Getting The Most Out Of Your Ski Or Snowboard Lesson
Loon Mountain’s Rob Bevier, whose experience includes over 20 years as a PSIA examiner, says going in to your lesson with clear and realistic goals is key to making the most of your investment in a lesson with a pro.
“I always suggest to a student, whether it’s an adult or a child, to have that realistic goal in mind and express that with the instructor,” Bevier told SnoCountry.com.
Having a sense of what you’re trying to work towards helps the instructor tailor information that fits your needs. “They may want a quick dust-up - 'tell me what I’m doing wrong from last year.' Or they may say, 'I’m really scared of steeper terrain that’s icy and I have to get over this fear,'” Bevier told us.
Those goals also play into the decision as to whether you should have a group lesson or a private.
A group of friends that are all the same level would be the ideal candidates for a group lesson. “That’s a really neat opportunity to be able to have an instructor work with a bunch of your friends, a very social piece of it, and it’s a great value as well,” Bevier suggested
Some people want a private lesson to get more a personalized experience and attention. Bevier said the benefit of the private lesson is having that coach, for as long as you need them - it could be one hour or it could be a full day. “If you want an intensive piece, its a little more expensive, but then you can genuinely dictate the day and what you want to happen.”
In addition to working on specific skills, an instructor can provide insider knowledge on where to go and when to find optimal conditions on the mountain, such as the best time of day to hit a favorite trail or where to find a fun tree run to try out.
“Everyone wants to be a local. Those coaches are locals. They’ll dole out that cool information. Want to go to a cool bar? This is the place to go. Oh, you’re looking for the best burger place - this is my favorite. That’s part of what a coach does,” Bevier told us.
Bevier also suggests giving the school a call ahead of time to help you find just the right instructor for your needs. The call center will either know just what you’re looking for, or will do some research to find you an instructor to meet your needs.
Loon’s First Class Beginner’s Weekend program, which has given skiers a quick start to the sport since 2015, is now open to aspiring snowboarders.
Snowboarders who take part in First Class are treated to an immersive weekend-long learning experience that includes daily lessons, lift tickets, a slopeside learning lounge, and their own new Burton snowboard, plus boots and bindings. Skiers who sign up for the program will take home a new pair of HEAD skis, as well as bindings and boots.
The value of the two-day program that includes several meals, lessons, and gear for the keeping is worth much more than its $439 price tag. Brevier says the very successful program offers low student-to-instructor ratios and a chance to become a lifelong skier or rider. “We are finding graduates of the program are bringing their friends and their families to us. And those people are all buying season passes because of the great experience they’ve had. It’s delightful.”