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Fastest road to expert?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hello all,

I'm an advanced intermediate. I could ski very well about 20 years ago, then took 18 years off. Last year I took 2 lessons, this year I took 2 lessons, all group. I skied 20 times last year and 15 this year.

I'm having trouble with bumps and steeps (and steep bumps).

I've had mixed results with lessons. I improved a lot after the first lesson - I could ski much steeper terain and didn't suck in the bumps nearly as much. I could ski the blacks at Breck (6 chair) but lost all form in the bowls.

After the second lesson (last year) I seem to have regressed. I could still ski the blacks, but went back to only being able to ski about 2 or 3 bumps before losing my balance.

The third lesson (this year) I learned I could do pivot slips for hours (seemed like). Probably regressed a little more!!!

The fourth lesson (last day of this year) we worked on bumps - no snow on the steeps!!! Didn't suck so bad on the bumps afterward, but certainly not the form I'd like!!!!!

This is not the progress I'm after!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The group lesson route doesn't seem to be getting me anywhere!!!!!!!

What's the fastest road out of being an intermediate!?!?!?!?! : : :
post #2 of 18
Lots of miles on the bases. Get videoed if possible.
post #3 of 18
Hi mxp--welcome to EpicSki!

Getting beyond that intermediate plateau is an admirable goal, and a common one! See our recent discussion Long Term Intermediate. While it could be something simple that you could address in a single good lesson, it is likely that your goal will require more than just the occasioal casual lesson. I'm guessing that there are tactical and technical--and probably mental--issues that all cause your frustrations in bumps.

With your aspirations, you're going to have to find a GOOD instructor and ski with him/her for a few days. Either look for a multi-day program, or plan to take several lessons for several days. If you can afford it, take a few private lessons to focus exclusively on you and your needs and goals. In group lessons, at most ski schools, including Breckenridge, I'm quite sure, you'll be able to ski with the same instructor if you return and make it known that you'd LIKE to ski with him/her. (Sometimes other things--like private lessons--will take the instructor out of the loop, but generally it is good for the ski school, the instructor, and YOU, if they can get you back with the same instructor.)

Remember too that it is extremely unlikely that you actually got WORSE! Once we learn a new move, or feel a new sensation, we become more aware of and critical of our "old" ways.

That's not to say that you can't have an off day here and there, but recognize that there are lots of factors than can cause them. You didn't get less skillful, I promise! Conditions change. Equipment and tunes change. Fatigue levels and fitness change. And--most likely--our STANDARDS change, often without realizing it! Skiing that you once aspired to now disappoints you, because you aspire to even higher levels! Like me, and everyone else here, you've only made your best turn once! That turn sets our expectations, and no other turn will live up until sometime we make an even BETTER one!

I hope you'll get a few more days in this season--Arapahoe Basin and Loveland will be skiing for a bit longer.

Have fun!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #4 of 18
Welcome to Epicski.

I echo what Bob said. ski with an instructor or people better than you. Get lots of miles and don't feel discouraged if it doesn't "feel" better every time. Enjoy the journey. Also I have found out that often your perception of how you are akiing and what you are really doing are quite different. Video tape will point out both the good and the bad.

[ April 24, 2002, 07:55 AM: Message edited by: dchan ]
post #5 of 18
Hey mxp! Welcome.

I agree with all of what Bob and dchan say. But I want to add another perspective.

Skiing (and many other sports) is really easy at the early levels up through intermediate. To move beyond it takes commitment and work and time. There is no substitute.

I have a youngster in the middle of becoming a ski racer. He is a magnificent skier who doesn't even know how to ski yet. That is the paradox of the higher levels.

I have a hierarchy of skiing ability (and I think it applies to a lot of other activities).

Beginner--->Intermediate-->Expert-->Good Skier

My son finally got a good result in Super G near the end of the season. I looked at him and told him the truth. "Now you are a good skier. Now is the time to really start working at it so that by next season, you may finally know how to ski." He understood.

I've been at it a life time and consider myself on the low end of "good". The slope of the pyramid gets very steep and endless, and that is the beauty of the sport.

Aspire to "good" and "expert" will show up quickly.

[ April 24, 2002, 08:43 AM: Message edited by: weems ]
post #6 of 18
Are you don't mean God skier? How good can you get?
post #7 of 18
I may be a good skier, but Bodie knows how to ski. Compared to Sonja Nef, I do not yet know how to ski.

This is just a personal hierarchy that keeps me moving forward and puts things in perspective.
post #8 of 18

Wonderful post. I played golf in colege and played professionally in the lowest level of golf's minor leagues with minimal success. All that was many years ago.

Last year I played a round of golf with a guy named Doug Barron. For years he has just kept his "tour card" and last year finished 126 on the money list (the top 125 keep there cards).

I play one or two rounds of golf a year now. It is strictly when dragged to the course. Your post made me think of my game at my prime, which was light years from Doug Barrons, who is light years from a top fifty PGA tour member, who is light years from a top ten money winner.

Finally there is Tiger. He's good.
post #9 of 18
No, Rusty. Doug Barron is good. Tiger Woods can play golf!
post #10 of 18
looks likes it's more wax-on, wax-off for all of us. great post weems
post #11 of 18
You said it, Weems.

I would only add that the bonking point in skier development directly relates to the essential laziness of our species, and that this is why desire must enter into the picture, or a person won't have the drive to be Good.

How do we create the desire to spark the drive to be good? Or is it happenstance?
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the encouragement.

What do you experts think is the difference in progress / learning between private and group lessons? Privates seem to cost anywhere from 5 to 15 times more that group lessons - does this mean I will learn 15 times as much?

After reading a thread several weeks ago about instructor pay, I researched and found out that privates are WAY cheaper at the little resorts! Can I expect my progress to be similar no matter where I take a private, or do I likely get what I pay for?

The only multi-day ones I found on the net were expensive (HH $450 + lift tickets for 3 days, Lito $1050, tix included, for 5 days), so those are probably out unless I find some cheaper ones!!!

I'm thinking about taking a lesson about every third or fourth time out next year. Probably only a couple of privates, and the rest group lessons. I could probably take a couple of the group ones on consecutive days if it meant getting the same instructor.

Is this too many lessons? Not enough?

Anything else I should consider?

Thanks for your help. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #13 of 18
nolo. I don't know. I love that expression "bonking point". It may just be laziness, but it may also be fear of success, or even realizing just what a commitment it will take to get from expert to good (maybe I have other commitments that fill my life).

mxp, how did you get the spark to be good?

mxp, How many and what type of lessons should you take? It is really more about what environment you seem to thrive in. Some like the relative the protection and sociability of the group. Others like to get down and hammer one on one. Because of the pricing (based on the demand), the general consensus is that there is more bang for lotsa bucks in a private. Whether you want to be the sole focus of the pros attention, or not, is up to you.

How often? You will know as you develop. You may go through periods of wanting a lot, and periods of practicing a lot. Make sure and do three things for me, please.
1. Practice a lot, on your own, between lessons.
2. When you hear one coach say something that seems different from another, look for the unifying elements and don't panic. We often sound different, and sometimes we just disagree. If you stay open, you will get what you need.
3. Demand what you came for, but be ready to receive what is there.

Have fun and let us know how it goes.

[ April 24, 2002, 01:03 PM: Message edited by: weems ]
post #14 of 18

I'm in a similar position to you. Here's what I found with a little research and experience with lessons.

1. My local ski hill, Alpental, offers an 8-week 2 hr group lesson on Sundays for advanced/expert skiers. It is $160 dollars. I plan on taking it next year. Your local ski hill may have a similar plan.

2. I took a 2-day Master The Mountain course at Gore Mountain in NY last season. It is a state-owned ski hill, and the course was $150 for 2 days of intensive instruction, lift tickets, running gates, video analysis. We split into two groups - our group had two instructors for six students. One of the instructors was the tech director for the ski school - excellent instructor and skier to just watch and try to follow. Mt Ashland OR (municipally owned by City of Ashland) has a similar 2 day course for $200 and uses their best instructors. Maybe there is something like that near you.

3. Midweek group lessons are sometimes private or near private. I've had a few where I was the only student.

4. Split a private with someone else. I went with a buddy to Mt Baker and took a private. 1.5 hr and it was $75 total. We tipped $15, so $45 each.

5. I second the video thing. Ski with a buddy and take turns. It is enlightening, bordering on depressing.

6. I found that the two day course was more valuable than all the individual private lessons I've had combined.

7. I've learned a lot from books and reading Epic Ski Ski instruction forums. Spend the time reading through the training center and try a bunch of things. For myself, most things don't really work but occassionally I come across something that transforms my skiing. This year, it was the suggestion of someone on this forum (sorry, forgot who) that you imagine a hand pressing forward on the small of your back at the same rate at which your skis move. Really helped me stay out of the backseat, bend at the ankles and get centered over me skis. Made a huge, immediate improvement in my skiing after practicing just a couple of days.

Good luck.
post #15 of 18
I think that everybody is pretty much right on with their comments, but I'd like to toss in my additional two cents:

1. The fastest, cheapest way to move from an intermediate to an advanced skier is to simply find someone who skis the way you would like to ski, and then follow them down the hill watching and imitating. Do this a lot!

2. Resorts usually charge the same fixed price for group or private lessons no matter who is teaching them (unless he or she's a really big name). Ask to be assigned to an instructor who is PSIA Level 3 certified.
post #16 of 18
Actually as you probably know in SC you're stuck with A-Basin for the rest of season - Loveland already closed!
post #17 of 18
Originally posted by weems:
...Expert-->Good Skier
Because of, uh, accummulating birthdays?

That I can buy. Seems inevitable, unfortunately. You can fool your mind but your knees know the ugly truth.
post #18 of 18
No, whodatgirl. I am looking at "good" as a notch above expert.

I heard it from French and Swiss coaches, who used the expression "bon skieur" with a certain degree of respect that I did not hear relative to mere experts. It struck me as both odd and elegant.

The English discussion would go something like this:
"That girl is really good."
"Of course, she's an expert skier."
"No, I mean she can really ski."

As an aging old boot, I'm slipping back to expert!

[ April 25, 2002, 05:05 AM: Message edited by: weems ]
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