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Euro lessons

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'm wondering if anyone here has taken any lessons in Europe. I assume they are not PSIA, and not PMTS (whatever that is). Maybe the teaching technique varies even from one country to another.

The reason I ask is that we are planning on going to Lech, Austria again next year, and I wonder what your opinion is on the teaching for someone who is barely a step above "never-ever", in fact maybe worse than that as her only exposure to skiing was an ex-boyfriend who took her to the top of the hill and was like "come on you can do it"... "just ski!". Anyway, I'd like to know what you think a week at the Ski-schule could do for her.
post #2 of 13
Hi Epic. I am the above mentioned Lisamarie. What was odd about my experience in Bormio Italy, is that Bormio is the site of one of the World Cup Races, The Stelvio Downhill.
But, it is not a ritzy resort {which is a plus} and is in a somewhat poorer section of Italy. As a result, many including the instructors, are in straight skis and rear entry boots. As a result, a very old style of teaching is used.
Looking back, this really should not have been much of a problem. It was the attitude that caused culture shock. Here in the US, we communicate with our instructors. We even have message forums so we can keep talking to them! In Bormio, the instructors do not even ride the lifts with the students. But the real problem is, if they tell you to do something, it is not open to discussion on any level. If you give feedback as to why you are having difficulty executing a specific move, it is ignored.
But I am posting this, because from what I've heard, this is atypical. I knew at some point that someone would refer to my original Bormio post, and I didn't want to influence your opinion of all of Europe.
have fun!

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
We were over in Lech in February and one of the things we noticed was a real lack of "beginner" skiers. Lots of little kids though, I assumed that most people just start out that young. I wonder if it is rare for them to teach adult never-evers. Perhaps they were on a part of the mountain I never saw.

I think that lessons focused on their less-groomed terrain can only be a good thing. In fact, before we went to Austria this year, I insisted that our newest skier (actually a snowboarder) take a bumps clinic. Good thing. She would have had a really hard time otherwise, or we would have had to ditch her, or (god-forbid) we would have been chained to the blues for a week.

Bob Barnes - I take it you've been to an Interski or two... that sounds awesome. I think skiing needs a certain amount of Pomp and Pagentry. I think it's great that these Organizations get a chance to show themselves off.

Call me old school if you want, but I'm not so sure instant gratification is a good thing either. Id like to think that a week int Ski-schule would be enough to get my brother's future wife started and, hopefully, hooked.

LisaMarie - it sounds like the Bormio ski school, um, sucks...
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
I dont know that I can really compare the two, but if the Arlberg is representative of other Austrian skiing, its hard to beat. For me living in the Southeast, it's not too much farther to go to Austria than it is to go out west, and the cost is the same, so I'll be going back. We can get to Vermont pretty quick though.

Im also not sure its fair to compare the skiing because they were a little low on snow when we went (although they got a couple meters of snow right after we left). That said, in terms of size the Euro resorts dwarf anything in the US. The altitude is lower which is nice, and its a lot warmer than skiing out west. I spent a week in Jackson Hole about 10 years ago wher it never got above -20F. One day when we skiied it was -50F, I honestly thought I might break my parka because it crunched when I moved. In Austria it was 40 to 50 each afternoon. Thats a nice change. I think the infrastructure of US resorts is universally better than in Europe. There are nice lifts there, but they dont seem to be located in ways that make the most sense. Sometimes a lift is a one way trip, or it trys to force you to stay on it. I think thats because of the way the lifts are owned, and the way that the lift tickets work. Naturally, there is more grooming in the US, and with the crowds we have, we need it. On a busy holiday weekend our mountains (East Coast) get pretty beat up by lunch time. Speaking of crowds, Id heard so much about European lift lines that I joked about bringing a Tazer. Didn't need it. Maybe Lech/Zurs is different, but even in St Anton, the crowds (what little there were) were pretty well behaved. The terrain thing is kind of funny. I think that Lech probably has a lot of demanding terrain, but compared to a place like Jackson Hole, it seemed less accessible (which may be a good thing). In JH, there is some VERY demanding terrain which is inbounds (Corbet's for example - not that demanding, but at least it will give you an idea), while all the goods in Lech were Off-Piste and therefore not avalanche controlled, so I wouldnt ski it without a guide.

Overall, I like skiing out west just fine, but Im booking Austria next year. If Midway starts doing direct flights to Salt Lake City I might ski out west more, but until then, it's Vermont and Austria.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Oh yeah - nightlife - Im not really that in to it, but thumbs up to Lech.
post #6 of 13
I just noticed that your home mountain is Okemo. I can also highly recommend their women's ski sprees! Perhaps when she comes back from Europe. And try to get her to come to this forum. I was one of those who had suffered from some really bad lesson experiences. There is much to be learned here.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Lisamarie (edited May 20, 2001).]</FONT>
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
I wanted to do the Egan's Couples clinic there this year. Unfortunately, most of the people we ski with aren't too into lessons. I know it would help them (and Im big enough to admit my skiing could always use some improvement too), so now I'm actually wondering what people have against ski lessons. I'm sure its been discussed here before, and Im just getting more off-topic, so I'll stop.
post #8 of 13
Epic, I skied in Lech/Zuers/St. Anton arriving on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 28...

I posted several messages after getting back which may be of interest.

Mountain & oiste conditions in Arlberg, Austria

Skis I observed in Austria

CARVING in the Arlberg region

The beginners ski school area is right below the "Carving" area, just to the left of the two parallel Schlegelkopf chair lifts.

For more challenging skiing go to the Valluga area, either from St. Christoph or St. Anton.

Edit: I don't know how to preserve a hyperlink to threads in this forum so you will have to look those up in the General Ski Discussion forum, dated March 10...
....Ott<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Ott Gangl (edited May 20, 2001).]</FONT>
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
You must have had some awesome snow. That was right after the big dump that we just missed. Were you able to get off-piste much?

That last pitch down to the Schlegelkopf lists seem slike it would be a little steep for never evers, doesn't it?

I was just thinking that there were some sort of surface lifts under the Rufikopf lift. That's probably where they start them out.
post #10 of 13
Yes, epic, those short lift, the Berghof and Fluhen, on the Ruefikopf side, are used for beginners. That last pitch down to the Schlegelkopf lifts is intermediate.

What I meant was the meeting place in town for the ski school being below the carving area.

The nice thing about skiing off piste is that we could ski deep stuff paralleling the groomed, which is marked by those tablets, by just going 50 feet to the left or right, at least you find back. I made a great run off the Schuettboden lift on the Zuers side, which I liked better than the Lech side, BTW,
and found myself in a gully with no fall line at the bottom, had to hoof it for about 300 yards. But lots of untracked. Though my wife Ann, also a retired certified instructor, skis super, she just hates bottomless stuff, and I wasn't thrilled with it either when, in the andulating terrain, it flattened out to where you couldn't keep any speed up, going two miles an hour.

I felt sorry for those poor snowborders who didn't have enough speed to shoot up to the next knoll, huffing and puffing

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
I think 1/4 of my on snow time was probably spent waiting for our snowboarder. We got a great picture of her climbing up from the Zursersee to the lift. She looks like a Sherpa with footprints leading out of the frame.
post #12 of 13
I've taken lessons in Austria and I'd highly recommend it, even if what they teach isn't identical to American ski schools' stuff. They take their instructors' training even more seriously than the majority of American ski schools, and it's more of a national pride issue.

You should look for the English-speaking classes/instructors - that way there might be culture shock (as Dangerous Brian (?) pointed out) but at least they'll be speaking the same language!

~Michelle H.

( skiandsb@vail.net )

"Tell me I forget, teach me I remember, involve me I learn."
- Ben Franklin
post #13 of 13
One thing that will help her a good deal is the idea of a consistent 5 days. I'm still "young" enough in my skiing at least to still be aware of the traumas one feels, when they have not been at the mountain for awhile.
You arrive on Friday night, get up on Saturday morning, and say OMG, I can't do this!! Then by Sunday you feel better, but you have to go home. A few weeks later, the whole cycle starts again.
But on a ski week, you have the chance to build your confidence over 5 says, so you're not wasting the first part of the day in the Oh My God!!! zone.
We have had the topic about people taking lessons come up a few times. But since I love taking ski lessons, if you want to start a new thread about that, cool!

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
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