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Ski instruction advice

Discussion in 'Snow Talk' started by Sbooker, Jun 13, 2019 at 8:03 AM.

  1. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    I don’t know if I have put this in the correct part of the forum.
    I’m looking for the best ‘lessons’ for my wife.
    Specifically she is a pretty good skier and is not intimidated by relatively steep terrain (blacks and some double blacks in North America and Europe). She is comfortable off the groomers but has a preference for cruising groomed runs.
    Her issue is she doesn’t feel comfortable at speed. She washes off speed constantly with tight(ish) turns even when cruising down a run she is comfortable on. She says she fears getting out of control and therefore falling. (I’ve never seen her fall).
    To be frank it is a little frustrating for the rest of the family when we have to constantly wait half way down a run for her to catch up. (We like to ski together a lot of the time).
    I don’t want lessons that tear apart her technique and start from scratch as being from Brisbane we can only realistically get 15 to 20 days a year on snow. I’m hoping some confidence building lessons will give her the ability to feel more comfortable at a higher speed.
    Any advice as to what to ask for specifically? Opportunities are limited. We’ll be at Thredbo mid week in the second week of August.
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable Ski Pass: Gold

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    If her technique is good and she is in her comfortable place then perhaps she just needs a friend or a womens group that skis at a similar pace.

    Be careful you don't break the dynamic by trying to introduce speed to suit others.

    Good luck and happy skiing
     
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  3. fenrir

    fenrir Addicted

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    Try a hypnotist?

    Only partly joking by the way. I've taught a few friends to ski and the biggest limiter is their own fear. Some of them eventually hit a speed they aren't comfortable with that will be it.

    Part of it could be down to what they perceive "in control" to mean. Some people seem to think it means travelling at a speed that they can stop instantly at any time.
     
  4. parkmonkey

    parkmonkey Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    There really only one rule to ski live and die by. No friends on powder dayz
     
  5. chicski

    chicski A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Is she happy skiing as she is? If so, leave her alone. Otherwise, a women’s class. Not sure where you ski, but Perisher has a season long women’s group every Sunday. Other resorts may have something similar.
     
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  6. ski

    ski Hard Yards

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    oh wow - you could be talking about me in fact the only way I know it's not about me is that you're going to Thredbo second week in August and not Perisher!!

    Apparently I'm a very technical skier - which I think means my technique is good - I can also get down blacks and some off piste - but speed worries me and this has held me back every holiday.

    My family will now only stay with me for one run per day as they can't bear waiting around - I'm being told constantly that I need to improve by old ski buddies who have embraced speed and I'm now starting to get lonely on ski holidays

    I've been for lessons but just keep getting told to let the skis run and that my head is my enemy!

    If your wife finds any answers please can you let me know.
     
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  7. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    It also depends what is meant by "good technique", and what sort of technique that is.
    For example, is speed controlled by muscle power or turn shape? If speed is controlled by linked hockey stop turns, then it requires more muscle, and the skier may feel that she can't slow down or stop quickly, because she lacks the muscle power.... This can then limit the top speed she is comfortable with.

    OTOH, if she can learn to control her speed by turn shape, she will use less muscle, understand that it will be easier to slow down, and may be more comfortable with speed.
     
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  8. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    I'm comforted to know that this is not a unique situation.
    We have tried to adapt by suggesting she takes the groomer off the lift and we meet her at the bottom after taking the mogul field for example or us taking the long way down so we meet at the bottom at the same time. We can then all catch the lift together.
    We're skiing with friends next northern hemisphere winter and one of those friends is a intermediate woman of the same age so that relieves the 'problem' for that trip.
     
  9. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    To be honest I don't have a real eye for 'good technique' as neither I, my wife or my kids have ever had lessons. I get this could be contributing to the issue - hence the question about instruction.
    To my uneducated eye she controls speed with proper arcing turns - not linking hockey stops.
    Interestingly she is sometimes (rarely) drawn into skiing faster than normal if she is in an environment that she is comfortable in. That could be good snow conditions or somewhere she really likes to ski. She generally is a different skier at Alta for example. She openly says she has never encountered any 'icey' conditions there and this takes some stress out of the situation for her.
     
  10. fenrir

    fenrir Addicted

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  11. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    Thanks for the tip. We'll be in Utah in February next year. I guess the $800/900aud isn't the end of the world but if it didn't work I'd be miffed.
    I've never thought about hypnotism.
     
  12. Kletterer

    Kletterer Thredbo Doughnut Tragic Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Might be getting chatter on the downhill ski. Holding back from loading those front ends is a common problem. Also consider a possible influence of poor ski tuning.
     
  13. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    There is a reason hero snow is called hero snow and most people hate icey conditions.

    And to be frank I’d rather share a piste with someone who adapts to the conditions and skis *well within their abilities* than someone who bombs everything faster faster faster with very little control.

    That being said some lessons will help her skills and confidence which will in turn help her go faster in most conditions.

    If waiting is frustrating your family then make a plan for it. “Lap this lift, kids and I will bomb a few, meet you for hot chocolate at 11am”

    Ocassionally I get a bit this way with my girlfriends who like to go at a gentle pace. But they often tire before me too, so they head in for the day with instructions to organise cheese and bickies while I have a few quick runs to finish the day.

    Or they doddle in the morning so you can get a few fast laps in before they join you. Just find ways that work for you...don’t break your wife trying to get her to keep up.
     
  14. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable Ski Pass: Gold

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    My lovely wife has perfect technique on green runs on a clear day. 5 mile at Sun Peaks would be her perfect run.

    She can ski icy Lake Louise at -27 but ..... not the best of days :love:

    She did break both legs on a T bar as a young teen so that may have something to do with it. When we ski together it is her day not mine.

    One of the most popular classes I taught on a daily basis at the big show resort in Colorado was "ladies class" of which was made up of women of an indiscernible age who "couldn't keep up with their family" or "husband wants me to keep up".

    Mostly they all skied great and we had a very lovely time together teaching them the easier, less crowded, "safer" ways down and how to negotiate the spots that challenged their comfort zone.

    I gave them all strict instructions to "demand" a mums day with the family where mum lead and choose the ski day plan. Mostly there biggest fear was that they where "holding everyone up" and that in itself was regressive to their experience.

    The primary goal is to keep mum participating so ya'all can keep going skiing together.
     
  15. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    I love this.
     
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  16. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    Ouch at the broken legs.
    I bet she's iffy about T Bars.
     
  17. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable Ski Pass: Gold

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    When we horse ride she is jumping logs while I .... go around.
     
  18. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable Ski Pass: Gold

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    School trip, kids pranked her with a T bar whip and .... snapped the lower legs. T bars are okay but chair lifts much better.
     
  19. silva

    silva One of Us

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    If she is happy and enjoys skiing at the speed she is comfortable with then I think you need to leave her be and be happy you all enjoy a activity together. If she wants to get faster and is frustrated she can not keep up then that's a different matter - speak to the manager at Thredbo ski school and set something up.
    I keep up pretty well on a snowboard but have a pretty similar situation on a mountain bike. I have great technique but in the back of my head is always "I have to work on Monday". I take shortcuts on the trails and they catch up or after long descents they just have to suck it up and wait for me when we are riding together.
     
  20. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    Good point. I think I’ll throw a suggestion out there and see if she runs with it. If she doesn’t - no problems.
     
  21. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    This.

    Ski instruction exists because of husbands / boyfriends / fathers.
     
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  22. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum Ski Pass: Gold

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    A long time ago I did a course called Inner Skiing with a bloke called Bernie Chesneau. It was all very 80s woowoo, but he focused on the mind rather than what the limbs were doing. One exercise we did was on an area that was a bit steep, off the beaten track and with a long flat runout. There was nothing there to bite us. Each time we went there he challenged us to start a little bit higher and do a straight schuss. It got us comfortable with steadily increasing speed. Perhaps your wife could benefit from an instructor with a slightly left field approach to the problem?
     
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  23. fenrir

    fenrir Addicted

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    Sounds more like a coach than an instructor.
     
  24. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum Ski Pass: Gold

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    Bernie is a bit evangelical. He may be able to recommend an instructor at Thredbo.
     
  25. FatBoyDave

    FatBoyDave One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Great motto. I'll try and remember this one.

    The partner not confident at your speed or choice of terrain is really common... That's one of the reasons they invented boys trips. :thumbs:

    I'm now at the point where when we ski as a "family", my daughter is waiting at the bottom, I'm in the middle of the run and my partner is still somewhere further up the hill and I'm trying to keep them both in visual contact.
    It's everyone's holiday, so pick some stuff you do together and pick some stuff to do on your own. Although I have found that this doesn't always make everyone happy.... It's all about some sort of a compromise.
     
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  26. MarzNC

    MarzNC Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    Based on my experience with Level 3 instructors at Alta, a couple private lessons, with a day or two in between for practice, could be just as effective as a "fear" workshop. But it really depends on whether your wife is interested in working towards becoming a more confident skier. I have intermediate friends who have improved with the help of Alta instructors. These women only ski a late season week at Alta plus a few weekend days near their homes. Usually take 1-2 lessons at Alta, either group or a private. They are cautious intermediates willing to practice who avoid getting "over terrained" on trails that might cause them to panic for any reason. Takes 2-3 seasons to see solid improvement that sticks from season to season.

    When the family skis together, do you typically take a different trail every time or do you repeat favorite trails?
     
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  27. telecrag

    telecrag Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    IMO speed is a separate issue from skill, or even confidence. Some people are comfortable letting them run, others not. i doubt its something you learn as such.

    I ski with some people who wait for me, and others that I wait for. I also very much enjoy a ski by myself, just doing my own thing. The same goes for mtb.
     
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  28. Hermannator

    Hermannator One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    +1 for the private lesson suggestion.

    Aside from that, perhaps one could demonstrate what terminal velocity looks like. First on the gentlest of greens, then gradually go up from there and see exactly where the pinch point is.
     
  29. chicski

    chicski A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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  30. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    Where we ski depends on conditions and we often repeat favourite runs but generally we will move around the mountain to a degree. My wife would be happy to lap the Sugarloaf lift constantly - it's her favourite lift in the world I would think. When at Alta if conditions are right my kids are always keen to get over to Mineral Basin to ski in the sun.

    I think the general advice from this thread is to let her do things at her pace. I'll take that on board. I would hate to jeopardize the fun we have as a family just because we have to hang around waiting for a minute or so a few times and hour.
     
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  31. currawong

    currawong Old but not so Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    agree with all the comments about letting her enjoy her skiing and be comfortable.
    some people find out useful to do 2 for 1 runs. faster people do 2 runs while slower does one. meet at the bottom of the lift.

    if she has never had a lesson then a few privates would probably help her enjoyment too
     
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  32. MarzNC

    MarzNC Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    I didn't start taking lessons more regularly from very experienced instructors until after a knee injury (not skiing) 7 years ago. I wasn't exactly a slow skier before, but as my technique improved, so did my speed. Especially on steeper terrain. I've observed the same progression in friends who take advanced lessons, especially women who have fear issues at times. I'm a woman but don't have fear issues for sports in general.

    Did she learn as an adult?

    A good instructor adds to a skier's toolbox by picking one or two fundamentals to focus on instead of telling them all the things they are doing in a less than optimal way.

    I convinced my main ski buddy to do a semi-private lesson at JH several years ago. He was over 60 and was an advanced skier in high school (skiing Aspen bumps every weekend). Hadn't had a lesson since high school. In fact, he was an instructor then. We worked with a L3 instructor with over 20 years experience who I knew from a ski forum. That lesson experience led to other semi-private lessons together at Alta, mostly with instructors I requested by name. Bottom line is that he skis longer days and steeper terrain, with less effort, as a result of lessons. For that matter, he's skiing black and double-black terrain at destination resorts like Snowbird, Alta, Big Sky, or Taos far faster than he did.
     
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  33. telecrag

    telecrag Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    For sure, the more you ski, the better your technique, the faster you are likely to go. But I have noticed that people have a different reaction to speed, some really feel it, others not so much. Same with steeps a bit too, I quite often dont even realise how steep something is, unless I stop for some reason.
     
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  34. MarzNC

    MarzNC Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    Quite a jump from Sugarloaf blue groomers to Mineral Basin. Plus no boarders around. Supreme is the best lift at Alta for a mixed-ability group who ride up together and ski different routes. That's the favorite lift for most of my intermediate friends. Partially because the groomers tend to have fewer people than the Sugarloaf groomers.

    Midweek the Alta group lesson for intermediates called Beyond the Blues can be quite a good deal. A bit of luck involved, but the instructors are L3 and most are quite dedicated to helping students. A friend who was an advanced skier but wanted to work on technique ended up with one of the most experienced instructors in the Alta Ski School for a group lesson during a mid-season trip. Later in the week, she did semi-private lesson with that instructor with another friend who was with us for that trip.
     
  35. Swede

    Swede One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Runs in Oz are too short for a waiting problem to occur anyway IMO :)
     
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  36. fenrir

    fenrir Addicted

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    You would honestly be surprised. Had some friends (male and female) who tapped out at any speed faster than a basic snowplow, even with lessons from an instructor. Took more than 45 excruciating minutes to do a lap of Pleasant Valley.
     
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  37. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah, that much variance in players means you have got to set them off on their own game, and you on yours.
     
  38. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    My wife had a week skiing on a school trip at 17 and then another when she was 23.
    We didn't get into regular skiing until after she had kids - so she was about 32. Ten years later we've had many fantastic ski holidays but because we live so far from the snow we don't get to regularly ski enough. Usually 4 or 5 days here in Australia or NZ and 10 to 15 days on one overseas trip each year. The bulk of the overseas trips have been to Canada and US.
     
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  39. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    To my knowledge snowboarders have never really worried her. And she's perfectly happy on the Collins side. Her soft spot for Sugarloaf is because that is where she first really 'got' skiing. The Supreme lift has plenty of great intermediate terrain too and she loves that.
    Agree but most of our skiing is overseas and I was thinking lessons here in Oz (the next time we go skiing) would prepare her for our next big trip.
     
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  40. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter Ski Pass: Gold

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    The first question is why does your wife ski? Does she really have fun or like many things in her life is she sacrificing herself for the family?

    When it comes to sliding on snow spouses who are better at sliding on snow are typically terrible at supporting their significant other, and children are worse. Also be aware that for lots of mums having kids radically changes their risk tolerance. I'd be surprised if lessons don't help, but she should choose if she'd rather group lessons, a women's program or if the budget allows privates. If privates are in the mix she should talk to the ski school about what she wants, and don't delay, the good instructors get booked out early.

    If you spend some time to support her in enjoying the experience (and probably compelling your children to support her as well) she will grow in confidence. If she feels she isn't holding the family up, and if she isn't responsible for the family enjoying the holiday she will have a much better time. Let her have a holiday too.

    I've probably made some false assumptions, but as CM said

    and every instructor has seen the story I describe too many times to count.
     
  41. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    There is no question. She absolutely loves skiing. Not kinda likes it - she loves it.
    The last trip was her first with her own boots. She adored them (has previously had uncomfortable fit in hire boots) and I believe she skied better and more confidently. Hopefully she can build on that.
     
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  42. DbSki

    DbSki Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Not exclusively.
    The more you ski just means the more you've skied.
    Unless you are focusing on improving your technique by way of lessons or even on your own, simply skiing more wont make your technique better, it will just mean you don't fall over so often, and that may be simply just developing muscle memory, not actually from improving technique.
     
  43. DbSki

    DbSki Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    To the OP

    Without getting into your circumstances Ill use a generalisation.

    Mum's have better technique, kids are all competing with siblings to get to the bottom first with technique secondary and dads are not going to be outdone by the kids.

    If the kids can ski faster than mum then it's time to pop a chocolate bar in their parka pocket and wave them off with 2 instructions
    1 Be back at the lodge by lunch time.
    2 It's your responsibility to look out for your younger brother / sister and don't leave them behind anywhere.
    (I assuming the kids have mobile phones)

    With that sorted you can then ski with Mum at her pace while putting a bit of quality time in on cleaning up your own technique at a more controlled pace than racing the kids to the bottom of the lift.

    So all that said,
    I base that on my own experience as a child skier growing up in a lodge full of skiing families and observing the same in other skiing families around the hill noting so often Dad and the kids all racing to the bottom skiing on the ragged edge with little to no effort to technique while mum comes behind showing off her flawless technique, just like my Mum did back in the day.

    But if the above does not apply to you then by all means ignore that advice.
     
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  44. MarzNC

    MarzNC Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    Will be a lot easier to build confidence with well fitted boots instead of hire boots!

    Would she be willing to do some ski conditioning exercises? I'm not thinking about leg strength. What made a bigger difference for me was to improve 1-leg balance, flexibility, and core strength. There are simple exercises that can be easily done at home, many with no equipment besides a mat.

    The idea of doing lessons near home before flying off for a ski vacation is sound. But there is also value is a lesson or two at a destination resort in the first week of a major ski trip. Not the first day or two when jet lag and altitude adjustment is a factor.

    A couple of stories related to the advantage of taking lessons at a small mountain before a ski trip to a destination resort . . .

    My initial lessons after knee rehab were at my home hill. Massanutten is near Washington DC, has less than 100 acres, and finishing a run takes no more than 5 minutes for an intermediate (3 min for advanced) even when making lots of turns to extend a run before a 7-min lift ride. There is no off-piste terrain, essentially groomed man-made snow since the average total snowfall is around 25 inches. It's a 4-season timeshare resort as well as a ski area for locals that's been around for 45 years. It's a 4-hour hour drive from my house so I always stay overnight, usually for 2-3 nights. The ski school is very strong with quite a few Level 3 instructors because the Ski School Director actively encourages PSIA certification. What I found in the first few years of regular lessons was that I didn't need much terrain to work on fundamentals once I learned drills and how to practice them on short slopes. After 5+ years of lessons with different instructors, I have more fun skiing solo because I can mix in a variety of drills instead of just cruising.

    I started my daughter in ski school at Massanutten at age 4. I was a solid intermediate based on learning as a teen but skiing very little for a couple decades as a working adult. We started annual Alta spring break ski trips when she was 7, meeting up with friends. She did Alta Ski School for at least a couple days the first few years. Since I wasn't taking lessons, she was a better skier than I was by age 11 (Level 8 of 9 at Alta Ski School) even though I added a mid-season trip to the Rockies and was getting in more mileage than she was while she was still in elementary school.

    I have a friend, a mom, who started skiing when her kids started ski school at Massanutten (ages 4, 6). She was not a natural skier but loved being on the slopes, especially during a snowstorm (has amazing weather luck). She skied for two long weekends for three winters before she took them for a spring break trip while I was at Alta Lodge with other friends and my ski buddy, Bill. (Husband/father is a non-skier, as is my husband.) She was able to ski the easiest blue off Sugarloaf on her third day at Alta at the end of a group lesson for intermediates. Being midweek during late season, she had a solo lesson with a L3 instructor with 20+ years of experience teaching in Utah. She was lucky enough to get two more solo lessons with him the next two days. That meant she was able to enjoy the blues off Supreme both with her kids and friends, and skiing solo.
     
  45. DPS Driver

    DPS Driver One of Us

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    Here's a technique you could try.

    When skiing down stay behind her and yell avalanche then fly past her yelling go, go, go. When you get to the bottom and she has out done her usual speed, say "there you go honey I knew you could do it".

    I don't think you'll need to worry about her slowing you down ever again.
     
    fenrir likes this.
  46. Snow Blowey

    Snow Blowey Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    IME women just don't crave that "on the edge" feeling that men and kids do. Hard to understand if you crave it. I've always wanted to go faster or scare myself on something steeper, or try the bumpy slope etc.. But my mrs is happy being a blue skier. Shes got herself a basic turn that can get her down anything but sees her most happy doing medium speed runs on greens and blues. Can't carve and not interested in trying.

    My solution is to ski something harder parrallel to an easier run. Get to the bottom at the same time. Exchange pleasantries on the lift and repeat. Even better she can tell you to go off and ski the fun stuff as she is happy lapping groomers on her own.
     
  47. currawong

    currawong Old but not so Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    MarzNC and nezumi like this.
  48. currawong

    currawong Old but not so Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    speed has never been the main thing for me. feeling smooth and graceful has always been the most important. challenge of maintaining it off the groomers is probably next
     
  49. ralf_plough

    ralf_plough One of Us

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    Cut her loose, she’s a handbrake.

    It’s a modern world, find a man that can keep up.
     
  50. chicski

    chicski A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    That’s because we know someone still has to drive home and look after the family. We can’t afford to get injured.