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UCPA instruction vs. Snoworks/Inspired to Ski/WS etc.

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all,

Just wondering how people rate the instruction provided at Action Outdoors/UCPA courses against the like of Snoworks/Inspired to Ski/Warren Smith/etc?

I've done maybe 10-15 weeks skiing over the years, comfortable on reds, odd black, read a bit and watch online instruction. Just trying to improve my technique, get comfortable on bumps, venture into off-piste, etc.

I did a UCPA Chamonix course last year and despite some horrendous snoring, had a great week - despite some ropey instruction. All instructors were ESF, but ours wasn't fully qualified yet. Other groups seemed to have fared better - individual feedback, video lessons, etc. Also the standard of skiing among the participants was quite high, with a lot doing off-piste courses. On the plus side I had been reading Lito Tejada-Flores book and watching his vids, so got the chance to put a lot of that in practice. I also really enjoyed the whole UCPA ethos. I was in Morzine a few weeks ago and did a couple of private 2hr lessons. Very enjoyable, but expensive! I've also done the standard fare 'package' ski lessons in the past.

So... I'm trying to decide should I go UCPA again and hope for a better instructor (23hrs lessons included in the weeks intensive 'ski coaching' package) or give, say Snoworks a go?

P.S. A lot of the UCPA courses are now open to up to 55 yrs old. Not that I'm that old... well not quite.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I’ve only used UCPA for offpiste guiding, so I can’t compare it to the (one) Snoworks course I’ve been on. Enjoyed both a lot. I’ve seen the UCPA coaching courses, and was tempted myself. Re snoring, ear plugs a bit of a must at UCPA... Smile
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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?
Again, on off piste courses you get the top instructors, but they do have lots of trainees to cover the on piste stuff. Personally I would go with Snoworks or similar with a guarantee of a well qualified English speaking instructor.
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Another vote for Snoworks if a full day's instruction is what you're after. You could also look at the "BASI Partners" page on their website which lists those resorts that have similar courses with English Instructors. That might give you a bit more choice.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I've done several UCPA Off Piste weeks, and one on piste. The off piste guides don't have to be instructors, at least one of ours pointed out that he was a Mountain Guide and not allowed to teach. The week of lessons we did were good, a young instructor but very keen! Although poss we got the cream as we were the top group. The lessons I've had on the PSB were better though, and that's the only lessons I've got to compare with.

I'd imagine you'll get better lessons more consistently from the other courses, but more value from UCPA, i.e lessons not quite as good but much cheaper.
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Are the UCPA instructors not mostly stagieres, i.e. a trainee instructor yet to pass the Eurotest, which is the same as you would get in any french ski 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...
Our UCPA instructor told us that they all rotate between ability groups throughout the season, so not sure the off-piste/advanced courses will always get the cream of the crop.

My very limited experience of UCPA instruction (1 weeks' course) was that the instructor was young but very good, his English reasonable, but the larger group size did limit the actual time spent getting direct advice on my own technique.

For the price, I'd happily book the same again though.
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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!
Quote:

For the price

This is the key. UCPA will be infinitely cheaper!
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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.
I did an inspired to ski course recently and the instructor was great. I've had a lot of different ski instructors over the years and this was right at the top of the list. Can really recommend, felt it was good value for money too. But UCPA will be cheaper I imagine.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
galpinos wrote:
Are the UCPA instructors not mostly stagieres, i.e. a trainee instructor yet to pass the Eurotest, which is the same as you would get in any french ski school?


It seemed to be a mix. Our instructor was a young lady with a couple of years to go before qualification. There were a few gnarly looking older guys with mahogany tans and what looked like gold medals pinned to their jackets, that I assumed were fully qualified. They were definitely all ESF however.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Money is not the main issue... a week with UCPA in multi-share dorm in Flaine/La Plagne/Tignes/Chamonix including flights, transfer, accom, all meals, lift pass, equipment hire and full-time (23 hrs) coaching comes in at £800-900. A week with Snoworks in double share incl. 15hrs tuition, and totting everything up is about £1600. So quite a significant difference... I do understand it's apples and oranges though.
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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.
milzibkit wrote:
but the larger group size did limit the actual time spent getting direct advice on my own technique.

For the price, I'd happily book the same again though.


Tend to agree. Our group started out at maybe 8-10 people, but due to some promotion/demotion/attrition dropped to maybe 5 or 6, which was a lot better.
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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
I’ve been with UCPA twice and really enjoyed it both times + it’s amazing value for money. However, my observation is that the French are more in to learning by doing rather than spending time doing drills and talking about the finer points of technique... i personally quite like the drills and find they help me to improve which is what I’m looking for. If you are in the upper intermediate / advanced (confirmé) groups you’ll find the French people who go on UCPA will have skied most years of their lives and will want to go fast with less focus on skiing with good technique.

So in future I would not bother with their on-piste courses as I didn’t get much value last time. Though I am sure they are good for beginners or early intermediates. I will probably go with them this next season for their intro to off-piste and hope to work up to ski touring with them by the following season.

If you want to work on your piste performance then I would recommend finding a school with good BASI 3-4 or equivalent instructors where the rest of the group want the same thing. I did a WSSA summer course in Cervinia which was really good. Haven’t tried the other schools you mentioned but I also did an instructor prep course with PDS Academy in Morzine which was excellent.

Sorry for the long reply... hope it helps!
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