The Best Lesson You Ever Had

pushgears

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What was the best lesson (or clinic) that you ever had?
What was it about that day that makes it stand out?

For me, it was the opportunity to ski with Billy Kidd at Steamboat ~40 years ago. Billy emphasized hand positioning and to illustrate its importance, told stories of downhill racing from his professional career.
Skiing with an icon and gaining a valuable and timeless tip makes that day, despite the marginal conditions, stand out!
 

mister moose

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I was 4. My Dad gave us skis for Christmas. We skied straight down into a small ravine (Probably 6 vertical feet down and a run of 20-25 feet) and walked back up. About 30 times. Had a blast.
 

scott43

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An instructor friend taught me in 5 mins how to carve. Simple expert lesson. And it was free!
 

Wasatchman

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What was the best lesson (or clinic) that you ever had?
What was it about that day that makes it stand out?

For me, it was the opportunity to ski with Billy Kidd at Steamboat ~40 years ago. Billy emphasized hand positioning and to illustrate its importance, told stories of downhill racing from his professional career.
Skiing with an icon and gaining a valuable and timeless tip makes that day, despite the marginal conditions, stand out!
Oh, and that lesson was probably around $30!!! Anybody got a time machine?
 

parkrat

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Most fun lesson I ever had was an instructor took me down a double black on a powder day and had us hit some 15-20 ft. cliffs. I'm not sure how I made it down in one piece, but it was the best skiing day of my life.
 
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crgildart

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After years of back hills hiking with friends and a couple years of hockey about age 10 my parents got me a lift and lesson package at Buck Hill for Christmas and dropped me off there for my first day of lift served skiing. I was able to hack my way in to the intermediate group since I could already stop and turn both directions. Think it was the last day of the 5 the exchange student instructor, on the brown Rossi Rocs showed me how to turn over the top and down the backside of moguls. I was never afraid of bump runs thanks to that first positive experience with them.
 

dbostedo

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What was the best lesson (or clinic) that you ever had?
A 1-hour private where I finally felt like what it was like to ski without being in the backseat. I had been working on it, and taken lessons with 3 different instructors. They all made a difference and I was getting better, but I didn't have a "breakthrough" kind of feeling. Until that one. The difference maker, for me, was basically being told to try turns always having tension in the front of my ankle (always dorsiflexing, basically). I finally made some turns where I didn't feel like I was falling back, and felt in balance. All of the sudden, skiing felt less tiring and more effortless.

Second would be spending the day in Aspen with @Bob Barnes and being joined by @Pumba and @James later in the day.... tons of fun, and tons of new things I learned, including really feeling upper/lower separation for the first time (though I still suck at it... I'm getting better).
 

LiquidFeet

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A 1-hour private where I finally felt like what it was like to ski without being in the backseat. I had been working on it, and taken lessons with 3 different instructors. They all made a difference and I was getting better, but I didn't have a "breakthrough" kind of feeling. Until that one. The difference maker, for me, was basically being told to try turns always having tension in the front of my ankle (always dorsiflexing, basically). I finally made some turns where I didn't feel like I was falling back, and felt in balance. All of the sudden, skiing felt less tiring and more effortless.
,,,,
Funny how a small thing like that can have such a massive impact.
 

mdf

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My best lesson wasn't a formal lesson, but it was the day I learned to ski powder. I think it was 1983. I was on 200 cm straight skis. There was a huge New England blizzard forecast, so about a dozen of us pre-positioned overnight in the friend-of-a-friend's parent's 1 BR condo near Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire.

The next morning the only lift running was the tram because most of the employees couldn't get to work. We were nearly the only customers there.

We had only one person in our group who knew how to ski powder and 8 or 10 who wanted to learn. That saint compromised his powder day to teach us. As the morning progressed, more and more of us dropped out and went back to the lodge to wait for the groomers to arrive. But our amateur instructor stuck with us. I don't even remember what he told us, but eventually (after a couple hours of falling repeatedly) it clicked and the remaining two students suddenly could ski powder!

The three of us had a couple more glorious hours till we (with some competition from the groomers and a few late arrivals) skied everything out.
 

mdf

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My second best lesson was my first Jackson Hole Steep and Deep camp. Our instructor introduced us to modern ski technique without ever making us feel defensive about the way we were skiing. Rather than framing it as "you are doing it all wrong" (though we were), she presented it as "there is a new way to ski and I want to tell you about it." By the last day, another old guy and I (I was 50, he was in his early 60's) were telling each other "first, we have to unlearn how to ski."

It took several years for me to rebuild my skiing, but she got me headed in the right direction.
 

Heeler

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Years ago, when my wife said to me "When you say say you're going to be home at six, I expect you home by at the MOST six thirty!!!"
 

scott43

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My second best lesson was my first Jackson Hole Steep and Deep camp. Our instructor introduced us to modern ski technique without ever making us feel defensive about the way we were skiing. Rather than framing it as "you are doing it all wrong" (though we were), she presented it as "there is a new way to ski and I want to tell you about it." By the last day, another old guy and I (I was 50, he was in his early 60's) were telling each other "first, we have to unlearn how to ski."

It took several years for me to rebuild my skiing, but she got me headed in the right direction.
That's interesting. I try to apply this type of thing in my day to day work. Confrontation leads to defense which prevents learning. Lure them in with sugar and let them discover things on their own, thinking they figured it out on their own. It's a pretty cool thing when it works. I'm not a trainer or instructor, just trying to grow people..or maybe I am a trainer..mentor? Dunno.
 

BMC

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I have 3...maybe 4...

  1. 3 or so years ago in Hakuba I had a “private” 2 hour group lesson. “Private” because I was the only one who turned up. The instructor was a former British racer - and a very nice lady. We skied lap after lap of the Cosmo lift at Imori, basically 2 hours of non-stop short turns. It started a breakthrough in my skiing for which I’m forever thankful.
  2. A group lesson at Thredbo around 4 or 5 years ago. Just two in the lesson, but this lesson really embedded getting a more active inside ski. Thank you.
  3. Again a “private” group lesson in thredbo 5 or 6 years ago. An afternoon of just bumps. That was it. I could ski bumps but typically only skied them when I had to. this immersion experience really did step up my aptitude in bumps. They’re still not my favoured snow medium but I now can be more assertive than I once was.
  4. Another private group lesson this time in Hanozono Niseko with Michael. Just powder in some of the most joyous conditions I’ve experienced. It gave me the tools to lift my powder performance - thanks Michael.
 

noncrazycanuck

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my first day,
Spend a day making z jump turns in 6 " of freshly falling slush at Mt Seymour outside Vancouver.
Had just purchased a ski package with 200 cm skis, and planed on getting into the sport, in the rain, wet jeans, a snow caked sweater, icicle hair and sunglasses.
I actually thought I was doing ok. I was managing to make it down the blue I was on without falling by end of day but it also felt like very much like I had been kicked all day long.

Then meet an old guy on the chair ( my age now)
after first telling me how much he and his friends had been greatly amused watching me all day , suggested I come with him over to a groomed run and he would show me the basics.
I didn't even know groomed runs existed,
Skiing has always been easier since.
 

Erik Timmerman

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Interesting thread. I can see how if you swapped these lessons or "lessons" around between different posters they could go from best to worst which just shows that as an instructor you need to be able to read the audience. Alternatively you could say that the student should be ready to stretch and try to learn in different ways too.
 

graham418

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Last year, as part of a ski program, our group had a lesson where we laughed and joked all day. Our instructor told us funny stories and anecdotes from Interski. We played at skiing like different countries.
It was like we weren't being taught anything.
But at the end of the day, All our skiing had been changed. It was amazing
 

Guy in Shorts

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Longest lesson was the last seven months here in Pugski Ski School with still a month to go. Should be World Cup material by then.
 

fatbob

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Bumps with Moseley. Wan't really a lesson more a resort tour thing for guests but he took us on progressively tougher terrain as the group whittled down until we were repeat lapping West Face
 

motogreg

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My first lesson when I was in 7th grade, at Shawnee Mountain in PA. At night, maybe 34 degrees and freezing rain, "look where you want to go". We were all soaked to the bone, but still ranks as one of my best days ever. Changed my life forever.
 
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