Should I be taking lessons?
February 4, 2005
I've been really enjoying skiing alot this year, I never took lessons when I started last year... But this year I have a night club card which includes lessons. So. I should probably be taking advantage of this shouldn't I? Has anyone ever done lessons at liberty before? And is it worth it? I havent looked into it much (and I'm not sure how they divide the levels etc...), but how do I determine what my skill level is for the lesson?
My dear friend ... lessons are an absolute necessity to fully enjoying skiing. Even though you may be a totally self taught prodigy, there is no way you can learn the fine points of skiing/boarding without the assistance of an instructor ... and Liberty has some of the best around. I don't know the level at which you are currently skiing but to progress to more difficult terrain you need to learn advanced techniques ... only an advanced level instructor can give you that insider knowledge. Beside you might find that some things you though you were doing right, you are actually doing wrong.
Skiing technically well is cool ... skiing badly is not.
Get with the program .. take lessons!
...(a) this year I have a night club card which includes lessons. So. I should probably be taking advantage of this shouldn't I?
(b) Has anyone ever done lessons at liberty before?
(c) And is it worth it?
(d) I havent looked into it much (and I'm not sure how they divide the levels etc...), but how do I determine what my skill level is for the lesson?
Snowcone's answers are spot-on, but let me add my $0.02 from the POV of an instructor that teaches at Whitetail.
(a) Yes, take lessons. Since there is zero additional cost to you, it's an absolute no-brainer: Take a lesson every time you go and you will progress much faster. You will get to the point where you are happy with your skiing, can enjoy most of the mountain & stay with more of your skiing/boarding friends, etc.
(b) I would guess that averaged over a week, a couple hundred or so people per day take lessons, several of whom participate on this forum. Perhaps they will chime in.
(c) Every time that I teach, I see people trying to either learn by themselves or with the help of a friend who is not a professional instructor. I could regail you with example after example of the differences in success and rates of progress among these folks, but here's a few...
(i) On Monday afternoon, we were a bit short on instructors, so I was assigned 18 never-evers. This is about as non-optimal a student-teacher ratio as you will find. In the course of a 1.5 hour lesson, I had all but two of them going up and down the Magic Carpet slope, rarely falling. At the same time, there were several adult beginners using the same slope, but not in any class. I could see little progress in any of them other than perhaps learning to grit their teeth and get up to incrementally higher speeds before they would eventually crash. They were utterly clueless about how to turn and stop. IMHO, it was complete idiocy for them to try it this way. Why they persisted, I don't know.
(ii) I have seen parents trying to teach their kids to ski but: crushing them when they fell on top of them; nearly strangling them by having them "ski" between the parent's legs with the parent's poles crosswise in front of their child's throat; teaching children absolutely incorrect moves; teaching nothing with regard to safety; being infuriated when the parent over-terrains their kid and he/she gets scared; etc. etc. None of this stuff has to happen and won't happen with a ski pro.
(d) About class levels - don't worry about it. The lineup supervisor will ask you a few questions and there is a 90% chance you will be placed correctly on the first try. On the rare occasions a student needs to move up or down a level, it's no big deal. Most likely the instructor will be able to accomodate your needs without even switching classes, but switching is easy to do should that be necessary. BTW, if a student tells us they are a particular level, we only use their comment as a starting point. We still need to see for ourselves at what level your instructional needs would be best served. If we can't tell this by talking to you, we'll know in the first couple of turns, especially at the intermediate and lower levels.
Tom / PM
PS - Snowcone - I like your sig line, but I think it should be something like: "To ski or not to ski, that is never the question".
Not every lesson will be a life changing event. As you've discovered, skiing can be a lot of fun without lessons. In my 39 years of skiing, I've discovered the better you get at skiing, the more fun it becomes. I've also discovered that sometimes I get better, faster all by myself and sometimes I get better a lot faster when I get help. Even though I'm teaching skiing now, I find that I'm taking more lessons now than I ever have before.
Give them a try - you've got nothing to lose.
Ditto for boards. I've had friends tell me they don't want to be super technical becuase it is no fun. Wrong, the more technical the more ground you can cover quickly. Get the lessons and learn all the technical aspects you can thats where it really starts getting interesting. Your progression with lessons is so much faster too. Sometimes it's the smallest of corrections that makes all the difference.
Off topic ...
Thanks PhysicsMan for the term over-terrains. I have seen any number of over-terrain'd bunkies being browbeaten by their parents down slopes way above the kids obvious comfort/ability level.
DCSki terms dictionary anyone?
Off topic ...
No problem, Snowcone. I can make up new infinitives (e.g., "to over-terrain") and conjugate them faster than a speeding bullet, all while never mixing my metaphors.
Tom / PM
I think lessons have done wonders for my skiing -- from the time a ski instructor friend spent 30 min with me showing me how to make better use of my then first pair of shaped skis to the fancy-pants private lessons I've taken with Diann Roffe. In line with this, I actually enjoy thinking about what's been taught, trying it and well .. practicing it a bit on my own. And as a result, i think I've become a vastly better skier than I've ever dreamed of and skied terrain I used to just avoid if at all possible: moguls, anything not groomed, steeper runs, etc... heck I even ventured into the trees out west a few times and ... dare I admit it? I actually enjoyed it! So I think lessons can make a huge difference but you have to willing to take the lesson first, then practice it on your own & repeat as you feel necessary. There are indeed people out there that either don't want lessons, refuse to listen to what's being taught while in them, or simply don't care ... I do know ONE person that is self taught and a dang better skier than I'll ever be even if they don't have perfect PSIA technique... so technique is not everything if you can't put it to practice. Just my rambly $0.02!
I will just re-enforce what everyone here is saying. I'm an advanced skier and I take periodic lessons to refine my technique. I've taken several Moguls clinics and after every one, I've taken something away that's helped my skiing! I also can attest that starting with the correct instruction from day one makes a HUGE difference. I have a 9 year old that I started at 4. From day 1, she was placed into a ski school with a PSIA certified instructor. Today, she is a solid advanced skier (runs everything well at Snowshoe including Lower Shays
) Since she never picked up bad/incorrect habits, her form is clean (better than mine I'd say
) Anyway, take advantage of the opportunity and take the lessons.