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Private or Group lessons?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
My husband & I are about level 6 skiers. Being English full-time office workers, our skiing is one solid week's holiday at a time rather than odd weekend days. In the past we've always booked group lessons, getting about 12 hours of tuition over 4 or 5 mornings in a group of 4-8 for 100 Euros each(which is about $100 - isn't the Euro easy?).

We're debating whether it's worthwhile having private lessons for just the two of us. That would cost 37 Euros/hour (between us). So my questions for all you experienced skiers & instructors are:

Is it worth the money to have private lessons? If so, how long each day & for how many days (out of a holiday with 6 days skiing) would you recommend? Should we start on the 2nd day to give us a chance to remember what we already now first?

In group lessons, once you've picked the ski school you get whoever is allocated to your group. If we go private, how do we find a good instructor? We've had a ski school recommended (Evolution 2 - if any of you Europeans can give a Val d'Isere/Tignes recommendation please do so) but how do we get somebody who's right for us other than asking they have fluent English?
post #2 of 12

The ski school will often give you the ski instructor that suits them. Try talking to the other ski-instructors in the Apres ski bars and see who they recommend. Just last week I got a recommendation for 2 ski instructors at my local hill from a resort over 300 miles away.

post #3 of 12

Great question. If you have a some friends that ski with you that are near your level, Privates are often a great way to go. (semi privates anyway) If you can get the same instructor for 4-5 days in a row and for 1 or 2 hours each morning you will find this a great way to learn. Get recommendations if you can. (post your travel plans here and maybe someone that has skied where you are going will be able post a recommendation here) By having the same instructor for several days you skip the "Evaluation runs" for making sure you are in the right class. and the instructor can see your progression and help you move along faster. By doing a semi private with your friends, you get to ski with friends and help each other as you free ski too.

Good luck in your venture..
post #4 of 12
Hi Frances,
I've used Evolution 2 in Val a few years back and they were very good. I think I read something earlier this season about a British run ski school in Tignes. If it is there, I'm sure theSki Club of Great Britian will know about it.

As for private lessons I'd recommend them (and I'm not an instructor), if you don't want to go to the expense of private, see if they do small group lessons. Some places will do groups of 3-4 which is better than being stuck in a group of 12!

Which resort are you going to? Val or Tignes?
Whichever it is, have fun [img]smile.gif[/img]

Happy Christmas

post #5 of 12
Forgot to mention, the other place to try is BASI - British Association of Snowsport Instructors
I don't want to be seen as xenophobic, but if you want English speakers, ask the English!

post #6 of 12

Good question. The answer is that private lessons are ALWAYS more beneficial, unless your prime motivation for the lesson is the social atmosphere of a group. But the cost of private lessons is significantly higher as well. You've got to do a simple cost-benefit analysis to decide for yourself which is more "worth it."

If you can't decide, take a group lesson. But make it clear to the ticket seller and the ski school supervisor in charge of forming the groups that you will demand your money back if you aren't satisfied. Then, if you AREN'T satisified, follow up on your demand! Any decent ski school that I know of will probably GIVE you a private lesson if you complain legitimately about their group lesson.

Just make sure your complaints are honest and reasonable. Do not complain about not getting enough "individual attention" in a group lesson--that's the inevitable downside of the group! A great instructor with a compatible group should still be able to make you feel like you got individual attention, but the only way to assure it is to take a private.

As others have suggested, it is often possible to form your own "compatible" group and hire a private instructor. The per-person cost may be similar to that of a group lesson, and you still won't get the "individual attention" of a real private, but at least you'll be in charge of who's in the group.

Merry Christmas! Let us know how it goes....

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #7 of 12
Don't you think that if you ask an instructor to recommend someone, all you will get is a list of his/her buddies? Even LisaMarie's favorite instructor, -Mr.I'm gonna kiss your knees-, has probably been recommended to others.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the comments. We're actually staying in Val Claret (near Tignes) but now I've seen the resort it's very easy to ski between Tignes/Val Claret/Val d'Isere.

It's sounds like the answer is to book a group lesson with anyone other than the ESF (who can have class sizes up to 15 - everyone else says max 8) but to tell them if we're not happy. I'm typical English - I never complain!

The main reason we've been unhappy in the past is the wide range of standards within one group but it sounds as if that is something we shouldn't have to put up with.
post #9 of 12
Very good question,
One thing that I would reccomend is to ask questions of the instructors themselves. Not technique questions per se, but rather how do they like to teach, what is their "philosophy" of skiing etc. . Just because an instructor is a level 2 or 3 through PSIA does not garantee that they will be compatible with your style of learning. Once you have found an instructor you trust and can learn from, it is ALWAYS better to take the private. SOme of the best teaching/learning I have ever done is on the chair rides between runs. You may get lucky and get one with the instructor in a group lesson, but in a private, you get it every time.
I know this may sound a little "off" to some people but trust me it is well worth the time to ask a few questions and like others have said, ask other instructors who they would choose.

post #10 of 12
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by milesb:
Don't you think that if you ask an instructor to recommend someone, all you will get is a list of his/her buddies? Even LisaMarie's favorite instructor, -Mr.I'm gonna kiss your knees-, has probably been recommended to others.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Exactly, that's why I always ask young attractive female ski instructors

Don't ask who could give you a lesson but which instructors speak good english, which instructors are best qualified etc. Then go into the ski school and ask for the instructor by name.

post #11 of 12
So when is Great Britain going to join the rest of the EU and go on the EURO ?

BTW, today, at about 9:00am eastern standard time [ New York City ] the Euro was worth .8937 % of US$1.00 or about 89 1/3 cents.

I do agree with the others you will pay more but the private lesson is the way to go. Make sure they speak very good English, and do complain if the instructor and you are not a good amtch Usually you can tell within 90 seconds, so ask for another one, afterall its your money.
post #12 of 12
I hope the UK goes Euro soon.
I have spent the last 6 months helping the Irish Post Office convert their systems to Euro, and can see the advantages for both business and consumers.
It will make life a lot easier for those of us who do a bit of travelling as well.

Anyway, enough of politics & economics, let's hit the slopes.

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