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Discussion Starter #1
So it's my first winter in CO. I picked up a CO Pass, and inherited a snowboard and boots in my size from some other boating friends. I know how to ski, but have probably only gone a dozen times or so. So it's time to learn to snowboard. Any suggestions on where to take lessons? Think 2 1/2 day lessons will do it?
 

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2 1/2 days should be fine. There are usually good discounts for season pass holders. I like Breckenridge for beginers. Lots of terrain not too steep (wife's all time favorite resort).
 

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I wouldn't suggest committing to 2.5 days of lessons up front - some people take to it quicker than others, and lessons are expensive. I ski, but when I decided I wanted to learn to board a buddy of mine and I swapped equipment so he was learning to ski while I was learning to board. It worked. Watch other people, and get back up and try again when you fall...most athletic people are capabable of picking it up on their own...
 

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Oh, I wasn't planning on signing up for 2.5 days of lessons. I thought I'd do a 1/2 day to start out, just to make sure I get my basics down. Then, after an afternoon on my own, I'll try and get a feel for whether I need a second half day of lessons.
 

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I'll try and get a feel for whether I need a second half day of lessons.
One of downfalls of the American skiier is the notion that after the first lesson, one never needs another and that as long as you can get down a run without falling, you're doing well enough. Believe me, if you've got the resources for it, take that half day, then go out and ride a couple of days to incorporate what you've learned, then do another half day to refine what you've been doing and learn the technique to move up the to next step, and so on. The steep part of the learning curve will go a lot smoother and quicker if you're getting regular course-corrections on your technique along the way and keeping the junk from accumulating and becoming part of your style.

My own experience was to take a occasional lessons during my first season (they were free with the place I worked), then I spent 3 more years getting in about 100+ days each and with no lessons. By my 4th season I thought I knew how to ski because I could keep up (barely) with the freestyle bumpslappers, and make it down anything without falling. On the other hand my technique was crap and I worked a lot harder than I needed to, still couldn't hold an edge very well on hardpack, and I felt like I'd been beat to shit after a day of skiing hard. During my 5th season, one of my ski buddies was an instructor who basically told me to forget everything I knew about skiing and then helped me rebuild my technique from the fundamentals up. This opened up a whole world to me and vastly improved my abilities on all types of conditions.

That 5th season was in the Alps where I was amazed to see British "holiday skiiers" who got in a couple of weeks skiing each year but were ripping it up on expert runs. Their secret was that during each year's 2-week vacation, they'd spend the first week in lessons. Back in the States their American counterparts with just as many ski days during their respective skiing careers were hurtling down blue runs out of control or doing the "snowplowing statue" zigzagging down the hill - they'd "took a lesson and didn't need no more."

Don't repeat my mistake - learn it right the first time. Take lessons frequently during your first season, and then occasionally for refreshing and improving your technique once you've moved past your beginning season.

As for where to go, it doesn't matter much. Get the lesson wherever you can get the most for the $$. If they've got a pre-pay package plan, go for it. It doesn't matter which hill - with the exception of A-Basin, they've all got enough good, mellow beginner terrain for you to have continuous runs that you can learn on. A-Basin's terrain goes straight from Checkerboard Flats to runs that would be considered intermediate at any other ski area. Maybe someone knows the area better than I but that's my impression.

And have fun,

-AH
 

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"snowplowing statue"

That cracked me up!!! My uncle is a perma-snowplowing statue, won't take lessons.

Thanks Andy
 

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So it's my first winter in CO. I picked up a CO Pass, and inherited a snowboard and boots in my size from some other boating friends. I know how to ski, but have probably only gone a dozen times or so. So it's time to learn to snowboard. Any suggestions on where to take lessons? Think 2 1/2 day lessons will do it?
how are you on your skiis...i jumped right on to a board with no problems...its the same thing really just your sideways on it...catching an edge is a bit more serious too...on a board the learning curve seems to happen faster for people...if you make it through your first cupple days youll get it fast...just go often and never forget to push yourself at least once a day...

have fun...think snow
 

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Back in the States their American counterparts with just as many ski days during their respective skiing careers were hurtling down blue runs out of control or doing the "snowplowing statue" zigzagging down the hill - they'd "took a lesson and didn't need no more."

Don't repeat my mistake - learn it right the first time. Take lessons frequently during your first season, and then occasionally for refreshing and improving your technique once you've moved past your beginning season.
I'm not saying lessons are bad...I did a 1/2 day my first day ever on the mountain, and another 1/2 day when I felt I was getting comfortable with blacks. All it really takes is an understanding of the principals and physics involved and a willingness to push it. Some people may need to travel to Europe to realize their technique is shit and literally shell out hundreds and hundreds of dollars trying to fix it, but in my exprerience good instructors are hit and miss. Better to try and make friends and ride with different types of riders, ask their advice and pay attention to their technique, and don't just ride with a couple of people. The more the better. You'll have more fun than taking lessons, save money, and make some new friends too.
 

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I agree with lmyers, instructors are hit and miss. My first lesson I might as well have just taken the lift and thrown myself down the mountain as the instructor was less than useless.

My second instructor was kick-ass and had me connecting turns in less than an hour - get low!
 

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Are your athletic, Do you ski?

I am an expert skier.

I went up to loveland on a weekday afternoon and took a lesson. They only had two of us in the lesson, hence I would recomend the weekday afternoon. By the end of that lesson they had me cruising down groomed blacks. I can't say that I am a good boarder, but it's fun on days I have gapers in town. I think the progression to being an intermediate is faster than on skis. Wear a helmet. The only concussion I've ever had was catching an edge on that damn board!! The hardest part for me is that every time I get airborne I want to square up like I'm on skis. You'll love it.
 

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I wouldn't suggest committing to 2.5 days of lessons up front - some people take to it quicker than others, and lessons are expensive. I ski, but when I decided I wanted to learn to board a buddy of mine and I swapped equipment so he was learning to ski while I was learning to board. It worked. Watch other people, and get back up and try again when you fall...most athletic people are capabable of picking it up on their own...
This is some of the worst advice I have read on the forum. Sure if you like pain and want to look like you crapped your pants, go for it and just struggle through.

My history is that I have been teaching for 16 years. Most of what I teach these days is re-educating self taught snowboarders, who counter rotate, have plateaued, can't get any better, can't do bumps and a whole bunch of other ills that are brought on by just muscling through it.

There are several parts of snowboarding that are a bit counter intuitive. And if you force it the wrong way, then spend five years reinforcing the way you learned it then you are pretty screwed and it takes a while to undo.

My second instructor was kick-ass and had me connecting turns in less than an hour - get low!
How about get balanced? The height has nothing to do with it. We have evolved you don't have to ride hunched over like a monkey.

If you can get to Breckenridge look up Scott Noble. He does private requests even though he supervises a lot. If he can't do it his wife can. We did a bunch of certification stuff together and they are really, really good.

i teach in Sun Valley. If you can't make Breck I can recommend some others at some of the other resorts. But start there.

Whatever you can afford to spend with them will be well worth it.
 

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Actually the low part was to trick your body into NOT leaning back when transitioning to heelside - I kept sitting in the back seat whenever I tried to go to heels and kept wiping out.

By getting lower I forced my body to balance my weight over the snowboard instead of leaning back. Now I can turn without crouching because my muscles and brain remember to lean forward instead of back.
 

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Some people may need to travel to Europe to realize their technique is shit and literally shell out hundreds and hundreds of dollars trying to fix it, but in my exprerience good instructors are hit and miss. Better to try and make friends and ride with different types of riders, ask their advice and pay attention to their technique, and don't just ride with a couple of people. The more the better. You'll have more fun than taking lessons, save money, and make some new friends too.
The winter I spent in Val d'Isere was spent skiing with some of the most technically solid skiiers I've ever hung with. Most had either learned from doing lots of days of lessons (see "holiday skiiers" above) before ski bumming in the Alps or had patrolled or taught skiing back where they were from. Then there were the Swedes who I'm convinced have some gene that wires them to be really good from birth. Regardless, almost all were equipped with the mentality that throwing down money for a lesson from time to time was worth it no matter what level they were at in their development - and especially in the first part of their skiing career.

Yeah, instructors can be hit or miss and some out there are really lousy. But if that's the case, then how about the random friends who may not know anything about sound technique or if they do, are clueless about how to assess where someone is in their development and then communicate the right thing at the right time to a novice? Oh, yeah, they'll be delighted to try to tell you how to do it just like they do. Then you can either get frustrated "trying to run before you can walk," or you can incorporate their bad habits into your muscle memory for free. Then you can spend years muscling down the hill, working a whole lot harder than you have to, and maybe even get some nagging injuries from chronically misusing your body (ergonomically) and putting way more wear on it than needed.

I've never taught skiing or boarding and I hate to sound like a ski school advertisement but...

I'd rather take my chances with an instructor and spend a few bucks and a few half days with someone that's been trained not only how to ride but also how to evaluate and how to teach new riders. You're motivated to learn so ask the instructor questions and make an effort to ride the lift with him or her - they'll be psyched to have the kind of eager and engaged student that makes cold days spent on beginner runs worthwhile for them.

Other considerations:

A group lesson probably wouldn't require a lift ticket anyway during the lesson. A good place that's not on the Colo pass and shouldbbe cheaper than a lesson at Breck or Vail is little ol' Ski Cooper outside of Leadville. My first-timer brother got an instructor who'd spent 15 years at one of the big "glamour" resorts before dropping out and moving to Leadville where he can afford to live in the mountains. Ski Sunlight outside of Glenwood Springs is probably similar with staff who got sick of the daily drive to Aspen to teach. You won't be on the steeps that first day so why spend extra $$ just to be able to look up at "The Bowls?"

See if you can borrow a hockey girdle to protect your butt and hips, put on some kneepads & elbow pads (especially a helmet) to protect your body from the early season manmade snow you'll probably be learning, and falling, on. Keep the kneepads - in addition to protection when learning, they'll keep your knees warm on cold days and make taking breaks a lot more comfortable when you plunk down on your knees.
 

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carvedog you sound like an instructor...i was alift mechanic for 5 years and and SKI instructor 5 years...dude boarding is easy...you know ive been critisized on my boarding by instructors but they cant keep up with me on bumps or whatever...only a couple of the board instructors ever said that they wouldnt try to change my technique and the funny thing is that they were always the most respected instructors...ride fast dont be a chicken....snowboarding and skiing are the same damn thing...your best off riding with other people and trying to keep up...and for the other guy in this post who said that when ever he catches air he wants to square up like on skis...i had the same problem initially untill a friend i was riding with suggested stomping the board around...i was able to land 180's before i could go straight...if you still got that problem remember when you square up your halfway around

if i can leave a tip: stand up, control your upper body(but dont be a statue) always turn toe edge first and try to lock your ankles in that possition this way you can bee fast onto your heel edge and that edge will be hard
 

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Ok, I'm not going to address each individual criticism on my last post but I will say this:
I am not a very good snowboarder, however I can get down anything on the mountain.
I ski, I can out-ski you, be it on telemarks or alpine.
My friends who board, board at the same level as me - don't look to dip shits for advice, look to the guy who is ripping above everyone else's level for advice, then get advice from his friends..
Instructors can help you get the basics down, but beyond that you need to look to real rippers - I have spent the better part of a decade working on and off at ski resorts...and many of the instructors are just in it to make a dollar...real friends at least have an interest in seeing you improve.

This advice wasn't given by a gaper...I have skied off the summit of 6 of our states 14'ers and spend as many days in the backcountry as I do in bounds (usually 60-80). PM me when you get comfortable on blacks and I can hook you up with a handfull of guys who will be happy to help you step your game up (for nothing other than some mj or a beer) in a non-threating/powder environment.
 

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Taking a 1/2 day lesson to get started is a great idea. Another 1/2 day lesson after a few days on snow will be worthwhile. After that you will probably be able to ride on a blue level and hang with some of your friends and focus on learning from them and those that can rip around you.

If you have skilled friends that are knowledgeable and willing to take the time to teach you that is awesome - but usually that devolves into them taking one or maybe two runs with you then ditching you or pushing you onto much harder terrain too early.

I had 8 days of lessons each of my first 4 years of snowboarding through Copper Choppers - it was invaluable. By my 4th day I was able to get down my first black - it wasn't stylish. At the end of my second season I was styling hard black/easy double diamonds - I was 12.

Check out this website for beginner deals:
Deals | ColoradoSki.com

Steamboat lesson and lift ticket for $25!!
 

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Taking a 1/2 day lesson to get started is a great idea. Another 1/2 day lesson after a few days on snow will be worthwhile. After that you will probably be able to ride on a blue level and hang with some of your friends and focus on learning from them and those that can rip around you.
If you have skilled friends that are knowledgeable and willing to take the time to teach you that is awesome - but usually that devolves into them taking one or maybe two runs with you then ditching you or pushing you onto much harder terrain too early.
Steamboat lesson and lift ticket for $25!!
Good advice..and what raftus said about getting ditched is a big possibility, ride during the week if possible, but, if you drive the distance to the Ark Valley I will spend some time with you, and try to help as much as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I appreciate it lmyers; I'll send you a note if I get out there. I've got a couple of friends I can probably lean on for some pointers once I get the basics down. Should be a fun season; I haven't gotten into a new sport since I started boating.
 

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the secret to beginning is to weight your front foot to point the board down the hill...kick the tail around...then even off your weight to go across...then repeat weight that front foot to point the board back down the hill, push your turn around then even off...
i know some instructor is gonna have a field day with me for that advice but that should get you out there...most importantly is go have fun
 
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