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Thread: Do intermediate-level group lessons universally suck? Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
03-12-2013 01:45 AM
unsunken Granted this was 10 years ago (holy smokes time flies), but when my friend and I signed up for intermediate group lessons at Killington, we were the only ones. This happened to us on 3 different occasions, the only times we signed up for intermediate lessons. There were more folks in the group that went to the park, and there were more beginner intermediate folks, but our group was just us *shrug*.
03-11-2013 04:40 PM
Magnum626 I recently took a group Intermediate lesson at Heavenly last week. It was just me and one other student. The other student picked it up quickly and was riding down blues linking turns on her 4th day. Funny thing is she was from Florida and it was really her 4th day seeing snow on a mountain.

I was lucky enough that there was just two of us and the other instructor was able to give me some more specific exercises to do while he spoke to the other student. I believe heavenly's intermediate is able to link turns and able to ride green/blue. The advanced class is blue/green. His goal was to have us doing 180s by the end of the half day session. Unfortunately my legs didn't make it to the end of the 2.5 hour session. I was riding powder after the big storm the day before and my legs just didn't wanna agree with me for the afternoon session.

I believe Kirkwood splits up their intermediate in levels 2-4 which are comfortable linking turns and on green runs and 5-6 are blue runs who are looking to get more dynamic and into park.

I would try getting in a small class or just shell out the cash for a private lesson to get the most 1:1 instruction. Also ask around on who people would recommend if that's possible.
02-18-2013 06:19 AM
Basti My suggestion would be to ask someone at the school when the least people are booked for a group lesson. I did that in Whistler and booked a one day group lesson for my girlfriend which ended up being a private lesson for the price of a group lesson. Chances for that are better during the week, of course.
02-17-2013 08:07 PM
Katgray Thanks for all your feedback! I think I'll try and save up for a private lesson. It will be a lot more money, but hopefully worth it.
02-17-2013 06:03 PM
Kauila What I was asking about was something like this, but maybe standardized by AASI/CASI. This chart was taken from Northstar--it says "child" but maybe also applies to adults?--which I take with a grain of salt as it seems IMHO that Northstar tends to inflate ability because they're all about the feel-good experience.

Snowboard Levels

0 - Does not participate in this sport.

Your child has never snowboarded before.
GOAL: Sideslip with direction change on the heel side or toe side.

Your child has snowboarded once or twice and can sideslip on toe side or heel side.
GOAL: Beginning falling leaf.

Your child can perform a falling leaf in both directions.
GOAL: To make basic toe and heel side turns.

Your child can turn in both directions with confidence and speed control.
GOAL: To make various sizes of turns on Blue runs.

Your child can link turns with less skidding and increased speed.
GOAL: Improve confidence on Blue runs and/or beginning jumps/tricks.

Your child is confident on intermediate terrain and is linking turns consistently with precision.
GOAL: Work on varying the radius of turns on Blue runs in preparation for moving to Black runs and/or improved confidence with jumps/tricks.

Your child can ride all Blue runs, some groomed Black runs and feel confident on smaller jumps.
GOAL: Feel more confident on Black runs and on varied terrain. Possible introduction to half pipe, parks, and/or learn some basic air maneuvers.

Your child snowboards Black runs but has difficulty riding them consistently with style and rhythm. Can do basic tricks and ride the half-pipe.
GOAL: To ride comfortably in terrain parks, on difficult terrain features and all mountain riding.

Your child enjoys the challenges of an all mountain experience and terrain.
GOAL: To efficiently ride bumps, powder, steeps and terrain by learning to adapt to all situations and conditions.
02-17-2013 05:40 PM
GOskiLF_bum correct...and it would be difficult to have each student fill out forms that ask can you complete dynamic skidded turns when a typical rider has no clue what dynamic means. which is why each resort comes up w/ a simple version of beginner, inter and advanced rider by basic guidelines when determining the respective student's abilities.
02-17-2013 05:32 PM
BigmountainVMD The above guidelines apply to AASI/CASI instructors seeking instructor certification and do not apply to students seeking instruction. You have to be able to do each thing listed to get the level I/II/III certification.
02-17-2013 04:52 PM
GOskiLF_bum Here's AASI's standards for riding capabilities for the central division:

At a minimum, the successful Level I Rider will be able to perform:
- One-footed maneuvers including skating, straight glide, toe-side turns, and heel-side turns in the beginner area.
- Garlands
- Falling leaf exercises
- Basic, medium-radius turns on green trails.
- Switch, Basic medium-radius turns on green trails.
- Dynamic skidded, medium-radius, turns on blue trails.
- Carved, large-radius turns on green trails.
- Basic freestyle elements, including straight airs over small natural or man-made features, ollies, and flatland 180s and 360s.
- On transitional freestyle elements including halfpipes, quarterpipes, steeper spine / hip jumps or similar natural terrain, demonstrate the ability to make an edge change with the turn apex at the top of the transition zone.

At a minimum, the Level II rider will be able to perform:
- Basic, medium-radius turns on green trails
- Dynamic skidded, short- and medium-radius turns on black terrain
- Switch dynamic skidded short- and medium-radius turns on blue terrain
- Skidded, short-radius turns in blue bumps
- Skidded, medium-radius skidded turns on off-piste black terrain
- Carved, large-radius turns on green trails
- Dynamic carved, medium-radius turns on blue trails
- Switch, carved long-radius turns on green trails
- Freestyle elements, including straight airs with a grab over small, man-made features, 180 airs, 50/50 over small boxes and rails, flatland 180s and 360s, and nose and tail rolls
- On transitional freestyle elements including halfpipes, quarterpipes, steeper spine/hip jumps or similar natural terrain, demonstrate ability to ride above the transition zone into the more vertical zone of the feature consistently, both toe-side and heel-side, making an edge change with the turn apex at the more vertical zone.

At a minimum, the level III rider will be able to perform:
- Dynamic skidded, short- and medium-radius turns on black terrain
- Switch dynamic skidded short- and medium-radius turns on black terrain
- Skidded, short-radius turns in black bumps
- Carved, large-radius turns on green trails
- Dynamic carved, medium-radius turns on blue trails
- Toe-to-toe side-carved, medium-radius turns on blue trails
- Carved, medium and long-radius carved turns in bumps and black terrain
- Freestyle elements, including jumps with a grab or spin over small, man-made features, 180 airs, 360 airs, 50/50s on a rail with a ―gap‖ entry, and board-slides on a box.
- On transitional freestyle elements, including halfpipes, quarterpipes, steeper spine/hip jumps or similar natural terrain, demonstrate air at or above the lip, on both the toeside and heelside.
02-17-2013 04:20 PM
Kauila Do AASI/CASI have a standard set of riding ability levels that one can reference when describing their own skill level to an instructor for a lesson? Seems like it would be more accurate measure of ability than just saying "intermediate" or "I can ride all blues and some blacks". I've seen some resorts that use some version of a numbered scale, but not all; is there a reason why some resorts don't use this type of scale?

Argo, I suspect that you're grading yourself on a curve (compared to the others you ride with) by calling yourself intermediate. Like you said, people who categorize themselves as intermediate would probably categorize you as advanced, and pros or pro-level riding as expert. That's why I think having a standard point of reference (and I'm not talking about you specifically, but just for people in general) is a better way to communicate skill level to an instructor.

Anyway, to the OP, intermediate group lessons are a crapshoot for many reasons. Better to take a private group or private lesson so you're sure that skills that you want to work on are addressed in the lesson.
02-17-2013 12:49 PM
Argo I consider myself intermediate and a lot of instructors can't keep up with me on multiple types of terrain from blue to black runs... I may be advanced in a lot of people's eyes but I will never call myself that until I can ride with the best of the best(not pros but other advanced riders). There is a wide range of intermediate riders. Honestly I would go with a private group lesson and split the private cost with a couple of equal level riders in my group.

I would expect whistler to be similar to vail in that they will have some excellent instructors that teach a lot of private lessons and only occasionally get a general
Group lesson, all the others are just some tool instructors brought in for beginner lessons and finally trying here hand at higher level classes.
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