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General Ski Question from a Newbie

uncleezno

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Hi,

I've posted here a couple of times in the past few weeks, as my skier wife and I moved to the snow belt and it was time for me to learn. Skied once a few years ago, I've been three days so far this season (1 at Jiminy Peak really early, 2 at Killington) and I'm going for two more at Stowe next week. I've done about 4 hours of lessons so far, and I'm staying positive, I can link my turns and I don't fall down on the greens. That being said, I still don't feel like I'm really in control when I pick up any real speed, and the whole thing is more of a "let's get this done" than an enjoyable time.

How many lessons/hours on the mountain will it take before I can comfortably do blues without being terrified of the incline? I don't need to do blacks or anything crazy, and as an ex-runner who's had knee surgery, I don't think I'm built for them. I think part of it has been the quality of the snow I've been on - always fairly icy. Is it any easier on softer snow, which hopefully we'll have at Stowe?

I want to have more fun on the mountain, but if it's $1000 in lift tickets, rentals, and gas until I have a good time, I could probably come up with a better way to spend it.

Thanks for any advice you guys can offer.
 

Sugart

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It's hard to say how many lessons it will take before you take on more challenging terrain. Skiing is a luxury, if you can afford it and enjoy it, stick with it. I imagine it will take a few more lessons to feel more comfortable, but don't be discouraged especially if you are having fun. Who cares what color trails your skiing. I've been skiing for over 20 years and I rarely venture off blues and greens. I have more fun skiing cruisers and long trails rather than steep verts.
 

riverc0il

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There is no specific time table. Go at your own pace, everyone develops at a different rate. You'll develop faster if you do more frequent weekly ski days rather than one or two big trips a year (you really won't develop at all if you do that). No need to spend an arm and a leg, either. You picked the most expensive resort in the northeast to ski at with Stowe. Look for family owned and operated "local" or "feeder" mountains that specialize in learn to ski programs. Skiing with someone else that wants more? Look towards mid-sized family mountains like Black Mountain (NH and ME), Mount Abram (ME), Dartmouth Skiway (NH), etc. These mountains have limited traffic so conditions will stay better longer. I'd strongly recommend Pico for a big mountain that has something for advanced skiers as well as for yourself in learning. You won't find a gentler pitched blue square pod with a high speed quad any where. Burke's lower mountain HSQ is also excellent for the developing skier. Avoid big mountains like the plague. Snow is likely to be worse, crowds will be worse, lesson size groups will be bigger, and the package will be more expensive.

Getting on a weekly program at a local ski bump in the flatlands is the way to go. You need reps to get up to intermediate level, muscle memory. Get one a once a week program that lasts two months at a local hill, that will get you up to speed. Pick a day/time that is not crowded (i.e. don't go Saturday, look at evening programs after work).
 

Scruffy

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There is no specific time table. Go at your own pace, everyone develops at a different rate. You'll develop faster if you do more frequent weekly ski days rather than one or two big trips a year (you really won't develop at all if you do that). No need to spend an arm and a leg, either. You picked the most expensive resort in the northeast to ski at with Stowe. Look for family owned and operated "local" or "feeder" mountains that specialize in learn to ski programs. Skiing with someone else that wants more? Look towards mid-sized family mountains like Black Mountain (NH and ME), Mount Abram (ME), Dartmouth Skiway (NH), etc. These mountains have limited traffic so conditions will stay better longer. I'd strongly recommend Pico for a big mountain that has something for advanced skiers as well as for yourself in learning. You won't find a gentler pitched blue square pod with a high speed quad any where. Burke's lower mountain HSQ is also excellent for the developing skier. Avoid big mountains like the plague. Snow is likely to be worse, crowds will be worse, lesson size groups will be bigger, and the package will be more expensive.

Getting on a weekly program at a local ski bump in the flatlands is the way to go. You need reps to get up to intermediate level, muscle memory. Get one a once a week program that lasts two months at a local hill, that will get you up to speed. Pick a day/time that is not crowded (i.e. don't go Saturday, look at evening programs after work).

Good points here.

Jiminy Peak is a great place to learn, also check out Catamount. Get into a weekly group lesson.

Concentrate on learning to turn and stop on any slope, anytime. Practice skiing slow and work really work on being able to turn and stop. You wouldn't dare drive a car if you could not steer it or brake it. Same with skiing, your fear of speed and steeps will disapate with your confidence in steering and stopping.
 

mister moose

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1. You have a skier wife. Almost makes going on irrelevant for a lot of us here on the board - make the effort to give it a really good try. Like 2 seasons.
2. Looks like you live near the Berkshires. Try Butternut as well, lots of green and blue. Ask around who has the best ski school in your area. Find an instructor you click with. Don't judge the sport by one day, one instructor, or one hill.
3. Not only does eveyone learn at their own pace, but skiing uses muscles you don't otherwise use much. Don't expect to last very long your first several days out.
4. Forget about counting how many times you fall down. I have been skiing since I was 4, and I take some spectacular falls.
5. Your world will change on a good snow day.
6. Find a few friends to ski with at your ability level. This happens easily if you do the weekly group lesson program thing.
7. Blandford Ski Club. Bousqet's. Otis Ridge(tiny). Lot's of inexpensive places to go.
8. Make sure your boots fit well.
9. You have a skier wife.
 

skiNEwhere

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Hi,

I've posted here a couple of times in the past few weeks, as my skier wife and I moved to the snow belt and it was time for me to learn. Skied once a few years ago, I've been three days so far this season (1 at Jiminy Peak really early, 2 at Killington) and I'm going for two more at Stowe next week. I've done about 4 hours of lessons so far, and I'm staying positive, I can link my turns and I don't fall down on the greens. That being said, I still don't feel like I'm really in control when I pick up any real speed, and the whole thing is more of a "let's get this done" than an enjoyable time.

How many lessons/hours on the mountain will it take before I can comfortably do blues without being terrified of the incline? I don't need to do blacks or anything crazy, and as an ex-runner who's had knee surgery, I don't think I'm built for them. I think part of it has been the quality of the snow I've been on - always fairly icy. Is it any easier on softer snow, which hopefully we'll have at Stowe?

I want to have more fun on the mountain, but if it's $1000 in lift tickets, rentals, and gas until I have a good time, I could probably come up with a better way to spend it.

Thanks for any advice you guys can offer.

Welcome to the forums!

Where in the snowbelt are you located? We can recommend good places for you to start learning. I'd recommend staying away from the larger resorts like Killington and especially Stowe (probably the most expensive resort in NE), reason because you are still learning to ski and you won't really get the benefit of buying a lift ticket at a place who's main terrain is advanced and expert. I don't know where you live but there are a lot of beginner areas like Nashoba Valley (Massachusetts), King Pine or Pats Peak (New Hampshire) that focus more on beginner terrain and don't cost as much as the big players. In my opinion, all ski resorts beginner terrain is the same. You don't hear someone say "Dude, Stowe has some gnarley greens" lol

It is impossible to say how long it will take you to learn. I first "skied" when I was 2, but didn't go to ski school until I was 4 or 5 and I don't think I was somewhat decent until I was 9 or 10 where I felt completely confident, but I was only skiing 9-10 days a season. I learned on straight ski's though, shaped ski's, which are the norm now, will make a dramatic difference for you.

It can be frustrating in the beginning, but don't give up. After a while you don't even think about it, turning and stopping becomes second nature like walking. I remember the first time I took up snowboarding (after over a decade of skiing), I felt like going down a green was like a double black diamond. Do not worry, once you get comfortable, this will go away.

My friend who is a former Marine, Vietnam Vet, purple heart recipient and 70 years old had reconstructive knee surgery a few years back, and not only does he still ski, he tele-ski's (knee bends close to ski while turning). Though everyone is different, I think you would be fine on advanced terrain from a health standpoint, as long as you are not skiing moguls. I'm not a doctor, but that is just my .02 cents.

Skiing IS a luxury, but I think a common misconception is that it is for the wealthy. False. You may need spend a little more upfront for skis, boots, and clothes, but if you get a season pass to a resort you shouldn't need to worry TOO much after that. Growing up my parents sacraficed cable TV so that we could afford skiing, its all about balance. As a beginner, I would recommend buying used skis either from a friend or from a rental shop. Ski's with boots shouldn't cost more than a couple hundred dollars, tops. And as you get better, and try more difficult terrain, I think you will enjoy yourself more.
 
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ScottySkis

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Also liftopia.com for good deals, I agree with others and try learning at a small local hill. Also go after snow or nice cold temperatures have been around, after warm up wait to get snow or at least cold temperatures to make snow.
 

Cheese

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Follow the advice you have already received on this site. Especially that of staying away from the larger resorts if you can. Basically you're looking for the cheapest package price (lift ticket, rentals, lessons, lodging) so shop around. Take advantage of "learn to ski or ride" programs. The discounts in those programs can offer saving on rentals, lessons and lower mountain lift tickets. Some are graduated where you'll wind up with a season pass after so many visits.

The steepness of blue runs will disappear once you get your head around traversing across the mountain. Steepness is only an issue if you point your tips downhill. If your tips are pointed across the hill steepness will grow to be less relevant.

Have fun out there!
 

Smellytele

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Hey if you don't want to ski I'll take your wife for a ski weekend. Just kidding. :spread:
More than anything just get out there and follow your wife around and get time on the skis. Throw in a few lessons and like others said stick to the feeder ski areas. Your wife may get bored but she'll win in the long run with you getting out there and skiing
 

uphillklimber

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When I started skiing, I bought clothing based upon how canvas-y it felt, as I knew I'd be falling a lot and I wanted the clothes to stand up to the abuse.

To get better and not worry about the terrain, lessons help, but there is nothing like practice. Just keep going and remember anything you learn and incorporate it. I've often watched other, better skiers and I emulate them. If I ski with someone better, I let them lead, and I follow, doing my best to match them.

Boots and fit. This is probably number one. Years back I felt I had regressed. I couldn't handle familiar trails like I used to. My boots were too loose. I went to a boot fitter, and it turns out the ski shops were putting me into boots 2 sizes too big, consistently. My feet were literally floating around in them. So I got the proper sized boot and had it custom fitted to my feet. Even then, every now and then, I feel my skis wobble left and right while I am giving it to 'er. I pull over and tighten the latches, primarily the two upper ones. Seems my boot is packing down a little bit, as well as my leg muscles. It's a tough balancing act sometimes. You want the boots good and snug, but you don't want to cut off circulation. If I am in the bumps, I may tighten them down a notch (which cuts off circulation) then when I am done with that run, loosen them back up to normal.
 

steamboat1

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It's been so long I really don't remember how long it took me to learn to ski. It was quite awhile however. I know I've only taken one lesson in my lifetime (at little Snow Valley near Manchester, VT now NELSAP). My father taught me how to ski & I also remember watching the better skiers when riding the lifts to learn. I learned the old fashion way progressing from snow plow to stem christie to christie. I think they do it differently now.

I kind of disagree with what some have been advising concerning small hills. I know with my daughter she didn't really learn how to ski well until I put her in a week long class up at Sugarloaf. Like someone else said just going a day here & there will take you longer to learn. You will learn faster if you can ski for several consecutive days in a row. The reason I disagree with the small hill approach is that you & especially your skier wife will get bored skiing at a small hill for 3 or more consecutive days.
 

uncleezno

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Thanks for the replies, guys! As steamboat1 guessed, my wife doesn't have a great time at the smaller mountains, having lived out in CO for a while. It's doubly true considering that she's skiing by herself on the trails, so she needs to be challenged to have a good time.

That being said, I'll look in to cheap lessons at a smaller mountain closer to home. We live in CT, and Jiminy Peak is fairly close. The issue is time - we're both residents working six days a week (I am writing this from the break room in my hospital) and I honestly don't have the time to go every week, and never two days in a row unless I'm on vacation like I am for a few days at New Year's.

I appreciate hearing that it took a while for other people to feel comfortable, too. I wish I had friends who skiied - we moved to CT from NYC when we finished school this July, and neither of us knows anyone here! Maybe I'll look for a beginner's ski club.
 

bdfreetuna

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IMO it's not really fair of her to expect you to learn while she is leaving you to figure it out and skiing Goat at Stowe.

If you have already taken some lessons and can put together turns on greens and lesser-steep blues, it's time for her to step in and give you some intermediate pointers.

Nobody has to settle for being an intermediate skier.. or being a beginner level skier for very long. First thing you will need to ski better is a decent fitness and leg strength. Then you will need to be instructed in techniques which are not obvious to new skiers but they will make you ski better and with a whole lot less effort at the same time.

I suggest Butternut as well, it's probably not far from you, and you can ski their black diamonds. It's a super friendly place to learn to ski and work on intermediate techniques. If your wife isn't down to help you with that, take a few more lessons. Make sure you are advancing as fast as possible so you satisfy yourself and your wife will also be pleased and impressed.

You might be amazed how much your technique can permanently improve over the course of a day, if you have good instruction and advice. This doesn't have to take as long as you think.

If you are going to Stowe and that's the plan, take lessons. Skiing Stowe as a beginner is a waste. Use this time as an investment in the future of your skiing.
 

ScottySkis

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Thanks for the replies, guys! As steamboat1 guessed, my wife doesn't have a great time at the smaller mountains, having lived out in CO for a while. It's doubly true considering that she's skiing by herself on the trails, so she needs to be challenged to have a good time.

That being said, I'll look in to cheap lessons at a smaller mountain closer to home. We live in CT, and Jiminy Peak is fairly close. The issue is time - we're both residents working six days a week (I am writing this from the break room in my hospital) and I honestly don't have the time to go every week, and never two days in a row unless I'm on vacation like I am for a few days at New Year's.

I appreciate hearing that it took a while for other people to feel comfortable, too. I wish I had friends who skiied - we moved to CT from NYC when we finished school this July, and neither of us knows anyone here! Maybe I'll look for a beginner's ski club.
Mountsnow a few hours away has the Northface which has expert, and Hunter in the Catskills less then 30 minutes from the Saugerties exit on I 87 NY thruway has some excellent expert trails to and both have hood beginner trails if you can go during midweek at all for best conditions.

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gmcunni

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We live in CT

there are a few places in CT that have night skiing. working 6 days a week might leave you beat but you can get out for a couple hours at a cheap price and put in the hours needed to build confidence and skill.

if you are in the Hartford area you can join CAST ski club for $10 (you and wife) and get discounted nightly tickets at Ski SUndown. YOu can also get discounted tickets around New England for days where you can travel.

CSC daily discounts - http://www.skiclub.com/documents/CSCsedis13.pdf
CSC discount day - http://www.skiclub.com/documents/Aware 13.pdf

steamboat1's link to the ski clubs gives a list of many other groups with the same benefits + more depending on the club.
 

abc

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IMO it's not really fair of her to expect you to learn while she is leaving you to figure it out and skiing Goat at Stowe.
Is she reading this forum?

If she is, may I suggest she learn to snowboard or telemark while you learn to ski?

I was in her position some years back, my significant other was a never ever skier and I was already an upper intermediate. With memory of how long it took me to learn still fresh, I just knew it could be a potentially frustrating experience for me also, to be stuck to beginner terrain for quite a long while.

In our case, we decided we would both learn to snowboard as beginners...
 

uncleezno

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abc,

That's a really good idea, but she already knows how to snowboard, too. And she bought herself new skis and boots this past fall, so I don't think she has any interest in boarding at the moment. I'll just take lessons both days at Stowe while she's off skiing with family.

Frankly I don't mind learning alone - as you mentioned, having someone more experienced who you're in a relationship with can be incredibly frustrating. My first plodding trip at Jiminy Peak took forever, and halfway down, I just asked her to stop giving me pointers and muddle through it on my own!
 

steamboat1

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Frankly I don't mind learning alone - as you mentioned, having someone more experienced who you're in a relationship with can be incredibly frustrating. My first plodding trip at Jiminy Peak took forever, and halfway down, I just asked her to stop giving me pointers and muddle through it on my own!

Lol..I forgot to mention the experiences I had trying to teach my wife how to ski. Lot's of good stories I don't have time to get into right now. Let me just say you are correct that you should ski separately from your wife. It's nice to make a few runs together but that's it until you improve.

I also don't agree that it's a waste to ski Stowe as a beginner. It's never a waste to ski Stowe.
 

riverc0il

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I also don't agree that it's a waste to ski Stowe as a beginner. It's never a waste to ski Stowe.
I think the issue is price/value. The OP did suggest that they were spending too much at Stowe and seemed to prefer cheaper options. If you are only skiing beginner terrain, is Stowe really worth top dollar? Beginner terrain is beginner terrain. The more important issues for a beginner and mountain selection is quality of snow conditions and traffic. Less traffic means better snow longer and less people to dodge and throw you off what you are trying to learn. I don't see the value in Stowe for someone just learning, I don't think their beginner package is that much better than many other mountains to justify the price. Especially when the OP can ski at places less crowded with the same type of terrain or better (see Burke and their HSQ servicing beginner terrain only).
 
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