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Lessons and pointers

uphillklimber

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Folks, I've been skiing downhill since 1997. I started out in 1979 doing cross country, and pretty much self taught myself to ski downhill, just keep trying and find something that works. I have taken some lessons here and there, but no series of them. Never been on a ski team or race team. Certainly having tons of fun. As a result, however, I have learned a good many bad habits over the 2 decades of skiing.

Last year, I joined Primetime ski club at Sunday River ( a group for over 50's folks, gasp!!!) So nowadays, I always have someone to ski with. And of course, that means someone who is better than me. I love to ski behind them, emulating their moves. They give me pointers, and I practice them. It's tough, as an old dog, learning new habits, but what a difference!

We skied cascades the other day when the whales were all moguled up. I love skiing them, but I struggle in moguls. So I followed my ski buddy, and shocker, I was skiing them, with confidence and a bit of style, not having to stop because I barely survived going over that last one. No, I have not "arrived" yet and I'm sure I'm gonna have an awesome yard sale this year, but wow, what a difference, actually working on form and style improves the skiing.

What about you folks? Who has done it like I did, self taught, then have to unlearn the bad habits? Who took just one lesson to get them going? Who was on the ski team and got tons of lessons and practice as a youth?

More importantly, what has most benefitted you, and what didn't really seem to matter?
 

mbedle

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Jun 24, 2013
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Barto, Pennsylvania
Started snowboarding in 1990 (back than it was very different, rode with Timberland boots with the thick wool liners!!!). Self taught by trial and error riding at the local hill at night and following all of my ski buddies at Killington on the weekends. Switched over to a carving board with hard boots around 1996, which basically took away any chance to getting lessons (we are a dying breed). I am riding now with a couple of other carvers up at Stowe, which helps a lot with technique by watching them ride. Plus we play off of each other by pushing harder on steeper terrain. My biggest issue now is getting better in moguls, ungroomed terrain and the woods. I have a smaller carving board and and use a completely different technique for that kind of stuff. A lot of my friends ride freestyle and they help with that kind of riding style.
 

Siliconebobsquarepants

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Lehigh County Pa.
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Folks, I've been skiing downhill since 1997. I started out in 1979 doing cross country, and pretty much self taught myself to ski downhill, just keep trying and find something that works. I have taken some lessons here and there, but no series of them. Never been on a ski team or race team. Certainly having tons of fun. As a result, however, I have learned a good many bad habits over the 2 decades of skiing.

Last year, I joined Primetime ski club at Sunday River ( a group for over 50's folks, gasp!!!) So nowadays, I always have someone to ski with. And of course, that means someone who is better than me. I love to ski behind them, emulating their moves. They give me pointers, and I practice them. It's tough, as an old dog, learning new habits, but what a difference!

We skied cascades the other day when the whales were all moguled up. I love skiing them, but I struggle in moguls. So I followed my ski buddy, and shocker, I was skiing them, with confidence and a bit of style, not having to stop because I barely survived going over that last one. No, I have not "arrived" yet and I'm sure I'm gonna have an awesome yard sale this year, but wow, what a difference, actually working on form and style improves the skiing.

What about you folks? Who has done it like I did, self taught, then have to unlearn the bad habits? Who took just one lesson to get them going? Who was on the ski team and got tons of lessons and practice as a youth?

More importantly, what has most benefitted you, and what didn't really seem to matter?

Couldn't have said it better.....No better teacher than skiing with someone who is better. Growing up in the 70's and having a friend who went to a Freestyle Camp out West really improved everyone of his friends . Although being an old dog as well
self preservation has taken over and I don't do Aerials anymore ...I am temped . Do it while your young is the key .

Some ski Areas offer Free Ski lessons nowadays so if skiing with a friend doesn't work out that's an avenue to explore.
 

Warp Daddy

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Jan 12, 2006
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NNY St Lawrence River
Similar experience didn't start downhilling till i was 50 ( now 74) after several decades of XC .

i have 4 ski buddies who are 10 yrs older . 2 were ex hockey pucks at St Lawrence U who started skiing in their teens , one other a former ski racer for Dartmouth and the 4th my age is a great skier who is an instructor and ski school director .

i started following them down and copying their moves and man did that ratchet up my skills . It was like the old kid's game of follow the leader . I am certainly no style maven and no longer do any moguls.

At 74 after open heart 9 yrs ago and hip replacement last two yrs i am just thankful to be on them again this yr after 2 seasons in recovery from 2 hip surgeries on the same hip . My season will begin around Christmas time when my sons and two college age grandsons come home and take thold man out again .i no longer will be doing dawn patrol but hope to regain some of my former skills and some of the strength back .

Been working out all fall to get ready , the conditioning is one thing the stamina and ability ro deal with chairs with no foot rests will be a challenge since the titanium device in my hip might well be sensitive ro long rides in lifts w/o foot rests . I. Will be fine in larger venues with gondis or foot rests but our regional hill 1000 vert is retro and has old style HALL chairs lifts ...so we will see
 
Last edited:

kingslug

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Dec 30, 2005
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Stamford Ct and Stowe
Wife taught me how at Vernon Valley 22 years ago, so I was 31. spent the season falling on ice. Went to Bellayre, finally got it. Went to Hunter, learned to ski harder stuff. Went out West, learned to ski crazy stuff. I have taken some lessons along the way. The best ones are pretty much just guides who give a few pointer along the way. Moguls are practice practice practice. I think a lot of people don't do them well because they just don't like them. And it sux falling in them. But if you come across a field of them with no way out, and you never do them. A hard time will be had. I think that if you are going to survive in the mountains you need to practice in all conditions.
 

Dickc

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Dec 5, 2013
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Northeast Mass
Folks, I've been skiing downhill since 1997. I started out in 1979 doing cross country, and pretty much self taught myself to ski downhill, just keep trying and find something that works. I have taken some lessons here and there, but no series of them. Never been on a ski team or race team. Certainly having tons of fun. As a result, however, I have learned a good many bad habits over the 2 decades of skiing.

Last year, I joined Primetime ski club at Sunday River ( a group for over 50's folks, gasp!!!) So nowadays, I always have someone to ski with. And of course, that means someone who is better than me. I love to ski behind them, emulating their moves. They give me pointers, and I practice them. It's tough, as an old dog, learning new habits, but what a difference!

We skied cascades the other day when the whales were all moguled up. I love skiing them, but I struggle in moguls. So I followed my ski buddy, and shocker, I was skiing them, with confidence and a bit of style, not having to stop because I barely survived going over that last one. No, I have not "arrived" yet and I'm sure I'm gonna have an awesome yard sale this year, but wow, what a difference, actually working on form and style improves the skiing.

What about you folks? Who has done it like I did, self taught, then have to unlearn the bad habits? Who took just one lesson to get them going? Who was on the ski team and got tons of lessons and practice as a youth?

More importantly, what has most benefitted you, and what didn't really seem to matter?

Where you are a Sunday River regular might I suggest you get involved with Maine Adaptive? I have volunteered the last few years and besides being an awesome experience working with the disabled, many other volunteers are PSIA certified and you can ask many of them for pointers and more or less get a short ski lesson from them. Every fall you must take the Principals of Skiing course and it is a good opportunity to both learn what is new, but also to get a few pointers on how you ski.

I, unfortunately have had to decline to volunteer this year because of health problems, but would have if I could have!
 

bdfreetuna

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keep the faith
I'm 35 so a bit different stage of life perhaps, but I find whenever I'm skiing below my potential it's 1 of 4 reasons:

1. lacking fitness / tired
2. not actively engaging in the fundamentals of skiing, proper balance, pole plants, etc
3. drank beer on lunch break (trying to not do that lately)
4. I never was, never will be, and don't care about being a perfect skier

Looking forward to re-applying what I've learned in teaching my daughter -- she'll be born any day now. It's also been really cool teaching my wife.

Fortunately high school ski team training is pretty intensive on the fundamentals of strong skiing. Adapting that knowledge to a more casual way of skiing is kind of a fun process. Utilizing it to the full extent is the hard part.

I suspect when I am 65 I'll need some refresher lessons -- if we aren't on full mandatory autopilot technology by then.
 

crank

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Mar 3, 2005
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CT
The only way to become a good skier is to take many, many private lessons and practice drills on boring groomers until you can make a perfect, symmetrical, PSAI approved railroad track carve.
 

abc

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The only way to become a good skier is to take many, many private lessons and practice drills on boring groomers until you can make a perfect, symmetrical, PSAI approved railroad track carve.
LOL!

A better way is to become a ski instructor. Then the endless practice of boring drills will be paid at minimum wage. Any defect and deviation from perfect, symmetrical PSAI approved railroad track carve will be evident in your students, remedy tested by students before the instructor attempting them.

While not private, small group clinics by high level instructors are typically free, sometimes the time paid for as income.

Whether that results in skills applicable to radical terrain is a somewhat different matter. It worked for me, for a while anyway.
 

abc

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I have learned a good many bad habits over the 2 decades of skiing.

What about you folks? Who has done it like I did, self taught, then have to unlearn the bad habits?
I wouldn't call myself "self-taught". I struggled when I started so I took a fair amount of lessons just to get comfortable on skis.

But lessons are not created equal. A good instructor makes a hell of a difference, especially for those of us who aren't "natural". So-so instructors, not so much.

Not having a lot of on-snow time didn't help either. Having some body bio-mechanical issue made matters worse, much, much worse!

So in short, I found EVERY BIT HELPS! Lots of time on snow, lessons with GOOD instructors, equipment that corrects body mechanical defects. All of them plays a part.

What doesn't help is ineffective instruction, and long time on snow that actually reinforce bad habits!

Having said all that, I don't think one needs to be a perfect skier to ENJOY skiing! Whilst understanding better technique enhances the enjoyment. So it's a balance that everyone chooses differently.
 

uphillklimber

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So in short, I found EVERY BIT HELPS! Lots of time on snow, lessons with GOOD instructors, equipment that corrects body mechanical defects. All of them plays a part.



Having said all that, I don't think one needs to be a perfect skier to ENJOY skiing! Whilst understanding better technique enhances the enjoyment. So it's a balance that everyone chooses differently.


I used to think a good skier can make any equipment work, and I still think that is true. But the equipment can make a huge difference for you as well. Years back, I remember skiing a trail I had done many times in the past, and I was struggling. WTH!!! I know I am a better skier than this. I tried everything, including going to a boot fitter. Turns out my boots, while very comfy, were 2 sizes too big. My feet were basically floating around in them and I had no good interface with the skis. No wonder I couldn't control the skis. He set me up with the proper size boots and got them plenty comfy for me.

More on gear: Last year, I joined up with a ski group at the River. We always joked how I liked to ski about 50 MPH, straight. They suggested maybe I should learn this turning thing. I tried, but basically, my 8 year old AC-3's liked going straight and they would plow thru crud, which I really loved. Turning.... not so much. I'd have to unweight the ski, do a skid turn, etc.... They would turn from the front, but not well, at least for me. I demoed a pair of RTM81's, and my first description of those skis was "nimble". I could turn those skis like nothing! I'm actually enjoying carving up a slope leaving railroad tracks behind me.... well mostly, still need more practice. (Tell you what, I'll go get some practice today!!!!).

ABC, your last statement is so true!I am far from a perfect skier and I absolutely love skiing. And, as I learn the various tips and pointers, the enjoyment level is going up!
 

skiNEwhere

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I used to think a good skier can make any equipment work, and I still think that is true. But the equipment can make a huge difference for you as well. Years back, I remember skiing a trail I had done many times in the past, and I was struggling. WTH!!! I know I am a better skier than this. I tried everything, including going to a boot fitter. Turns out my boots, while very comfy, were 2 sizes too big. My feet were basically floating around in them and I had no good interface with the skis. No wonder I couldn't control the skis. He set me up with the proper size boots and got them plenty comfy for me.

More on gear: Last year, I joined up with a ski group at the River. We always joked how I liked to ski about 50 MPH, straight. They suggested maybe I should learn this turning thing. I tried, but basically, my 8 year old AC-3's liked going straight and they would plow thru crud, which I really loved. Turning.... not so much. I'd have to unweight the ski, do a skid turn, etc.... They would turn from the front, but not well, at least for me. I demoed a pair of RTM81's, and my first description of those skis was "nimble". I could turn those skis like nothing! I'm actually enjoying carving up a slope leaving railroad tracks behind me.... well mostly, still need more practice. (Tell you what, I'll go get some practice today!!!!).

ABC, your last statement is so true!I am far from a perfect skier and I absolutely love skiing. And, as I learn the various tips and pointers, the enjoyment level is going up!
This really resonates with me. I used to have a mentality of "the skier makes the ski, not the other way around" as well. I didn't get shaped skis until 2007 when I was skiing and struggling at mammoth. While I do have a few pairs of skis in my quiver, I'd like to think I can ski most terrain with any given ski, albeit with a few exceptions.

One day last year I took my latigo's, a ski I use pretty much only on dedicated bump days (78 underfoot, 177 length) into the back bowls (SE aspect) of A-Basin and did end up in some refrozen crud. Tiring jump turns were the only way I could make my way down.

Sent from my SM-G955U using AlpineZone mobile app
 

SkiFanE

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I had the pleasure of skiing at 5yo and getting lessons every year through Jr High with my school at Nashoba Valley. Haven't take a lesson since - but those years of bombing around as a kid with my friends on old crappy gear gave me lifelong skills (and an addiction lol). I was too concerned about looking good so really never got out of my comfort zone until after college - my eventual husband started skiing at 3yo and he dragged me to the next level. At 50+ I still feel like I get better every year at crushing bumps. Seriously...my knees are perfect.

So i learned bumps on my own in early 20s. I literally forced myself - it was a nice spring day of mashed potatoes and I was miserable while everyone else was happy. Couldn't avoid bumps after 11am and I was not going home. So I told myself I will figure it out - all these smiling folks have, I can too. So I changed up what I learned over the last 20 winters. I changed my weight and my stance each run. Try something new after a crash. Curse. Try again. And I figured it out. And have not enjoyed a groomer since lol. Then I refined by watching others. I cannot follow another's line - can't do it - but watching from chairlift is a great way.

My tips: Basically - every run or half run could require change of stance and weighting. Before each run I pretty much reset my posture and core from the "slumping in the chairlift" position to be upright and ready to get into bump mode. ALWAYS ALWAYS be sure your hands and poles are in front of you - and when you feel yourself going backseat - don't focus on your backside but instead pulls your hands out in front of you and that will help you recover. I find focusing on my core and back position is more important than legs - they follow your core. Same goes for fitness - strong core and abs are essential - all year - not just ski days. I now only Mt bike as I think the core workout is huge compared to road bike and has helped my skiing a lot. STRENGTH is huge. I cannot state that enough. You control the bumps - not other way around.

keep at it - no end to improving if you are motivated!

Edited: learning on straight skis give me a different view of current gear I think. After trials with shaped skis the ski for 97% of my days are slalom race skis (currently volkls). I love how they pop and can carve on a dime - I have mid fats and they get tossed aside as soon as bumps form.
 
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