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The EPICSKI ACADEMY 2003--details and agenda

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 
All right everyone, here's what we've got so far, for the first EpicSki Academy at Solitude:

The dates of the Academy will be January 27-30, 2003. This is four days, Monday through Thursday (followed by the annual Bears Gathering over the weekend). The fourth day is optional, based on the mixed desires that you have all expressed. I know that long discussions have lead to a general agreement on Tuesday through Thursday, for a 3-day camp, but Tom Burch and I felt that the optional 4th day would be well worth it. If we've overstepped our bounds, please let us know--we can go back to the original dates if we need to.

Tom and I tried to consider all the feedback and ideas, distilled from the many threads and polls over the months, to come up with an agenda that we believe will be fun, unique, and productive. Our intent is to create an experience for skiers of ALL levels who are motivated to learn. The camp will be fairly intensive, with small groups (our target is 5 students per group leader, on the average) to allow us to focus on individual goals.

I will post a brief outline of the camp agenda that we've come up with in a separate post following this one--don't hesitate to give feedback and suggestions, or ask questions!

We will provide for video analysis throughout the camp, according to group needs and desires.

There will be an informal "tech talk" each evening, and at least one top bootfitter present to answer questions and provide services throughout the camp.

We are trying to keep the cost to an absolute minimum, while at least defraying some of the expenses of the instructors to make it worth their while, as professionals. We project the cost at $100 per person per day, to cover the instruction. Lift tickets, meals, services of the bootfitters, and so on, are additional, and you must make these arrangements yourself (although we are working on group rates for lift tickets, and we are seeking discounted EpicSki rates on everything we can!). The intent is to pay for the lift tickets of ALL the qualified instructors who participate, and to have some left over to pay the group leaders a nominal amount and defray the expenses of all. (I'm open to feedback on this plan from both participants and instructors.)

There are many issues to resolve, regarding the legalities and practicalities of running a ski camp. The Forest Service, the Solitude Ski School and Solitude Resort, and the IRS, among others, all create issues we have had to address. We've made good progress and it looks like Solitude is going to welcome us, and support our event. (Huge thanks are due to Si, Oboe, Ydnar, and others for your help in making contacts, advising, and coordinating this. This camp will happen only through the efforts and talents of many people.)

A few issues remain, and it is possible that we will encounter some expenses that we are hoping to avoid. If so, we may have to exceed that $100/day to cover them. Even so, this will be the least expensive multi-day ski camp that I'm aware of. We will ask for a down payment soon, to assure the commitment that we need to make this work--I'll get an "enrollment/application form" up shortly. We can put a limit on the amount you are willing to let the price exceed $100, if needed, although we will ask only for what we need to cover additional expenses.

There are many instructors among the Bears who have expressed interest in this, both as group leaders and participants. Our plan is to involve ALL interested pro's, even though the numbers will probably not require us all to lead groups. We will ski together for an intensive day before the camp starts, to share ideas and go over the agenda. My intent is to create an experience for the camp that, while unique for each group and tailored to skill level and specific goals and needs, also provides a common, shared experience unique to the EpicSki camp. Every group will explore some common themes, at their level of skill and interest, but each group leader will determine HOW to explore those themes. Any pro who is interested in being an active participant, to lead a group or not, as needed, please contact me. We will try to pay all instructors at least something to help defray expenses, whether you lead a group or not, if you attend the preliminary instructors' day and participate throughout the camp as needed. We can discuss the details of how to do this equitably--please contact me with your thoughts.

I'm sure there are many questions. Let me know what you all think so far. Let's try to keep this thread informative and on-topic.

Thanks everyone! The preliminary "final" agenda follows (next message).

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #2 of 55
Thread Starter 

Sunday, January 26, 2003
• The coaching team will ski together for fun and education
• Sharing of ideas, to refine the camp agenda.
• Group leaders will be selected.

Day 1, Monday, January 27, 2003
• Techniques that work for YOUR goals in skiing
• Three reasons we turn. . . and the three turns that result
• The techniques and tactics of the “Epic Turn”
• Reinforcing the foundation—stance, balance, and fundamental movements
• Evening Presentation: Multi-Media Technical Presentation and Discussion

Day 2, Tuesday, January 28, 2003
• “Perfect Practice”
• Evening Presentation: Equipment/Boot Alignment Presentation & Discussion

Day 3, Wednesday, January 29, 2003
• Exploring the options—Filling the tool box
• Evening Presentation: Fitness, Flexibility, & Training

Day 4, Thursday, January 30, 2003
• Exploring the mountain, putting the skills to work!
• Choosing the options
• Expressing yourself on skis
post #3 of 55
Thank you Bob!
post #4 of 55

Epic Agenda! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #5 of 55
Bob and Tom, as has already been said, very Epic. I like the conceptual framework in that it gives structure yet great freedom to each instructor. My one comment would be to include a period early on during the first ski day with focus on alignment within the agenda. This can readily be revisited then throughout the 4 days as necesary for conformation or modification.

[ September 11, 2002, 07:58 PM: Message edited by: Si ]
post #6 of 55
Thread Starter 
Good point, Si. Our bootfitting expert(s) should be available Sunday evening prior to the camp, so anyone who would like to get new footbeds or an indoor alignment evaluation might want to get in touch with them for an appointment beforehand. That first day is fairly "diagnostic" in nature anyway, and with work on stance issues and fundamentals, it will be a great way to test the adjustments and evaluate the alignment on snow.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #7 of 55
It looks great. I wish I were coming, but while I know it's not too far for WTFH it's really too far for me.
post #8 of 55
$400 for 4 is certainly a competitive price, but not deal of the century.

Snowbird charges $500 for 4 days of steep camps (690 with lift tix) and that includes use of climbing wall, dinner and other stuff.

Same thing for Jackson Hole camps.
post #9 of 55
How many hours a day?
post #10 of 55
Thread Starter 
Good question, LM! These are full days--as long as the lifts are open! Of course, each group is autonomous, and those that prefer a more leisurely pace can arrange their timing accordingly. I would expect that most "hard instruction" would end by 2 or 2:30 each day, allowing those who've had enough to wind up early and miss nothing, and those with energy left to take a few more runs. Each coach will pace the group according to its needs and desires.
post #11 of 55
Sounds good! A couple of points: At Whistler, you can buy a 3 day package, with an option to pick up a 4th day if you decide you need more. I find this works quite well, better than commiting to the 4 days from the star.

Something for everyone to consider, the instructors are not getting free lift, lodging or transportation, so that needs to be factored in to what they are paid.
post #12 of 55
When someone comes into my office and the first thing they ask is "How much do you charge?", the first thing I do is figure out how I'm going to end the meeting in 5 minutes or less.
post #13 of 55
Oh, another question. Do we have a place where we can do the evening stuff? If we do a fitness/stretchy thingy, we need to be able to lie down.

If some of you artistic folks can come up with some sort of print ready flyer, I can put it up in some Boston gyms. I'll also have Mark put it on my website.

Since ther is a fitness element to this, I will be able to list this on some fitness event calenders.

Another question: Is it possible to set up some sort of Pay pal thing for payments? people who do not know us may be more comfortable doing ot that way.
post #14 of 55
Thread Starter 
Lisamarie--the short answer to "do we have a place..." is YES, we will. We just haven't yet confirmed where yet. Si may be better able to answer here--he has a line on a lodge down the valley that sounds like they'd like our business, and that would give good lodging rates to those interested. It is not on the slopes, but on the other hand, it would give good access to the other resorts for the weekend gathering. They have a meeting room we can use. For those staying up at Solitude, unfortunately they would have to drive down the valley for the evening stuff.

We're looking into accommodations at Solitude too. Either way, it's likely that some of the group is going to have to do a little driving. It would be great if we were all lodging in the same area, but we'll deal with it if not.

I like the idea of promotional flyers. I'm certain that the bigger this thing gets, the more successful it will be--and the better deals we can arrange for just about everything! In that light, remember, everyone, that we'd love to form a group (or more) of first-time beginners. As these non-skiers aren't likely to be current Bears, they'll only hear about this if someone tells them.

Spread the word!

Regarding Payment: we could use some ideas here. If necessary, Tom Burch has offered to open a special account and manage the money. He has the ability to do credit cards through his ranch business, but old-fashioned checks might be best (remember that there's a cost to credit cards and PayPal). Good point, though, about those who "don't know us." We will get an application form done soon, so start saving up!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #15 of 55

Are you saying that Bears who want to bring their significant others and families along for the week can enroll them in the academy too?
post #16 of 55
Congratulations Bob, Oboe, Si, Ydnar, on an excellent format which is obviously the result of a lot of hard work.

The one thing you may want to add, is a "check room" for any oversized egos. Having taken care of that, it looks like a recipe for success. $100/day for your instructional program, is very reasonable.

You will of course update all of us who can't be there as to how things work out. Please, do take notes, so if others want to try this in other locations, they can benefit from your experiences.
post #17 of 55
Thread Starter 
Thanks, too, Lisamarie, for pointing out that the instructors will be incurring considerable expenses in order to conduct this camp. We need to buy lift tickets, lodging, meals, transportation, and such, like everyone else.

As most people are aware, many instructors have offered to participate in this camp for minimal pay, or none. But everyone should know where I stand on this: even though we love what we do, instructors are professionals. Because it's the state of the industry, we're used to performing our services for near-starvation wages. But I would like to see a change, and I do not think it is in ANYONE's best interest to perpetuate the precedent of terrible pay for instructors.

SO...the professional instructors here will be paid, whether they like it or not! It's the principle of the thing--I'd do this for free too. But we don't have to, and I won't support the status quo. As everyone can see from the pricing we're working with, and the expenses that must be paid, the instructors could still surely make more money if they stayed home. If this works as planned though, and grows in the future, I expect instructors to be well-compensated, even as the camp cost remains low.

I hope everyone's all right with this. I just wanted to be clear!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #18 of 55
Thread Starter 
I don't see why not, Nolo! One thing we certainly CANNOT do is solicit business at Solitude, or directly at any other resort.

This may have just opened a can of worms that we need to look at, come to think of it. Obviously, we can invite anyone to join the Barking Bears forums and the community. And I can't see any problem with personal invitations to people to become part of the Bears by joining our clinic. But I wonder about advertising in public media for the camp itself. Anyone have any thoughts on this, from either a legal standpoint, or a motivation standpoint? (Remember that, for resorts to welcome us as hosts, we must be a benefit to them--not a competitor. By bringing groups to the resort, creating exposure, developing better, more passionate and committed skiers, and encouraging people to take more lessons BEYOND this camp, we are supporting the resorts that host us. By taking business away from their ski schools, we would be shooting ourselves in the foot.)

This really is a ground-breaking thing, with no close precedent that I'm aware of. We must take care to do it right, if we ever want to be able to do it again!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #19 of 55
I realize that we cannot solicit business at Solitude, but here's a thought: With instructors who are at your caliber as well as Nolo's perhaps some of the Solitude instructors may want to take the camp.
I'm sure are high end skiers such as Miles and Gonzo are skiing at the same level as instructors, so there would be no problem placing them.
post #20 of 55
I'm getting excited: This is REALLY happening.

Can't wait.

post #21 of 55
I'm sure are high end skiers such as Miles and ------ are skiing at the same level as instructors

LM, thank you, but it really isn't true. How could I possibly compare to someone who skis at least 5 times as many days as me and recieves constant training?

[ September 12, 2002, 01:56 PM: Message edited by: milesb ]
post #22 of 55
But in the short video I saw of your skiing, you look better than some of the level 1 instructors I've had. So can the false modesty! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #23 of 55
Originally posted by Lisamarie:
I'm sure are high end skiers such as Miles and Gonzo are skiing at the same level as instructors, so there would be no problem placing them.
Thanks, LM, but I'm guessing that there are many others who ski better than I do. While I'm not bad, I'm still learning how to get down the mountain without crashing. One look at my short turns in narrow chutes reveals the extent of my need for instruction. I feel like a newbie in those situations.

Bob Barnes & Tom Burch, thanks for being so diligent AND patient with this process. Many, many congratulations to those who helped put this together. It's going to be fantastic. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #24 of 55
Thread Starter 
She's right, Miles!

Yes, LM--we will invite at least one Solitude instructor to join our pro-team at the Pros' Workshop, and possibly to take a group if needed. Local knowledge is always a good thing, and it is also a gesture of cooperation with Solitude. I wouldn't blame them for wanting to know exactly what we're up to, and this is one more way to show that our intentions are good. It will also help them with continuity if someone wants to take a lesson with Solitude after attending our camp (which would be an ENORMOUS win for us, and I encourage everyone to do this!).

As far as an instructor-only group, we've considered that too, especially if the instructor-participant ratio gets way out of hand (too many instructors).

Keep the ideas coming, gang. It's all good!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #25 of 55

This thing has come a long way from someone's offhand comment that there were going to be a lot of top notch instructors coming to the gathering and wouldn't it be great if they could give a few small clinics for those interested. Hats off to you and Tom for this latest step.

As to the idea of actively soliciting people to come through some form of advertising, I say why not. The more people we can get to participate the more instructors can get the opportunity to lead groups. Up to a point the more the merrier. As long as we are carefull not to step on any toes along the way it can only be a plus for the area we are at and the sport as a whole.

Maybe we could set up a time for a chat room discussion about all this. Its chaotic in there but things can be accomplished more directly than exchanging posts and PMs.

post #26 of 55
Before we do any such thing as advertizing, we'd better be darned sure that we have Solitude or some other location firmly committed ON PAPER.
post #27 of 55

I'm sure if there are females who need a place to lie down and stretch, the fox will be more than happy to accomodate them at his place.

And milesD and the gonz may not be high end skiers, but I sure as hell am.

I get high, then I fall on my end.

ha ha ha.
post #28 of 55

No comment.

What about us low-end skiers? I don't see anyone comparing us with anything! Anyway, by the time Bob has finished with me either him or me will be different skiers as a result.
But, SCSA, if you want to brush up on basic wedge technique, I'll run a private lesson just for you, at a reasonable cost.

post #29 of 55
How are we advertising this event?

My suggestion was to encourage Bears to consider inviting family and friends to attend the clinics and the gathering. I read that many bears, about 80%, would love to share their passion for skiing with their loved ones, but only a small proportion are able to because one is more advanced than the other.

Spinning off the statistical story that "proficiency goes hand in hand with passion," I thought we might help create strong relationships by suggesting that the stronger partner bring his/her less proficient partner along.

That's network marketing, not traditional "tell them and they will come" marketing. IMHO, much more effective and cheaper by a long shot.

I am very excited about this clinic too. It feels like the start of something BIG.

Also, I don't have a problem with instructors [who are not married to me] auditing or team teaching with me. The bracketed clause is a long story which you may infer on your own.
post #30 of 55
Thread Starter 
"...a long story..."

I think we need a story-telling night!

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