or be given another lesson with a more qualified instructor. Hope this helps.
post #43 of 51
Still sounds like the Aspen or Big Sky ESA would be a good fit for you! Consider them!
post #44 of 51
Thread Starter 
mike_m, perhaps another year for the ESA. The calendar just did not work out this year.

Prosper and Bazzer, thanks for the insights. It sounds like you both have had some good successes. I will definitely keep these places in mind for the future

Propser, unfortunately, I have had difficulty calling the schools either because I call pre-season or because the folks on the phone banks won't let me through to someone who knows what they are talking about. So, often I am relegated to just checking websites, which apparently do not always have correct information. For example, Squaw's website does not explain the policy that olylady explained and Snowbird's website says a minimum of two persons per group, but it sounds like others have had success.

We've settled on Vail this year, in part because of their clarity on these policies.

Again, thanks for all the assistance folks.

Smiles
post #45 of 51
Just a few thoughts -

Most ski schools have learned that most skiers who claim to be level 9 skiers are not in fact.

There is virtually no market for group lessons at that level. Most skiers who would be considered a level 9 candidate have little interest in taking a group lesson.

Reducing a lesson for small groups is pretty standard. Let's face it, if you're one-on-one for an hour and a half, you're going to get more than one out of twelve for 3 hours.

At level 9, if you really need any instruction, it would be targeted instruction. You're not going to get that in a blanket group lesson. Either you should be in a clinic or a private.
post #46 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiSmiles View Post
Propser, unfortunately, I have had difficulty calling the schools either because I call pre-season or because the folks on the phone banks won't let me through to someone who knows what they are talking about. So, often I am relegated to just checking websites, which apparently do not always have correct information. For example, Squaw's website does not explain the policy that olylady explained and Snowbird's website says a minimum of two persons per group, but it sounds like others have had success.

We've settled on Vail this year, in part because of their clarity on these policies.

Again, thanks for all the assistance folks.

Smiles
I think Squaw as well as other resorts have not updated their websites for the 08-09 season, so prices, programs, and policies are not yet posted. The ski school printed brochure always outlines these in detail, which unfortunately will not help you.

We have our ski school meeting November 8th, so hopefully by then they will be geared up for the season, (or almost)!!!

Have fun at Vail!
post #47 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by olylady View Post
I think Squaw as well as other resorts have not updated their websites for the 08-09 season, so prices, programs, and policies are not yet posted. The ski school printed brochure always outlines these in detail, which unfortunately will not help you.
When I was at Squaw about 4 years ago the $29 for the 2nd hour deal was in effect. It was not advertised at that time either. The drawback is that you have to go back to the ski school meeting place after the 1st hour to wait for ~10 minutes to see if there's someone else who will be joining your lesson for the 2nd hour.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiSmiles View Post

Propser, unfortunately, I have had difficulty calling the schools either because I call pre-season or because the folks on the phone banks won't let me through to someone who knows what they are talking about. So, often I am relegated to just checking websites, which apparently do not always have correct information. For example, Squaw's website does not explain the policy that olylady explained and Snowbird's website says a minimum of two persons per group, but it sounds like others have had success.

We've settled on Vail this year, in part because of their clarity on these policies.
When I've called the resort I ask to speak directly with the ski school. I don't even try to ask the person at central reservations. Sometimes it's take a couple of calls over a few different days to get in contact with the right person, especially early season. When on the phone ask for a ski school supervisor. They should know the policies.

Have fun at Vail. In general, they have a really good ski school and you'll probably have a one on one all day group lesson. Plenty of Vail folks on Epicski so you should be able to get a few names of quality instructors to request. If you're planning on taking more than one lesson consider the 3D package. It's 3 consecutive full day lessons for $275 w/o lift tickets and $455 w/ lift tickets. It's a pretty good deal considering a single all day lesson is $130 and a single day lift ticket is ~$85. You won't be guaranteed the same instructor all 3 days but might be able to get him or her if requested.
post #48 of 51
Another good option would be Extemely Canadian 2 day clinics at Whistler Blackcomb. Its exactly what you are looking for:

http://www.extremelycanadian.com/clinics/clinics.htm
post #49 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry_Morgan View Post
Just a few thoughts -

Most ski schools have learned that most skiers who claim to be level 9 skiers are not in fact.

There is virtually no market for group lessons at that level. Most skiers who would be considered a level 9 candidate have little interest in taking a group lesson.

Reducing a lesson for small groups is pretty standard. Let's face it, if you're one-on-one for an hour and a half, you're going to get more than one out of twelve for 3 hours.

At level 9, if you really need any instruction, it would be targeted instruction. You're not going to get that in a blanket group lesson. Either you should be in a clinic or a private.
Hey, we are talking about a ski school level 9, not an EpicSki level 9.

If you read any big ski area's "what level am I" webpages, it's pretty clear there are lots of level 9's out there. I would not hestitate to ask for a level 9 lesson, even though I am at best an 8 by EpicSki standards.
post #50 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry_Morgan View Post
At level 9, if you really need any instruction, it would be targeted instruction. You're not going to get that in a blanket group lesson. Either you should be in a clinic or a private.
Harry,

Setting aside whether there is a market, I don't follow the logic that someone skiing at a level 9 cannot get instruction in a group lesson. (Setting aside, also, that my personal experience is that one can.) I do not think that someone at that level need be in a private. Your distinction between a clinic and a group lesson is also, to my mind, a little confusing. Perhaps you mean that a clinic is something that is focused on a particular type of terrain, for example, like bumps, powder or steeps. Even there, you have many of the same issues to overcome in a group lesson setting at level 9. So, I am not sure why a clinic would be better than a group lesson.

And, I don't know what you mean by a blanket group lesson. If by blanket group lesson you mean to say a lesson where the instructor is just focusing on one thing for the group with no personalized focus, I agree that would not ordinarily be useful. Frankly, at level 9, unless it were a very large group, a lesson need not have a single focus for the whole group. A good instructor, who can do MA well, can handle a broad variety of issues within the group, giving people different focuses for a particular task or even different tasks.

With respect to whether a level 9 skier can be in a group, think about many of the ski improvement (as opposed to teaching) clinics that ski schools run for their instructors. There they can have level 9 skiers in a group setting and the clinician manages to address personalized issues well.

As you point out, many resorts are not willing to do what I ask. It is why I asked the question. I don't just want a shorter lesson as it is not just about learning. If I show up, I want to ski for the set period of time with someone.

In any event, thanks for sharing your perspective.

Smiles
post #51 of 51
Thread Starter 
geoffda,

Great suggestion. I did Whistler's regular ski week a couple of years ago as I wanted a longer program than a couple of days, and had a great time. There were definitely other skiers who could keep up, and notwithstanding differences between the CSIA standard and what I am used to, I had a great instructor.

Smiles
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