Getting the most out of ski school.


by Wendy Clinch



I recently spent a week in Taos. It was great for two reasons: First, it was our annual Ski Diva gathering, a/k/a Diva West, and that’s always a blast. And second, it coincided with the resort’s Women’s Ski Week, a 6-day mornings-only clinic just for us girls.

A friend of mine (who doesn’t ski) was shocked when she found out I was taking lessons. “Don’t you already know how to ski?” she asked.

Well, yes, I do. But as they say, there’s always room for improvement. I’m a fairly decent skier, but I’m certainly not the best. And therein lies the rub. Because, you see, I aspire to greatness.

Okay, maybe not greatness; I’ll never get there. But I’d certainly like to be better than I am. Lessons can provide you with the tools you need to get to the next level. I’d like to ski more difficult terrain more comfortably, with greater skill and style. And lessons can help me do that.

I asked the instructors on how to get the most from a lesson and ended up with some great tips:

• Tell the instructor your goals. Want to work on steeps? Moguls? Need help with carving? Let your instructor know.

• Everyone learns differently. Some respond better to explanations, some to visual cues. Me, I’m a visual learner. I learn much better by being shown something, then doing my best to imitate the action. Let your instructor know what works best for you.

• If you don’t understand something, say so. What point is a lesson if you don’t know what’s going on?

• If you’re in a group lesson, pay attention to what the instructor is telling the other students. Even if you don’t have the same problem, you’ll probably learn something.

The magnificence of Taos.

• Be willing to drop down to a lower group or an easier run if that’s needed. Leave your ego in the lodge.

• Limit cell phone usage to emergencies only. It’s disruptive to the entire class, and is disrespectful to the instructor.

• Too cold? Need a bathroom break? Again, let the instructor know. You can’t enjoy the lesson if you’re focusing on your bladder or your cold, cold hands.

• Understand that any skill takes time and practice. Your skiing  may not be entirely transformed in the time you spend with an instructor. Good skiing demands patience and above all, practice, so keep that in mind.

One more thing: if you’ve had a lesson, show some appreciation. Instructors don’t make a ton of money, so please, give them a tip. Also, leave  feedback at the ski school desk. Not only is this helpful to future students, but it’s helpful to the instructors as well.



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