Ski Instructor Recomendations

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Ski Instructor Recomendations

Postby Dave B » Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:57 pm

My wife would like to take a private lesson with a ski instructor at one of the I-70 resorts. She was recommended someone at Vail but we'd prefer to not go that route, mostly due to costs.

Does anyone have any recommendations for a superb, preferably female, ski instructor? I'd say my wife is a solid intermediate skier and is looking for some help moving past the intermediate plateau.

Winter Park would be ideal but Copper or Loveland would also work (Shell Ski Free Pass) as would A-Basin since I've got a 4-pack there.

She'd also be open to an independent instructor, but I have no idea how that would work in regards to resort instructor policy.

Thanks in advance.
The mountains - whose summits reach or exceed arbitrary thresholds for elevation and prominence - are calling and I must go.

-John Muir

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Re: Ski Instructor Recomendations

Postby homestretch » Fri Dec 28, 2012 4:27 pm


Forget about an independent instructor. Ski areas have strict rules against freelance instructors using their areas to give paid lessons, so you'll need to use the area's own ski school. (FWIW I've heard that in Europe ski schools are often independent of the ski areas where they work.)

Winter Park has a large ski school with many qualified instructors, and I've had some good advanced-intermediate lessons there. I'd guess Copper does too but I don't know firsthand. Not sure about Loveland; it's a smaller area and I don't know how oriented they are toward adult students.

Wherever you go, your wife should be candid with the school and instructor about her experience, current ski skill level, and goals for this lesson in terms of skills to improve, bad habits to try to work on, terrain (e.g., bumps vs. groomed) to explore, and fears/concerns of whatever sort. A good instructor will work on skill improvement OR terrain challenges but generally not both at once. I suggest requesting an instructor with at least PSIA Level 2 certification, better yet Level 3.

Private lessons can be very pricy. Some places offer an alternative of small-group lessons (e.g., no more than 4 students) which might be considerably cheaper and as good for learning. Getting a series of lessons from the same instructor (assuming she is good) is ideal for continuity and feedback.

Hope this is useful.


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Re: Ski Instructor Recomendations

Postby tylermacguire » Fri Dec 28, 2012 4:45 pm

I would not be so quick to rule out independent ski instructors as there tend to be lots of people willing to do it and it will save you a ton of money. Just my two cents.

Unfortunately the only person I know that fits what you describe works at Vail so I don't think that will work.

Good luck!

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Re: Ski Instructor Recomendations

Postby siop » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:11 pm

I agree on using an independent ski instructor. I'm a certified snowboard instructor and have freelanced for years. Most of the top instructors I have worked with all freelance. Its a great way to save some money and as an instructor a great way to make extra money and build your client base. I teach mainly youth snowboarding so I don't personally know some good female adult ski instructors, but I can ask around. I have quite a few friends at Copper.
"because in the end, you won't remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing the lawn. climb that goddamn mountain" -jack kerouac

"here is your chance to find your own way. go on your own. be adventuresome. don't forever seek the easiest way. go the way you find. don't demand trail signs and sturdy bridges. don't demand we show you the mountains. see them and find them yourself. here's your chance to get lost, fall in the creek, find a beautiful place." -randy morgenson

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Re: Ski Instructor Recomendations

Postby 12ersRule » Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:15 pm

Dave B wrote:Does anyone have any recommendations for a superb, preferably female, ski instructor? I'd say my wife is a solid intermediate skier and is looking for some help moving past the intermediate plateau.

You are right to prefer a female instructor for your wife. In fact, female instructor should be a requirement. Just ask my buddy, Lane, ski and surfer instructors have no scruples whatsoever.

This is pretty much all you need to know about skiing, I think.

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Re: Ski Instructor Recomendations

Postby TallGrass » Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:55 pm

More important than gender is what your wife's and instructor's personalities are because some types mesh, some or so-so, and others clash. A self-driven student is going to clash with an powerful instructor (butting heads), just as a peaceful student will with a laissez faire one ("what do you want to do" "well, what do you want to do"). Certification is also key so empirical methods are used versus opinion/experience -- knowing how to ski isn't the same as knowing how to teach skiing. Certified curricula typically have a broad sampling base versus one skier's "experience" who would be more likely to leave something out or add something in based on personal bias/experience not relevant to her.
Not sure if I'll do more 14ers. The trip reports are too tiring. :wink:

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Re: Ski Instructor Recomendations

Postby Dave B » Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:47 am

49ersRule wrote:

It's hard to not love a B.O.D. reference.

Seriously though. My wife feels more comfortable with a woman instructor.
The mountains - whose summits reach or exceed arbitrary thresholds for elevation and prominence - are calling and I must go.

-John Muir

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Re: Ski Instructor Recomendations

Postby Wildernessjane » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:58 am

I had a terrible experience taking a more advanced (tele) ski lesson at A-Basin, so I would not recommend going there. I was actually less confident after the lesson than before. When I complained, I was told I would be given a free 1:1 lesson but then I couldn't get a call back when I tried to arrange it. Sorry I can't help with an actual recommendation.

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Re: Ski Instructor Recomendations

Postby Magnum420 » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:04 pm

Just an FYI in regards to hiring a freelance ski instructor...

From the Vail Daily 2010?
"Many resorts have begun stings to nab renegade ski instructors who offer on-the-hill lessons without going through the resort. Last season, Vail ski instructors groused about the increasing prevalence of underground paid lessons and guiding at Vail and Beaver Creek. They wondered whether Vail's guardians were doing enough to stop it and protect their jobs.

The mountain joined the U.S. Forest Service in an undercover operation that netted a dozen illegal instructors. Those instructors faced federal charges and fines up to $5,000, although most first-time offenders were cited for $525. The real sting is a lifetime ban from skiing at all five Vail Resorts ski areas.

Anyone -- including hunting, rafting, hiking or snowmobiling guides -- who makes money in exchange for services on public land without a permit is breaking federal law, says Forest Service ranger Don Dressler.

Aspen Skiing Co. looks to its army of 1,200 to 1,400 instructors to keep an eye out for underground instruction. In Vail, several of the underground instructors nabbed last season were former resort employees. Many of the instructors had told their clients, if questioned, to deny any financial deal."
"I was high on life till I realized it was cut with idiots!" ---Anon---

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