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2013/2014 Newbie Ski Improvement Strategy

uncleezno

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Hello,

Last season everyone on the boards was very helpful to this newbie who had recently moved to New England and was being forced to learn how to ski by his wife. I was able to get in more days than I expected, and while I didn't manage to get good, I spent the end of the year more comfortable on the slopes than I was at the beginning.

At the end of the season I decided to get a pair of boots on sale, figuring that it was the most important piece of gear to own, and that it made sense to rent for another season (in case I didn't really get in to the sport). Now that the new season is approaching, I'm trying to figure out what my plan of attack should be.

I read through some old posts on here and checked out some of the websites to see what the mountains had on offer. I'm located in Central CT, so it's mostly MA/Southern VT that's feasible. ALSO edited to mention that I'll be skiing by myself, and I feel more comfortable starting a solo day with a lesson. So no lift ticket-only deals for me.


-Jiminy Peak's multi-week program gives you six lessons and evening lift tickets for $169, but they're consecutive weeks which is difficult w/ my schedule, and evening-only also doesn't fit.

-Bromley doesn't do adult seasonal programs, and I can't figure out if their multi-day passes are for consecutive days only. If so, it's not that affordable an option.

-Butternut is $250 for 8 lessons and lift tickets, but it's Saturday afternoons, and again, it's consecutive.

-Mt. Snow's link to seasonal clinics doesn't work, and their bundled group clinics don't include lift tickets, which are pricey.

-Bolton Valley doesn't have seasonal programs for adults, but it does offer a three-pack of group lessons for $99...not including lift tickets. So it's more like ($60x3)+$99=$279 for three days and three lessons. Not bad.

-Sugarbush charges $100 for two group clinics, and $150 for a two-day pass or $210 for a three-day pass. So $250 for two days, two lessons, or $350 for two days with four lessons, etc. Not a fortune, not so cheap either.

-Stratton and Okemo don't have seasonal programs or decent discounts on multiple group lessons.

Lastly there's Pico and Killington. Pico is $132 for three group lessons plus $195 for a three-day pass, so $327 for three non-consecutive weekend days with lessons. Killington this year appears to offer the best deal (that's been mentioned elsewhere on the boards). $249 for four day lift tickets (but only days three and four are full-mountain tickets), four lessons, and four days of rentals. Even if I had to tack on additional money for upgrading to a full-mountain ticket on days one and two, it seems like a no-brainer.


So, any thoughts? :razz:
 
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ScottySkis

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Since your knew you don't need to drive all way to Vermont and spend all that money on gas and great big hills that your not going to see. Stick with what is local to you try some hills in CT., or maybe go Catskills, Hunter 1 has really great learning hill called Hunter 1, I don't know the prices their good luck soon you be an expert I sure.
 

jack97

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If you're in central CT, take a look at Sundown and see what type of learning package they have there. I like the place b/c they are make snow early season and try to cover as much ground. In addition, they know how to take care of it through out the season. They have enuf terrain for a newbie.

Everyone I met at Sundown has been cool people.... I can't say that about Wachusetts which is closer to me.
 

ss20

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Yeah, I agree. Stay local, learn local. You'll save a bunch of time and money. Sundown, Mohawk, and Butternut are all great introductory mountains. They never get too crowded and they pride themselves on grooming and snowmaking. What's risky about the larger VT mountains is that not all the beginner or intermediate slopes are groomed, which can be a problem for any newbie if you're on moguls or ice. Jimminy Peak is a great mountain for learning. The trail rating system there with the green to low-blue to blue to high-blue system. You always know what kind of trail you're getting. They also groom everything nightly, which as I said, is important. The mountain's not cheap, and from central CT it's a long, long drive.
 

uncleezno

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Thanks for the feedback, guys. I took another look at Butternut and Sundown, and they both seem like good, affordable options. My only thought is that I've spent time at Killington and Stowe, and I like being able to take a lift all the way up to the top and then mix up greens and blues to get down. The idea of a single, shorter trail taking me all the way to the bottom doesn't seem as fun. But then I look at your signature, ss20, and clearly you must enjoy Butternut because you went there four times last season.

The most attractive piece of the package at Killington is that you are given free skis once you complete the four group lessons. Yes, they're just a fresh pair of the ones that mountains use in their rental fleets, nothing fancy, but it's another few hundred dollars, and it means I could ski a few times a year for the foreseeable future without needing to worry about renting any gear again.

Maybe I'll make the effort to get up to Killington earlier to snag the skis, and then spend the rest of my solo days closer to home. Thanks everyone for the input!
 

tnt

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If your wife is forcing you to learn to ski, why will you be skiing alone? Just curious.

Here in NJ, when we rent seasonal equipment for our kids, we get a killer coupon book that gives us great two for one deals - if you end up skiing with your wife some, I'd look into that.

The Killington deal does seem like a nice way to get gear, but if I were you - and it sounds like you are up for a lot of weekend trips to the mountains - I wouldn't want to be pigeon holed into K-ton for four days. I'd really cherish the ability to go to a bunch of different mountains.

So, you have boots, maybe rent skis, score a coupon book and let that guide you around?

But I also agree, in terms of learning, nothing wrong with staying local, even if that means smaller hills, at least some of the days.
 

dlague

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uncleezno

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tnt, my wife is a resident with a very busy schedule. She works 14/16 hours a day, six days a week. She usually either gets Saturday OR Sunday off for sleeping, never both. So while we skied together last season when it was possible, this year I'm trying to get better on my own so that when she is eventually done with her residency (and fellowship, goddamnit), I'll be able to ski alongside her.

I already had bookmarked that thread about ski deals, and both my wife and I signed up for the Killington two-for-one deal. Thanks!
 

tnt

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tnt, my wife is a resident with a very busy schedule. She works 14/16 hours a day, six days a week. She usually either gets Saturday OR Sunday off for sleeping, never both. So while we skied together last season when it was possible, this year I'm trying to get better on my own so that when she is eventually done with her residency (and fellowship, goddamnit), I'll be able to ski alongside her.

I already had bookmarked that thread about ski deals, and both my wife and I signed up for the Killington two-for-one deal. Thanks!

Cool.

So you have a few years to get up to speed!

So, depending on the coupon book thing - which again, in my area, literally pays for the season rental and then some, but only 2 for 1 deals... - I think I would strongly consider buying some used skis too. If you use them for two seasons, while you improve, then step up to something more advanced when the time is right, you'll probably do better than two seasons of seasonal rentals, and deffinately better than two seasons worth of day rentals.

Plus, the time if you day rent now, plus maybe a couple bucks of trade in when the time is right....

Good luck and have fun man!
 

JimG.

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LOL...she's going to be pissed when she sees you getting out skiing so much. But in the end it will be a great set up.
 

bigbog

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Think you'll find that the best way we learn is through watching and recognizing better skiers' moves/skills/technique.
The mellower, less steep areas of the mountains are usually the best terrain to learn on...whatever size mountain(big mountains will sometimes have longer length beginner areas, but that's not etched in stone, and small mountains can be fun at the beginner level).
Whatever size hill, it's the way you slide down the hill that makes all the difference.
Do your loyal winter duty = Scout out the enjoyable eat/drink...
 
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bdfreetuna

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+1 for Butternut... the place I remember most fondly from my very-youth and learning to ski. It's not a challenging mountain, but over the course of 8 lessons, which I'm sure will be very good at Butternut considering it's dedication to learning skiers, you will be able to tackle Butternut's black diamonds with full confidence.

In other words you should be able to ski at a decent intermediate level, at which point you can take on much of your own continued learning.
 

Skier4life

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Unless you are thinking of skiing very early season, take advantage of $29 lessons in January as part of the Learn to Ski Month program: http://www.skivermont.com/events-and-deals/program-learn

Then tackle Killington's program and get the ski's...I have heard all sorts of goodness about their program from my wife who still raves about the instructors there, it's a big mountain so it will build your confidence.

Later on in the season as an earlier post said, do Butternut because it is great for those developing their skill and confidence on snow [you can't go wrong especially if you learnt at K-ton].

Somewhere in the mix you can do the seson rental and the use of the coupons will serve yo uwell once you have your own skis!

Good luck and have fun but it sounds like you are going to have a full season of skiing and in no time will be up to whatever level your wife is on and possibly surpass her...
 

mister moose

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Look into the Sundown Ski swap this fall. Lots of good deals to be had there. You could probably find a decent used ski, use them for a season or two, and then sell them back for less than the cost of 2 seasonal rentals. It is run by the ski patrol, and they can guide you in choosing a good learning ski.

And don't obsess too much over which ski, days on the hill matter far more. Choose a name brand that will be easy to sell. For example, a K2 Apache Recon. Several years out of the lineup so won't be expensive, but well known intermediate all mountain ski.

Also, consider a season pass at Pico or Butternut. Both are above average deals. Butternut $300 if purchased now, Pico $399. You'll ski more with a pass, and you need time on the hill.
 

ScottySkis

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And don't obsess too much over which ski, days on the hill matter far more. Choose a name brand that will be easy to sell. For example, a K2 Apache Recon. Several years out of the lineup so won't be expensive, but well known intermediate all mountain ski.

+1 On this ski is great for beginners. I had it when I started back skiing when it first came out, and I gave them to my uncle who loves them.
 
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Savemeasammy

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Since you are on AZ in September talking about skiing, you must be as excited as the rest of us. It seems to me that you might want to invest in skis, too (as others have mentioned). Used is a good way to go since you are still learning. You can try a ski swap, and you may want to give Craigslist a shot. You should also consider a season pass at a local area (especially if night skiing is an option for you). If you want to improve, you need to spend time on the hill! Having a pass at a local place affords you the opportunity to squeeze in an hour or two if that's all the time you have.
 
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