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post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
On Si's "Academy II - 'splits' for advanced skiers" thread, Altagirl proposed an idea that I think is tremendous. The basic idea is to offer targeted lessons in specific skill sets. Steeps, carving, bumps, carving, racing, and powder were some of the skills mentioned.

Given the unfortunate fact that this idea really isn't workable in the Academy, why don't bigger ski schools at major resorts do something similar? (If they do, I guess I'm not aware of it.)

Even the very best instructors have certain specialties. Some love bumps and ski them really well while others *live* to carve big arcs down groomers, and so forth. That doesn't mean the bumper *can't* teach students to make screaming carved turns (and do it very well), but it does mean he/she might not have that gleam-in-the-eye passion for that part of skiing.

By packaging lessons around this best-of-the-best concept, I think ski schools might be able to offer a very attractive product to better skiers. The pitch would be that if you come to Xxxxx Mountain and want to improve your (fill in the blank) skiing, we've got the right lessons and instructor for you. Want to be a better bumper? Marvin M. is your man. Want to negotiate steeps like a mountain goat with levitation powers? Suzy S. can get you there.

I as a student could say, "Okay, I want to do a half-day of steeps, a half-day of carving, and a full day of moguls".

It could range from something very structured such as a specific-dates camp that focuses on specific skills, or it could just be an ongoing offering available through the ski school.

Many of you instructors have been searching for ways to attract greater numbers of advanced skiers to your ski schools. Is this an idea worth looking into?


I'm aware of some of the steeps camps around and I know that there are moguls, aerials, and racing camps that exist, but most of those are summer camps (except for Snowbird, Whistler, and Jackson steep camps) and are really aimed at competitors and would-be competitors. What I'm envisioning would be geared more toward the vacationing skier at a bigger resort.
post #2 of 7
Bob I am proposing just this very thing at our resort within the next week. Its not easy to put together specialty clinics within a ski school. At present I have a green light from the SSD to put together a bump clinic.
One big problem is consistency and training of staff. Most of the specialty schools at present are centered around individuals instead of programs.
Another problem is increasing responsibility. Specialty programs require a higher caliber skier with more athletic ability. Where do you draw the line with the general public in signup. Cut them of at level 5?, 6?. These programs have an agenda built in instead of being totally student driven. This agenda automatically makes the clinics operate at a certain level of competency.
It takes a lot of work to put together even a narrowly focused specialty clinic as I am finding out. Real duplicatable programs are not geared around an individual, they operate as a unit.
Its would be much easier to gear a program around myself.
post #3 of 7
The format you describe was in use at Vail for quite a number of seasons. But it has been dropped due to a lack of interest in that type of "workshop" program. When the numbers decline- the program is gone.

But we did specialize in "Bump Workshops" (both full and half days), "Powder Workshops" ( on those days when it was available), and more recently "Carving Workshops" ( with the advent of the short super shapes)

The instructors giving them were some of the top pro's available at the time. And speaking for myself, I really enjoyed giving them! Having a group which is already unified under a single goal makes things significantly easier for the instr.

The demise of the Workshop program is unfortunate. But that isn't to say it wouldn't work somewhere else!

post #4 of 7

I'm surprised those programs didn't make it. When I take a lesson I always tell them I want to work on moguls, and there seem to be many others that want that, too.
post #5 of 7
We haven't determined that this idea isn't workable in the Academy yet...Something like this for the advanced group might work, or even others.
Isn't that right guys? What do you think?
post #6 of 7
Hi Tog and all--

I'm afraid I'm WAY behind in these discussions--this is my first check-in at EpicSki in several days. Some great thoughts going on here in Bear land!

I agree with you Tog--there is no particular reason why "specialty" groups can't take place at future EpicSki Academies. They can! Let's keep the discussions going....

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #7 of 7
There is a lot of interest in these types of camps out there, but my advice is to be creative in how you put them together. A lot of recreational skiers won't jump into a 3+ day camp for their first experience. They may not be willing to "waste" most of a week's vacation for something they are not sure they will like. Consider some 2 day formats. I just went to Whistler's Extremely Canadian two day camp for just that reason. Now that I know what the camps are like I would certainly consider a longer program. I should add that several of the participants came back for a second session in the same week because they were so happy with their first two days.

Also, be careful with your marketing. We had the spouse of of a marketing exec in our group and had a good discussion of how the camp brochures scared away women from the camp. Most women tend to underestimate their abilites and most men overestimate. Make sure you are very descriptive of the abilites necessary to participate and don't limit yourself to industry coined descriptions. Have some people that aren't skiing obsessed review the material to see how they perceive it.

The market is out there, just keep at it!
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