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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    1,178

    Best lesson you've ever taken?

    This is a weird question... and search hasn't been super useful. So here goes:

    I feel like I've hit a ceiling. I'm sending all that I think I'll ever be willing to send, shred all and as fast as I want to shred. I'm thinking of things I want to work on this season and I think it comes down to skiing "cleaner" with more finesse. I didn't grow up skiing, and my form is based on a single intro lesson 20 years ago, YouTube videos, and watching wayyy too much FWT. Also my wife is slow AF. So, I'm thinking it might be useful to bite the bullet and throw down for a private, full day session for both of us. I'm trying to avoid hiring someone to tell me "uhh, yeah you're doing good I guess". I'm looking for a critical eye... I've heard good things about the Whistler instructors, but also willing to travel elsewhere if worthwhile.

    For advanced skiers that went back to school, who did you work with and where?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Wasatch Back: 7000'
    Posts
    12,892
    I will only say that a full day private freeride lesson in CH or Austria will cost less than 1/2 a full day private lesson at DV/Vail/Aspen/Alta. Too bad Gordy is no longer doing camps. I had a great "lesson" in St. Anton. Arlberg ski school is top notch.
    Last edited by schindlerpiste; 09-17-2023 at 03:31 PM.
    “How does it feel to be the greatest guitarist in the world? I don’t know, go ask Rory Gallagher”. — Jimi Hendrix

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Dystopia
    Posts
    20,872
    You could go epic or pugski and work the ultimate carve.

    Most high level teachers can help the flow.

    Pepi had a free ski at noon. His coaching was I need to finish the turn.

    Good friend pro instructor. Never said shit. I asked him one time apres beers. And he gave me two pointers that I still use. A good experienced eye can do wonders.

    Any level nine ninja can help.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Where the sheets have no stains
    Posts
    21,939
    My 2nd. It was a week long Club Ski program in Banff. Same group and instructor all week, group decides at the end of the day where to go tomorrow. I had some really decent Colombian I had brought with me. This would have been maybe 1980, a little before it became known that there was BC Bud?

    Anyway, the instructor and I hit it off and he kept getting me to smoke him out on the chairs. Only thing I learned was, move to the mountains, ski, repeat.
    I have been in this State for 30 years and I am willing to admit that I am part of the problem.

    "Happiest years of my life were earning < $8.00 and hour, collecting unemployment every spring and fall, no car, no debt and no responsibilities. 1984-1990 Park City UT"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    1,067
    Years ago my wife booked a trip to Grey Rocks in Quebec not too far from Tremblant. After we were separated into our groups for the week the lessons began. I had an instructor named Mike Vallon who was fantastic. We basically worked on form for skiing many types of conditions. My wife was worried that I would reject lessons and not have fun. I had a great week and took Mike's instructions to heart. Most people who have been at it a while can't imagine themselves being critiqued. It kinda hit the reset button for me and recalled my younger days of racing and being coached. A week of lessons is what you make it. Even a day or two. It can't hurt.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    9,732
    Before anything else, please clarify: a single all day private lesson for you and your wife, together????

    Of course, it's different for every married couple that share a recreation, but I would NEVER do that. It's one thing to take a cooking class together, but .....

    As for the basic lesson question, definitely, provided you get the right instructor - one that doesn't focus on too many things. Doesn't sound like it needs to be a full day either, half day should be fine. With your wife? A week at least, maybe a month. Strongly recommend separate lessons.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    33,496
    OP you're in WA?

    Contact Gavin at Snowperformace.
    Quote Originally Posted by Downbound Train View Post
    And there will come a day when our ancestors look back...........

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    between campus and church
    Posts
    9,876
    Don't eat the yellow snow.


    $20 please. Tips accepted.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    2,777
    Quote Originally Posted by PB View Post
    ...Strongly recommend separate lessons.
    This. You'll only get half of what the lesson is worth because most of the focus will likely be on your wife to get her up to your level. Similar to the mindset that you're only as fast as the slowest member in your party.

    Or- just ski 100 days in a season (or, as much as you possibly can, maybe double than what you normally do to be more realistic). Much can be said for consistency- it really does take things up a notch or three. The progression I saw after my first 100-day season was legit.

    Third idea is to follow a ripper friend all season, mimic their turns as much as you can. Wife might get pissed though, ski with her after lunch

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,044
    Do you even dolphin turn bruh!?!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2022
    Location
    Deep in the heart of....
    Posts
    683
    Canadian Ski Patrol Ski Improvement Clinic. 5 days @ Kicking Horse with Level 3 / Level 4 CSIA instructors pushing you to the absolute limit. And then the drinking/shenanigans. Didn't fully realise the improvements until 2 weeks later once I had a chance to recover.

    Groups go from A to O, A being the top dogs. I was in D and still felt like I shouldve been in H or something.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    In the rain
    Posts
    1,621
    Prep course for passing the French ski patrol Technical Ski Test in Puy St Vincent.
    The instructor ran only courses for Ski School, Ski Patrol and Guides entry tests, otherwise he guided off piste (also qualifide as guide).
    I thought I skied hard and fast with resonable style. But my first run was an eye opener.
    We were supposed to ski line astern and just play follow the leader.
    Very steep 35+ black run, cut up fresh over bumps. He points downhill and reaches 40+mph before laying into GS turns, but makes it look like a smooth piste.
    I was very lucky, I''d gone first. When the slope transitioned he stopped, I colapsed in a sweaty exhausted mess, I was 100m behind entering the last turn. He glanced over with a suprised look - I later discovered he didn't expect anyone to make the first run. I looked up slope, almost everyone was ragdolling down the slope. One had decided to slow down and another was short swinging (hop turns) all the way down.
    Late that afternoon, we had a short video session. The result of which was as of day one, one of you (me luckily) has a 50% chance and the rest, well gentelmen we have a week! - out of 12, 3 of us passed the following saturday - the instructor expected 2. (One of my previous tests only 3 out of 150 passed).
    I learned to stay centered on my skis regardless of conditions or speed. I learned I'd been holding my arms wrong and my pole lenght was also off for 2 decades. Adn my legs were not as strong as I thought.
    Knowledge is Powder

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    1,067
    Quote Originally Posted by PB View Post
    Before anything else, please clarify: a single all day private lesson for you and your wife, together????

    Of course, it's different for every married couple that share a recreation, but I would NEVER do that. It's one thing to take a cooking class together, but .....

    As for the basic lesson question, definitely, provided you get the right instructor - one that doesn't focus on too many things. Doesn't sound like it needs to be a full day either, half day should be fine. With your wife? A week at least, maybe a month. Strongly recommend separate lessons.
    No way would I take a lesson with my wife. We were in separate groups and I only saw her for breakfast and drinks after skiing. I don't know how my wife could ever be instructed. She already knows everything. No instruction needed.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    2,491
    Quote Originally Posted by schindlerpiste View Post
    I will only say that a full day private freeride lesson in CH or Austria will cost less than 1/2 a full day private lesson at DV/Vail/Aspen/Alta. Too bad Gordy is no longer doing camps. I had a great "lesson" in St. Anton. Arlberg ski school is top notch.
    Echo this.
    I used to ski every season at my in laws in Italy. Kids were too young for group lessons so we signed them up for a private. Kid was tired etc so I just took it because already paid.
    Best lesson ever.
    Ski instructors there are outstanding even for a 5 year old. The ski school is not mountain owned and operated but rather a coop owned by the instructors.
    Most of them were semi pro and some were national team.
    This is specifically for on piste carving because that's all we had for snow but after that I took a private every season.
    And it cost reasonable, unlike a private from a high level instructor in the USA.
    Europe for a lesson

    Sent from my SM-G781U1 using Tapatalk
    I <heart> hot tele-moms

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Dystopia
    Posts
    20,872
    Quote Originally Posted by Idris View Post
    Prep course for passing the French ski patrol Technical Ski Test in Puy St Vincent.
    The instructor ran only courses for Ski School, Ski Patrol and Guides entry tests, otherwise he guided off piste (also qualifide as guide).
    I thought I skied hard and fast with resonable style. But my first run was an eye opener.
    We were supposed to ski line astern and just play follow the leader.
    Very steep 35+ black run, cut up fresh over bumps. He points downhill and reaches 40+mph before laying into GS turns, but makes it look like a smooth piste.
    I was very lucky, I''d gone first. When the slope transitioned he stopped, I colapsed in a sweaty exhausted mess, I was 100m behind entering the last turn. He glanced over with a suprised look - I later discovered he didn't expect anyone to make the first run. I looked up slope, almost everyone was ragdolling down the slope. One had decided to slow down and another was short swinging (hop turns) all the way down.
    Late that afternoon, we had a short video session. The result of which was as of day one, one of you (me luckily) has a 50% chance and the rest, well gentelmen we have a week! - out of 12, 3 of us passed the following saturday - the instructor expected 2. (One of my previous tests only 3 out of 150 passed).
    I learned to stay centered on my skis regardless of conditions or speed. I learned I'd been holding my arms wrong and my pole lenght was also off for 2 decades. Adn my legs were not as strong as I thought.
    Arms. That is one of the two tips I got. When hauling ass and not pole planting your arms need to be parallel to the slope. Looks better and feels better. It also makes your upper body angulate properly.
    The other tip was soften your ankles. Which I still struggle with since I have limited dorsiflexion.

    It was so weird having skied with him for years and he never offered to coach me. A self taught hack. Then over beers one day I asked him to feel free to coach me. And I got two awesome tips.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Down on Electric Avenue
    Posts
    4,358
    My best lesson was the first and only one. It made me love skiing and I've been smitten since day one at Blue Knob. Blizzard of 1979, President's day weekend.
    FKNA.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jax View Post
    This. You'll only get half of what the lesson is worth because most of the focus will likely be on your wife to get her up to your level. Similar to the mindset that you're only as fast as the slowest member in your party.

    Or- just ski 100 days in a season (or, as much as you possibly can, maybe double than what you normally do to be more realistic). Much can be said for consistency- it really does take things up a notch or three. The progression I saw after my first 100-day season was legit.

    Third idea is to follow a ripper friend all season, mimic their turns as much as you can. Wife might get pissed though, ski with her after lunch

    Lotsa good tips in here but I think this nails the best ways to break through a wall.

    1. Don't ski with less skilled skiers unless it's casual ski day.

    2. Ski almost every day. Skills take time to become understood and ingrained. Repetition is what makes them permanent.

    3. Skiing with better skiers, very solid types who will not apply rule #1 to you.
    They will give you insights as to what you're doing wrong and right; and how they achieve such a high level.
    How to get them to lead you around? Weed usually opens doors.

    At the end of the day, it's about mileage. And chasing your betters.

    Oh, and becoming comfortable with speed.
    It's the one dynamic in skiing that dominates all others. It requires the highest level of skills.

    Lastly, ya gotta be strong, to ski strong.
    Maching through variable crud or bumps needs strength, power, agility, and some amount of balls. Ya can't be afraid to eat shit at mach schnell. It's gonna happen.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Danby
    Posts
    2,288
    Id be beyond skeptical of signing up for any lesson in this day and age without knowing the instructor’s before doing it. There are a million idiots out there teaching 10-20 year old techniques that aren’t even close to correct.

    DJ nails it. Just go ski with better skiers as much as possible. I will deal with people skiing with me for about 2 or 3 runs unless you can keep up. So don’t try to link up with guys that are completely out of your league. It’s baby steps at any level regardless.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    1,178
    Gold advice and offers so far. This place kicks ass, as always. Definitely thinking twice about the couples lesson idea, that does actually seem like recipe for getting murdered by wife/not getting the right tips...

    40-50 days/season. I think the key is I gotta quit my job and get that century pin...

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Tejas
    Posts
    11,783
    I wonder if the Ernie Blake ski school at Taos is as good as it used to be. I got some stellar lessons there back in the day. Top notch instruction! I've also had some outstanding lessons at Loveland. Jackson Hole has some great instructors too and maybe had one of my best days overall there where I made some of the biggest strides. Those were my top 3 favorite places to take lessons. Loveland was prolly cheapest though and proved great bang for the buck.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    truckee
    Posts
    22,961
    I had a couple of lessons with the late Mike Costello at Squaw--the guy who gives lessons to patrollers, other instructors, and other people a lot better than me. Back when Squaw offered an early bird special 2 hour private for a reasonable fee. The name is not the only thing changed since then. My advice is to take short privates when available and not too often. Get a couple of things to work on and work on them until you get them down before taking another lesson. A half day or full day lesson can is too long to cover a couple of things to work on and too short to master them. And too expensive.

    I've also had a couple of good free senior skier group workshops--free, before Squaw got rid of those.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    100
    A German friend told me once, "skiing is really easy, first, go out and make a million turns ...."

    CK

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Carbondale
    Posts
    12,423
    I did a ski week with Jean Mayer in Taos right after finishing my racing 'career' in college.
    The Austrian's who didn't make their world cup team and were skiing on whatever the current pro tour was were in town and skied with us.

    In learned so much in skiing with both skis on big mountain terrain and the differences in edging there vs. the racing I was doing, it was great.
    www.dpsskis.com
    www.point6.com
    formerly an ambassador for a few others, but the ski industry is... interesting.
    Fukt: a very small amount of snow.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
    Posts
    2,783
    I think the problem at this age is you are stuck in your ways and skiing with better people once in your 40s and 50s isn't going to help a lot of people. And simply skiing more days won't help most older people, unless youa re only skiing about 20 days a year IMO. All that advice certainly absolutely 100% helped when I was younger though! As you get older I think you need specific feedback to get out of years of muscle memory. A lesson or two is a great idea. (Without ever seeing the OP ski, there's probably a 90% chance you are doing something weird with your hands, ha.)

    I'd take a lesson too if it wasn't so expensive. Getting video of you skiing might also open your eyes too. I don't think anyone of us ski as well as we do in our heads.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Land of the Long Flat Vowel
    Posts
    1,074
    Would love a day with a good instructor, or to ski 100 days a year, but neither is easily achievable in my circumstances.

    In lieu of that, skiing with really good or super motivated skiers has made a big difference. Skied a few days with an NZ olympic skier, and while no words of advice were given or sought, I learnt a ton.

    In the meantime, back to the squats.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    24
    Good advice to not do a lesson with your wife unless you have similar ability and goals.

    You mentioned Whistler. If you’re mostly focused on off-piste then I highly recommend Extremely Canadian. Either do their 2 day steeps clinic (they put you in a group of 3-4 similar ability) or you can arrange for a private with one of their instructors (you can talk to them about your goals and they’ll match you up with the right instructor).

    I’ve done the two day steeps clinic a couple times and have always come out a better more confident skier. It’s not constant instruction, but rather 1-2 things to focus on and practice while being pushed to ski runs right at and slightly beyond the comfort limit.

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