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Taos ski instructor recommendation

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

I'm looking for a few names of good Taos ski instructors I could request for a ski week in late March/early April.  The ski school says they'll honor the request as long as the instructor is teaching.  Our group will have some intermediates, an advanced intermediate and an advanced/expert skier so we're looking for a few names.  Thanks!

post #2 of 26
I recommend Carl Shulman 
post #3 of 26
There are many great instructors at Taos. Three of the top are Michael Chandler, Peter Donahue, and Doug DeCoursey, but there are others. These guys are all PSIA Examiners, long-time Taos instructors, and great guys.

Have a great time in Taos--I'm envious. And tell 'em I said hi!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #4 of 26
PS--I just checked our EpicSki Instructor listing, which mentions Deb Armstrong as an instructor at Taos. Unfortunately, Deb (Olympic Gold Medalist in 1984, great instructor, and great person to ski with!) is no longer at Taos. She now lives and works in Steamboat, Colorado.

Best regards,
Bob
post #5 of 26
Good list, Bob!  The same ones I would have mentioned!  Gary Vogel and Rick Baca as well...
post #6 of 26
Bob Aubrecht

Just finished up a ski week at Taos with Bob as instructor. Great guy, great skier, great instructor.
post #7 of 26

BUMP

 

Adding in comments from the 2015-16 ongoing thread for Taos . . . because I want to be able to find this info in the future.  A Taos Ski Week is definitely on my bucket list.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lonewolf210 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingGrump View Post
 

1 full day = 2 x 1/2 day. Unless you want the same instructor. The more advanced daily classes are pretty empty. Most folks are in the ski week. 

Talk to the supervisor in charge of the dailies, he will steer you in the right direction.   

 

The ski week thing sounds like a pretty good deal. Will they let you miss the first? If I can do Monday-Friday would they have an issue? 

Quote: = KingGrump

Starting on Monday is perfectly fine. There is a ski off at top of lift #5 at 09:30 both Sunday and Monday. 

FWIW, the skiers that start on Sunday call you Monday folks - fresh meat. :D

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowfan View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lonewolf210 View Post
 

 

So just one more quick question. Hypothetically, if I sign up for the ski week and am significantly better then the other skiers will they assign me to my own group or simply make me ski with the other skiers?

 

They tried to get me to ski with the other skiers initially at Jackson last year when I took a day lesson but ended up assigning me to my own group after the ski off. I expect the quality of skier will be higher for the sports week then a day lesson and this won't be a problem but just wondering. 

 

I've done 1 ski week and the group was mostly evenly matched.  Early in the class there were a couple folks that left for another group so I imagine the ski-off is not the final word on who is where.

 

I would not worry about getting stuck in a group that's no fun.  Ask for Bob Aubrecht, just in case he has a class in your skill level. He is a great teacher. I think you might enjoy his style of teaching/skiing.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/90767/taos-ski-instructor-recommendation/0_100

 

* * * *

Quote:
Originally Posted by One21Fifteen View Post
 

Quick update from our trip:

 

The morning was amazing, snow was in such nice quality.

 

We are doing the SnowSports week - each of us are in a solo class (separate), we'll see if anyone else joins either of our "groups" tomorrow. Instructors seem great. My instructor had us hike the Highline Ridge. It was my fourth run at Taos and 3rd day this year (ahhh Midwest heat). It was so so so awesome. I accidentally got a face full of powder, it's been way too long since that happened.

 

The only rock I scrapped was on a blue haha! I can see how areas are difficult with the rocks, but there was certainly some nice steep terrain open that seemed pretty covered.

 

Taos is great.

 

Mod tip: click on a green arrow to link to the original post/thread

post #8 of 26
Quote:= KingGrump

The skill level of the ski week skiers are much higher than what you will find at  the run of the mill ski schools, including JH.

There are some really good skiers that frequent the ski week program. When I say frequent, I mean to the tune of 4-6 ski week per season, season after season. The ski week is a very special phenomenon. Highly adictive, once you figured it out. The camaraderie is highly contagious. 

 

During the early season, the bell curve may be skewed  a bit lower. Come Jan, the regulars will be there.

For 10 ski week you get a Taos ski week vest. 25 weeks will get you a martini tree pouron. Both are pretty nice. I know quite a few people with both. 

post #9 of 26

This is an old thread but here's my two cents; hire Derek Gordon or Pat Brockwell if you need a Taos instructor. You'll be glad you did.

post #10 of 26

Derek is a real sweetheart. One of the nicest guys on earth. Pat just started teaching at Taos again a couple seasons back. Real nice low key guy. 

 

Here is a recent article in the Santa Fe New Mexican on Derek. 

 

A photo of a few bears and three of the best instructors at Taos. Derek is the one in red, third from right.   

 

post #11 of 26

Happy to have more instructor names for Taos.  Will be doing a Taos Ski Week for the first time in early Feb. :D

post #12 of 26

Taos used to have a informal system to handle “request” ski weeks. They have since eliminated that option for several reasons. Now, you cannot request a specific instructor under the Classic Ski Week program.  

 

An option if you want a specific instructor for the ski week is to purchase a Private Request Ski Week. It will set you back $1,050 for the week. IIRC, you can have up to 4 skiers in the group for the same price. 

post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingGrump View Post
 

Taos used to have a informal system to handle “request” ski weeks. They have since eliminated that option for several reasons. Now, you cannot request a specific instructor under the Classic Ski Week program.  

 

An option if you want a specific instructor for the ski week is to purchase a Private Request Ski Week. It will set you back $1,050 for the week. IIRC, you can have up to 4 skiers in the group for the same price. 


Even so, I might get lucky so it's nice to know a few names.  Not really worried about it given what I've heard about the Taos Ski Week.  Plus I know one of the long time instructors so if I'm not happy for any reason, I have someone I can contact.

post #14 of 26

Usually the issue that arise is the temperament and chemistry within the assigned group rather ability differential.

If you are not happy with the group you have been placed in. Talk to your instructor first. They are all very friendly and accommodating. There are generally quite a bit of horse trading the first couple days to make sure everybody is happy and in the right group.

 

Best time to speak up is at the end of the lesson on either Sunday or Monday. Most groups meet at Whistle Stop at 10:00 am. So get there a bit early and talk to other ski-week folks and other instructors. There usually a couple of supervisors flowing around the Whistle Stop also.

 

BTW, your friend is pretty high up in the food chain. 


Edited by KingGrump - 11/15/16 at 6:01pm
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingGrump View Post
 

Usually the issue that arise is the temperament and chemistry within the assigned group rather ability differential.

If you are not happy with the group you have been placed in. Talk to your instructor first. They are all very friendly and accommodating. There are generally quite a bit of horse the first couple days to make sure everybody is happy and in the right group.

 

Best time to speak up is at the end of the lesson on either Sunday or Monday. Most groups meet at Whistle Stop at 10:00 am. So get there a bit early and talk to other ski-week folks and other instructors. There usually a couple of supervisors flowing around the Whistle Stop also.

 

BTW, your friend is pretty high up in the food chain. 


Thanks for the advice.  When I decided to start taking private lessons, learned a lot from EpicSki threads about how to have a good lesson.  Definitely helps that I've learned what works better for me so more likely to speak up.  I pass along your suggestions to my Diva friend who is also doing the Ski Week.

 

What I'm hoping is that we'll get to free ski a bit with my friend.  He already knows our dates.  May want to wait until after a few days of working with an instructor though. ;)

post #16 of 26

Most instructors are free after the 1:00 pm scrum right outside the base lodge. Most just free ski a few laps after that. 

Tell him we say hi. 


Edited by KingGrump - 10/9/16 at 9:19pm
post #17 of 26

I read the article on Derek and TSV. Thank you. Derek and I started at the defunct Powder Puff at about the same time. He was one season ahead of me there in the rental shop and begain teaching in the mid 1970's at Puff.That was my start to teaching as well. We both started at TSV at the same time. He is a very good friend and a wonderful person and it goes without saying a great ski instructor. All the other instructors mentioned on this thread are all worthy ski teachers as well. I am happy Pat Brockwell is back; I never knew he left. I still teach, but at Deer Valley these days. However TSV will always have a place in my soul. It is a unique mountain.

post #18 of 26

King Gump offers some excellent advice on the ski school at Taos. The school has some superb teacher/skiers - Carl, Pat, Doug, Peter, and Rick are all superb. Jean and Dadou cannot be forgotten.There are many others.

 

The reason the school works so well is that the people who run the show are very sensitive and they care about their staff. This cultivates an ambiance that I have not seen elsewhere. I don't think I could work at another ski school. What I find unique is the flow. I worked in the children's ski school until I had to bow out for hip replacements a year ago.

 

What I mean by "flow" is that I felt as though I had total freedom to communicate with other instructors so that a student could either step up to another class or opt out of one that became too adventuresome - without any awkwardness. I know the original inquiry in this thread concerned adult ski school, but in many respects, adults venturing into a playground learning environment revisit issues not encountered since childhood.

 

My Guru on the hill is Doug. I will attempt to do exactly what he says. I'll seek to ski with the other Swamis whenever I can. One should be mindful that it is the student, the Bodhisattva, who finds ... usually, among the gathered Swamis, his or her Guru. A hill Guru to whom I remain devoted is Duncan Cullman, who still skis in Vermont, Colorado, and Chile.

post #19 of 26

I’m super excited about doing my first Taos ski week in mid-late February 2017, and it’s in this spirit I’m asking about what your experiences have been. What have your own ski week days involved?  I’m an advanced / expert level skier, have taken plenty of lessons at Taos, Mammoth, Alta.

post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Z Taos View Post
 

My Guru on the hill is Doug. I will attempt to do exactly what he says. I'll seek to ski with the other Swamis whenever I can. One should be mindful that it is the student, the Bodhisattva, who finds ... usually, among the gathered Swamis, his or her Guru. A hill Guru to whom I remain devoted is Duncan Cullman, who still skis in Vermont, Colorado, and Chile.

 

Doug was my first instructor at Taos back in 1988. Did a ski week with him a few years back. He is one of the few examiners on the hill. Great guy.

 

My favorite Taos instructor is Brian Young. Been skiing with him for over 10 years. Just an amazing skier and instructor. He is the one that taught me to ski the groomer within.

 

If anyone have the chance - spend a week with Jean Mayer. It will not change the way you ski forever. I will often have no clue what he is talking about during the week but I was much improved by Friday. The result speaks for itself.

post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by green26 View Post
 

I’m super excited about doing my first Taos ski week in mid-late February 2017, and it’s in this spirit I’m asking about what your experiences have been. What have your own ski week days involved?  I’m an advanced / expert level skier, have taken plenty of lessons at Taos, Mammoth, Alta.


Too bad, will just miss each other.  I'm doing the Taos Ski Week that starts Feb. 5.  Talked to a rep for Taos at the Boston Ski Expo last weekend.  He confirmed that there is no need for a reservation.  I guess I shouldn't be too surprised since Alta doesn't take reservations for group or children's lessons.

post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Too bad, will just miss each other.  I'm doing the Taos Ski Week that starts Feb. 5.  Talked to a rep for Taos at the Boston Ski Expo last weekend.  He confirmed that there is no need for a reservation.  I guess I shouldn't be too surprised since Alta doesn't take reservations for group or children's lessons.

Darn - that would have been great marznc. I'm skiing there another 9 days after the ski week as well.

post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by green26 View Post
 

I’m super excited about doing my first Taos ski week in mid-late February 2017, and it’s in this spirit I’m asking about what your experiences have been. What have your own ski week days involved?  I’m an advanced / expert level skier, have taken plenty of lessons at Taos, Mammoth, Alta.

I taught at TSV for 15 years and taught many, many ski weeks. Moreover, I did the meet and greet at the St. Bernard located on the hill and owned by Jean Mayer, the technical director. In this capacity I would check in with all the guests participating in ski week and see of they were happy with their group. I'd do this Sunday afternoon after their first morning of skiing, I'd get theih name and in a meeting we had for this purpose find a class to move them to. Taos is guest centered and we would always honor the wishes of the guest. So, if TSV is still doing this keep it in mind. I think if you're happy with the group you are in, stay. It is never perfect in terms of skiing ability but usually pretty darn close, surprisingly so considering the apparent mayhem of the ski off. Personalities are the biggest consideration as one asshat can ruin it for the whole group. Fortunately almost all of the participants are nice peope. Also, sometimes you will not click with your instructor. Again, move early, you can talk to your instructor about this also as the Sunday meet and greet does not cover all ski weekers as some are not staying in the lodges that are visited. I have not taught at Taos in a long time and things my have changed. It is interesting reading some of the recommended instructors on this thread. Doug DeCoursey and I were in the same hiring group back in 1980, some of the other recommendations arrived after I left but as a former insider the names I do recognize here are all very good and I suspect the others are as well.

post #24 of 26

Hey, keep track of us ... don't be a stranger, jimmeedee. What is admirable is that Taos starts to run in the bloodstream. We can't let go of the place. Whether instructor or guest.

 

A warning ... even the revered Ernie Blake did not anticipate Global Warming. It is real and very much a part of all of our lives, whether the Donald wants to admit it or not. Conditoins will be scratchy this year. Very scratchy. Snows have moved elsewhere. Ski instructors can do incredible things with very little white stuff, but they are not magicians.

 

That being said, pay close attention to the weather patterns. Your hosts will be forgiving if you are forced by the weather to ski elsewhere.

post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Z Taos View Post
 

Hey, keep track of us ... don't be a stranger, jimmeedee. What is admirable is that Taos starts to run in the bloodstream. We can't let go of the place. Whether instructor or guest.

 

A warning ... even the revered Ernie Blake did not anticipate Global Warming. It is real and very much a part of all of our lives, whether the Donald wants to admit it or not. Conditoins will be scratchy this year. Very scratchy. Snows have moved elsewhere. Ski instructors can do incredible things with very little white stuff, but they are not magicians.

 

That being said, pay close attention to the weather patterns. Your hosts will be forgiving if you are forced by the weather to ski elsewhere.

Yeah, late Feb 2016 when we were last there, it was quite sketchy. But everything was open and we had a BLAST as usual. Except they had to close Kachina cuz of a bad accident. Skinurse, KingGrump, cgeib & HippieFlippin had a strong hand in saving the rider.  And of course in 2015, same time, Taos got incredible snowfall for at least a week straight. The whole time we were there anyway. Fingers crossed for 2017.

post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Z Taos View Post
 

Hey, keep track of us ... don't be a stranger, jimmeedee. What is admirable is that Taos starts to run in the bloodstream. We can't let go of the place. Whether instructor or guest.

 

A warning ... even the revered Ernie Blake did not anticipate Global Warming. It is real and very much a part of all of our lives, whether the Donald wants to admit it or not. Conditoins will be scratchy this year. Very scratchy. Snows have moved elsewhere. Ski instructors can do incredible things with very little white stuff, but they are not magicians.

 

That being said, pay close attention to the weather patterns. Your hosts will be forgiving if you are forced by the weather to ski elsewhere.

Someday I will ski there again. The last time was in about 1996. You're right snow consistency ain't what it once was. During my time there I only recall one really bad season, some average snow years and some truly stupendous seasons. Very few if any ski areas are as consistent on snow as they were years ago. Out my way, Utah it is the same and since I ski in Montana and Idaho some ,I sort of think they have their snow challenges as well. Yep, Ernie didn't have a crystal ball. I doubt if Trump is a skier. Anyone with his views on global warming couldn't be. It is one of the many reasons I didn't cast a vote for him. (No I didn't vote Hillary either) Have a good season though and someday I'll travel back to my New Mexico ski roots which began before TSV my favorite all time place to slide.

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