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Self-taught, 'nuff said?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
At Whistler-Blackcomb, when I was was 5, I learned to ski; it is an experience I still remember.

Now, fast-forward:

After Whistler, I went skiing once a season, and 2 years ago I didn't even do a single run. Last season was a turning point for me. I went out West and my riding ability improved drastically. In three days I went from being uneasy on blacks in the East to being able to do blacks out West. This season I got a season pass for my local resort and there is no terrain that is challenges me in the least. 18 trips later and I am easily one of the fastest people on the mountain, and I am not just shooting down the hill in  a straight line. One time, on the way up the lift, an adaptive ski instructor from another local resort asked if I was on the race team.

I know some (most?) of you are doubting my claims, but they are completely true. This is my one passion and pretty much the only sport I excel at. 

The one roadblock I face right now is I am 100% sure that I have poor technique, I am in no way conceited. My friends tell me I look good when I ride but they are all boarders. I really wish had some instruction between my 5th and 17th birthday. What is the best way for someone on the East Coast, and on a tight budget, to improve their technique via some form of instruction?
post #2 of 13
Sean, do you think you could handle self learning via instructional DVDs?  It's an extremely cost effective option, and many people find it a very productive one.  
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Rick View Post

Sean, do you think you could handle self learning via instructional DVDs?  It's an extremely cost effective option, and many people find it a very productive one.  

Definitely, but I also want someone to tell me what I'm doing wrong because right now the way I do things doesn't feel "wrong". I rarely fall, and when I do it's mostly in the park or just stupid stuff while standing or going slow. Also, where I ski there isn't any terrain that pushes me to the edge of my ability. 

I can watch a video, and then try to implement it on the slope but in the end I'd like to know how well I'm implementing it. In the end, I still only have a feel for what I'm doing because I can't watch myself. Even a little face to face instruction I sense would help me tremendously at knowing what level I am at.
post #4 of 13
Welcome to Epic Sean,

If you're worried about people thinking you are conceited, just look for posts by Chaos. There are lots of options for you. There are lots of ski web sites that have tons of good stuff (e.g. ski television , Youtube is full of skiing videos) You can learn a lot just by going through old threads here on Epic (we're in the process of consolidating the instruction and analysis forums). You could get yourself videoed and post a link to it for the peanut gallery here to comment on. Depending on where you are at on the East coast (Virginia perhaps?), your local hill may have some options. Whitetail has $10 lessons before Christmas and a night pass that has an unlimited lesson option. The local hills may not be challenging out here compared to Western resorts, but they have enough pitch to work on technique. Most resorts have "ski instructor hiring clinics" that are priced just slightly over the price of lift tickets. There's a lot of extraneous "how to teach" info, but they also work on your personal skiing as well. Don't forget the EpicSki Academy. Rick's DVDs are also highly recommended. Sean Warman's Images and Concepts is a different approach to a video lesson. There are lots of ski books that can help. Is that enough to get you started?
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
 Thanks for the info guys! Sadly, this is the end of my season so I won't be posting any videos till next season. Pond skimming on Sunday :)
post #6 of 13
Get a job as a ski instructor, especially if you're bored of the local hill.  I moved from Colorado to California to MICHIGAN .  I didn't want to pay to ski around here, so now I teach.  Now, 10 years later, I'm the one hiring instructors and running clinics.

Also, I totally disagree with Rusty.  (Sorry for the all CAPS but...)


You're just going to be a distraction to the clinician as well as the serious candidates.  We (hiring clinicians) can tell if you don't express interest in teaching, and we will ask you to leave the group.  Please do not put us in that awkward situation where we need to ask you to ride the lift with us ALONE, so we can talk to you (and tell you that you did not make the cut).

Pay for a one hour private lesson and ask for a Level 3 Certified instructor.   You'd be surprised what I can teach you in one hour.

post #7 of 13

Some schools welcome people with no intent of becoming an instructor. I did this before I started teaching. I asked about this ahead of time and the school greeted me warmly. My current school also welcomes attendees who are not interested in working. Killington also runs (or at least used to run) a great instructor training course where it's understood that most people will not get hired. As a clinician, I agree about candidates who are not serious about the course. My experience is that those who take ITCs to improve their own skiing are a joy to work with.

It all depends on the school.
post #8 of 13


Obviously we have different approaches to our hiring clinics.  I mainly focus on the teaching aspect, since we run skiing clinics (3 times a week) throughout the season.  I can teach anyone to ski, but the motivation to teach has to come from within.  My hiring clinic is very similar to a Level 1 exam, so there's not much free skiing involved.


Back to the original subject, aside from taking lessons or joining the ski school, you might consider joining a race league (or team if your high school has one).  Racers always give free advice, even if you don't want it.  Try a few runs down the NASTAR course and see how you stack up.




post #9 of 13
It will in no way be as good as a good lesson, but Epicski is a fantastic resource too. If you get someone to video you skiing and post it up with a request for Movement Analysis, you're certain to get a few things to work on throughout the year.

Definitely take a look at joining the ski school. While its not a great job from a money making perspective, you'll get so much more out of it than you think you will.
post #10 of 13
Forget taking an ITC without becoming an instructor. Take an ITC and actually become an instructor. As an instructor, you start off teaching never-ever's, so you're not going to have to worry about teaching high level technique at first. Once you are an instructor, your ski school should run fairly regular clinics, many of which will focus on personal skiing technique. And beyond formal clinics, you will have numerous opportunities to go out and ski with different instructors who really know their fecal matter. I've done some of my most valuable learning on snow by just skiing around with instructors who are better than I am.
post #11 of 13
 I agree that typically hiring clinics work mostly on teaching and very little on personal skiing. I attended an ITC at the hill where Rusty works, and that was the case there. They charge money to take the course, so very few take that clinic without being interested in teaching. I don't think anyone takes it to develop their personal skiing skills.

Sundown, you can ask me to leave your clinic but if I've paid to attend, unless you give me a full refund and a few comp lift passes, there's a good chance I will choose to stay.
post #12 of 13
Telerod, we don't charge money for our hiring clinic, and we comp the pass.  So asking someone to leave is not that big of a deal.  They just get to ski free for the rest of the day.  We work with the assumption that everyone that attends wants to be an instructor.
post #13 of 13
 I like the way you do it. It always seemed wrong to me that I had to pay a fee to be considered for employment as a ski instructor.
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