Skiing with a partner that is at a different level to you

MarzNC

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Well it just so happens that we are working on an offering that is perfect for this situation because we see it often.

Originally we were going to offer packages that had lessons for the beginner in the morning. But now, prompted by comments in another thread, we are looking at adding guided afternoons that include the better skier so they know where the beginner is comfortable.

Happy to have thoughts from others about what we should include in the offering.
In recent years, I've done some semi-private lessons that were mixed ability. Meaning a range from intermediate to advanced where the advanced skier(s) appreciates working on drills and learning more about the reasons behind improving a skill. Has been very helpful to see first-hand what a friend or a friend's kid is capable of doing. Or advanced skiers where 1-2 are less experienced and/or have more fear issues. Since I pick very experienced instructors (PSIA Level 3, 20+ years experience), they are able to make everyone feel like they are having a private lesson.

Once a beginner/intermediate has a chance to enjoy a trail with an instructor or a better skier (instructor or friend) who they know is patient, they are much more likely to be willing to go with friends or family. Or even solo. I learned to check out snow conditions earlier in the day for any trail that wasn't the easiest beforehand. Especially if the friend was a cautious intermediate who learned to ski as an adult. Not so important for kids who learned at a young age at ski school.

The big advantage of a Taos Ski Week is that the 6 consecutive lessons are in the mornings. Same instructor, same group based on ability level and personal chemistry. For regular Ski Weeks, sometimes people shift groups on Day 2 for chemistry reasons as opposed to ability. In the afternoons, people can ski with their friends and family, or even with a classmate they just met that week. I make time to ski a few runs with friends who are intermediates, especially if it's the first time they have done a Ski Week. It's very helpful to know where their instructor has taken them so far.

Having written all that down . . . perhaps the guiding in the afternoon could be for just an hour. Or whatever time it takes to do a few runs. The idea is to leave time for the beginner and their travel/ski companion to ski at least a run or two by themselves.
 
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skichanger

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In recent years, I've done some semi-private lessons that were mixed ability. Meaning a range from intermediate to advanced where the advanced skier(s) appreciates working on drills and learning more about the reasons behind improving a skill. Has been very helpful to see first-hand what a friend or a friend's kid is capable of doing. Or advanced skiers where 1-2 are less experienced and/or have more fear issues. Since I pick very experienced instructors (PSIA Level 3, 20+ years experience), they are able to make everyone feel like they are having a private lesson.

Once a beginner/intermediate has a chance to enjoy a trail with an instructor or a better skier (instructor or friend) who they know is patient, they are much more likely to be willing to go with friends or family. Or even solo. I learned to check out snow conditions earlier in the day for any trail that wasn't the easiest beforehand. Especially if the friend was a cautious intermediate who learned to ski as an adult. Not so important for kids who learned at a young age at ski school.

The big advantage of a Taos Ski Week is that the 6 consecutive lessons are in the mornings. Same instructor, same group based on ability level and personal chemistry. For regular Ski Weeks, sometimes people shift groups on Day 2 for chemistry reasons as opposed to ability. In the afternoons, people can ski with their friends and family, or even with a classmate they just met that week. I make time to ski a few runs with friends who are intermediates, especially if it's the first time they have done a Ski Week. It's very helpful to know where their instructor has taken them so far.

Having written all that down . . . perhaps the guiding in the afternoon could be for just an hour. Or whatever time it takes to do a few runs. The idea is to leave time for the beginner and their travel/ski companion to ski at least a run or two by themselves.
My tame instructor would like just an hour rather than the full arvo much better.
 
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Bindo

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IMHO doing a snowplough everywhere is not conducive to enjoying skiing nor does it build confidence to enjoy more of the hill.

I spend the majority of my teaching time on building confidence by turn shape and gliding. I.e. undoing the reliance on the snow plough.

I never teach snowplough for speed control or "security".
This in spades. If she's genuinely keen on skiing, lessons (either group or private) are the way to go. Don't try to teach her yourself, recipe for disaster! Morning lesson for her, you do your thing, meet up for lunch and plan some afternoon runs where you can do a more challenging slope, and there's an easier way down for her. Good luck!

Luckily hubby and I are about the same (advanced int), although the first day or so I like to get my ski legs back at my own pace. However I've always continued to have lessons and do masters weeks when overseas, and this has improved my technique in leaps and bounds. He hasn't and can be a sooky la la, if the conditions are not great, whereas I will still go out. One of the best afternoons skiing was when he had a tanty at lunch and gave up, so I continued and chatted to an older Texan gentleman on a lift and we skied together the rest of the day. A hoot! :)
 

MarzNC

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My tame instructor would like just an hour rather than the full arvo much better.
A short tour that shows the beginner and their ski buddy 2-3 ways down would be enough. Plus making the point to the ski buddy that beginners do better on comfortable terrain so there are fewer surprises or things to worry about. Could be that the beginner may want to do just one more run with just their ski buddy afterwards, but that's a start.

When I started skiing more with my primary ski buddy, he was a long time advanced skier and I was an adventurous intermediate over 50. He wanted to ski a different trail every time. I would insist on skiing at least a few trails twice. Once I got him to start taking lessons (after age 60, long story), he started understanding why repeating a run at least twice was helpful. Can be hard for someone who's been skiing for decades to understand why an adult beginner/intermediate can possibility enjoy skiing the same few trails over and over again.
 
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MarzNC

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My tame instructor would like just an hour rather than the full arvo much better.
How about a package that is a beginner lesson in the morning, a lunch break, then an hour right after lunch for the beginner and a ski buddy who is a better skier? With the option to have more time in the afternoon for an extra charge.

I usually book 2-hour lessons at Alta with my favorite instructor when I'm there during late season. The option existed pre-pandemic to extend for another 30 or 60 minutes if he had time and I felt like having more time with him. We would make the decision after an hour or so.

One semi-private lesson with a couple guys who weren't as good as I was that ended up a 2-hour lesson (they needed some basics) and then 1-hour learning about short off-piste shots all over the place. They were steep enough to be a challenge but only 4-5 turns. Since the guys were with an instructor, they were willing to try. I still go looking for those spots a day or two after a powder storm. They wanted more time in the lesson but didn't have enough brain power to work on skills any more.
 

MarzNC

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@Medicine_Shoes : does your partner know any other beginners who learned as adults?

There are always a few women who join every year who are excited when they realize that there are supportive women on TheSkiDiva.com who learned as adults, but never really progressed past the cautious intermediate stage. The discussions there are pretty unique for an online ski forum.

The book often recommended is by Mermer Blakeslee, a highly respected American instructor.



I was never a cautious intermediate. Not my personality. But reading about the fears and considerations of women who are helped me understand how to ski with friends who are cautious intermediates or advanced beginners.
 
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LMB

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How about a package that is a beginner lesson in the morning, a lunch break, then an hour right after lunch for the beginner and a ski buddy who is a better skier? With the option to have more time in the afternoon for an extra charge.

I usually book 2-hour lessons at Alta with my favorite instructor when I'm there during late season. The option existed pre-pandemic to extend for another 30 or 60 minutes if he had time and I felt like having more time with him. We would make the decision after an hour or so.

One semi-private lesson with a couple guys who weren't as good as I was that ended up a 2-hour lesson (they needed some basics) and then 1-hour learning about short off-piste shots all over the place. They were steep enough to be a challenge but only 4-5 turns. Since the guys were with an instructor, they were willing to try. I still go looking for those spots a day or two after a powder storm. They wanted more time in the lesson but didn't have enough brain power to work on skills any more.
2hrs can be the limit sometimes. You can see the change when the brain and body get tired.
 

Crystal

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When OS you could pick resorts where from the same chair lift you can ski a variety of terrain. The places we head to the whole family can take a different route down from double black, intermediate to cruise and meet up. Our family has the boys...looking for anything scary, the most challenging or fast. The girls...we ski the doubles also but prefer the long sweeping carving blacks...we always find runs that suit us all.
 

Telemark Phat

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When OS you could pick resorts where from the same chair lift you can ski a variety of terrain. The places we head to the whole family can take a different route down from double black, intermediate to cruise and meet up. Our family has the boys...looking for anything scary, the most challenging or fast. The girls...we ski the doubles also but prefer the long sweeping carving blacks...we always find runs that suit us all.
Sounds boring and without drama.
 
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Born2ski

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I normally spend a few hours in the morning skiing alone and then get together with the family later in the morning or at lunch. This way I get my fix of going hard in the morning and then have a more relaxing afternoon focussing on technique.

When my kids were young and spent most of the time on green runs it was the perfect opportunity to teach myself to ski switch. Trying to ski backwards while they were skiing forwards brought me back to their level but still gave me a challenge.
 

skull

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I like skiing solo, it’s a fantastic way to zen your thoughts. Just like heading out for a day on the mountain bike. When the kids and wife were beginners I would just ski by myself all day. From first to last lifts. I would just meet the wife at set times for coffee and food and then part our ways again.

She has gotten better now so although I still need to wait it isn’t as long. She will only ski groomers though. The boy can now somewhat keep up with me an various terrains so now he is skiing with me.

The last couple years I’ve been skiing with snow Blowy when he is here, which has pushed me onto terrain I wouldn’t normally attempt. So that’s been great too.
 

Kimski

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group ski lessons?
These can be great but not all group lessons are equal. I was in NZ last week and group lessons at Cardrona jumped from intermediate which was a bit basic for me to advanced (black runs, all mountain). After 2.5 years off this was a bit too daunting so I joined the intermediate lesson and had fun and brushed up my basics but would have liked more challenges.

Then I did a lesson at Coronet Peak where they had a ‘adventurous intermediate‘ level (same lessons also offered at the Remarkables). This was perfect for me. We did mostly red runs and would have done a black or two but they were too icy that day. We also worked on skiing bumpy snow better and did some just off piste skiing. Only negative was one woman took an instant dislike to me for no obvious reason and made some bitchy comments but I ignored the urge to bite back and still enjoyed the lesson.
 
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