After completing my second snowboarding lesson of the season on February 11th I can safely answer a resounding yes to the question “should I take snowboarding lessons”.
If I wasn’t sure after the first lesson (which I already was sure), I certainly am now.
What I got Out of the 2nd Lesson
I was honestly thinking before my lesson that I would be writing “the second lesson will bring diminishing returns” (partly because I believed I wouldn’t get as much out of it and partly so I could use the term diminishing returns!).
Whilst maybe I got slightly less improvement than I did after the first lesson, it wasn’t much less.
And after taking just 2 lessons after 7 seasons of riding I feel like I’ve improved more in the last month than I did in 7 seasons! And I wasn’t a terrible rider before that.
Check out my original post about snowboarding lessons and the first follow up at the links below.
Where I See Myself Now
Now, I’ve still got plenty of work to do, but I feel I’ve improved now to the point of being able to consider myself an advanced rider. Not at the expert level just yet – that’s a whole different kettle of fish!
What I covered in Lesson 2
In lesson 2 we went through the following things.
- Re-enforcement of turning technique changes from the prior lesson
- Re-enforcement of the jumping technique from the prior lesson
- Tweaking of my carving technique
- Tweaking of ollie technique
- Off-piste techniques for riding bumps (this was really useful!)
The importance of Instant Feedback of a Lesson
Instant feedback is a huge benefit of actual lessons.
You can learn technique online in theory but you don’t have a professional closely looking to see if you’re doing it right and then instantly pointing out what you’re doing wrong and then how to rectify it. This is priceless and something that can only be achieved in person.
Efficiency of Movement
One of the big things I have noticed from improving my technique is that my riding is considerably more efficient and smooth.
This means that I’m not using as much energy and not wearing myself out as quickly.
This is great because it means I can ride several days in a row without too much muscles soreness and it also means that I can get more out of the day and focus more concentration in the moment – and that’s particularly helpful when trying new things.
But it’s also just awesome having more energy at the end of the day for apres ski!
Private or Group?
I took private lessons and later I plan to take a group lesson to check it out.
So which is better for you?
I think that private lessons are always going to be more beneficial. The instructor is focused on you the entire time. You get a full 2 hours (assuming a 2 hour lesson) and you are the focus the whole time.
With group lessons that time is divided between however many are in the group.
If you are a very beginner then group lessons are fine because you are all learning the same thing anyway. But if you have been riding a while then you are likely to be at a different stage to others in the lessons – and your bad habits and technical flaws are likely to be individual to you.
Private lessons are of course more expensive but I think you get more value. I’d say you’d have to take several 2 hour group lessons to get the same value as a single 2 hour private lesson – well this is my guess anyway – but I haven’t taken a group lesson yet but I’ll update this when I have.
What’s My Conclusion?
In November last year I wrote a post that questioned whether snowboarding lessons were worthwhile for anyone who hadn’t had lessons before and who were self-taught.
I can now unreservedly recommend taking lessons.
You’re willing to spend money on gear, lift passes, coffee, burger in the café, gas for the car to get to the mountain etc. But so many aren’t willing to invest in lessons.
It’s an investment you won’t regret. It not only makes you a better rider, it helps you to get more enjoyment out of your riding and the other thing I’ve really noticed is that you don’t fatigue as much when you’re technique is smoother.
If you’ve had any experiences with lessons – good, bad or indifferent – it’d be awesome to hear about your experience. Just leave a comment below.