Ski Tripper

For all that’s going on at Lake Tahoe

Ski School Is Cool

I’ve taken my share of lessons since I started skiing a year ago. Even the best skiers find it helpful to take lessons, because there’s always something new to learn. At Kirkwood, I signed up for a semi-private lesson with an instructor named Jim. I wanted to work on carving larger turns down the mountain and to build my confidence so I could tackle more black runs. Here’s some of what I learned:

* When getting off the lift, look the direction that you want to go. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your skis turn left or right.

* Do “the bicycle.” Point in what direction you want to go (but never across your body). This works especially well in narrow areas where you want to make several small turns.

* Always keep your uphill hand higher.

* Keep your chin up and eyes down the mountain. I knew this already, but Jim repeatedly caught me glancing down at the snow and my skis.

* Curl the big toe under in your downhill boot to apply additional pressure to the ski.

You can choose from two kinds of lessons: group and private. During group lessons, you’ll be lumped in with others of a similar ability level. Private lessons enable the instructor to focus solely on you and, since he or she knows the mountain well, the instructor can take you to hidden parts of the resort. Private lessons are costly, but you can often add a friend or family member for only a few bucks extra and still feel like you’re receiving one-on-one attention.

Given that lessons are expensive, you can do a few things to get the most out of the experience:

* If you’re in a group lesson, watch the other skiers to see what they’re doing right and wrong. Likely, you’re making many of the same mistakes (or if you get lazy, you are apt to slip into them).

* Write down what you’ve learned. Sitting down with a pen and paper afterward helps you to recall everything you learned. It’s particularly helpful to review these notes if weeks pass before you ski again.

* Practice, practice, practice. In order to learn a new ski technique, you must practice over and over again to lock it into your muscle memory.

The Bay Area Ski Bus offers Beginning Ski or Snowboard Packages that include a beginner’s lift ticket, rental and lesson and cost only $25 to $45 extra. On Friday, Jan. 9, the bus is going to Sierra at Tahoe, where I took my first lesson on the bunny slope taught by an excellent instructor.

Through Jan. 16, Kirkwood is offering a $16 discount on its group lessons (visit to print out the coupon).

All of this should help you have a safe and enjoyable time on the slopes.


January 6, 2009 - Posted by | Tips & Advice | , , , , ,

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