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cost of lessons

post #1 of 93
Thread Starter 
I'm new here so I don't know how much this has been covered before. Lessons here in the East run about forty to fifty dollars per hour, add in a tip and you are up to seventy. When I go out west I can take an all day lesson for about eighty five. Why is this? I do not feel that very much can be accomplished in one hour, three runs are about the norm. I never got much out of these lessons. On the other hand, an all day lesson is great. My wife and I plus a friend took one at Jackson Hole and it transformed the way I ski the bumps. The big problem is that I want to get better on ice moguls but they don't exist out west (not when I have been there anyway}. I'm the only one who wants to take lessons when we travel, so this is a problem too. I do not see why most eastern resorts can't do the same as the western ones. I ski a lot in the catskills and vermont, so my experience is limited to these areas.
post #2 of 93
You might check with the areas you like to ski about all-day or all-weekend or all-week clinic programs they offer. Sometimes they provide these services when lesson traffic is lower, like early or late in the ski season or late in January.
post #3 of 93
NYNY, you might wat to consider the best instruction deal - and the best instruction - of all time: EpicSki Academy. That would be most likely at the end of January at a resort in the west (at least for now). Get this: At the 2003 EpicSki Academy, the total tuition buying FOUR FULL DAYS of coaching PLUS after-ski off-hill sessions PLUS video of your performance with a CD copy of it to view at home as well as on the hill PLUS having the country's top instructors as coaches (Weems Westfeldt, nolo (Joan Rostad), Bob Barnes, Vail Snopro (Ric Reiter) etc etc - the total tuition for those four days was $375! Lift tickets were I believe $34/day.

I don't see how that very low cost can be maintained forever, but I'd bet a cookie that it will still be one HELL of a bargain and the best ski learning experience on earth.

Incidentally, the coaches all post here and answer your technique questions ALL YEAR at NO CHARGE. Beat that!

See you there!

[ May 18, 2003, 01:17 PM: Message edited by: oboe ]
post #4 of 93

Well said, and I couldn't agree more. I didn't get to the '03 Academy, but won't make that mistake again if I can help it. Every post that I've read from the '03 attendees has been positive. In fact, it might be the only subject that I have seen where 20+ people agree that an event was both successful and unmatched elsewhere. As far as the prices, take it from someone who has hunted high and low, considering the list of instructor who attended, you won't find anything comparable elsewhere.

oboe: "Incidentally, the coaches all post here and answer your technique questions ALL YEAR at NO CHARGE. Beat that!"

Also, just don't gloss over oboe's above statement. The posts written in this forum by the instructors that oboe referenced, are invaluable. Take the time to read through the ski instruction forum and when you see one of their posts, take note. It's an excellent learning opportunity. They are concise and well written, and if don't understand something, in my experience, they will be glad to clarify. NYNY, good luck in your search for skiing excellence.
post #5 of 93

Yeah. Come to next year's Academy. It's a hoot. And as Oboe says, it doesn't cost very much.

Icy moguls, huh? The only four ways I've ever been able to do that are:
1. Run my skis through the softer snow out on the edges of the trough.
2. Develop my maximum range of flexion/extension going in and out of the holes, so the impact is very soft.
3. Use a pivoty/skiddy type of turn, ignoring the need to have line precision. (On this last type,--it's an older technique, but it gets me down, and it absolutely requires a solid pole plant down the hill from my skis.
4. Just keep on turnin'. There is an inherent instability in this type of terrain, and the search for stability is often frustrating and causes you to freeze and hold. Just keep moving and turning--even when they're not so good. The turns will improve as you maintain rhythm.

The hardest thing for me on the icy bumps is to maintain balance because the skis are sort of careening both forwards and sideways on inconsistent pitch. If I keep my eyes downhill, my hands forward, and make sure and ATTACK at the moment of edge change, I can usually manage.
post #6 of 93
Ny you make a good point, in the east there are very few all day lessons. I know Killington has a couple of 2day or longer mogul camps though one is in late march you might find an earlier one for icy moguls.
For icy moguls you'd want to talk to Pierre, that's his favorite conditions.
post #7 of 93
A solution to skiers in the East is ASIA

They have great two day instructional clinics/lessons offered in the PA/NY/CT/VT area.

You have to be intermediate or higher to take advantage of their programs.
post #8 of 93
Hey, I've got the best solution to all of the cost of lesson woes. If you already know enough to ski without killing anyone (yourself included), don't take lessons. Figure it out with a friend. Much more fun, lower cost, and more sense of accomplishment.
post #9 of 93
If your goal is to ski without killing yourself, I suppose that's cool.

Actually we in the business love it when you figure it out with a friend. More often than not, when you finally return to ski school, it takes longer to fix the damage of the friend, and we make more money.

Probably our most common answer to "what brought you to ski school?" is "my friends tried to teach me".

Go to it!
post #10 of 93
I can only think of one pursuit where this tactic works well:

Figure it out with a friend.
And it ain't skiing.

[ May 20, 2003, 05:40 AM: Message edited by: nolo ]
post #11 of 93
Originally posted by nolo:
I can only think of one pursuit where this tactic works well:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Figure it out with a friend.
And it ain't skiing.</font>[/quote]
Originally posted by weems:
Probably our most common answer to "what brought you to ski school?" is "my friends tried to teach me".
Do any of our esteemed lawyer friends believe that we could apply nolo's comments to weems', and come up with a valid argument for brothels?


[ May 20, 2003, 06:12 AM: Message edited by: Wear the fox hat ]
post #12 of 93
There is only one thing wrong with trying to figure it out by yourself, and that is because it usually doesn't work. The reason for that being that almost everything about skiing goes against your common sense. Nothing about skiing feels natural at first. I have skied with friends that have taken the "I'll figure it out for myself" attitude, some of them have been skiing regularly for fifteen years, and they ain't figured it out yet. Don't get me wrong, I agree with the people who complain about the cost and inconvenience, I don't take lessons as often as I should for the same reasons, plus the fact that I have been generally disappointed with a lot of the lessons I have taken. But you still have to have something to point you in the right direction. I took a lesson with a well recommended instructor in Sun Valley this winter and it made a huge difference in my skiing. Just a few small things that I was doing that I wasn't even aware of were causing me all kinds of problems, especially in bumps. It's not that I didn't know any better, it was just that I needed someone to point out to me where I was going wrong. If it hadn't been for him pointing these few things out to me, I would have continued to struggle for years, just because I was unaware of what I was doing wrong. There is also a lot of good instructional videos available that are helpful, too. I think it just boils down to what you really want out of skiing. If you're just interested in hanging out and having a good time with your friends, there's nothing wrong with that. It's all about having fun. But if your goal is to be able to navigate the mountain gracefully in all conditions, somewhere along the line you're going to need some professional help.
post #13 of 93
Fox, brothels are for the friendless.
post #14 of 93

You're right on, lessons are the way to go. I made the "friend" mistake my first time on skis this past winter and my friend is decent skier.

My experience: After some simple instruction on the learning slope (about 15 minutes), my friend explained that I was doing great and that I'd be able to turn much easier with some speed. So we proceeded to the top of a blue rated slope...you probably can imagine the rest of the story. After about 30 minutes of me making my mark on that slope, and I mean all over the slope, I made it to the bottom. I thanked him for his help and walked over and signed up for a 4 hour private lesson ($120). At the end of the lesson, I rejoined my friend and by the end of the night, I could ski all of the blue runs at the resort. Ironically, the one thing that I picked up from my friend (keeping my feet tight together) was the first thing the instructor changed.

Granted, the person who started this thread is more accomplished that I was, but my guess is the further you progress, the more important it is to have a "trained eye" to point out your needed areas of improvement and offer instruction to get you to the next level.


We're all friends here...right?

ps. It's a standing joke among my skiing friends that I've only fallen 50 time in the 27 days I skied in '03. 49 of them on that 1st blue slope.
post #15 of 93
>>> There is also a lot of good instructional videos available that are helpful, too.<<<

Mac, I have a funny story from last season about that. A youg fellow in his late twenties was practicing the same moves all season as we watched him from the chair, never any change. Once in a while he would pull some electronic gadget out of his pocket and fiddle with it, then make the same run again.

Late in the season a pro video guy set up his tripod at the bottom of the slope and charged for taping runs. The above young man did his run and skied down to the video guy and started to make a ruckus. Several of us sidled over to hear what's going on.

As the guy was looking at his run he kept repeating that the dork on the tape can't possibly be him because he had practiced all year what he saw on a tape he bought and that wasn't it.

That goes to show you that a skier may think they are imitating the skier on the tape but actually be a mile off. To undo this will take a lot.

post #16 of 93
Nothing has the brutal honesty of video tape. Several of my coaches don't like it because of the demoralizing effect it has on people. However, you can't beat it for driving home a point. You just need someone objective to "read" the video for you and to make the required adjustments.
post #17 of 93
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input. I will be going out to the west a few times next year. Never had good luck in Jan though, poor conditions were the rule, have to see how the weather is. That is very cheap for several days of instruction, nothing like a good deal. The lesson I took at JH pointed out a prob I didn't know I had. I tend to ride the tails too much. She picked this out quickly. It was the root of many probs I was having. Now I stand up more and carve with my tips. My legs don't get as tired and I can ski the bumps a lot better. Ice moguls are still a prob. I accelerate too much and lose it, not as bad as before, but I'm still not as comfy as I want to be. Falling in an ice field is also a fear, I have shoulders that come out. This tends to hurt a little. My wife and friend who also took the lesson had the same prob diagnosed. It was perversly fun to watch them try to change 20 years of habit, falls were common, yes they had a hard time of it. I adapt better, having skied only 8 years. With luck I'll run into some of you next season, 6 more months to go.
post #18 of 93
NYNY, here's what happened at the 2003 EpicSki Academy:

We had been warned that conditions were sub-normal for that time of year. We poor saps from the east showed up expecting to see slush and brown spots - but NOOOOOOOOOO! All we saw was WHITE. If we had gone out to ski in the east and found the same conditions, we would have been more than delighted. We had the time of our lives! And it got better with new snow every day!

Trust me, please: The end of January in the west is great - if these conditions were poor, can you imagine what "average" would be?

Come to the EpicSki Academy, friend. When it's all over, as you and I are walking out of the ending banquet/roast, you'll be telling me that this has been one of the primo experiences in your life. And besides, I'm looking forward to meeting you!

[ May 20, 2003, 07:33 PM: Message edited by: oboe ]
post #19 of 93
Thread Starter 
Where are you planning to have it next year? Sounds interesting. Big prob with lessons is my wife, she hates them. I keep telling her that in order to really start moving up we need to work on some things. We are starting to ski some pretty steep stuff, also deep powder. I'm doing better with it than she is, and am afraid of pulling ahead of her in ability. I'm afraid of her following me into conditions she can't deal with. She is great in the ice bumps though. Mineral Basin at SnowBird threw her pretty good, maybe I can change her mind about it.
post #20 of 93
Well, your friends must not be very good. At teaching, or whatever it was that they tried to do. I've never had a single lesson, and can get myself "gracefully" down the mountain. Who cares if I don't have that exact form? What does it matter? Who's going to judge me (besides the patroller/instructor type)? My dad has had one lesson that he ditched in less than an hour, and he could probably outski more than 90% of the people on the mountain on any given day, instructors included. So, yes, figuring it out with a friend does work, and no, you don't need to pay for lessons.
post #21 of 93
Well, sir, all that goes to show is that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
post #22 of 93
Thank you. I'm proud to hear that.
post #23 of 93
"Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do." —Edgar Degas

...and ignorance is bliss!

We've had this discussion before. Suffice it to say that I have never yet met anyone who, once they learned superior technique, preferred their former unschooled ways. But as long as you don't know what you're missing, well, why WOULD you miss it? It's understandable. A little curiosity, however, could lead to great discoveries!

It is still true that, for most skiers, the entire extent of their technical knowledge consists of:

1) Parallel is better than snowplow.
2) Narrower stance is better than wider.
3) Faster is better than slower.
4) Black is better than blue is better than green.

That's it. Yet a true expert would recognize that none of these things has ANYTHING to do with expert skiing!

Still, it's natural for the unschooled, skiing a good clip down a black run, to look down and see that his/her skis are parallel and close together, and to truly believe that there is NOTHING he could be doing better! Everything he understands is there. What more could there be?

What more, indeed! It's a shame how much this skier is missing. The sensations of truly great turns. The efficiency and economy of motion, and the precise control of line, the joy of playing WITH gravity and the mountain, rather than merely overcoming them, the sensuous delights of skiing that only true experts will ever experience.... There is much he will never know.

As the founding editor of the Denver Post has said (quoted daily on the editorial page), "There is no hope for the satisfied man."

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #24 of 93
and he could probably outski more than 90% of the people on the mountain on any given day, instructors included.
Taking lessons may assist with the missing 7%

Go that way, really really fast, and if something gets in your way. . . TURN.
mmmmm method based on avoidance ...... not technique


[ May 21, 2003, 11:11 PM: Message edited by: man from oz ]
post #25 of 93
Oh my gosh! Could it be? Tell me it isn't so!

Dirtnsnow is SCSA's son!

Woe is us!

post #26 of 93
While SCSA didn't have much use for PSIA, he certainly had a healthy respect for formal ski training. He was, as I recall, almost fanatical about it- as long as it was associated in some way with Harald Harb.

Your cost analysis methods leave a bit to be desired. Figuring out efficient (not perfect) movements with a friend who is not a ski instructor is much more costly, both in man hours spent (wasted) and in actual monetary value (lift tickets, gas...). If my goal is to get from Florida to Colorado for a ski vacation, I can certainly walk the distance, and I'll probably have many adventures along the way. Then again, I could fly there and spend the saved time on the snow- which was my actual goal in the first place.

For someone who has never taken a lesson, you certainly have a highly informed opinion of what can be gained by taking one. To each his own, I guess. I personally tried it without formal instruction for a lot of years and convinced myself that I was pretty good. Then I went heliskiing in Valdez and took up racing and learned that I was somewhere at the bottom of the food chain. If you're quite content with your abilities as they are now and see no room for improvement, by all means keep on doing whatever it is you do. As for me, I wasn't happy with the way I skied, so I looked for help.
post #27 of 93
It's such a shame to have spent thousands on a dream vacation and not be able to enjoy it. Proficiency assures enjoyment of that experience of a lifetime.

Those who are less proficient tend to have to rest up and recuperate while the more proficient are out skiing. Believe me, when everyone returns to the lodge all rosy with stories of the day's exploits, they are kicking themselves. A day spent loafing in the lodge goes for the same price as a day tearing up the freshies.

My advice: cover your investment.
post #28 of 93
I think that the comments in this thread are in some ways representative of the things that hold back advancement of ski instruction. I find it very easy to appreciate dirtnsnows point of view. In fact I think he should always maintain some of the "tude" as it will serve him well in taking control of his own learning and advancement. While they are in the minority, I definitely know a few people who have figured it out and advanced in their skiing without formal instruction.

There are at least as many bad lessons with instructors to be had our there as there are good. Thus, it's easy to understand the common conception that ski instruction is not worth the expense. Telling people they don't know what they're missing just doesn't work all the time. Even if you convince them, they are likely to have less than a stellar experience and be right back to their original skepticism about ski instruction.

On the other hand, if exposed to good ski instruction and coaching, I doubt that any dedicated, passionate skier wouldn't be back for more. During the Academy, Bob Barnes talked to a woman on a lift who was ready to give it up. This lead to his giving her a free introductory lesson and by lunchtime she had a changed attitude. I suspect he made the difference between her continuing to ski and giving it up.

In the same way, shouldn't the ski industry be offering some "free samples" to skiers like dirtnsnow? Why don't resorts have their top instructors avaialble for a free analysis run where they can demonstrate some of the potential that good coaching has to offer. I think that the current organizational model of ski instruction is nowhere near to being as effective as it should. I think that this issue, coupled with the average quality of ski instruction, is contributing to the lack of growth in the ski industry.

This forum is one place where a strong effort is being made to change things. The participation of instructors is I think unique and certainly a shining star for the advancement of ski instruction. I also think the Academy is an attempt to "do it right." But I don't think indignant responses to skiers like dirtnsnow will get you anywhere. Telling him that he is bound for the hell of bad habits is not the way to do it.

Dirtnsnow, my recommendation to you is to find a mentor who really is a great skier and wants to share with others. If you can afford instruction then search out a professional who fits this bill. If not, don't assume that just anyone can lead you to a better world of skiing but keep on searching for those who can. I agree with you that meeting someone else's standards is not what it is all about. On the other hand, advancing skill levels and abilities continually open up new doors of thrills, adventure, and enjoyment so don't entirely dismiss the possibilities that instruction (both formal and informal) have to offer.
post #29 of 93
I shared dirtnsnow's view on lessons for quite a few years and have started to see the problem with this thinking over the last two seasons. I started skiing on 1974 and put in 7 years of 100+ ski days in my early twenties - felt totally comfortable skiing anything, under any conditions during that time. My change in attitude came about after a 5 year hiatus from skiing - when I got back into the mountains it became pretty clear that a lot of my ability on skis came from spending enough time on them to overcome my lack of technique. After stumbling across this forum a couple of months ago, I actually took a lesson. The benefits were really obvious, really quick. Made me realize that some work with a professional could give the ability to ski the way I want to, despite being relegated to weekend warrior status. I still enjoy heading b/c, running steep chutes and getting some air time, so if a few lessons during the season can keep me in the form I need to ski the stuff I love for a few more years, the money can't be a factor - it's worth for the smile at the end of the day.
post #30 of 93
Si, [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
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