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Best way to get better at skiing?

Mamabear3

Certified Ski Diva
How old are the boys?

Straightlining all the time might be fun for them for now, but they will not improve that way.

The dynamics of a good group lesson (peer pressure!) could help convince them that turning can be fun. When they are willing to turn they can begin to ski steeper and more challenging terrain. An all day lesson can allow the coach enough time to develop a rapport with the kids, teach them new skills, and allow for guided practice on appropriate terrain. Multiple days in a row can be even more effective.

Other good options to require turning without lecturing: beginner trees and moguls.


I have one strong suggestion for your husband: always set a good example. He should ski the way he wants them to ski. Eventually the boys will ski like he does. If he always turns, even on the easy terrain, they will eventually emulate him.

It may also set a good example for him to take a group lesson. If he shows that he is willing to listen to and learn from coaches, the boys may respect the coaches more.
This! Waiting in lift lines then riding the lift are when you engage with the people you are with--it's not like you are carrying on conversations while actually in the act of skiing. My husband and I ski at different speeds to mid points or lifts, then ride back up with each other.
Excellent point! Thank you so much for that perspective. I guess it’s just the mama in me that makes me want to be close to my boys.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Excellent point! Thank you so much for that perspective. I guess it’s just the mama in me that makes me want to be close to my boys.
There is another approach to consider when people ski at different speeds and want to take the same trail for whatever reason. There were times when I was starting to ski harder terrain that I would tell my ski buddy to wait and let me go first. When I was a reasonable distance but still visible, he would start skiing. He would then pass me and find a good place to stop and wait. We used this approach mainly for ungroomed terrain out west where I needed to concentrate and/or stop to re-set.

Don't know if this would work with your boys or not . . . it's actually one way to get them to work on technique on easier terrain. It turns out that making nice round turns going slowly on a blue groomer is actually harder than going faster on steeper terrain. So the challenge would be to ask one of your sons to be the leader. His goal would be to make turns non-stop while going slow enough for you to easily keep up. Can pick a target in the distance, or suggest a number of turns before the next stop. Might only happen once a day or they might find it fun for a couple runs.

I got to follow a Diva who had been an instructor doing steady round turns on a long green in the northeast. She was nursing a knee and wanted to take it easy during early season. I could manage to do the same, but it took a lot of concentration.

I agree it's far more fun to be able to ski with the kids and see first hand what they are doing. I had the advantage of being a better skier than the kids when I started doing ski trips. Once they were better by age 10 or 11, then I really had to start working on technique in order to ski the challenging terrain with them. I think my daughter skied Devil's Castle during ski school at Alta at least two years before I was willing to give it a try, if not three. She and her friends went all over Alta together the last time they were together for spring break before their school schedules didn't match up.
 

SallyCat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Trying to keep up with kids who are straight-lining because that's all they are willing to do seems like a recipe for you getting injured. They are skiing fast, but not well and the odds of them getting hurt or colliding with someone sound pretty high. I second the post above that recommends trying to get them a coach or instructor who can connect with them. You can explain your issue to the ski school and see if they have someone who's a good fit.

I have friends who patrol at a resort here that is famous for people visiting from more southern regions to spend their days screaming down groomers at macht schnell despite modest skiing abilities. Patrol responds to a shockingly high number of serious injuries there, and more deaths than most people know about. In fact, a friend who's now a patrol director tried to bring me on board this season because I'm an EMT and it's a sort of open secret that the quickest way to gain experience assessing and treating traumatic injuries is to ski patrol there for a season. I guess just be careful of yourself and the kids; there's more joy in skiing in control and making good turns than just tempting karma with uncontrolled speed, imho. Good coaching now will give them a lifetime of challenge and enjoyment.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
One way to encourage kids to make turns insftead of straight-lining (which is dangerous to others) is to not let them off the bunny slope until they promise to make turns without going straight down the hill between the turns. Then the minute they straight-line, send them back to the bunny slope. That tends to work. The parent has to be willing to accompany them back and forth as they learn to comply with parental orders.
 

CindiSue

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I skied 20x more than you and was still slow. Honestly when you're a careful skier and don't like being out of control, it really just takes a lot of skiing, and a lot of lessons to go faster. I live in a ski town and finally gut a full pass and started skiing 40+ days a year and taking weekly lessons, and it finally clicked no and started speeding up.
 

Getting Ready

Angel Diva
I like to have a mix of ski lessons with the kids and without them. I don't know your boys but my kiddos learn the most when they don't have lessons together. So sometimes I do a lesson with one kiddo while the other skis with someone else and then swap. My Daredevil boy turns into technique master who loves to encourage mom when the sister isn't around. And if we are not in lessons I still like skiing with them one on one when I can. Mainly because it is easy to watch and worry about one and they both ski more carefully when not trying to outdo each other.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I like to have a mix of ski lessons with the kids and without them. I don't know your boys but my kiddos learn the most when they don't have lessons together. So sometimes I do a lesson with one kiddo while the other skis with someone else and then swap. My Daredevil boy turns into technique master who loves to encourage mom when the sister isn't around. And if we are not in lessons I still like skiing with them one on one when I can. Mainly because it is easy to watch and worry about one and they both ski more carefully when not trying to outdo each other.
@Getting Ready, how does a lesson with you and your kiddo work? Does the instructor teach you both the same thing, or something different for each of you? If the same thing, how does competition not settle in? How old are your kids? How long are these lessons you take with your child? I'm very curious.
 

Getting Ready

Angel Diva
@Getting Ready, how does a lesson with you and your kiddo work? Does the instructor teach you both the same thing, or something different for each of you? If the same thing, how does competition not settle in? How old are your kids? How long are these lessons you take with your child? I'm very curious.
I like to do half day lessons and honestly, it kind of depends on the day and mood and sometimes hour.

My daughter is one who often needs a confidence boost and so at the beginning of the season, I usually ask the instructor to focus on her and making it fun for her and give me pointers when they can. As her confidence grows, we usually make a plan on the lift of the thing we each want to focus on.

With my son, sometimes I'll say "let's do 2 runs focused on you and then one of my choice"

Sometimes we will do the same kind of drills and a little friendly competition sets in but it is different than kind of competition between the kids. They also like to video me and have me video them so we can analyze.

My kids are now 11 and 13 but we have been doing it this way for maybe 3-4 years.

I wouldn't say these are the lessons where I learn the most but I do learn and enjoy myself and the kids.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
@Getting Ready, how does a lesson with you and your kiddo work? Does the instructor teach you both the same thing, or something different for each of you? If the same thing, how does competition not settle in? How old are your kids? How long are these lessons you take with your child? I'm very curious.
Last season I set up a mixed-ability, mixed-age 2-hour lesson with the the resident Examiner at Massanutten (home mountain). It was absolutely fascinating how the instructor came up with a few drills that we could do all the time but with different emphasis. We worked on fundamentals on the harder green and easier blue.

Brother and sister, ages 13 and 11, plus me and my ski buddy (over 50), Chris. Levels 6/7 to 8 on the 9-pt scale. The boy and I were pretty close as solid advanced skiers. His sister is a solid intermediate who isn't that passionate about skiing. The kids had done ski school at Massanutten and Alta starting ages 4/6. Chris and I met doing the group lessons that Massanutten used to offer for Over 50. He's low advanced, mostly due to lack of mileage since he's still working full-time.

It helped when I explained to the instructor the background and personality of the kids on the first chairlift ride (just me and him). I've chatted with him a fair amount in the last 4-5 years. The kids are both very good about paying attention to any teacher or instructor, with lots of experience with sports and music lessons. I think he was a bit worried about how well the kids would pay attention. After the first teaching run, he didn't have any problem coming up with a lesson plan for the four of us. I learned a great deal during that lesson.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
....Sometimes we will do the same kind of drills and a little friendly competition sets in but it is different than kind of competition between the kids. They also like to video me and have me video them so we can analyze.....
Do you remember any of the drills you and the kids did together? I'm collecting thoughts on teaching mixed skill-level adult and child semi-private lessons this season.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
What did you learn? I may be faced with lessons of this sort this season, thus the questions.
Sorry, I don't keep detailed notes from that sort of lesson. But I know how I feel when something suddenly makes sense that didn't before. That happened several times during the lesson. Repetition helps. But observing how a change, or lack of change, impacts someone else tends to stick with me.

In general, if the opportunity presents itself, I prefer to have a lesson with at least one other person instead of a solo lesson. Did both at Massanutten enough the first few years I was taking lessons after knee rehab to figure that out about my personal learning style.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Do you remember any of the drills you and the kids did together? I'm collecting thoughts on teaching mixed skill-level adult and child semi-private lessons this season.
Nope. It wasn't the drill that impressed me. It was the fact that the Examiner told each of us different things to focus on for the same drill.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Last season I set up a mixed-ability, mixed-age 2-hour lesson with the the resident Examiner at Massanutten (home mountain). . . .
Oops, not that it makes that much difference to this discussion but the 4-person lesson was not last season. It was in Jan 2020, pre-pandemic shut down.
 

Getting Ready

Angel Diva
Do you remember any of the drills you and the kids did together? I'm collecting thoughts on teaching mixed skill-level adult and child semi-private lessons this season.
Thumpers, one ski turns, trying to stay in someone's tracks, 360s, turning on top of a bump (we pretended to be eagles swooping).

My daughter really wanted to learn to spray her brother with snow so lots of hockey stops/ edging.

When the kids were younger, a lot could be accomplished with stickers and/or pocket full of gummy bears.
 

floatingyardsale

Certified Ski Diva
If this is a vacation, I'd just pony up for half-day lessons (kids in one lesson, you in another, and ski in the afternoons.)

If you're skiing regularly at a local hill, you might have luck doing drills with the kids on the bunny hill. I'm not a terribly accomplished skier but between me and my friend group we can get the kids to play red light, green light (J turns), follow the leader, pick up one foot, etc., all the way down the bunny hill. And the number of times I say "follow [x]! make your turns!"...... we can take the kids on all of the blue runs now in a little train of wide swooping S curves.
 

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