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To lesson, or not to lesson.

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Morning all,

So, let's jump straight in, prior to January this year I had never, ever skied before.

In January I went to Levi in Lapland (for my sisters wedding) we were out there for 7 nights, once the wedding was over mid-week we were allowed to do whatever we damn well pleased (no broken bones allowed before the wedding) on sisters orders.

This gave us 4 full days of doing whatever we fancied, so 4 of us went and rented all the skiing gear we needed.

Headed over to the bunny / training slope.
First time down - giving the snow plough a go - easy enough.
Came down again parallel turning and stopping - felt totally comfortable.

Enough of this I thought, lets get a lift pass!.

Had one tumble at the beginning of a blue run (steep icy start as soon as you set off then it levels and widens out) but after that I didn't fall once for the following 4 days, by the end of my first day I was happily going down the red runs in Levi town centre leading down to zero point.

I put this down to my skating background (roller blading / street skating / skate parks) I used to be obsessed!, for around 7 years, at least every other day and weekends I would be out skating after school / college and hit the skate parks on the weekends, I think this has something to do with me taking relatively kindly to skiing.

Although my sister and other skiers weirdly doubt this has anything to do with it!.

Anyway, I guess what my question is - should I get some lessons?. I'm serious about becoming a competent skier, I've booked a week in Austria for January 2018 (going solo) and I'm heading to the SnowDome at Tamworth after work today to test out my new boots.

I've completely fallen for skiing, I loved coming down the slope and only realising at the bottom your mind has been completely clear for the last however many minutes - and all you have in your mind whilst skiing is what you're doing at that exact moment. Not work, family or bills, it clears the mind!.
I found it similar to running or swimming - repetitive motions, it clears the mind and can be very therapeutic.

But I couldn't help but think as I was coming down the slopes - am I TOTALLY in control?, I didn't fall - and I was coming down red runs - but I'm not the most confident person in general, and although I didn't fall I felt sure I was doing something wrong, maybe just because I thought, surely not. It cannot be this easy.

Would I benefit from lessons?, especially going away on my own next year I really want to have it down tight.

Would I benefit from lessons here in the UK at a ski centre? (I'm East Midlands based) - or would I be better off with lessons whilst away wherever I'm skiing so an instructor can see me on more difficult slopes?.

Anyway, apologies for the essay!, any thoughts would honestly be greatly appreciated.

Regards,

Dan.

P.S I do apologise if there's lots of rolling eyes going on right now, I hope I'm not every skiers worst nightmare whilst out on the slopes - I like to think I'm very aware and thoughtful (on and off the snow).
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
The first skiers didn't have lessons, so it must be possible to learn by observation and trial and error. Your general fitness, aptitude, other sports and age probably aso have a major bearing. But it's generally much safer and quicker to have lessons (though there obviously a lot depends on the lessons and the instructor). If it's a financial issue (lessons aren't that cheap) you could have a few on dry at Swadlincote, which is East Mids-ish, and would reduce the cost in-resort.
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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?
If you are "serious about becoming a competent skier" then yes, get some lessons. However you seem like a quick learner so large group lessons might be a poor fit for you, and private lessons are pricey.
Snowdomes get much quieter over the summer and they have lots of special offers on. Also you'll most likely have fewer people in a group lesson. So give that a go, maybe. May onwards is much quieter.
Start a savings account for you to get tuition in the mountains on your trip next year. Get some personal recommendations for a good instructor; this forum's great for that. Where are you going?
Welcome to the start of an expensive obsession, @SnowBeau! And welcome to Snowheads.
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@Maireadoconnor, Hi Mairead,

Thanks for the info - I'll definitely be having a more in depth dig around on here over the weekend!.

I've booked a week in Ischgl - 6th January for 7 nights.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Take Lessons , you will learn quicker, and hence you will see more of Ischgl . Without lessons you will end up experiencing a small section of Ischgl
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You'll need to Register first of course.
@SnowBeau,

1. you will learn properly with some form of teaching.

2. you will unlearn your bad skating habits. While skating is very effective at enhancing dynamic balance, a lot of the movements e.g. turning are done in the opposite fashion to the moves on skis.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Would I be better of doing lessons somewhere here or in Ischgl do you think?.
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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!
Agree with all the above. You may be fine getting down easy runs but the DIY approach may bite you as you try to progress or break through the dreaded intermediate plateau.

We were out skiing last week and one of the ladies in our group had learned to ski DIY over the years and managed to get down most reds but using unauthox technique and fitness that worked for her (using legs to turn and not the ski edges). She did however fall whenever the runs got tricky and had a meltdown by the end when she lost her confidence. She now agrees that lessons are required to unpick her bad technique and start again.
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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.
@SnowBeau, Lessons are vital, even the best skiers have the odd refresher lesson.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
SnowBeau wrote:
Would I be better of doing lessons somewhere here or in Ischgl do you think?.


Have a lesson or two here and definitely have as many as you can afford in Austria. It will be money well spent in the long term. As Swissie says you will continue to benefit from lessons throughout your skiing life. (I have a refresher or two after 45 years of skiing!)
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
SnowBeau wrote:
Would I be better of doing lessons somewhere here or in Ischgl do you think?.


Sadly the answer is an expensive one - both! And if you can only afford one; Ischgl. But as I say, keep an eye out for special offers on lessons at the dome over the summer.
snow conditions     
 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.
SnowBeau wrote:
Would I be better of doing lessons somewhere here or in Ischgl do you think?.
There are pros and cons to both options. To make the quickest progress possible the answer is probably lessons in the UK and the Alps, but obviously that has a financial and time implication. Equally as important as where, perhaps moreso, is the quality of the instructor. Pointless having lessons with a hopeless instructor, so when you have decided what's the best option for you maybe using this forum to ask for recommendations.
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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
@SnowBeau, welcome to snowHeads! Very Happy
About eight years ago, I was the sort of skier who could 'get down' any piste. I then started taking some lessons, both in a snowdome and in the Alps. Those lessons have increased my enjoyment of the sport a hundredfold. Even though you already have more advantages on your side than I did, especially in terms of age and general sportiness, I suspect you will find the same. The only problem is that the better you get, the more you want to do and the more expensive it gets!


Last edited by 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 on Tue 21-02-17 10:02; edited 1 time in total
snow conditions     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Definitely take some lessons. Yes you can learn to ski without them and you can become good. However, you will never develop a great technique without the help of a professional.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
And during your lesson ask for some specific drills that you can then practice on your own. Then go and do a couple of seasons wink Toofy Grin
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
+1 @Hurtle, very similar to me. Apart from some dry slope lessons 30+ years ago I didn't have any lessons tell 6 years ago. I could get down anything, but get down was all it was. Now I have a few lessons every trip and my skiing is a lot better. I wish I had got lessons earlier as trying to undo my ingrained habits is very difficult, but it is working and I ski much better in poor conditions than I ever have.

So get as many lessons as you can with a good quality instructor that you get on with, and importantly put into practice what you are taught.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Thanks all!, couldn't ask for better information!, I don't think the jury will be out long for this verdict, I can ask at the snow dome today about lessons and explain what I have done etc.

When I have lessons on my trip do they take you on different runs?, I always pictured lessons as always being on a small training slope!.
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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?
@SnowBeau, once you've got the skills to safely control your speed by turning, you'll be off out into the rest of the mountain for your lessons.
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You need to Login to know who's really who.
@SnowBeau, one other thing that can be free is to ensure your fitness is good. There are plenty of ski fitness youtube videos for specific training along with a good level of cardio fitness will help your learning and skiing no end.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
If in doubt....Take lessons.
If not in doubt.....Take lessons.
If your not sure whether you are in doubt, or not.......Take lessons

Oh, did I mention...you need to take lessons. wink snowHead
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
SnowBeau wrote:
When I have lessons on my trip do they take you on different runs?, I always pictured lessons as always being on a small training slope!.
Choice of terrain will depend on your ability level. No point in taking a client to a slope that he is going to ski in "survival mode", equally no point in sticking to the bunny slopes if the level of challenge or the speed you can reach isn't high enough for the work you want to do with the client. There's always a compromise between skiing lots of different runs (can waste a lot of "development time"), and staying on the same slope (can be boring, can limit teaching choices). In a week of lessons you have plenty of opportunity to mix up the terrain choices, minimising that compromise. However, in a private lesson I'd not want to do any travelling around the pistes other than finding the nearest suitable slope for what I want to work on.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
As @Maireadoconnor says you can get quite good deals on series of group lessons at UK indoor slopes and some even have regualr scheduled coaching sessions for free over the summer. If you have a street skating background I can believe you might make fast progress but best to have some pros get eyes on to eliminate any flaws early in your skiing life than try to rebuild later when you plateau.
snow conditions     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@SnowBeau, Groupon are doing deals for Summer lessons at Hemel - which while not quite East Midlands is not a million miles away:

https://www.groupon.co.uk/deals/hemel-snowcentre-ltd-t-a-the-snow-centre-2-24444521
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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.
Get some lessons, there are good teachers at Tamworth and some good deals are usually to be had once the ski season is over.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Quote:

I'm serious about becoming a competent skier


This is why you should take lessons.
I suspect you could be a safe holiday skier without given your description.
But you want more than that don't you?
So get the technical foundations right quickly then let your balance and fitness build on that to improve fast.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Get lessons! Given how fast you have progressed, even following an instructor with impeccable technique down the slopes will help no end, but you should have someone to stop you getting bad habits early on.

Personally I found trying to copy my instructor much more useful than drills for the first week of lessons or so (also for confidence to take the best line down), but once you start to do steeper stuff, and skiing faster in general, drills and exercises really come in to their own.
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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.
The better you get the more you realise how much there is to learn. I started with a few hours of lessons here and there the first few times skiing. While I learned something from each one, I now think a more intense and structured course e.g., Snoworks, UCPA etc is where you make step changes.
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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
@SnowBeau, welcome to Snowheads, as you can tell the advice on here is.......er........take lessons. even the best skiers take lessons and there's always something to learn or tweak. Ischgl is not the most beginner friendly resort, don't get me wrong for me it's about the best place in the Alps to ski, just not too many easy runs, so I'd definitely go for a private lesson or two.

have a great trip
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Well the World Cup racers spend hours per day training and taking intensive lessons and drills from their coaches.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Lessons are great! They're even better because the few drills you do in a 1-2 hour lesson you can carry on practising on your own, even if you're just skiing for fun. There'll be a little voice at the back of your head telling you to keep your upper body facing the slope, to do this or that, etc...

My boyfriend is an absolutely 'natural' skier- he was going down mogully blacks on his 5th day skiing. But he gets regular instruction and now takes pleasure in being able to do the same with absolute control, and venturing offpiste, which is completely different.

I've done very few private lessons but they were great. Just make sure you spend the first 2 minutes telling the instructor exactly what your background in skiing is and what you want- make sure you cram as much technique into the 1-2 hours as possible. Instructors are pretty used to seeing people who go every year, have a lot of money to burn, and just want a nice guide to show them the sunniest slopes at that time of day.

For me the main thing has always been confidence- in the few private lessons I've had, I've done a warmup run for the guy to judge my level and then asked them to push me beyond what I find comfortable. Knowing you have the right technique when it gets nasty makes sure you're having fun and staying safe.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
dublin2 wrote:
Take Lessons , you will learn quicker, and hence you will see more of Ischgl . Without lessons you will end up experiencing a small section of Ischgl


Not necessarily. My first trip was to La Plagne and without lessons we got around a lot of the resort (not down to Montalbert though). Arguably if I'd been restricted to being in the same spot every morning then I wouldn't have been able to get quite as far. I'd still advise lessons, but I don't think it's true to say that not having them will restrict the skiing you do.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
As you have loads of time before next January, why not try to learn more and build up your skills as much as possible before you come here to Ischgl. You will then get more from your holiday.

Once here take further training sessions. If you have private lessons as opposed to group lessons, everything will be personally tailored to you and you should improve more efficiently.

You can always drop me a PM re Ischgl if you wish.
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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:

best to have some pros get eyes on to eliminate any flaws early in your skiing life than try to rebuild later when you plateau.


I think the above puts it's best - although it has been mentioned a few times in different ways.

for example I have no idea what the below means!;
Quote:

There'll be a little voice at the back of your head telling you to keep your upper body facing the slope

I just.... GO!.
I'm aware Ischgl is more intermediate terrain, I will definitely go for some lessons here over summer and also when I get to Ischgl - Might look for recommended instructors nearer the time on here.
@mayr, Thank you for your very kind offer, I will more than likely drop you a message regarding Ischgl Smile

Thanks all!, honestly, I'm actually kind of overwhelmed by SnowHeads... Everyone is genuinely kind and willing to offer help or information!, it's great!.
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
As has been mentioned lessons and coaching in snowdomes can be quite economical if you know when and where to go. Milton Keynes do a 3 hours session with a coach for about 30 quid. In Manchester it's super cheap during the summer (as I suspect the other fridges are). Dig around and you'll be pleasantly surprised. Check out membership options in the fridges too, I have one for Manchester and it's paid for itself many times over.

Another option is finding a ski club. One I go to in Manchester that has two 3 hour coaching sessions a month and as a SCOM member you get a discount on the lift pass.

I like Tamworth, it has a vibe about it but I'm not sure it's as good a learning environment as the other fridges. Having said that I've never had lessons there and if it was your best option it would be better than nothing.

I had a break from any coaching for about 3 months, just did a session in MK and I felt my skiing improved noticeably.
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