January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard month and around the state (and the country), resorts are offering deals on lessons for first timers. But for those who've already mastered a stem christie or toe-side turn, there's not much that's more rewarding than continuing to refine those snowsliding skills throughout your entire life. Here's a look at why taking a lesson is totally worth it no matter what your ability.
I've never skied/snowboarded, but I'm really athletic. I think I can teach myself.
As a natural athlete, you might feel inclined to skip a lesson, particularly if you're already a skier and want to learn to snowboard or vice versa. Truth is, you might sort of get it on your own, but you also might do it incorrectly or hurt yourself in the process. Speaking from experience, I taught myself how to both ski and snowboard, only to find out later (from an instructor), that I was being an ineffective rider and had, in fact, picked up a number of bad habits I now needed to correct to progress. Long story short, do it right the first time and you'll not only learn and improve faster, but you'll also be a much more effective skier/boarder and have much more fun over the longterm. The best way to do that is with instruction from a professional who can breakdown the movements and give you feedback.
I'm already a black-diamond-run skier/snowboarder, what else is there?
Guess what! Even professional athletes have coaches because no matter what level you've reached, there's always something you can improve upon. You don't necessarily have to be doing the toughest terrain to be challenged, a good instructor will know how to make blue or even green terrain seem new and exciting. This doesn't mean you need to be in a lesson every day of your vacation, but don't be afraid to grab a half or full day lesson even if you've been on the slopes for years. You'll be amazed how much simple adjustments can change your skiing or riding and make it even more enjoyable.
No one knows the mountain better than a ski instructor.
Do you really want to end up going on the same runs over and over again simply because you have no idea what's out there? The resorts offer thousands of acres to slide on and an instructor is your one-way ticket to every type of terrain the mountain has to offer. Are you looking for bumps? Want to ride in the trees? Groomers? The park? Steepest run? The whole mountain? You name it, your instructor will take you there.
You get to skip the lines.
Pay for a lesson and you get to skip the line. Pay for a private lesson, the line doesn't exist. Enough said.
Learn what it means to be part of the mountain culture from an ambassador.
Becoming a skier or snowboarder means being inducted into a very specific culture. Just like every other niche community in the world, there are "rules" of sorts. Get a lesson and learn the ins and outs of the mountain tribe from someone who lives and breaths it every day.
And don't forget to tip your instructor!