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oh bless Trixy poor DS :-( , many thanks for all your replies. We will defintley book lessons - having discussed this at great length with DH he has now decided that his idea of booking lessons is the best way forward :-/////) WTF - I just laughed and agreed that he was right all along :-) I will keep an eye out for best ski school in the area. xx
I always book lessons as I'm a bit of a chicken and if left to my own devices I'd pootle down blues and not improve. I need someone to push me as I'd probably not voluntarily do jumps/half pipes/moguls/off piste/black runs, all things I've done in lessons. There's always something new to learn even for experienced skiers and like you say, they show you the best places to ski.
ESF are useless, if there's an alternative ski school I'd book that instead, preferably one with British instructors. DS and I were very much in the minority in our lessons and my experience was that there was a big long explanation in French and then a couple of words in English. I think DS's was the same and he didn't improve much past the level he reached in his dry slope lessons. Thankfully I have reasonable French and could understand or at least get the gist of what the instructor was saying and was able to ask questions. DS was too intimidated to ask to go to the loo and wet his ski suit 3 days.
I'd definitely book lessons. They will put you into different groups depending on your ability so you may end up in an intermediate group. You will learn loads and it's like having a guide showing you all the good runs.
I've been skiing for 11 years. Had a weeks worth of lessons after not having lessons for about 3 years. I missed not having lessons in those 3 years. Loved it last year.
As you get better the lessons become less like a formal lesson and more like skiing with friends who know the area, are a bit better than you, give you confidence and tips so that your technique improves.
I suppose it depends if you're happy going down what you can get down now or if you want to push it? Getting the miles in will improve your level but not as quickly as having lessons. Especially when you've not skiied a lot previously.
ESF stands for Ecole du ski francais, ie French ski school! It is the biggest company and best known. It is not always the cheapest or the best learning experience. Have a look on the mumsnet ski topic for the resort and see what other schools are recommended.
I've been to L2A and it is a great resort. It is high altitude though, so it is really well worth having a good standard of general fitness or you will be exhausted. It has a good free shuttle bus around the resort, which takes you to the lifts - you have to go up in a cable car to get to the slopes which are sort of on a shelf above the town - sunny, cold, windy sometimes, and I think above the tree line, but virtually guaranteed good snow, I think Christmas is not a stretch by any means.
Many thanks for your replies, unanimous decsion :-) DH has agreed to lessons for us all - will not book them just yet but will carry on learning in the UK then book a ski school before we leave. I have been looking and some people recommend ESF (European ski school). Does anyone have any more suggestions for Les 2 Alps area?
One week's skiing for your dh and ds and one course on dry/artificial snow over here is just not enough to go solo. I've been around a dozen times, but it's only the last couple of years that we've not bothered with lessons - but it wouldn't hurt to book a couple of private sessions even now. Book half days, and then you can practise what you've learnt and ski as a family in the afternoons. I would also stick to green runs at this stage, or carefully selected blues.
I mostly go with lessons, for me it's about skiing with people of a similar ability and having someone else chose the route as I'm rubbish with piste maps. Ski school also gets me back in time to meet up with DS unlike when we got a little lost with a guiding experience... I have also used ski school to escape from skiing with friends who expected me to teach them or just pick suitable runs for them at a resort I've never been too .
Definately take lessons. I think the children have more fun in groups of other kids since normally they do crazy things that we don't !
Our older boys are excellent skiers but this Xmas took half days on most days and extended to full days if they liked the instructor. Mainly mad bombing among trees, some racing skills, skiing on double blacks (where I won't take them!)
Dh and I will take some at Easter too.
And I agree with LexyMa about being worried about other skiers/boarders who don't have lessons. This year, just as I had thought "I hate this green run it is full of idiots who don't know what they are doing" I saw a ski instructor knocked about 6 feet out of his skis by a boarder.
I would definitely book ski school. Only one week skiing on snow isn't enough. There is always more to learn, we took ski school for our first 3 or 4 hols abroad. There is a big difference from being able to get down blues or even reds to be competent doing blacks. It's a great way of finding the best runs as well as meeting new people ( sounds corny but it really is a sociable sport)
Snow is vastly different to the dry slope and tbh, the artificial stuff doesn't really behave in the same way either, so I would book ski school for your dd as well. Sorry, I'm not sure what gold means either. My dd went to xscape and the levels were all numbered. I'm sure they all have there own grading system, she reached the top level but still takes ski school. It's more to temper her lack of fear than anything else, she terrifies me.
She's in Alpe D'Huez with the school right now and I am beyond . have a fantastic time when you go.
This is a pretty big resort (I went once, a long time ago and the weather was bad) and I would definitely have lessons....agree with you re finding out about best runs. Nothing worse than taking a wrong turn and finding yourself out of comfort zone.
I had lessons for the first 7 or 8 weeks that I went skiing; Ds - that same. You need to know that you are confident to stop safely - people suffer serious injuries from others who can't control their speeds.
On a lighter note, it means that you'll get to know the resort much faster and make some new friends, too.
I had half day ski lessons for the whole week about the first four or five years I skied. The next few years maybe just two lessons in the week. I am now able to get down anything, usually fairly confidently, including off piste and within the trees. But I would still book a half day lesson (more like ski guiding perhaps) just to iron out any bad habits each year. And as you say, to get a few recommendations of the best bits of the area.
If this is the second year for your DH and DS, first time on real snow for DD and the first year for you, I would definitely suggest you all get lessons as appropriate to your standard (you mean xmas 2013? so don't book until nearer the time when you have been for more dry slope practice etc). Your DD may have the technique sorted (I don't really know what Gold level is) but will need to build up the stamina to go down hill-length runs, at altitude, all day.
As a fellow slope user, and even though I wear a helmet, it makes me twitch a little to remember that there are people skiing who aren't in as much control of their trajectory/speed as they think they are. To be responsible users of the slopes, your DH and DS should definitely take lessons. You will all eventually enjoy skiing together more if you don't try to go out on your own too early - one of you will always slow the others down and that's when you start taking risks in frustration.
Hi, booked our 1st family ski holiday for Xmas this year to Les deux Alps.
My DH & DS skied last year in Chatel, (after a few dry slope lessons) my DD has had lessons on dry slope up to level Gold?. I haven't skied since school but am booked in for 6 lessons at skiplex. Would you book ski lessons whilst away also? Would even the more confident skiers book lessons every time? My DH thinks it would be a waste of money!!!! but surely you learn the best runs/best areas whilst under instruction? Your thoughts and advise is appreciated. PS - I am sooooo excited already :-)