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Can you/should you teach yourself to ski?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:


The 10,000 hours thing was debunked by actual research some time ago


Always nice to have your prejudices confirmed! In fairness to Syed I think he skewed his arguments a bit with good intent - he is keen children don't turn away from sports etc because they don't think they are talented enough, that they realise even normally talented people can achieve very high standards if they work at it. I just find the idea that if you just worked hard enough you could be Roger Federer a bit annoying!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

Then again, the vast majority of the skiing public don't ski well.


That's true. I mean when you are on the slopes for the day how many people do you see skiing well? Very few. Even places like the Gd Montets. Obviously there are plenty of good skiers around but as a share of the skiing population its not very big and most of them are probably working most of the time I'm out.

I skied the last couple of days of the season in Les Contamines last year and although it was very quiet the proportion of good skiers was much higher than usual - many more locals seeing out the end of the season as businesses gradually closed.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Quote:

@monkey, argument doesn't stand up.

@under a new name, yes it does. The origins of skiing and snowboarding are obvious evidence that it people CAN teach themselves to ski/snowboard, which was the first part of the original question posted by the OP. Your comments are directed towards the second part of the OPs question, about whether you SHOULD do it, and how well you will ski as a result. That's ultimately a matter of opinion, and I've given my view above.
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Yes you can

The should part infers some sort of moral ethical issue to not teaching oneself. Ie if not having formal paid lessons are you endangering yourself and or others? There is no one answer, we are all different. (if I've misinterpreted the loading of the 'should' question unfairly then apologies up front)

To add context for my defence of not needing lessons I must add I have never had paid lessons but was shown basics by a friend and then self taught. Had I taken lessons would I be a better skier? Of course but I'm happy at my level and still progressing each holiday, I can't afford lessons (can barely afford the ski holiday in the first place!)and frankly I'm on holiday not ski boot camp.

That said, this Christmas I may treat myself to a private lesson as my xmas present (if there's snow)
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@monkey, ok, so, by ski you mean shuffle around on wooden planks loosely attached to your feet with leather?
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You'll need to Register first of course.
Everybody in my and my brother families learned to ski ourselves so there are 8 of us in total never having anything to do with the ski instructors.

I think people need lessons because they haven't got time to practise. I always do two weeks in skiing so have plenty of time to progress at my own pace. If one has enough time to practise, read books, discuss with friends, watch video and observe others then lesson may not be all that essential unless one wants to compete and go fast. We only do skiing as a recreation although my brother's kid did competitions in Norway when they were younger.

Think I fell once when learning to ski as I took up skiing after turning 50. Done over 140 resorts covering 14 countries. Would go through any colour of piste if it cross my path and seldom ski the same run twice. I consider myself a cautious slow skier who likes to travel around to sample as much resorts as I could.

I should say I am in a lucky situation as I have been travelling to ski in a 4x4 so able to stay away from the crowd, avoid peak seasons and select the quiet places (or quiet parts of a popular resort) to ski. It is a lot easier to ski when there is only a small number of piste users to compete space with me.

Skiing is not open heart surgery. My late Norwegian colleague told me he took out the skis to play with friends every day after finishing school. Don't think young kids open each other's' heart when playing outside after school.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@saikee, so you didn't teach yourselves to ski, in isolation of books, video, etc...

(Welcome back, haven't seen you around for a while)
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
No and No UNLESS I get to watch and video it. The funniest thing ive ever seen skiing was at Stoke dry slope some 15 years ago during race training. A lovely gentleman of ethnic origin dressed in full robes decided he had skied before (clearly hadn't) and could ski from the top of the main slope (clearly couldn't). Cue straight line from top to bottom! Now they say God loves a trier, well clearly Allah does not!! Now the gent had impeccable balance, unfortunately though, for those that know stoke it has a lovely ramp at the bottom of the main slope, leading to some hard black stuff called tarmac - its great for tyres, not so good for skin! Sadly the impeccable balance that the gentleman had caused said gentleman to hit the ramp, and fly through the air robes flapping in the wind, arms waving (poles still in hands) and legs trying to run (why do we all do that), over a line of cars and landing in a heap in the middle of the car park, 1 ski still attached. Luckily for the gentleman his 18+ stone of body mass aka padding saved him from any injury. With the moon in the back ground it almost looked like a spoof version of the ET film (minus the bike and alien of course). I have never laughed so much in all my life, im sure I even let out a little wee!

So in answer to your original question Yes and Yes, but pplleeeaassseeee let me film it Toofy Grin
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Yes of course you can if you are a natural athlete.
Don't take any notice of this lot on here they have a vested interest as they all aspire to be instructors. wink
They always over analyse things. How hard can it be to strap on some planks and point them downhill. Turns are overrated and slow you down. Stopping and some steering however need to be learnt fairly quickly.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@Lechbob, Have you not read my post above Happy

I have no interest in being an instructor, at the point in life where I sell the business I have all intention of being a ski bum, not an instructor Happy
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
PaulC1984 wrote:
@Lechbob, Have you not read my post above Happy

I have no interest in being an instructor, at the point in life where I sell the business I have all intention of being a ski bum, not an instructor Happy
.no I just read the title. Can't be bothered with other people's opinions.
Ski bum sounds good. What's stopping you, abondon the job and family...Do it.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Lechbob, haha nothing like being on a forum and completely disregarding other peoples opinions - god you sound like my wife. Abandoning the job would sound nice sometimes - especially when im up at 2am working Toofy Grin
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Maybe you would have finished a while ago if you did not mess around on here. Toofy Grin
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Lechbob, This is indeed true, and looking at web cams!! Its really not very healthy Happy
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Can you teach yourself to ski? Yes. Can you teach yourself to ski well and efficiently? Possibly not.

I learnt to drive just with my dad teaching me, and after the first 5 or 6 lessons he didn't really do much more than sit in the passenger seat looking out the window. I remember a lot of people telling me that I wouldn't pass and that I shouldn't be on the road, my mum even got some considerable static from the 'proper' instructors when she took me to the test. I passed with only 5 minors, of which at least 2 were simple things that I knew were wrong as soon as I did them (just the pressure of being in a test).

SO I think that you can teach yourself to drive, after all it wasn't much more than the basics of clutch bite that I was 'taught'. The thing is that I did spend a lot of time driving, even though I never got any real instruction, and probably had 5 or 6 time more seat time than many other people do. And that's where the difference is, if you're teaching yourself then it's going to take that much longer to get the hang of it. Of course there are also some people that struggle to learn, no matter how much decent instruction they get.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@SnoodyMcFlude, driving is significantly easier than skiing.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Ayrton Senna - yes the racing driver, belived very much in the self taught method of learning new sports - his friend insisted he take skiing lessons on his first trip to Cortina - on meeting his his instructor (that his friend had booked for him) he told the instructor - "teach me to stop then Be Nice please! off!" - after 5 min he was able to stop well enough to satisfy himself and spent the rest of the week straight lining most of the longer runs around Cortina!
This story was told to me an others by the instructor involved while riding the Aiguille Du Midi one quiet morning - the instructor pointed out that he thoght this method was foolhardy and had hired a guide to ski the VB dispite having done it with friends in the past!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Just like @pam w says :No and yes or was it yes and no.

Humans are different from each other. Puzzled
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under a new name wrote:
@SnoodyMcFlude, driving is significantly easier than skiing.


That's a whole other debate, I would certainly say that it's not 'significantly easier'. I could stand up, turn and stop after an hour of skiing, and I'd say that I was similar level of driving after an hour.

Anyway, my point was in relation to an earlier post that was discussing driving, I wasn't making the comparison out of nowhere. What I was trying to get at was that it's perfectly possible to learn how to do something in a basic form on your own, learning to do it well is less simple.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@SnoodyMcFlude, ok, try neurosurgery. Anyhoo, not arguing with you, you agree with me snowHead
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You'll need to Register first of course.
musher wrote:
Before my family arrived I used to ski with a large group of friends. By far the best of them was a self taught skier. He had done a season in the 3Vs with no formal instruction at all, but was more than competent. He did have the advantage of being a very talented athlete (same rugby club as me, but one of the girls wink ). In no way was he a danger to anybody else on the slopes, in fact he was not only a better skier but more considerate than most in the group who had had several weeks professional instruction.




I'm largely self-taught, with about 10 hours of private tuition behind me over my entire skiing career (probably just over 1000 hours on a rough and conservative calculation). All of those were taken to get me over some sort of plateau. I was a late starter, starting 12 years ago (I'm now 37).

I spent the whole season skiing 2013-14. I did not take a single lesson over that season. My skiing improved significantly over that season, but was already pretty OK.

I don't profess to be an expert. Neither could I give you a detailed treatise on the biomechanics of every movement. And I definitely have more to learn. But I am an advanced skier (I have skiied extensively with 2 other SHers, who will doubtless come along to take the p155 at some point and tell you all I snowplough everywhere). I have been heli and cat skiing, love steeps, moguls and freestyle - the latter to a very early level - can now just, on a very good day, about land a 360 (after lots of practice recently in a fridge). Happy with 180s.

Yet I have no idea how to race slalom or GS, and would like to remedy this - and really feel that I need to be taught the technique.

Now, 1) I took to skiing very easily, was parallel turning within 2 days of getting on a pair of skis and carving (badly) after about 4 weeks. 2) I have little or no fear of the mountain. 3) for the past 5 years, I have been going out with an expert skier who started when she was 3 and has done about 30 days a year on average for, well, 30 years. She's not a good teacher, but following her around taught me a lot. Not everyone is lucky enough to have had this combination of things to help them.

I am interested in technique, and frankly since leaving the intermediate range for the advanced and early expert areas, I have read books and learned to understand the biomechanics better. I will probably get myself onto a Warren Smith Academy at some point.

But to this date, I am largely self taught. With a hell of a lot of time on snow - and it's worked fine.

Regrets? Proper early tuition would have got me here a lot faster with less time wasted. And I would have been a lot safet than I was in the early days, bombing around a bit out of control at high speeds. The latter is probably why I'd recommend some basic lessons in sped control to folks who have got themselvesto intermediate.

But yes, you can teach yourself to a decent level, if you are lucky.


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Wed 10-12-14 13:38; edited 1 time in total
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
First things first: Let me admit the fact that I don't know how to ski myself (though my son is a pro at skiing and hence I'm here Very Happy ). When I was new to all this, the word 'skiing' brought to mind powdery snow, gorgeous vistas and beautiful snow-covered hill slopes. It was when my son started learning how to ski that i realized skiing is not something you can learn in a single day; it's a pretty tough task. First and foremost, you need to know the rules of the slope and distinguish between the different types of trail difficulties - green circle, blue circle, black diamond, double black diamond - these indicate the different types. Then you need to know who has the right of way on the slope, as people ahead of you have the right of way. Right from putting your ski boots on to learning how to first walk in skis and keeping yourself from sliding in any direction, the whole learning process is a long drawn out one (and if I may add, not a very simple one. Perhaps all this is why I am hesitant to begin... One day, yes!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Amanda_Davis, It's just like learning how to bike a bicycle! So, whatever age you may have - just go for it - the earlier the better. snowHead

And back to the roots - may be the ¨question should be put to children living in the Alps? Madeye-Smiley
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
under a new name wrote:
@SnoodyMcFlude, driving is significantly easier than skiing.


Driving a car from A-B on the road maybe. Thats about the same level as getting down a blue run while wearing skis.
The one thing I've found common with both is, the more I do them and the better I get, the more I realise the gulf between my ability and those at the pinacle of either.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
adithorp wrote:

The one thing I've found common with both is, the more I do them and the better I get, the more I realise the gulf between my ability and those at the pinacle of either.


I also spend wuite a lot of time on track behind the wheel of a track car. And could not agree with you more.

Top-end drivers, like top-end skiers, have a level of ability that is simply incomparable to us recreationeers.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Harry Flashman wrote:
adithorp wrote:

The one thing I've found common with both is, the more I do them and the better I get, the more I realise the gulf between my ability and those at the pinacle of either.


I also spend wuite a lot of time on track behind the wheel of a track car. And could not agree with you more.

Top-end drivers, like top-end skiers, have a level of ability that is simply incomparable to us recreationeers.


There's a similar parallel in other areas too. In both driving and skiing you have those that are naturally good, those that are precise and put a lot of thought into it, those that simply can't do it and those that are downright reckless but seem to be pretty good....plus of course those that are downright reckless and seem intent on crashing into things.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
So my Story, 42 years of age, until 3 weeks ago my experience was 1 hour on an artificial slope aged 15. I left the Uk a long time ago and settled in Bulgaria,8 years living 3km from a ski school and never used it, recently i bought a farm above the snow cap and found a pair of old mladost sprint skis, some boots and Marker bindings, in a basement, the house has been empty for 10+yrs i'm reasonably mechanically minded so i knew the bindings needed first a 24hr degrease, then a 24hr penetrating oil treatment, in parallel learning the theory and mechanics of din settings etc, setting testing, having a knowledgeable friend check and approve before progressing to boots on feet.

1st morning i started in an easy field with a slight slope, barely enough to keep momentum without pushing, found my balance, simple intuitive logic of push and lean to turn, i found in a space with no obstacles, closing your eyes and trying to turn is much much easier than doing it while looking! use the feedback from your muscles to integrate the tool attached to your body, you dont need eyes for that... after lunch i was bored of the shallow slope and headed for a more challenging field still with no obstacles, like bikes and vehicles of most kinds stability come with speed, after overcoming the fear of crashing at speed i found balance and turning is much easier but you need to look and think further ahead, by the end of that week i was doing the 2.5km downhill to the village via a small forest some 30degree slopes with rocks and stumps to watch out for. I learnt for necessity not fun, this is my environment for 3-4 months of the year, i am a competent mountain biker and own armour and full face helmets which i use while skiing. So far only 2 falls on the first day no bumps bruises or sprains just a wet ass.

Ski's were invented a long time before people commercialized on ski schools! All the above is done by a person who is not only a late adopter but also a suffer of Multiple Sclerosis and as a result has had most of the disks in my spine removed and replaced with ceramic cages limiting my movement. Dear Millenials.. get off yer proverbial smatphones(asses) and execute program human.. u were born with the cpu power, ram, mechanical functionality and software to figure it out for yourself without a teacher or a %$&^ing app! but remember the homebrew approach leaves all warranties void and nobody to sue if u break ur ass trying to be smart and advance too fast beyond where you feel comfortable just to look flash....
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
My experience is that once you have the basics it is possible to progress but at some stage you will reach a plateau that you will need a good instructor to progress past.

Back in the 80s the Sunday Times published a book We Learnt To Ski and that got me from a basic stem turn to a good parallel turn on old school straight skis. Fantastic on piste but needed instruction to cope with the deep stuff.

Then carving skis came along and had to have some instruction otherwise I'd still be trying to ski old school.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
raidfire wrote:
Dear Millenials.. get off yer proverbial smatphones(asses) and execute program human.. u were born with the cpu power, ram, mechanical functionality and software to figure it out for yourself without a teacher or a %$&^ing app! but remember the homebrew approach leaves all warranties void and nobody to sue if u break ur ass trying to be smart and advance too fast beyond where you feel comfortable just to look flash....


Great, re-open a 3 year old thread to have a crack at the younger generation on the assumption that we're all sat around playing with smart phones rather than doing actual work.

Jog along you absolute dinosaur.

For more inspiration, see the Tea House theatre in London who's similarly misinformed Dear Millennials rant has alienated them within the very arts scene that they thought their employment of said millennials was threatening their survival in. Turns out they needn't have worried, they were able to c0ck that up all by themselves.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
After a couple of unfortunate experiences in ski school when they were very young, my 2 kids have "learnt" by basically following me round the mountain for a number of years, with just the odd tip along the way (pole planting, being a common one)

It's been cheaper, too, plus I have enjoyed their company along the way. They are now teens and both have a reasonable grasp in most conditions (tho one doesn't much like powder and the other slush) and a nice style.

Having said that, kids seem to learn most things more easily / naturally than adults, so not sure that method would necessarily work with older folk...
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
if you just want to get down the mountain & dont care about technique.
Then Sure. Just make sure you know the mountain rules & your responsibility to fellow mountain users.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
When I first learnt I had a morning in a fridge in a group lesson. Mind numbing to say the least. When we got on holiday it was french half term and all instructors were booked up. The red let me have 1 hour private lesson. After that I just took what I had been told and watched the good skiers. By the end of the week I was doing black runs. 10 years later I have never had another lesson. I can get down any slope. Have a play in the powder can get through moguls etc. I will say though I know my technique is pretty poor but I enjoy myself and I know I am safe on the mountain. I think it all depends on what you want from your skiing
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Mr.Egg wrote:
if you just want to get down the mountain & dont care about technique.
Then Sure. Just make sure you know the mountain rules & your responsibility to fellow mountain users.


I think that's really valid. I had lessons for beginning but then once I was doing blues happily with an instructor I stopped taking lessons and did self-improvement

However even after 60+ days I still found some pistes hard and also less enjoyment of pistes, so I began to explore off-piste more because it brought more enjoyment

Having some lessons not only made me more able to tackle the hard pistes; it also taught me how to enjoy piste skiing more which has been really valuable especially when skiing in conditions that don't permit off-piste.

So I agree. If you find enjoyment in going from top to bottom with your mates I think self-tuition will do but if you want to find true satisfaction in the actual skiing itself I think you can benefit a lot from having a good technique which in turn breeds confidence which in turn breeds better skiing which in turn breeds enjoyment. And good technique can only really come from instruction IMO. You cannot expect to do something for 2/3/4 weeks a year and maintain the skills that an instructor will be rehearsing day in day out.
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I am the best skier on the mountain. I'd take lessons, but who is going to be able to teach me anything Puzzled
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Steilhang wrote:
I am the best skier on the mountain. I'd take lessons, but who is going to be able to teach me anything Puzzled


That deserves 1000 points, minimum snowHead
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Two of us learned from The Sunday Times We learned to Ski book. After 4 sessions on a drk ski slope we were making linked plough turns with confidence and managing the odd stem turn.

When we arrived on the snow and went to ski school we were asked to do a short trial ski and both of us made it to the bottom which meant we were in class 3.

Looking back on this I think that most people could get to stem turns following the book. After that it gets more complicated. Sure you can learn to muscle skis around but the mechanism for a minimum energy input carved turn takes a fair bit of learning and is not intuitive IMHO.

For this I thank Guido the Italian law student who was an instructor in Livigno and taught us how to make carved parallel turns. Part of this was learning several actions each to be accomplished while shouting out part of the magic word. Soon we were putting it all together. I can still remember that run when it all came together and I got the angulation, the unweighting and the edge control, suddenly I was skiing on my edges and in control, I felt like I could never fall.

To this day if I am not skiing well or frightened by some steep stuff I will be shouting " HOOPLA' and the magic still works 40 years later. Very Happy
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I was self taught, but came from a background of Skateboarding and Skating so found the transition fairly quick, one of my friends had lessons at the local artificial ski slope so he got me snow ploughing in one go. It was love and first try and I saved up and bought my first season ticket for Hillend in Edinburgh that started a lifelong obsession with skiing.

Have skied with some top freeride skiers in my time and learnt a lot, but mostly its instinctive and self taught from watching others.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
blimey. I missed 3 whole years.
of thread, not skiing.

what an odd threadbump.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Wasn't there a song by the New Seekers:

I'd like to teach myself to ski
In perfect harmony
I'd like to glide down bumpy runs
Without a loss of speed.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Course you can, Haynes do a manual for it with pictures.
But I'd get a set of cassettes, its much easier to follow.

Its also a good idea to practice a bit on the living room carpet before moving onto the stairs.
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