any respectable ski school should not be able to tell you with accuracy what your lesson will consist of because a lesson is a dynamic, individual thing and many questions about what you will do and how you will do it can not be answered until your instructor has had a chance to examine your individual strengths and weaknesses and has crafted a progression to get you to where you want to be. in my experience, no two private lessons are the same so calling her a robot seems a little harsh.
you seem to be looking to improve in 4 distinct areas: steeps; trees; moguls; and drops. while there are undoubtedly skills which will overlap these areas of learning, they are quite distinct. if your full day lesson is 6 hours of learning, then you are talking about devoting 90 minutes to each of these issues? you may disagree but i think that expecting to see a decent improvement in your mogul riding in only 90 minutes is a little unrealistic. i think you are trying to cram too much into your day but, as ever, ymmv.
i work at a ski school in tahoe and our full-day private is $575. it's hardly insanely expensive as we routinely sell out of private coaches and, especially during busy periods, we have instructors whose schedules are booked weeks, if not months, in advance.
as with anything you buy - goods or services - it's silly to complain about the cost without considering the associated benefits. look at the value not the cost. if cost is a factor, consider taking a group lesson but bear in mind that in a group lesson, you may be receiving as little at 15% or 20% of the instructor's attention (depending on how many people share your group lesson). in a private lesson you will be receiving 100% of the instructor's attention.
finally, it's likely that, at a quality school like telluride, you will be taught by an aasi-certified instructor. i have been to mountains and experienced lessons where instructors were non-cert and, while they could certainly ride, appeared to have no idea how to teach a lesson, create a progression, analyse movement, etc.
again, as with most things in life, you tend to get what you pay for...
Last edited by alasdairm; 01-31-2010 at 04:18 AM.