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Old 01-17-2012, 03:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default What is the best way to find an instructor?

I took my first snowboarding lesson a few weeks ago during a visit to Colorado, and had no idea what I was doing or that I would even like snowboarding. I just signed up for private lessons at Eldora, and was paired up with a really great instructor. I fell completely in love with snowboarding, and I want to continue to learn and improve as much as possible. Now that I'm back home (DC/Northern VA area) I'd love to take lessons again. I went to a local hill a few days ago and practiced what I learned so far, but I think I'd like to take another lesson or two, or however many I need. Is that the best way to go about doing it - to just sign up for lessons at a local resort and let them pair me up with someone? Is there a process that goes into pairing up a student with an instructor, or is it random? Does it matter where I take the lessons? (Meaning, is there any other thought I need to put into it?) Thanks in advance for any advice!
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Old 01-17-2012, 03:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hey there, welcome! I don't know of any way to pick an instructor and I don't think you have to put a whole lot of thought into it. Although, if you name a few resorts here, perhaps people on this forum have some friends/instructors that they can recommend. Maybe you can call into the resort with a name and make a request or get the person's schedule. But as far as I know, it's hit or miss with instructors.

I think it's pointless to take the beginner's group lesson again unless you feel like you need to rehash on the basic lesson. If you remember the lesson, just practice those things on the bunny slopes until you're more comfortable with the basic skills.

Once you've made some progress, it might be good to take a private lesson. Private lessons are much more efficient, and the instructor provides more useful feedback. Sometimes, group lessons can feel like you're just being herded down the bunny slopes, but private lessons can be a lot more constructive.
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Old 01-17-2012, 04:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think most people around head towards the group of whitetail, liberty and roundtop. I took lessons at roundtop last year and my wife took one there this year. The instructors we worked with were good. I don't recall their names. If you sign up for a group lesson they will come out based on their schedule, but we haven't heard anything bad about the instructors at any of the three mountains.

One benefit to going there is that they have learn to ski/board days where it is $39 for the day including lift ticket, gear and the lesson. At the end of it you can typically buy an advantage card for like $45 which will give you discounts of 40% on lift tickets the rest of the year as well as your next trip free. That next trip includes the same lesson package. You will be able to take lessons any time you want the rest of the year as well. It is a pretty good deal and is worth it in my opinion. The card is good at all three mountains as well.

Welcome to snowboarding and I hope you have a blast.
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Old 01-17-2012, 04:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Find someone who's been taught by them and ask of the experience. If that student happens to be similar to you in style/learning methods, then it might be a good fit. Word of mouth is best, I find.


I'd love to get instruction from snowolf, since having read so many of his tips, I already have a better sense of his teaching style and intentions. Too bad he's on the other side of the country.

SnowboardAddiction is a good one too, if you're good as self-learning.
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Old 01-17-2012, 04:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
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take as many lessons as you feel you need
when i learned i took 3 lessons in a month - saturday lesson, sunday practice repeat 3xs
it also helps if you know what you need to work on and can communicate this to your instructor
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Old 01-17-2012, 04:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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If you go to Snowshoe we had an instructor named Stevie G and he was really good at teaching.

I would take lessons until you feel they are no longer helping.

This will be our fifth time taking lessons and we will continue

Last edited by Rider161; 01-17-2012 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 01-17-2012, 04:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks so much everyone! This is a huge help. I totally agree about the private lesson vs. group classes. I started out with a private lesson and will continue with those. Glad to know there's nothing wrong with taking lessons over and over! I have a bunch of trips planned over the next few weeks, and I'll just take lessons each time. I went to Whitetail this past weekend without taking a lesson, and just worked on toe-side falling leaf, which I think I have the hang of now. No heel-side yet, because my first time out I really bit it on the last run of the day and my tailbone STILL hurts a bit. Sigh! I'll report back on how it's going after my next lessons! Thanks again!
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Old 01-17-2012, 04:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I was an instructor last year and here is what I have from my experience.

If you go on a busy day (weekend, holiday), splurge on a private lesson because there can be tons of people taking beginner lessons. When you take a private, you SHOULD have the opportunity to request a specific instructor. If you can ask around (tickets, rentals, even the person who is helping you buy a lesson) they may give you a name or two... usually if you request a specific instructor, they will make more money (it will not cost you more) than if you are randomly paired for a lesson. DO THE INSTRUCTORS A FAVOR AND REQUEST ONE BY NAME. These people usually are required to be at the mountain from 8 to 3, but often only get paid for hours actually teaching. I spent many days with no lessons, only getting paid for a single hour. Just by you requesting them by name can be the difference between 9 dollars an hour and 25 dollars an hour (with no change in cost for you, the student.)

Another advantage to private lessons: building a relationship. Stick with someone you like and they will help you progress faster than a random instructor in a group lesson. Also, make sure to tip them after. Many people don't tip, because they are already bummed about how much the private lesson costs. But if you throw your instructor a 10 or 20, and ask him/her to take some extra runs with you after the lesson, they should hook you up. If I had nothing else to do, and my lesson just tipped me $20, you know damn well I'll be spending another hour with them honing their skills. If you get the vibe that the instructor is a newbie, this may not work but any veteran should get the idea. Snowboard instructors are pretty much like strippers... we'll do almost anything for some extra cash... take you slow, fast.. give you some extra time... spin... flip... show you the backside...

You can always take a look at the group lessons, but just make sure you get a look at how many people will be in the lesson by finding the meeting area and seeing how many people are waiting. If you are not riding during peak times, you can get away with taking a group lesson and most likely, there will be 2 or 3 other people in the class, which isn't a big deal.

I think that the most important time in your progress as a rider to take a private lessons is when you have reached a plateau (usually going from beginner to intermediate and intermediate to advanced). Once you learn how to turn, you have to get comfortable with where you are to get better. If you are not comfortable enough to push yourself to try new things, then a lesson will not benefit you a whole bunch. I would often have lessons that were at a certain point, but were not comfortable going faster, or making tighter turns, or tipping up on that edge to carve better. This makes it very difficult to progress. In other words, make sure you are READY to move on before you spend money on a private lesson. If you are TRYING to go faster but can't, or if you are TRYING to ride steeper trails but are having trouble THAT is the perfect time to take a lesson.

Final verdict: Take what you learned and apply it on the hill. Get comfortable to the point where you want to push yourself to do new things on a snowboard. Try some new things on the snowboard, steeper trails, tighter turns, etc. Identify where you are having issues (make a list of 3 or 4 things you really want to get better at). Request a private lesson from an instructor that you have heard about. I promise you will get much more out of that process than if you just sign up randomly. But hey, this is just if you are trying to save some moolah. If you have the cash, nothing is stopping you from getting a 6 hour private lesson.
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigmountainVMD View Post
If you go on a busy day (weekend, holiday), splurge on a private lesson because there can be tons of people taking beginner lessons. When you take a private, you SHOULD have the opportunity to request a specific instructor. If you can ask around (tickets, rentals, even the person who is helping you buy a lesson) they may give you a name or two... usually if you request a specific instructor, they will make more money (it will not cost you more) than if you are randomly paired for a lesson. DO THE INSTRUCTORS A FAVOR AND REQUEST ONE BY NAME. These people usually are required to be at the mountain from 8 to 3, but often only get paid for hours actually teaching. I spent many days with no lessons, only getting paid for a single hour. Just by you requesting them by name can be the difference between 9 dollars an hour and 25 dollars an hour (with no change in cost for you, the student.)
Interesting! I didn't know any of that. I'll see what happens when I go. I did know to tip though when I took my first lesson. I used to wait tables and I was a bartender, so I pretty much tip for everything!

Thanks so much for this advice! It's all really helpful.
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:45 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photobetty View Post
I took my first snowboarding lesson a few weeks ago during a visit to Colorado, and had no idea what I was doing or that I would even like snowboarding. I just signed up for private lessons at Eldora, and was paired up with a really great instructor. I fell completely in love with snowboarding, and I want to continue to learn and improve as much as possible. Now that I'm back home (DC/Northern VA area) I'd love to take lessons again. I went to a local hill a few days ago and practiced what I learned so far, but I think I'd like to take another lesson or two, or however many I need. Is that the best way to go about doing it - to just sign up for lessons at a local resort and let them pair me up with someone? Is there a process that goes into pairing up a student with an instructor, or is it random? Does it matter where I take the lessons? (Meaning, is there any other thought I need to put into it?) Thanks in advance for any advice!
The group lesson process typically doesn't allow for much selection of instructor. If lessons aren't very busy they will try to pair students to the requests they make but don't count on it. you can typically request gender, maturity, certification, amongst other requests if you don't know a particular instructor. Typically the higher up in level you reach the smaller group lessons tend to be.

Best option is to go with a private and request a certified instructor or veteran instructor. These instructors have but in the time and have the experience to help you succeed faster ("veteran" doesn't necessarily mean "old in age"). Once you have hit the level 4 stage, i.e. ability to connect toe and heelside turns on green terrain I would suggest to cutting down to half day lessons so that you get some mileage to work on what you have learned and just have fun without out one of us "watchers" paying attention to your every move.

There is always something new to learn or some tip to get more effecient or effective in our riding. On the snowboarding side of sliding disciplines this seems to be forgotten. Remember even pro riders typically have coaches.
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