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Private Lessons - Any Instructor Recommendations/Endorsements (New Hampshire)

timm

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Long time reader/first time caller.

I've gotten back into skiing after about 12 years away. When I left the sport I was an advanced and aggressive skier, comfortably skiing the whole mountain. Got back into it this year and although I never found myself having to go back to the wedge or anything, I am definitely a long way off from where I was. Right now I can comfortably ski any green or blue trail. How tight my form is...open to question. Although just getting out there has helped a lot, I definitely feel like some pro input would be a huge benefit to me.

I'm eager to get better and figure investing in some private lessons is the best way to go. Looking to do a few half days at least. However given the expense, I don't want to just pick a ski school/instructor blindly. So if anyone has any endorsements/recommendations of particular instructors/mountains (or negative experiences for that matter), I'd really appreciate the input. Wildcat, Black, and Cannon are where I have been going -- live in Boston so I'd like to stay in that general area (or distance anyways).

Thanks!
 

gmcunni

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i don't want to talk you out of your strategy but will offer my experience when i got back into skiing after a hiatus.

i opted for advanced group lessons at a large mountain, in my particular case Okemo. what i found was on multiple occasions was that i was the only student in the class and i ended up with basically a private 90 minute class for the cost of a group. it is not uncommon for advanced classes to be light on attendance as most advanced skiers don't think they need lessons :)

i didn't get to pick my instructor but i always got good advice, tips i still use today (literally today i was thinking about what 1 of those instructors told me several years ago)
 

timm

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Sounds like you got very lucky! Something I might consider though if I end up having to more or less randomly pick a place for lessons -- if the instructor is good can always schedule for subsequent lessons with them and if we don't mesh well, only spent half as much money finding that out. Ultimately though I think I'd still prefer a solid recommendation for someone to schedule 1 on 1 lessons with :)
 

ScottySkis

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My uncle took a lesson last year at Mountsnow, for a so called group on a Tuesday, and their wad 1 other person, he got some great advice.
 

timm

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Being as I'm a lousy flatlander, this will strictly be weekends, which means more potential for a crowd unfortunately. Still, another vote for a whole approach I didn't consider! Thanks,

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Angus

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For the last 3-4 years, I've kept wanting to get an all day private lesson - skiing steeps, bumps, tight lines, etc. I consider myself a pretty advanced skier. Given the idea some serious thought - I'm pretty cheap so this would be a big deal and based upon criteria I've established for myself, I'd go with Wildcat based solely on terrain. Cannon would be close behind; but this year, given all the negatives, I'd be hesitant. I don't know anything about either ski school. I've always figured I'd go to MRG if I ever pull the trigger. Good luck.
 

ScottySkis

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Being as I'm a lousy flatlander, this will strictly be weekends, which means more potential for a crowd unfortunately. Still, another vote for a whole approach I didn't consider! Thanks,

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If your close to Vermont Magic on the weekend probably not very crowed, and in the Catskills Plattekill has some awesome runs and never crowed.
 

RISkier

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It's not in your desired locations. Barb Marshall at Sugarbush, and I think she teaches out of Killington as well, is terrific and will wear you out. Kieth Renecle at Stowe is outstanding. If you do group lessens at off times you may get essentially privates. Who you get is going to be luck of the draw. At times we've had productive group lessons. We met Kieth in group lessons. But we've had some unproductive group lessons as well. And the more advanced you are the more the instructor matters, IMO. A relatively poor skier with good people skills can be very effective in teaching beginners the basics. But that person might not be so effective with more skilled skiers.
 

timm

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And the more advanced you are the more the instructor matters, IMO. A relatively poor skier with good people skills can be very effective in teaching beginners the basics. But that person might not be so effective with more skilled skiers.

Those are a bit far for me usually but if nothing else comes up maybe I'll try to make a long weekend of it. Nice to have some definitive names at least.
I think the quote above really nails why I am looking for specific recommendations.
 

RISkier

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Those are a bit far for me usually but if nothing else comes up maybe I'll try to make a long weekend of it. Nice to have some definitive names at least.
I think the quote above really nails why I am looking for specific recommendations.

I started skiing at 49. Lessons have been invaluable. My wife and I now find group lessons a complete crap shoot. You can get great instructors, or almost no constructive feedback. Privates are darn pricey and we won't buy them unless we're pretty sure the instructor is very good. If you buy one without knowing the specific instructor at least ask for a recently certified level III. Privates at Sugarbush are considerably cheaper than at Stowe. We just did a private with Barb Marshall at SB. She's really amazing. Don't go to her if you want someone to tell you what a great skier you are. We talked on the lift ride up. I said I didn't think I was transitioning from my R outside ski to the L as the outside ski. Within a few hundred yards of skiing she told me why and started working on drills. In 2 hours we worked on several drills in a wide range of terrain. Really impressed. Keith really transformed our skiing. I don't know of any specific folks in NH. But I've no doubt there are some very good ones.
 

Edd

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Good thread Timm. I was considering starting one recently for instructor recommendations in general. I could use a rec. in NH as well. I've tried doing weekday groups in the past hoping for a low turnout but I had no luck and it was a complete waste of time.

I remember a thread on Epicski about a pair of brothers who run a private instruction business and do it at Cannon, which is a good mountain for some advanced lessons IMO. However, I remember a private instruction for something like 5 hours was in the neighborhood of $600. Simply too expensive. I'll try to dig up the thread maybe.
 

timm

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$600, yikes. Much too rich for me. That's about double the going rate for private lessons most places.

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timm

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So last weekend I took the BSSC bus up to Jay and decided to bite the bullet and just schedule a private and hope for the best (without having a specific instructor in mind). I did a three hour and it was awesome and a great help. Scheduled it for 11:30 so it was nice to get a few runs under my legs before meeting up with the instructor and still have time afterwards for a few more runs on my own to work on applying the lesson. My instructor, Holly, was awesome and I strongly recommend her to anyone in my position looking for to take a lesson at Jay. She gave me a lot to work on/think about while also helping to build my confidence which is, I think, a big part of re-learning to do anything you were once pretty good at. For people in a similar situation she stressed strongly that when making appointments insist on a certified level 3 instructor, otherwise you may end up with an instructor who is skiing at your level rather than someone who can help you move up.

Planning to make a midweek trip up to a big mountain in March (to avoid school vacations) and try to do three days or so of consecutive lessons to help really nail some things down. I think my belief that a good private lesson accelerates the learning curve was definitely justified -- felt like I got further in that day with an expert pair of eyes on me than I would have in 2-3 on my own.
 

Edd

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Good to hear. 2 questions:

How much was the lesson?

Out of curiosity when you started what did you ask her to work on for techniques?
 

timm

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I didn't ask for anything specific to start the day. I suggested we start with one full run down and she follow and observe and then she could decide what I should be working on. This worked out beautifully. What we specifically worked on for me was mostly using my poles more effectively, especially on steeper terrain, and she notice a hitch in my turns to the left which we also worked on. The total effect when I was more consistently applying all the advice by the end of the day was to shave about a half second off my turn time.

Total for the half day was $225.
 
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