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Pre-trip learning space/learning medium

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Afternoon SnowHeads!

I have a question regarding learning space/learning medium.

Background
- The OH has been skiing a total of two weeks (the last two years) and I wanted to sort some lessons out for her prior to this coming years trip (VT late Feb).
- Two years ago we went to Les Arcs and had taken her for 3x1h lessons (first time on skis) on a dendix slope before we went - she seemed to find the dendix quite receptive to her panicking plough and I could see from then that she actully had some natural ability/skill. However the trip to Les Arcs was mid Jan and turned out to be very low visibilty with hardly any snow (tarmac, rocks and trees poking through); coupled with some poorly fitting hire boots (short with very wide calves = suspended feet), I think this has dislodged her - normally - unshakeable stubborness and thirst for self improvement. What also didn't help was the lack of control she felt with the plough on narrow steeper pistes.
- Last year we went to Hafjell and in preperation I bought her some boots (fit perfectly although she generally has an issue with numb toes after half an hour in most 'hard' footwear) and got her a 3h group lesson at Tamworth where she started narrowing her plough and becoming quite cocky. But upon skiing in Hafjell she became a bit paranoid of getting in peoples way, not being able to slow sufficiently enough or stop quickly. This ended up turning into excessive coffee stops and increased fear whilst skiing (VERY cautious).
- I am pretty sure that she will come into her own once she gets her head around parallel skis (even if just a hockey stop), she has the ability but scared to take the leap.
- She has never fallen (properly).

Question
I want to get her some lessons for this years trip, but unsure as to which would be the most beneficial type for her current development situation, the options (work out to similar prices) that I can see are:
- a 2h 1-2-1 lesson on the Sunday in VT
- a 1-2-1 at Hemel
- three small-group sessions at Chelski

In resort lesson would be better (in my mind) for dispelling fears whilst practicing, plus it's on actual snow with the busyness and varying terrain that she'll carry on with all week. However, how much can you realisticaly develop in a two hour lesson with long lifts etc?
Does a static system (like Chelski) offer a more intensive learning experience? Does the presence of an instructor close by offer anything useful? Is it actually 'too safe' and predictable, i.e. likely to disconnect her new skills from useful context? They look quite intense in a bad way - I've never been on one though...
Hemel, well snow dome 'snow' is crap but a one-to-one would probably be beneficial regardless, possibility of choosing a recommended instructor?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts, I understand it's quite subjective but Having never had in-resort lessons - or experienced a Skiing machine thing - I'm a bit out of my depth with what will give good results for the money.

Thomas
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Just a thought - if your wife is worried about bumping into people, or others bumping into her (very valid fears, nothing daft about that) it might be best to choose another time - late February will be very busy French holiday time.
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@Thomasski, welcome to SnowHeads.
What does the OH think they want?

Based on your description, my initial thought is that several half day group lessons in VT might strike a balance between learning, enjoyment and cost.

It would also get through lift queues quicker during lessons, at a very busy time of the season (French school winter holidays).
snowHead
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@pam w, that was my thought, but I get the impression the trip is already booked.
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@Thomasski,
Not sure if I'm interpreting everything you say correctly but my reading of what you say is she has had all her lessons in the UK and then become nervous when skiing abroad, possibly mainly with you?

My guess is that she would benefit most from a few lessons in resort to ski with an instructor over a few half days to get to learn skiing real snow in real conditions whether this be in group or private lessons.
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Quote:

My guess is that she would benefit most from a few lessons in resort to ski with an instructor over a few half days to get to learn skiing real snow in real conditions whether this be in group or private lessons

I agree - but ski schools will already be booking up for the holidays - no time to lose if the trip is already booked up.
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@pam w, I hadn't spotted the timing or your seen your reply when I typed. I'm sure you're right though with some planning you can usually arrange something in the resort either group or private even at busy times though you may have to be a bit flexible and go for privates at slightly unpopular times if that is the option.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Yes - certainly need to be flexible. I was taken aback when I totally failed - months beforehand - to fix anything for two grandchildren at half term - I would have taken group or private and any time of day. Lessons in resort are essential, I think, for nervous beginners (and much more useful than dry slope lessons beforehand, if you have to choose one or the other).
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Thank you for the warm welcome and responses!
Yes the trip is already booked due to coordinating multiple peoples availability, we were supposed to go to Austria which would have been fine but I'm sure we can find a quiet spot somewhere in 3V!

To be honest, the two weeks she's skied have been 90% with me and I know she thinks she's holding me back from my skiing - she's not and I've told her so. The other 10% was in Les Arcs where she went off on a few blues with her friend (also a 1st timer), after which she has a massive smile on her face. So what you say about in-resort group lessons resonated with me a bit there; she would probably feel less pressured with people of similar ability (her friend can't make it this year).
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@Thomasski, That info makes me think even more some in resort group lessons. If she's been struggling a bit with confidence but has some natural ability she is likely to come on leaps and bounds with a decent instructor and enjoy far more the skiing time that she does with you as well as a result of getting confidence in the lessons.
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If the problem is transferring what she has learnt indoors / on plastic onto the mountain, and gaining confidence in that environment, then lessons in resort are surely the way to go. The instructor will also be able to suggest which runs she would be best equiped for.
If she is having a crisis of confidence before the trip a lesson at Hemel in addition might also be a good idea, maybe pick a quieter time like a weekday daytime.
I think rolling slopes have their place, but suspect this is not it.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Everyone's different, but I'd be inclined to look at group lessons in resort. She'll get more time around the instructor than just doing a private, but will still be able to pick up on the advice that they're giving the others in the group too. It should also help with some of the fears of being in resort, and she'll be skiing with people of a similar ability (hopefully) so should feel a bit more comfortable. Plus, as you say, she'll benefit from being on actual snow.

I'd save the private lessons for when she's looking to hone in on a particular skillset in the future.

nb. My experience of lessons is actually restricted to the few that I've done on snowheads bashes, which were usually in smallish groups of very keen skiers.
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And after your wife has had a lesson, if she would like to ski some more with you - only take her back to slopes she's done with the instructor
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Thanks guys this is really great! Thought I would receive a fair amount of varied responses but this seems pretty unanimous, which is very reassuring!
I will hunt down some group lessons for the Sunday and Monday, and make sure I get the ability right. I will make sure I do whatever I can to keep her confidence up!
Any particular school to strive for in VT for groups? I noticed there's a comparison website but it probably doesn't cover them all...
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That's good - but just to keep up the nagging - it will take more than two days. A couple of hours for 5 or 6 mornings is more like it. Group lessons are usually for the week.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Thomasski wrote:
I will hunt down some group lessons for the Sunday and Monday, and make sure I get the ability right. I will make sure I do whatever I can to keep her confidence up!
Typically, group lessons are for five or six days (Mon-Fri, or Sun-Fri) so you might find it tricky to find a suitable group lesson for two days. Obviously you could book a week of lessons and only use for the first couple of days, but you won't get a refund for any unused days.
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Ah I see, I didn't realise that was the case! My ignorance of ski schools is showing... Embarassed

OK well that can only be a good thing for her development, but will make sure she's up for it first. I don't want to appear like I'm packing her off for the week, even if it is only for a few hours each day!

That would mean that I can get over to courch and meribel for a few sorties in the mornings. wink
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Thomasski wrote:
Ah I see, I didn't realise that was the case! My ignorance of ski schools is showing... Embarassed

OK well that can only be a good thing for her development, but will make sure she's up for it first. I don't want to appear like I'm packing her off for the week, even if it is only for a few hours each day!

That would mean that I can get over to courch and meribel for a few sorties in the mornings. wink
If she enjoys her group lessons it can work out really well. You get to blast around at your own pace in the mornings, then meet for lunch and ski together in the afternoons. Probably a good idea, at least for the first few days, to stick to the pistes that she skied in her lessons as that will take the stress out of skiing unfamiliar terrain.
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If you've only ever been a skier, you could do a great deal for her confidence by signing yourself in to beginner snowboard lessons when she's having her ski lessons, then have fun on very easy slopes together in the afternoon. But I fear few men love their wives enough to do that. wink
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I had a brief go at Chelski and despite me thinking I could ski, it was a very different experience and it felt like I went back to 101 and felt like I hardly could ski. I imagine you could get over this relatively quickly if you were happy to persist. Also although I skied the mat on my own, if they put 2 others on there , it could feel quite crowded if you were not comfortable with your ability and the others on the mat. Whilst I was not there to receive instruction, just to try it, I wasn't overly impressed with the general knowledge shown by the particular instructor in attendance. Having said this both our kids have received lessons on it and seemed perfectly happy on it.

You could get lucky and get a 1-2-1 if your wife was the only one signed up for the session time, but not guaranteed. So a bit of a risk to be seen as a backward step due to its very different fell to snow and if you did end up with a full mat.

I was at Hemel last Saturday and it was busy and is a quite a short slope.

If I had to choose of the three options I would go with a 1-2-1 in VT, nothing like skiing on a real slope in a real environment, everything else is a poor substitute.
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pam w wrote:
If you've only ever been a skier, you could do a great deal for her confidence by signing yourself in to beginner snowboard lessons when she's having her ski lessons, then have fun on very easy slopes together in the afternoon. But I fear few men love their wives enough to do that. wink


That would be a nice idea, however I boarded for about 6 or 7 years until my mid 20s.
I'm quite happy cruising the blues and greens with her (I've spent days and days doing just that and I enjoyed every minute) but I must admit it's hard not to get carried away every now and again, and it shows!
Maybe a monoski might teach me a lesson! Laughing

I'll do some shopping around, there's a company called prosneige but they only have 5x two hour afternoons (£160) or 5x three hour mornings (£250!)...
Are they any good?
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@Thomasski, prosniege are good. 15 hours for £250 sounds pretty good to me. What do you think is reasonable?
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ster wrote:
I had a brief go at Chelski and despite me thinking I could ski, it was a very different experience and it felt like I went back to 101 and felt like I hardly could ski. I imagine you could get over this relatively quickly if you were happy to persist. Also although I skied the mat on my own, if they put 2 others on there , it could feel quite crowded if you were not comfortable with your ability and the others on the mat. Whilst I was not there to receive instruction, just to try it, I wasn't overly impressed with the general knowledge shown by the particular instructor in attendance. Having said this both our kids have received lessons on it and seemed perfectly happy on it.


Interesting, you confirmed my thoughts about this, I saw a video of one in operation and it looked like you needed to be quite confident to get anything out of it. Think this is definitely off the table. As are the snow domes, she had much more success on dendix!

I'm sold on in-resort, no brainer; it's just going to be a bit privet than anticipated!
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holidayloverxx wrote:
@Thomasski, prosniege are good. 15 hours for £250 sounds pretty good to me. What do you think is reasonable?


Don't get me wrong, 250 is very good for 15h, but it's a fair lump of cash to add on to the trip; I was originally looking at what around 120-130 would achieve, I need to re-adjust my sights!
I'll have to bite the bullet I think, before there are no bullets left!
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Thomasski wrote:
ster wrote:
I had a brief go at Chelski and despite me thinking I could ski, it was a very different experience and it felt like I went back to 101 and felt like I hardly could ski. I imagine you could get over this relatively quickly if you were happy to persist. Also although I skied the mat on my own, if they put 2 others on there , it could feel quite crowded if you were not comfortable with your ability and the others on the mat. Whilst I was not there to receive instruction, just to try it, I wasn't overly impressed with the general knowledge shown by the particular instructor in attendance. Having said this both our kids have received lessons on it and seemed perfectly happy on it.


Interesting, you confirmed my thoughts about this, I saw a video of one in operation and it looked like you needed to be quite confident to get anything out of it.


I initially learned on one (at one of the old Skiplex centres) and also spent quite a lot of time as an early intermediate on one too. Ploughing and plough turning is easy enough (although all the instructors I had focused very much on using pressure rather than rotation to initially turn). You need a lot of confidence to actually get parallel, and it really helps if the instructor is prepared to really wet the mat a lot. It's great if you've got little things you want to work on, and being able to watch yourself in the mirror I found very helpful - if you're technically minded and like to work on specific things in a focused way I think it can be useful. The caveat to that is so long as you don't end up on the slope with a beginner. For initially learning I think it's okay up to a point, but you mis lots of the walking around on skis etc. which (despite everyone decribing it as boring) is actually really important! First time I went on snow my skiing was ok, but I couldn't move around on the flat!
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Prosneige has been rated well on here.
Oxygène are also in VT through from memory they we a bit more expensive (but limited lessons sizes to 6 vs Prosneige’s 10).

We booked a series of private lessons in VT for my (autistic/dyspraxic) daughter via Sport Mason. We were happy with the instructor. However another snowhead also booked private lessons through there to help gain confidence and the instructor was useless and not interested in doing slow / easily lessons so a little hit and miss.

From what I have read I think group lessons is the way to go. Nothing like shared comradery from trying to learn something and others also struggling.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I think £250 for 5 morning group sessions should be a good investment, if your OH is up for that amount of structured learning.

Better than afternoon lessons at that early stage of skiing, when mind and body can be getting tired.

Practising each afternoon the techniques covered each morning is good, as well as just having fun of course.
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This was thread about private ski lessons in Val thorens

https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=3197954&highlight=lesson#3197954
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sounds like a mindset.
Seems you see she is more confident in a fridge, but not once out on a slope. This could be due to factors like a bigger open space, being able to see further (obstacles, etc.) as well as being aware how much more different it is. So there is added fear, which probably results into turtle head in shell scenario & being scared of whats around her, while not being confident in her own ability. Once she gets over that element, then she can go back to learning to ski.

So I would look for lesson in the resort.
Not worth booking lessons in a fridge if she is already comfortable in that environment.
Could visit a fridge & see how she does on her own. Might give her a bit more confidence in control her owning personal space.
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@Mr.Egg, I think a lot of us go through that spell of not being confident around other skiers on the piste and worrying we’re in the way. A fridge is simple because people make allowances before setting off from the top, on the mountain people don’t seem to wait for a space in the same way. Also the fridge is so much shorter that, if you’re going slowly, only a few people will come passed you on a run. On a real slope there will be many more overtaking in a run.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@SnoodlesMcFlude, many beginners still find it intimidating being overtaken in a fridge, especially at busy times.
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Tubaski wrote:
@SnoodlesMcFlude, many beginners still find it intimidating being overtaken in a fridge, especially at busy times.
Indeed.

Skiing indoors provides an excellent opportunity to develop some things about your skiing, mainly technical aspects such as movement patterns, including timing, rate and range of movements; different ways of steering your skis and how these affect turn shape, speed, etc; can challenge and develop things like balance and stance; provide opportunities to work on flow. All vital aspects of improving your skiing. However, skiing indoors is not the same as skiing outdoors, for obvious reasons, and is far less suited to working on tactics for different skiing scenarios, less well suited for providing the psychological challenge of skiing in different scenarios.
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Quote:

Don't get me wrong, 250 is very good for 15h, but it's a fair lump of cash to add on to the trip; I was originally looking at what around 120-130 would achieve, I need to re-adjust my sights!
I'll have to bite the bullet I think, before there are no bullets left!


Yes. I'd suggest you need to see this holiday as an investment in getting her to enjoy skiing. That's financial of course but also the use of your ski time (repeating runs where she is confident, taking good breaks, maybe also taking a day / afternoon off if the visibility is bad).
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Do the week of morning group lessons. Unless you have a particularly co-dependent relationship you can cope with that long apart from each other and she may make friends in the lessons that she would like to ski with on occasional afternoons.

Do have an honest conversation about your expectations of the amount of time you ski with each other as the week progresses. You being the dutiful husband and hanging around for her might actually make it feel to her like she is under more pressure. It might not of course but you wouldn't be alone in couples where doing the right thing is often doing the wrong thing.
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@Tubaski, I didn’t mean to suggest that they didn’t, but I do think that it can feel more like you’re in the way on a mountain, especially as people tend to ski much faster than they do at Hemel.
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@SnoodlesMcFlude, fair point.
I think everyone should try doing a slow snowplough ski-school-like snake down a busy home run from time to time, really reminds you just how intimidating it is to be a beginner surrounded by much faster skiiers.
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@Thomasski, Just a quick question how did your OH get on with lessons in Les Arcs and Hafjell? I assume she had lessons. All the beginners I know, myself included, really enjoyed their group lessons and suffering, succeeding and laughing with the other members.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
johnE wrote:
@Thomasski, Just a quick question how did your OH get on with lessons in Les Arcs and Hafjell? I assume she had lessons. All the beginners I know, myself included, really enjoyed their group lessons and suffering, succeeding and laughing with the other members.


She's never had resort lessons, I've just skied with her giving her guidance on tackling steeper and narrow parts of some of the blues we've been on, and helping her start with parallel. But I was conscious the whole time that she was very preoccupied with the speed of others on the piste, I think she needs someone who deals with learners all the time to ease the fears. It doesn't help when you've got the idiots that cut close on purpose, or ski towards you at speed and stop at the last minute.

I've never felt that fear on skis, but I remember when I rebelliously started boarding around 18 or 19, it was icy, narrow and busy (think I was in Les Carroz) and I was petrified of getting in front of someone! Spent a whole week like that!

I will have the chat with her tonight and make sure she's happy with the 15 hours, we do spend most of our time together but we're also very independently sociable creatures! Very Happy
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@Thomasski, so the only lessons she's had have been 3 one-hour sessions on a Dendix slope? If that's the case I would urge you to book her in to a week of group lessons with a good ski school. I think she has had almost no instruction so far, and the most likely outcome when she gets on to anything steep than a gentle green piste will be to develop survival skills rather than ski skills.
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rob@rar wrote:
@Thomasski, so the only lessons she's had have been 3 one-hour sessions on a Dendix slope? If that's the case I would urge you to book her in to a week of group lessons with a good ski school. I think she has had almost no instruction so far, and the most likely outcome when she gets on to anything steep than a gentle green piste will be to develop survival skills rather than ski skills.


Yes you put it very well there, her default setting on anything that's not flat is survival mode.

I'm very glad I posted this thread, there is clearly only one way to go. I think not doing something about it this year would permenantly reinforce the idea that skiing is scary.
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