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Help Needed: What Kinds of Women's Programs Would You Like To See?

Sparky

Angel Diva
#41
Congrats, SallyCat! How fun that will be!

I agree with those that mentioned a preference for a weekly class. I did Mammoth's 10 week development camp two seasons ago and enjoyed it. 3 hour lessons in groups of 4-5. Hard to make every class but still worth it. This was coed but I do also enjoy womens only camps.

I really like the video analysis and don’t mind if shared with others. Sometimes you can learn from watching others too. DH used to video me all the time and I liked seeing what I could be doing better. But he also has on video the time I busted my MCL trying to ski through a rock opening! Lol

Also agree it’s very important to be in a group of similar abilities and goals. I still remember when DH signed us up for a Dave Murray camp at Whistler after a foot of new snow. During the initial assessment to determine groups, I fell flat on my face half way down the powder-filled run! :rotf: Hey, it was only my second season and I didn’t know how to ski powder! As embarrassing as it was, it turned out to be a blessing because I got put into a Max4 class with an instructor who I still rank as one of the best I’ve ever had. One other woman got kicked out of the class too so I didn’t feel that bad! Also they still gave me a Dave Murray T-shirt which makes me LMAO every time I see and wear it! :thumbsup:
 
#42
From another instructor's point of view:

I had my first opportunity to teach in our locals' program last season. 2 days/week for 5 weeks + weekly off snow clinics (boot fitting, tuning, etc) and apres events. It was SO fun! And SO wonderful from a teaching standpoint to be able to work on a whole skills progression and move toward achieving the goals of the group and the various individuals. It made my regular lessons feel so compressed by comparison. We could drill down more. We could practice skills in different terrain types and we were SURE to encounter a variety of conditions over the 5 week period.

Anyway - I would think that as a student, you should encounter some happy, highly motivated instructors if you can sign up for any kind of a multiple lesson series. It's a totally different teaching experience for the instructor.

As is luckily often the case at Big Sky, the groups were also small. I had one group of 5 women and a mixed gender group of 6.

I'm planning to do it again and since a number of the folks want to ski with me again, there is the added advantage for them of having an instructor who already knows how they ski!
 

SallyCat

Moderator
Staff member
#43
Thank you so much, everyone, for your feedback and recommendations! I really appreciate your taking the time to reply so thoughtfully. I will follow up and let you know how the programs shake out.

Thank you also to those of you who have followed my recent relocation/career-change saga with encouragement and support. It has been very touching and has meant a great deal to me. :grouphug:

Btw, I don't mean this post to close the thread: please feel free to continue to share!
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#44
Here's what Bridger Bowl does. Have separate midweek programs for men and women. Men on Wednesdays and women on Thursdays. Notice that the price for adding on lift tickets or rental gear is clearly noted for those who aren't season passholders or don't have their own gear for whatever reason. I haven't noticed that before for a multi-week program.

Bridger is a pretty large non-profit in Montana that mainly serves locals from Bozeman of all ages. I've had private lessons there, partially because the rates are quite reasonable.

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#45
All great suggestions. I've done some instructing, and I totally agree on the ski off--it works great to put people in the right groups, and also moving people as needed. Also agree on specific pointers for each individual. Also have them look at one another and see what they notice--both positive and negative. You don't necessarily have to share that with the person they watch--I think it helps for them to see and notice both good and bad technique.

As a student myself, I have found too often that instructors just say, follow me ("and don't suck"), rather than actually watching me and giving me pointers. I took what turned out to be a private lesson at Brighton last year, and once the woman saw me ski said she didn't have a lot to tell me (really?!?), so I just followed her all over. She did suggest finishing my turns as a way to slow down on the steeps. The next day a buddy (who is a great skier and instructor) was watching me ski at Snowbird, and said, "What did she teach you? Because your shoulders are following your skis." So while I was feeling more comfortable, it was bad technique. I am actually learning to alpine from tele, so there is a lot of room for improvement!! But all I have gotten in the lessons I have had lately is "follow the leader." That's fine some of the time, but mix it up.

I am sure you'll do a better job!
 

MtnRivergirl

Diva in Training
#46
I just completed a two-day women's mountain biking clinic through the Trek Dirt Series. By far the bast instruction/environment/grouping I have encountered whether in mountain biking or ski clinics. It was very encouraging, but also constructive criticism and encouragement, and dealing with mental blocks and women ranged from 20-70 years old. Like TeleChica, I've had too many "follow the leader" ski lessons that taught me nothing and were far too general to be useful - these women were great at breaking down the skills into sequential, understandable progressions. The more traditional sport of skiing could learn a lot from mountain biking, IMHO. It's not about being perfect and looking pretty, but solid skills and having fun. It was exhausting doing it for two full days, but since the instructors travel, it was a little different. Skiing could work well as a one-day session. They also had an evening happy hour at a local shop where they taught maintenance and repair items.

They had a number of levels and grouped according to skill AND specific things you wanted to work on. For example, I was in a group that worked primarily on uphill obstacles, drops and short but steep, narrow downhills. Another group may have worked on cornering, switchbacks and berms. Very extensive self-evaluation questionnaire about your skills, issues, comfort with speed, steeps, fitness,goals, fears, etc. ahead of time, which I realize may be unrealistic for a 2 or 3 hour session, but something simpler could still be done. Skills sessions in the morning, then sessioning on trails in the afternoon. No more than 1 instructor per 6 participants and in the skills groups there were often 2 - each gal went one at a time on obstacles or short course and got immediate and specific feedback during and after on what they did right and what and how they could improve.

As a working person, I hate how many of the regular groups only meet on weekdays. I understand ski areas are trying to up mid-week revenue, but c-mon...at least something maybe twice a month for working people would be great. Grouping people appropriately as to what they want to work on (bumps, steeps, park, etc) and being willing to move them up or down is really important. And while I have always participated in sports with more men than women - mountain biking, rafting, skiing, etc - and thus have done a lot of my learning from men, I will say I like the encouragement and less posturing of a women's only group and the chance to meet some other women to ride or ski with - I spend plenty of time with the boys already!
 
#47
They also had an evening happy hour at a local shop where they taught maintenance and repair items.
Actually, instead of yoga or whatever some basic ski maintenance, waxing, tuning kind of stuff would be welcome. Or split into two groups. For those who don't really care to do their own maintenance have a brief session about what to look for when deciding if your skis need a quick wax or a full tune. For those who want to know more, have a wax and tuning clinic where you can learn what you can do at home.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#48
As a working person, I hate how many of the regular groups only meet on weekdays. I understand ski areas are trying to up mid-week revenue, but c-mon...at least something maybe twice a month for working people would be great.
I guess the multi-day program at Liberty (near DC) is more unusual than I thought. Hadn't paid that much attention since I don't live close enough to make it worth while. There are three programs per season. Can do either Sat or Sun starting the first weekend of January for 4 weeks, or spend two weekends in Feb doing clinics on Sat and Sun. The L3 instructor for the Women's program, Evie, also teaches during the summer at the indoor facility at a local ski shop.

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#49
I just completed a two-day women's mountain biking clinic through the Trek Dirt Series. By far the bast instruction/environment/grouping I have encountered whether in mountain biking or ski clinics.
Just curious...which clinic did you go to? I just went to the one in Fruita a couple weeks ago...100% agree with everything you said about how fantastic it was. I'll be honest, I went in with a skeptical mind, and after the first morning session, all of my skepticism was gone.

What stood out to me during the Dirt Series was I felt like I got individual instruction even in a group setting. And I think this is what every ski instructor should strive for (and I'm sure there are many out there that excel at it too).

As for multi-week ski programs, I completely agree with your post, and I'll echo...a clinic on the weekend would be nice, for us that work during the week.
 

MtnRivergirl

Diva in Training
#50
Just curious...which clinic did you go to? I just went to the one in Fruita a couple weeks ago...100% agree with everything you said about how fantastic it was. I'll be honest, I went in with a skeptical mind, and after the first morning session, all of my skepticism was gone.
Haha - I was at Fruita too! Too bad it was so hot, but it's been cold and rainy for the past week, so better to have dry conditions
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#51
Another example from a ski area that caters more to people who drive than those who fly. Although Purgatory does have resort lodging so it is more of a ski resort than a day trip ski area. The 8-week program meets on Wed mornings. The 4-week program is on Saturday mornings mid-Jan thru mid-Feb. It's designed to match up with a children's Saturday morning program. Pretty good deal for $158 for 2.5 hour group lessons (~$40 per lesson).

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#52
I did the Elk woman’s clinic many years ago when it was a 2 or 3 (I can’t remember which) program given a couple of times each year over a long weekend and have also done Okemo’s Waa as well individual private and group lessons.
My perfect program would be 5 1/2 days because I think the total immersion of 5 days of lessons is ideal for dropping bad habits and learning good ones. The first half day would consist of the ski off, so it truly would be 5 full days of instruction and a meet and greet with wine would be nice! I would also love to get a demo day on the third or fourth day, with input from my instructor to narrow down my demo list, and some info on equipment and on maintenance and tuning as an optional add on, maybe in the evening. Sort of WAA meets Jeanne Thoran for those old enough to remember when she showed up with a trailer full of demo skis and boots and someone doing boot fitting.
Although my perfect program is 5 consecutive days, my perfect mountain would also have programs that are 2 or 3 days, over a weekend for those who can’t make the time for a longer program, and another that is a single day per week for multiple weeks.

This is my fantasy, right?
 

WaterGirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#53
+1 on the maintenance. Maybe maintenance with martinis or whisky. :wink:

Also I liked the idea of a series that was all encompassing -- boot fit/ ski selection/ and skills - what an amazing experience!

As far as the "follow me" comments..... some people are visual learners.... just saying. But I get that a lesson should not be a dog an pony show.
 

marymack

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#54
A note about ski offs...I teach several groups in a season long middle school program and they always start with a ski off for those that have skied before. I've seen lots of kids burst into tears at the thought of needing to ski in front of their peers and be publicly separated. Plus the safety concern of just having people go ski, and then you realize that out of panic/nervousness or lack of experience, they can't stop/turn/slowdown. Obviously, a little different with adults, but I would not be surprised to hear from others that being asked to do a ski off would make them uncomfortable (and not bring out their best skiing because of nerves).
The best "ski off" I saw was this though: after we did the traditional ski off, we had a large group (40+ kids) that were deemed not ready for the chair, so we told them "ok, we will meet you over by the carpet" and sent them off. The kids that arrived first (the strongest skaters) became one group, the next set of kids to arrive became the next group and so on, until you had the kids that had taken off their skis and walked. It actually worked really well! Good skating ability is often a good indicator of skiing ability and this eliminated the "all eyes on me" ski off and significantly reduced the safety issue of having kids hike up and ski down something that may be too steep for them.
 
#55
I only did a ski off once at Kirkwood for a clinic with a former Olympian. I was assigned to the expert group after skiing on an easy blue run.. This was 20 years ago and clearly did not belong in that group....I hung in there but barely....
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#56
I only did a ski off once at Kirkwood for a clinic with a former Olympian. I was assigned to the expert group after skiing on an easy blue run.. This was 20 years ago and clearly did not belong in that group....I hung in there but barely....
As @Olesya Chornoguz related in her 2017 TR about a Taos Ski Week, after the ski off she was put in the same group as my ski buddy Bill. Since she'd skied with him on a few trips out west, she knew that she shouldn't be in a lesson group with him. However, the group she was with the first day was not right either. After talking to the supervisor the next morning, she was moved to a group that was perfect.

The moral is that it's helpful for a student to come up with a short self-introduction that can help the supervisor who is creating groups, whether or not there is a ski-off. Ideally, someone would ask enough questions early on. But if not, it pays to speak up.

From the stand point of organizing a multi-day program, if there could be an opportunity for people to meet and chat off snow before the first lesson, that could be helpful. Pretty sure that happens for the Alta multi-day clinics by having the instructor(s) at dinner the day the students arrive. For the first Gold Clinic at Massanutten, the students gathered in the lodge the first morning for introductions. Most already knew the instructor, but I think he did pop in to say hello before going off to get ready for the day. I think the instructors met with the Divas in the lodge for the NASTC 3-morning clinic during the 2010 Diva Week in north Tahoe.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#58
Isn't that what we did in Taos? That seemed to work.
While it was possible to meet other women who were going to do the Ladies Ski Week, there wasn't really an organized time to mingle that first morning. An optional social event the evening before is more what I was thinking about. Or even a quick meetup for apres in the early afternoon before people left the base area.
 

Elinor

Certified Ski Diva
#60
Hi Everyone, I would love some feedback on what sorts of women's ski and/or snowboard programs you have enjoyed and what you would like to see if you could design your ideal program.

The context is that I'm about to step into a role managing the ski school at a small resort here in Vermont, and I'm also involved in developing new programming. We're in a really fun period right now of thinking about what we could offer, and I thought it would only make sense to reach out to the Ski Diva community for feedback and ideas.

Thanks for anything you can offer about what you've enjoyed and what you'd like to see.

THANKS
Hi sallycat
Your open -to -feedback for your new role augurs well for your success there - go for it!
I've only ever done one women's program - years ago, at Thredbo, here in Australia. It was excellent: I learned a lot, and really had my eyes opened to the difference in group 'culture' of females only - so mutually supportive and patient.

However (since you asked about video feedback sessions), I confess it did little for me, and would have much preferred the time to be spent out on the snow, actually trying out techniques, doing drills, and generally DOING it. I know there are different 'learning styles', so vid feedback can probably be just the ticket for some. Perhaps consider it as an option for those who value it, while those who don't could be out skiing....?

Exercise sessions? Similarly, I guess many (most?) of us have already got stretching, Pilates, yoga and other routines sorted to complement our ski fitness. So I agree with those who don't favour it being included in a program.....again, I'd rather be on the slopes skiing! However, there could be interest for newbies or those who want exercise guidance, which could be met through an optional session and/or accompanied by handouts and links to suitable videos. [A couple of days ago I saw a v. good vid of Pilates exercises for skiers by Malin Jonsdotter (https://youtu.be/ CldAJOvzuaA)].

Anyway, all good wishes in your new role! :thumbsup:
 
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