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Discussion Starter #1
I have never been snowboarding. Last time I was on snow was about 15 years ago and that was the first time I had been on ski's.

My family and I are headed to Winter Park in a few weeks and my younger brother (who has been a few times these last few years) has convinced me to try snowboarding this time. Obviously lessons will need to be taken.

I plan on taking the beginners lesson the first day on the slopes. My question regards taking a second lesson. Should I take a second lesson on my second day of being on the mountain, or would it be more prudent to take the first lesson, use the second day to continue practicing and then take another lesson the third day? or should I forgo the second lesson all together?

As a first time boarder, what reasonable expectations should I have the first time out? We will be on the mountain for 5 days. I have watched quite a few how-to videos online to try to get a feel for the basics and hope that it will help me pick up the sport quicker.

Last thing: I recently (within last 1.5 months) started back at the gym. In preparation of the trip, is there any specific exercises that I should be doing so I'm not sore and in pain after my first day on a board?

Thank you all in advance!
 

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Depends if you're talking private lessons or group lessons. Private lessons are never a waste of time. The instructor will determine your level and work from there. Group lessons, meh. They have beginner, intermediate, advanced, and you won't necessarily fit into any of them.

If you have the bucks, get a group lesson on the first day to get the basics (you benefit a lot from watching what the other students are doing wrong) and a private lesson on the second day.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Unfortunately, private lessons will not be an option this time around. So if we are talking just group lessons, just stick with the beginner's lesson and learn from everyone's mistakes and then use the rest of the week to get a good handle on techniques? Maybe even wait and do an intermediate group lesson on the third or even fourth day depending on progression?
Liftopia.com has a good deal for the lesson/lift ticket that I want to get before they are unavailable, so I am trying to decide what days to buy the lessons for.
 

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Land of the Potato
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If you time it right you might be able to get a lesson with very few people in it. I have had friends do that many times and they end up getting a private lesson for the group lesson price. But if its a group lesson I would say just take the lesson the first day and then just have fun, play around and work on what you learned the second day
 

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get a group lesson, chum it up with the instructor, and see if he can give you a private lesson on the side for cheap during their off-hours (i believe they get a 2 hour break between morning and afternoon lessons). they'll most likely hook you up since they make crap and they'll do it for cheaper since 100% of the money is going to them. though it'll look mighty suspicious if management sees an instructor teaching someone how to heel/toe side during their downtime, assuming he's still wearing his jacket haha.

anyway, it's painful for the first few days. i'd say if you can confidently carve down a green run and/or just survive a run down a blue with decent time and minimal falls by the time your stay is over you should be in very good shape.
 

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Take a lesson & see how far you progress after the 1st one. If you feel comfortable side slipping or linking turns & getting down greens, I'd say work on what you learned the next day or 2. If you don't feel comfortable side slipping on both heel & toe edges after the 1st lesson, consider taking another the next day. I've taken 1 group lesson (that ended up being with only 1 other person) & found I progressed significantly after. Often times group lessons, especially during the week, tend to be limited to 4 people and end up with less in the lesson - at least from what I've seen on the mountain & what an instructor friend told me
 

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Looking at the winter park website and they are pretty expensive, in my opinion a 1.5 or two hour private lesson is better and you will get more out of it then a full day group lesson. Looks like they have something called a Max/4 lesson where the group will have no more than 4 people maximum.

Look thru all of snowolfs videos and checkout www.snoprofessor.com also before you go.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I appreciate all the advice. I have a little over one more week of waiting... I just hope theres some snow left on the ground when we get there!

For the last month or so, I have been watching videos (including yours, Snowolf) in order to get a better understanding of the mechanics. Of course, I can watch videos all day, but there is no substitute for actually being out there on the snow. I have the first lesson booked (cheaper through Liftopia) for the first day I will be there. I will see how it goes the next day or so, and if need be will take a second lesson a day or so before we leave. I looked at the MAX-4 lessons but they are $50 more than the group and are only for a few hours vs. all day.
 

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As someone who also just started snowboarding this year, get a group beginner lesson first thing in the morning. Make sure you take a break after 2 hrs on the hill to let your mind process what you're trying to learn and to give your legs a break. That first day you are really fighting the board down the mountain and it's exhausting.

Also, wear wrist guards. You probably won't need them, but you'll hate yourself if you break a wrist and weren't wearing them.

If you can do the below after day 1, don't take another lesson.
1. Heal side and Toe side falling leaf on the bunny hill
2. Heal side and Toe side skidded J turns on the bunny hill
3. Linked skidded turns down a green run in control

For me, I was comfortable on my heal side after my first 1hr lesson on night one (2.5 hrs on hill), but was still really struggling with my toe side. Because of that I took another lesson to iron that out. Once I could add the toe side J-turn, linking turns together is no problem. As background I've skied for 10 years. Toe-side with your back to the fall line was incredibly unnatural.

Once you're ready for the intermediate level, take a private lesson! Well worth your money to fix technique, learn to carve, learn down unweight turns, and start dynamic turns. Sabrina at Killington did all of that for me in 1 hour of a private lesson.
 

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Just hucking my $0.02 into the bucket here.

When I started I was 11, took a lesson every day for 3 days and I don't think I've had one since. It was a deal I got with school, bus, lift ticket, rental and lesson for $40 a day or something!?! :D

Anyway, fast forward 17 years and I got my GF into it a few seasons ago. Some hills have a combo where you get a beginner lift ticket, rental, and lesson for a really good price ($30-$90 depending on the resort). If they have this combo take advantage of it, because the full mountain lift ticket will be useless to you for the first day or two anyway.

So the GF did that combo for her first two days out. The lessons are very basic but you get all the practice time you need to start to feel the board under you. Since then she's taken a lesson every approx. 10 days on the slopes. She's been lucky enough to sign up for a 3 hr group lesson in her category (they're rated 1-5 our here) and get a fully private lesson for the same price! Think it was $75 or so with tax for those lessons...

But yeah, good luck and have fun! It's a great sport but day one will involve sore knees, ass and wrists... That's just the price of admission cause it quickly gets better from there. The learning curve is quite steep for the first few days and then generally speaking you'll be comfortable enough to explore all over the hill, heel sliding out of situations you're not comfortable with.
 

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Learn HOW to fall... SERIOUSLY! I wish someone told me how to do it right the first day... my wrists would be much happier. Needless to say, just like another poster mentioned, I highly recommend wrist guards. If you don't have them, get thick gloves and do one of two things... 1.) Use your elbow instead of your wrists to cushion the fall or 2.) Punch the ground like you're doing close-fisted push-ups. Whichever you use will depend on the angle of your fall. It's important to do this not just to protect your wrists, but also you're noggin. My wife started the same day I did and got a minor concussion because she didn't fall properly after a heelside slip.

From your post, I suspect you're a full grown adult. Full grown adults don't fall nearly as nicely as small children. Your center of gravity is higher, which means your falls are harder. Unless you're consistently falling in soft powder, expect a lot of pain the next day due mostly to the falling and not the snowboarding itself. Once you get better, your lower body will start hurting more than your upper body. :)

That's a reason why I wouldn't recommend a lesson on the second day. If you put a full day on hardpack/ice like we did on the first day, a lesson on the second day would have probably been torture.
 

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I took a group lesson my 2nd time snowboarding (took it up this season) my first time was just an hour on the bunny slope trying to stand up (We arrived late just before closing) etc. so doesn't really count. I found the lesson good for showing the basics, but due to having a very slow learner in the group (it was a group of 3) and very bad teaching conditions (blizzard basically so hard to hear/see instruction) I didn't get much out of it and it kind of put me off lessons, so the next 3 or 4 times I went I just practiced myself and was able to get down greens okay etc. but I knew my technique wasn't great and I was more in survival mood (get down by any means) than getting down in a fast and nice looking fashion. I was still having a blast though. After I kind of hit my wall of how far I could get without further instruction I took 3 more lessons (2 Full day, and 1 Half Day). They were technically group lessons but I never had more than 3 people and had one or two private ones (good odds of not having more than 1 or 2 others or even by yourself on a weekday once you are not in the very beginner lesson) with a great instructor so I learnt a LOT and had a ton of fun.

Now I can go out by myself and have a lot of fun and work on improving but the lessons were essential to me getting to that stage. If nothing else it was good motivation and a good confidence builder and really good fun, you get to see the mountain in a safe way (No wrong turns down blacks, well not too many anyways :laugh:) and if you're lucky enough to get a combination of a good instructor, a small group and other people of similar ability it really is the best way to learn how to snowboard.

I guess my advice to you would be to use the lessons to get to a level where you feel comfortable enough to practice on the bunny hill/mild green and assured of the basics of technique. My main stumbling block with snowboarding was not being confident enough in my technique to really go for it on greens/blues, if you take the time to practice and ask the right questions in the lessons you will grow in confidence quickly and really enjoy your time on the slopes.

Oh and ditto on the learning how to fall, my first time out I sprained both my wrists, bruised my tail-bone and ribs and generally came out black and blue. Conditions had a lot to do with this, it was a sheet of ice and I was just messing around by myself, but I can see how a lot of people pack it in after their first time if they get enough bad falls, once I learnt how to minimise the pain by falling properly (at least until I started going a bit faster/trying little jumps etc.) I started to really enjoy it!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Just wantedto thank everyone for the advice. I am currently up in the mountains and today marked my third day on the slopes.

Conditions for Colorado have been horrendous this year so I wasn't expecting much and sure enough when we arrived. I took the beginning level full day group lesson on the first day and was fortunate enough to have only 3 others in my group. We stayed on the bunny hill all day, practicing heel side before lunch and toe side afterward. Needless to say, it was a learning experience. I fell getting off the lift the first time :laugh: and the icy patches all over the hill contributed to some tailbone and shouderblade soreness. But at the end of the day, I felt that I had progressed quite a bit to be able to go down without falling!

My second day I decided to go it alone and try my luck on some greens. I spent the next few hours busting my ass and being thankful that I had went into town and bought knee pads the day before! While i was able to traverse across the mountain,I really had no control in my turns and found myself untangling myself from the netting at the side of the trails on more than one occasion. I met up with my brother later that day and tried again but with the same result. I had no confidence being able to stop and be able to dodge the people around me. (if someone were close, i would usually wipe out :laugh:) After taking a nasty fall and straining my neck, I decided to call it early and left to nurse my injuries... I wasn't sure if i would be on the mountain again the next day.

But i did, and the third day I took the second full day group lesson which was "Introductions to Turns". I was very fortunate to have only 1 other person in my group and the more individual attention was great. The instructor critiqued my form and offered plenty of advice (such as keeping the hips facing up the hill for more control and getting low to initiate turns and then straightening up to pull weight off the board to help transition) We did all the green runs I had tried the day before and the results were night and day... there were still a couple falls but less and less. I was switching from heel side to toe side on every traverse and the increased control I had in the turns and in being able to stop was amazing! By the end of the day, we were going down the greens confidently and even went down a couple easy blues without falls. It was slushy out there, but i had an amazing time out there on the slopes.

I'm still debating on the next step... if I did another lesson it would be to learn how to carve but part of me just wants to see if I can replicate what i did that third day by going up solo. Regardless, I think I'm hooked... can't wait to try to plan another trip:D
 
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