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Lessons learned this season...

Discussion in 'General Skiing' started by Powgirl, Apr 3, 2016.

  1. Powgirl

    Powgirl Ski Diva Extraordinaire

    Joined:
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    Colorado
    I am at the close of my 4th year skiing...one more trip to ABasin for a beach party (celebrating SOs birthday)...learned so much this season...more than previous years combined, I believe. Forgive me for my novice descriptions, but here it goes...

    Equipment does make a difference. I switched to a very different ski this year and it really upped my game, opened up new terrain for me. I've decided my perfect day is spent on steep blues with 4-5 inches of powder...some off piste stuff, too...and because of my schedule and flexibility, I was able to take advantage of those conditions. I haven't decided what the perfect ski is for me yet. As much as I have enjoyed the Black Pearls, I know they are not quite what I want. Luckily, my investment in them was minimal and I am going to ski them another year before I make another choice. I need new boots, for sure. I also learned to pay more attention to the condition of my equipment...no more skiing on bad edges!

    I learned to unload off steep, fast lifts without falling or getting hit by the chair.

    I mastered the true parallel turn...got rid of that wedge thingy...and my turns became round and patient. I also found I ski better with a narrower stance.

    Balance and transfer of weight. Perhaps the most important skill I worked on...it hasn't been easy...but think I found it...hope I don't have to look too hard to find it again next season. The one nice thing about my Black Pearls is they gently remind me when I'm in the backseat and to move more over the skis...transferring my weight during the turn, and the timing of it has been subtle, but huge.

    Quieting my upper body...facing downhill into the fall line more...

    Carving...learning to carve.

    Speed...I really picked up speed by trusting my skill and equipment more...and it's fun!


    Getting hooked...at age 57, it's not much fun to fall...I took a couple of good tumbles this year, but my love for the sport kept me trying again...and again...I'm hooked!

    To work on next season...all of the above and more confidence...I think I would be a better skier with less fear. I also need to work on icy conditions/patches...I tend to panic a bit when I hit it...and more bumps! Also, shorter, quicker turns.

    So, I wrote this down, hoping to look back on it in November...what lessons has everyone else learned?
     
    luliski, HellaRuby, Lmk92 and 7 others like this.
  2. surfsnowgirl

    surfsnowgirl Banned

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    Great lessons learned @Powgirl

    Here are a few things that come to my mind as I complete my 4th season

    I know how to ski but need to get out of my head, this will be something I always have to work on.

    I have come very far with the level of terrain I will go down. I've skied down some very steep stuff (steep for me) that would have sent me into a tizzy last season.

    I began working as a ski instructor. I was so terrified to do this but it turns out to be the best thing I ever did. My skiing improved a lot, I have a bunch of new friends, am more connected to my home mountain than ever before and I make a little money also.

    I have had some pivotal lessons this season and also learned some powerful drills.

    For the first time ever I actually use my edges, well not all the time but on a good day you can actually see the bottoms of my skis when I'm carving.

    I have worked very hard on technique, I feel more comfortable and as a result my speed has increased. I'm still the last one in the group when skiing with other people but it feels good to know I have gotten faster.

    I have learned to not care as much about who's skiing in back of me. I still pull over if a crowd comes along and I prefer to be the last one in a group of people but I have gotten a lot better about not worrying about who's behind me.

    I learned to trust my equipment more and let go some.

    I learned that when skiing in the proper position I can steer my skis anywhere they want to go so I'm less concerned about which skis I am skiing on that day.

    I have done a fair amount of demoing skis this year, learned what I like/don't like in a ski and learned what works and doesn't work in my quiver. As a result I have sold some skis and shaken up my quiver a bit by replacing the sold skis with carefully chosen replacements. I have demoed all my skis and feel finally I have a quiver that suits me.

    I have gotten much better in determining which ski to bring out on a particular day. At the same time I have learned not to care if I call it wrong. I make the best of it and there's always tomorrow.

    I like a little speed any favorite trail is the race course on my home mountain. I also like a wide straight groomer so I can let it rip a little bit.

    I have made big progress over my anxiety in going to a new mountain and skiing with other people.

    It will be good to read this in November to remind myself of all these good things after my first day of skiing when I feel like I forgot how to ski.
     
    Lmk92 and bounceswoosh like this.
  3. contesstant

    contesstant Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    I have lots to add, but need to gather my thoughts first.
     
  4. Skier31

    Skier31 Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    Snowmass
    I finally feel comfortable in most bumps. The funny thing is that it happened on a day where I was working with my coach. At Snowmass, there are some great Norweigan instructors who came to Snowmass with Stein Ericksen. Walter skied by us and stopped and proceeded to "take over" the session. He said things a little differently than my coach (maybe I was in a position to listen) and something clicked. It has been a fabulous season.

    I also figured out I need to be on flat bindings and removed the system bindings from my ski and replaced with a shim under the toe. Big difference!

    This is my third season at Snowmass and I have made some great friends. There are so many rippin women instructors at Aspen/Snowmass who are happy to share their passion.
     
    bounceswoosh likes this.
  5. captain_hug99

    captain_hug99 Certified Ski Diva

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2015
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    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    I just finished my third season, this time a true season vs. just a couple of days on the mountain. I went down some easy greens vs. just the bunny hill. My turns are getting much better! I'm able to control my speed and not be completely afraid of going faster, still not going really fast yet. Also, I've been doing REALLY well getting off the lifts.

    Oh yeah, and I bought boots. Of course, I'm trying to keep up with my 12 year old daughter.
     
    bounceswoosh likes this.
  6. Powgirl

    Powgirl Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    Location:
    Colorado
    SSG...I need to get out of my head, too...it's that careful balance of thinking about the basics, but not over thinking it...skiing the mountain and not let the mountain ski you. My SO always tells me I have the skill...I just need to go for it. I think you've made tremendous progress, and the I agree that instructing has been a wonderful thing for you.

    Skier31...I am going to work more on the bumps...they can be so much fun, and am so glad you found your click! I am also wondering about my overall balance...I have some trouble opening up my ankles...so, I hope to address that next year with binding check, new boots...

    Captain...I think you are skiing very well just starting out!

    Contesstant...I know you've been rockin the slopes this year...looking forward to your thoughts!
     
    contesstant likes this.
  7. SallyCat

    SallyCat Angel Diva

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    Mar 11, 2016
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    Location:
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    I learned to be more assertive in articulating what I want from a lesson and not let young, hotshot guys push me around.

    Late in the season, I had a big vacation and lots of time, so I signed up for a lesson at a Vermont resort. I specifically asked if the instructor could show me how to do small jumps safely and with good form, and to ski switch.

    So the young guy met me, clearly surprised and a bit annoyed that he had a lesson scheduled that late in the season. I explained my goals, and he proceeded to tell me that I needed to work on my general form. (duh, of course I do. But I asked for a lesson on terrain baby steps because the slopes were such a mashed-potatoe mess that I knew that working on my form would be frustrating and counter-productive. I'd been drawn to jumps all season, seeking out side hits and small jumps in the beginner park, and I wanted some good instruction so I didn't hurt myself as I sought out more and more jumps. Also, I was wearing my center-mounted twin-tips because I thought we'd be going backwards, so I wasn't on my most confidence-building equipment).

    So he took me to the summit right away and we spent 45 minutes of the hour working on general form. Which of course was incredibly frustrating, trying to awkwardly deal with ice slabs and heavy slush on skis that didn't behave like the carvers I'd been learning on. The result was completely demoralizing: I felt that all the amazing progress I've made this season was for naught. I sucked, and I was miserable. I wouldn't have thought it possible to spend an hour on a mountain on a beautiful day and experience absolutely zero joy.

    Then at the end of the lesson, Young Hotshot says "well, you want to learn to jump and our beginner terrain is closed for the season, so I'll just take you in the regular park." He gave me some cursory instruction on popping correctly and then led me over some of the kickers in the M/L terrain park.

    Jeebus.

    The first couple of tries, I couldn't even bring myself to pop because I was so scared of the height. Then I finally put on my best game face and popped, but I was heavier on one leg than the other and came pretty close to a spectacular crash. Dude smiled and said "well, at least you got some air." Dude, I am 47 years old. I wanted lessons so I would NOT hurt myself.

    The upshot of a hundred bucks and an hour of my time: confidence shot, both on groomers and in the terrain park.

    Next time, I'm going to ask for an older instructor, or someone more attentive to what their student is asking for, and I'm going to be VERY specific about what I want and don't want. And I'm not going to let anyone take the joy out of my skiing experience. F. That.
     
    Lmk92 and DeweySki like this.
  8. surfsnowgirl

    surfsnowgirl Banned

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    I just wanted to say I am so sorry that happened to you. I know I am biased but my home resort in western Mass does a great job of matching up instructors with students. I have also taken numerous lessons over the years and just about always had an instructor that suited me. I also had great matchups when taken lessons in Canada and in Vermont. So frustrating. Just remember all your progress this season. Don't let some ego filled pompous young instructor take your thunder away.
     
    SallyCat likes this.
  9. bounceswoosh

    bounceswoosh Moderator & Angel Diva Staff Member

    Joined:
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    I'm so sorry. I think a lot of times, people who aren't kids anymore gel better with instructors who are older, too. There's also the fact that, well, older people have more life experience in general, and *may* have more experience teaching skiing. But it may be that there aren't a ton of instructors in their 40s and later interested in teaching park ...

    Not that this guy sounds like he was interested, either =/ Or maybe, because he was so young, he lacked the communication skills and confidence to just tell you from the start, "The beginner park terrain is closed. Do you want to do something else, or do you want a refund?"

    This season, it seems like the forum has had a theme of women taking bad lessons and not knowing, in the moment and sometimes afterward, how to deal with it. I hope we're all learning to be more assertive - it's not being b*tchy or difficult. It's just expecting to get what we paid for.
     
    surfsnowgirl and contesstant like this.
  10. surfsnowgirl

    surfsnowgirl Banned

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    Cheers on learning to be more assertive. I know I need to work on this.

    I am proud to say my mountain where I teach has at least 2 instructors (that I know of) that are in the mid to late 40s that ride the park.
     
    SallyCat likes this.
  11. contesstant

    contesstant Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    The biggest "thing" I learned this season, at least as far as technique goes, is you can really never be too far forward. So long as you are not bending at the waist and sticking your butt out, that is. You truly should always try to be ahead of your skis. Think you're forward enough? Get forward even more! Sort of like the famous scene in Titanic where she is standing out over the bow of the ship--your skis are the bow--get ahead of them! Lean your entire COM over those tips. Practice this on flats, too. (Instructors may disagree, although I did get affirmation of this from one of our favorite level III instructors who many of you skied with at Diva West. :becky:) His statement was: "It's a lot easier for my skis to catch up with me, than for me to catch up with my skis." Make your skis catch up to you! (Lucky me having caught him many times this season on the gondola, and also having him tag along in a lesson, or catching up to me on the hill and throwing out a quick tip!)

    Another big lesson of the season? Conditions are challenging? Go ski! Take your time, work on turn shape, stay balanced. Poor visibility and challenging snow make one a better skier. You need to be able to handle anything. Ski the hard stuff enough, it makes the easy stuff a WHOLE lot more fun!

    Also, the right ski makes a HUGE difference. And the right ski for me is probably not the right ski for you, and the right ski for you is probably not the right ski for Betty Sue. The right ski is one that you get on and instantly feel confident on and connected to. Now, will this ski slay every condition you encounter? Probably not. But it should make you comfortable enough to handle most conditions that are thrown your way. (Yes, for me, this season, this ski was the Kenja.) Also, buy a daily driver ski for the stuff you ski the most. I ski the Utah groomers the most, with the desire to switch to off-piste more often, so I ski the Kenja and have bought a soft-snow biased ski to help me succeed off-piste in the Santa Ana.

    Be kind to yourself (I struggle with this.) If you are having fun skiing, that's what matters. I had a goal of skiing with my girlfriends and husband off-piste this season. I did not succeed in this goal, but I'm getting there. I beat myself up over it for most of the season. Guess what? I can kind of blow some of them away on the groomers now! Skiing is a lifelong sport that is HARD, particularly for those of us who took it up as an adult and aren't super coordinated. (I'm athletic, but not very coordinated.) Also, some snow off-piste is just too much for me. I was able to handle the mid-winter fluffy stuff really well, but as things warmed up and the snow got really heavy, I struggled in it. And that's OK! I'm not advanced enough or brave enough to try to tackle that stuff yet.

    Yes, skiing is HARD! Throw in boot issues and conditions that change hourly sometimes, and pat yourself on the back! I'm quite certain that my ultra-narrow feet make my boots just not fit the same as most of you. I just don't have the same level of control on funky snow than the average person. I just got super stiff Intuition liners which I think are going to remedy a lot of this, and I'm excited about that! The response from my skis already is remarkable.

    Ski alone sometimes! You can go at your own pace, and wherever you want. I grew to love skiing alone this year.

    Early season, the hill IS steeper. So, throw in the first days jitters combined with steeper slopes than you remember and it can be a recipe for defeat. I am straightlining stuff now that early this season, I was skidding and squawking down. Now, my skills have advanced a lot, but not THAT much. Be kind to yourself early season OR if you can only ski a few days a year.

    The steeper the hill, the more you need to bend and drive that ski HARD to hold that edge. Steep stuff is NOT easy. I can finally hold the edge on my left ski (right turns) on steeps, with left turns still being a skid fest. I think the Intuition liners are going to help this a lot.

    Listen to those folks who ski a lot. I went from 3 days a season if I was lucky to about 15 days a season from 2011 to 2014, to 29 days last season (thanks, broken leg!) to 80+ days this season. Those who ski a lot, know more! And those who have skied a lot for their entire lives? They know a TON! Listen to them.

    Things to work on next season: Drills! I hate doing drills. I really do. They are right up there with posting trot without stirrups on my horse. But I NEED them. I NEED to do them! Cowboy turns (ski with your feet SUPER wide) are one of the best drills for me personally. They really help me get on the outside ski edge. Also, weighting the inside ski SUPER early, as in, as soon as you cross the fall line. This sets up the next turn beautifully.
     
  12. nopoleskier

    nopoleskier Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    yahoo! Contesstant- by george you got it!! yes to all.. can't wait to ski w/you again..
     
  13. contesstant

    contesstant Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    Next season!! Maybe you can get into my head off-piste, since I more than have the skills for it, but my brain won't let me go!
     
    nopoleskier likes this.
  14. nopoleskier

    nopoleskier Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    I Would love to play off-piste w/you! and thanks to a Diva-I now have Elysians for next winter's Western Ski Fest- (the Black Pearls just don't cut it in 10"+) Yes I'm Looking forward to a POWMOW and Snowbasin Trip. keep you posted!!
     
    vanhoskier and contesstant like this.
  15. Skier31

    Skier31 Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    I think you had every right to ask for a different instructor and a refund or another lesson. You were clear with what you wanted to do and your instructor did what he thought you should do.
     
    AltaEgo likes this.
  16. Pequenita

    Pequenita Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    I agree that being assertive is a good thing, but it's also often difficult to have a productive one-off lesson where the instructor and student are new to each other, with a very specific end goal in mind. There's a lot to be said for instructors/students who are familiar with each other and the student's ability who begin in November/December and say, "Okay, what do you want to be able to do in April?" and progress from there.
     
  17. contesstant

    contesstant Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    :becky:
     
  18. SallyCat

    SallyCat Angel Diva

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    @Pequenita I agree with you for sure. I wonder, has anyone had experience booking, say, a weekly lesson for several consecutive weeks with the same instructor? Is that something that resorts will do?

    I think what I'm really interested in would properly be termed "coaching", either in an individual or small-group context. But I don't know how to access that, or even go about investigating it. Our mountain does have a weekly adult racing team that, I believe, anyone can join for something like $200. I've been thinking about that.
     
  19. surfsnowgirl

    surfsnowgirl Banned

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    Our mountain offers 8 week programs for kids and adults. There's are kid ones, adult ones as well as a freestyle class. There's also a women's wednesday group. I know they try to have the same instructor ever week. One week I had to fill in for one of them because she was sick but I believe the group her Georgene for every other week.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
  20. Skier31

    Skier31 Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    If you are interested in park/pipe/jumping, I would ask for someone who has a Freestyle certification.