Went skiing at Sugar Bowl on Saturday. My plan was to just stay on the easy runs and practice what I learned in the Lito Tejada-Flores "Breakthrough on Skis 1" DVD where he goes over steering just by placing your weight on the outside ski.
I was going to go use the White Pine chairlift for a while and then move onto the Jerome lift, but I noticed that thw White Pine appeared to be just for the ski school (no true as a I later learned.) So I went up Jerome and stuggled down the "easy" route of Pioneer Trail falling multiple times including one right at the chair lift. About half way down my right hamstring stopped working and I realized that I needed a lesson to come up with alternative ways to turn as I could turn great to the left and not very well at all to the right as I couldn't get my right ski to follow along with the left one (which is the one controling the turn to the right.)
So when I finally got down I paid $90 (more that the lift ticket and the rental) for a 1 hour private with Hank. And what an excellent way to spend $90. We spent the entire time going up the White Pine lift and back down the beginner runs.
We went back to the basics and talked about stance and position. The key is lean forward, stand tall, and have your arms spread semi wider than should width and forward. Turn you shoulders to where you want to go but keep looking down the hill.
We did a lot of wedge turns, and the most effective thing I learned really surprised me/ He had me decend the run holding my poles horizontally in front of me (liek a balancing stick almost). If I wanted to turn right I lowered my left hand which increased the weight on my left foot and I turned right. That more than anything else (leaning on the leg, pushing the knee in) seemed to help me get the body position for the turn correct.
I just love the new skis that have the "sidecut" (they look like long hourglasses). Just by weighting the ski it turns. Cool.
One thing about downhill that I really didn't care for it how difficult it is to get up after you've fallen. I found that I really wanted the heel of my uphill ski to float as it would make getting up so much easier. I know this from my Alaska mountaineering class where I spent a while just deliverately falling in the snow and getting back up and falling again.
This makes me really want to get Randonee skis, but I think I'll rent them. Marmot I believes gives you credit towards a purchase when you rent. Renting off the mountain would speed things up too as the line for rentals was pretty long.
Snowboarding looks like a kick. From what I've been reading it's is initally hard, but after a couple of days things get easier and you can become fairly proficient in 1/2 a season whereas skiing takes several seasons. However I'm going to concentrate on skiing as in mountaineering it's a form of transportation. Snowboarding, fun as it is, is not.
I love Sugarbowl. It's a very non-intimidating environment similar to Northstar but closer.