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How long does it take for adults to learn to ski from never ever to competent?

marzNC

Angel Diva
I did not mean to diminish groomer skiing, I do not even begin to have all the fun available there. It is just that so many of you seem to have outgrown those .
Having the option of skiing off-piste doesn't mean that skiing groomers isn't still fun. There are days when going off-piste is really not going to be fun or isn't an option. Too little snow could mean too many rocks or exposed wood that not only damage ski bases but also can lead to awkward falls. Too much snow can mean ski patrol won't have the terrain open for a few hours or a few days.

Improving technique means more options besides green/blue groomers. Doesn't necessarily mean thinking groomers are boring. Especially for skiers over 50 or 60 or 70+.

By the way, I've been able to have lessons with @snoWYmonkey at Jackson Hole in the last decade. She's a wonderfully empathetic person. Both times I and my friends taking the semi-private lesson together were at different levels. She was able to make each of us feel like we were having private lessons.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
This is a very rare and special skill.
I've been lucky enough to work with more than one Level 3 instructor out west who is able to to make a semi-private lesson well worth the time and money. Also a somewhat younger Level 2 who intends to go for Level 3 soon. Seems to involve a combination of personality and experience, meaning need to have both. The two Examiners who I've had lessons with were also very good in that regard.

The trick from a student's perspective is to learn how to find a good instructor by either getting a recommendation by name or by learning what to say to a ski school rep when setting up a private or semi-private lesson. That took me several years to learn.
 

newboots

Angel Diva
I did not mean to diminish groomer skiing, I do not even begin to have all the fun available there. It is just that so many of you seem to have outgrown those .

I think she was responding to me! Anyway, few people here disrespect groomers. I would love to be away from the crowds, but I can achieve that by going to small hills on weekdays!
 

snoWYmonkey

Angel Diva
@EdithP in answer to your question about giving up, I would say that my anecdotal observations are yes, when progress stalls right on day one, especially when other first time skiers get to move on out of the novice area. I myself gave up amd did not attemd day two of a backcountry snowmobile course.
 

fgor

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@EdithP in answer to your question about giving up, I would say that my anecdotal observations are yes, when progress stalls right on day one, especially when other first time skiers get to move on out of the novice area. I myself gave up amd did not attemd day two of a backcountry snowmobile course.
Anecdotally I once swore off skiing for life, as an 10 or 11 year old trying it and sucking at it for the first time (most notably i was the only one who couldn't get the hang of the button surface lifts, so i took my skis off and carried them uphill and swore to never ski again :laughter:).

A full decade later when a friend invited me to try skiing with them, my immediate response was "no sorry I've sworn off skiing for life". Obviously I got over that, but the initial impressions of "this is impossible" stuck pretty hard!
 

scandium

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
But do most people really give up that fast?
Yes. Especially if they have a predetermined belief that they are "not good at sports" or are ambivalent about skiing and outdoor activities in the first place. I know someone who lasted 20 mins, fell over, and refused to leave the lodge for the rest of the day despite having paid for all of the gear hire, lift pass, etc. They were only there because their partner snowboards. So now when they go away, they only go for a weekend and that's all the snow they see for the whole year. I think that is also a good lesson in why you should be very careful about how you introduce people to activities you love, that they may not initially love as much as you do...
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
So now when they go away, they only go for a weekend and that's all the snow they see for the whole year. I think that is also a good lesson in why you should be very careful about how you introduce people to activities you love, that they may not initially love as much as you do...
Of course, then there are ski nuts like me who ended up with a non-skiing husband, but I still go on ski vacations with friends while he stays at home. I also know Divas who have husbands happy to hang in the lodge for a short ski trip. There are certainly women who are mothers who don't ski but go on family ski trips when the kids are young. There are questions asked at times by someone interested in recommendations for a good destination resort for a "mixed" family that includes a non-skier.

My husband and I met when we were a little older. I talked about skiing when we were dating. He'd been on skis in college with friends. He was athletic so I thought he had potential. I wasn't skiing very often, maybe a trip to a destination resort once every 2-3 years just to ski blue groomers. After an extended family trip to Heavenly in Tahoe arranged by his younger brother (kids were tweens) where I saw him on skis . . . I knew sliding on snow wasn't for him. He doesn't even like snow tubing. He tried again a few years later the day after my daughter did her first day of ski school at age 4 at our home resort. By then I knew him better. Thanked him for the effort and said we'd do other fun stuff with him besides skiing. He's happier staying home when I go off on ski trips with ski/travel buddies.

One of the biggest differences in 2021 compared to 1991 is that I can make new friends online to talk about skiing or even to get together in person for a few runs, or a ski trip.
 

Iwannaski

Angel Diva
A quick study in differences between approaches is my son (natural athlete) and daughter (very athletic, but also a perfectionist)

Son, gets on skis, is able to somewhat control direction, asks for directions to the black diamond - 1 hour (I did not allow him to go, he was in no way ready)

Daughter (9yo, 70lbs), is rented incorrect (adult) skis, keeps falling and can’t stand up because everything is too heavy - decides she never wants to ski again.

With careful nurture, better equipment and lessons, she is now a comfortable midwest blue skier … but the other day we mentioned maybe taking a trip to ski out west:
son: YEAH!!! Let’s do it, do you think I can do a black diamond?
daughter: nope, can we not go to a big mountain? (even though she loves looking at trail maps for western mountains)

… clearly we will be going somewhere with a ski school, btw… because I find her anxiety stressful. I have my own to deal with.

It’s a study in mindset, in gender typing, in personal style…really everything, right?

Anything requires mindset/skill set/toolset in combination, and the mindset is the foundation of it all.
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Yes. Especially if they have a predetermined belief that they are "not good at sports" or are ambivalent about skiing and outdoor activities in the first place. I know someone who lasted 20 mins, fell over, and refused to leave the lodge for the rest of the day despite having paid for all of the gear hire, lift pass, etc.
Ha ha, then I have one advantage :smile:. I never ever give up on something I have paid good money for. Goes so totally against my inner compulsion of economy :smile: that I would rather crack up than give up. It really is do or die. If I break down in frustration one day, I will sure as fire be back another day. Seeing the equipment unused gives me so much pain, I would rather go back and suffer more until I get there.
I wonder though about that "predetermined belief that they are "not good at sports"". I know I am "no good at sports" , never have been, BUT I tell myself that is because it would require more patience and time than I could have given it in the past. So I don't think that stops me.
Shame though, if people will not let themselves get a taste of overcoming difficulties. The taste is sweeter than honey :smile:
 
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newboots

Angel Diva
I always considered myself "not good at sports." I was shy as a kid, and I didn't realize until late in adulthood that, if you never try and don't practice a lot, you don't get good at sports. School and books came naturally to me and since sports didn't, I just figured it was not for me. And felt the shame of being the last one picked for the team.

I know some people are just "naturals," but even they need to work at it to become really proficient. I have to work a lot to be reasonably competent, but I'm getting better!
 

BlueSkies

Angel Diva
I always considered myself "not good at sports." I was shy as a kid, and I didn't realize until late in adulthood that, if you never try and don't practice a lot, you don't get good at sports. School and books came naturally to me and since sports didn't, I just figured it was not for me. And felt the shame of being the last one picked for the team.

I know some people are just "naturals," but even they need to work at it to become really proficient. I have to work a lot to be reasonably competent, but I'm getting better!
Me too!
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I always considered myself "not good at sports." I was shy as a kid, and I didn't realize until late in adulthood that, if you never try and don't practice a lot, you don't get good at sports. School and books came naturally to me and since sports didn't, I just figured it was not for me. And felt the shame of being the last one picked for the team.

I know some people are just "naturals," but even they need to work at it to become really proficient. I have to work a lot to be reasonably competent, but I'm getting better!
I can say exactly the same thing, and had exactly the same epiphany at some point in my life. Rather late, actually. I did not learn to ice skate or roller blade until forty plus, and did not learn to dance until that time and only started to regularly work out at fifty plus. But at least , by then, I have finally become tenacious about learning new things. Happy to find role models here!
 

Polly

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Hi!!! I started 5x seasons ago at 33/34yrs old and in the beginning I felt really discouraged but if you keep at it and take some good lessons with GOOD instructors, it makes all the difference. I’m now an advanced skier and once I stopped cherry picking my days, ensuring the proper boot fit and pushing myself really nice advanced in my skiing ability started to happen rather rapidly! Go for it!
 

EdithP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Hi!!! I started 5x seasons ago at 33/34yrs old and in the beginning I felt really discouraged but if you keep at it and take some good lessons with GOOD instructors, it makes all the difference. I’m now an advanced skier and once I stopped cherry picking my days, ensuring the proper boot fit and pushing myself really nice advanced in my skiing ability started to happen rather rapidly! Go for it!
Good for you! you were a quick learner evidently! How much skiing time did you get over those 5 seasons? I really think that is critical, alongside with everything else you mention. (what does "cherry picking my days mean?" I am not a native speaker and do not know this phrase?) Especially the GOOD instruction, I agree, this is super important.
I started seven years ago, at the age of 58. Initially had only a couple of days of skiing per year, later added proper ski trips of 5-6 days. I tried to count all the ski time I had over those seven years and it would be like 200 hours all told. (However the last three years were almost useless, because I had a hip problem, then surgery/recovery and finally the Covid lockdown). But also, let's be honest, I am not particularly quick on the uptake .
Since February this year I finally have a great teacher and practise regularly on a rolling carpet. But still get discouraged from time to time and then ask the wonderful Divas how long it may take me to become a proper intermediate skier.
 

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