Mike and I are really enjoying Aspen so far. The weather has been absolutely wonderful this week: mid-30s with sun (it actually feels close to 60 degrees when the sun is out), it hasn't been crowded, and we've completed adjusting to the altitude change.
Today we headed to Buttermilk Mountain (smallest mountain here, a lot of greens and blues, couple of blacks, no double blacks) for our lesson. We signed up for a full day lesson (10-3) at Level 5 (Levels 1-9, 9 being double-black). Our friend Dan suggested taking lessons at Buttermilk instead of Snowmass Mountain since Buttermilk has better slopes to learn on and it's a lot less crowded. There were a fair number of skiers taking lessons this morning but the school provides a lot of instructors so each little group was no more than 4 people (ours had 3 people).
The class ended up being a huge benefit to both Mike and myself. My biggest issue with skiing is not turning or edging but slowing down properly on steep slopes without doing an emergency brake/turn. George (our instructor) said it best: "On the black slopes you're not skiing, you're surviving". I wasn't finishing my turns properly and instead of turning and edging together, I would turn sharp, edge, then speed up. The lessons taught me how my feet needed to feel, the proper way to edge, and how to complete the turn. By the end of the day I had made huge improvements to my skiing and I was very happy with my form. Mike learned how to turn properly and edge so by the end of the lesson, he looked very confident and quite good at his turns and stops. The lesson ended up being pretty much a private lessons, since our third person only did a half-day so after lunch it was only Mike and I with George.
We both had a fantastic time today. We started on greens and did a few blues through the day. If we do another class tomorrow, it would be concentrating on tighter narrow turns and going on some black slopes.
The view at Buttermilk is quite breathtaking. One of the chair lifts passes right by Pyramid Peak through the valley and a fantastic view of Aspen Highlands (another ski mountain in Aspen). Unfortunately I ran out of space on the camera right before we went through the valley so I wasn't able to get a picture of the view.
Tomorrow is our last day of skiing, we're not sure what we're going to do yet. We may head to Buttermilk Mountain again since there are a lot of intermediate slopes, it's not crowded and we might do another lesson. Otherwise we will go back to Snowmass since it also has a fair number of blue slopes, while Aspen Mountain and Aspen Highlands are definitely for more advanced skiiers (not for us).