A Philadelphian’s Guide to Learning … Anything

A class for every skill

In a Few Days

There are lots of not-too-terrifying mountains within two hours of Philly. Matt Yorgley of KOP’s Buckman’s Ski and Snowboard Shop likes Spring Mountain, Blue Mountain and especially Bear Creek Mountain, which has an easy-to-use standing carpet lift.
THE TIME: In five days, you’ll be able to get down the mountain without falling, says Yorgley—just take a lesson “so someone can correct your form.”
THE TAB: Group-lesson packages start at $50, and usually include an all-day lift ticket and rental gear. Private lessons start at $65. Spring Mountain, Spring Mount, springmountainadventures.com; Blue Mountain, Palmerton, skibluemt.com; Bear Creek Mountain Resort, Macungie, bcmountain- resort.com.

Ride a bike
It’s not true what they say about riding a bike. You can forget. My dad taught me to ride when I was a kid, but after a particularly nasty tumble, I wheeled my hand-me-down pink banana-seat into the garage and became a permanent pedestrian. Read the rest of Erica Palan’s essay on learning to ride a bike here.

Hang wallpaper
Big-name wallpaper companies like Cole & Son and Phillip Jeffries call wallpaper-­whisperer Tim Hampshire of Custom Wall Finishes with all their hanging questions, and so should you, intrepid paper-plasterers­—or face a lifetime of mismatched seams and unsightly wrinkles. Hampshire will tell you how much paper and which primer to buy during a free estimate­—and then give you a hanging lesson and teach you all his tricks.
THE TIME: Two days.
THE TAB: $400 per day, not including materials.

Win more than you lose at poker
At WPT Boot Camp, professional players lead an intensive workshop for amateurs of all levels, imparting the strategies that win tournaments. (Think of it as Basic Training, with slow-playing and check-raising instead of floor-scrubbing and wall-scaling.) WPT weekend workshops are periodically offered in Atlantic City (usually at the Trump Taj Mahal or Golden Nugget)—and in Vegas, should you have a travel budget.
THE TIME: Two days.
THE TAB: $1,895 per workshop.

Mosaic like Isaiah Zagar
Really, you can—because Zagar himself teaches two-day workshops at South Street’s Magic Gardens. (The class moves inside for winter.) The renowned and revered Philly artist hosts his so-cool instruction sessions once a month. Why haven’t we all done this?
THE TIME: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
THE TAB: $350 for a workshop, materials included.

For people who really (really, really) love Antiques Roadshow: The week-long “Antiques Vacation” cruises to the Caribbean or the Mediterranean with Doylestown-based expert appraiser/TV personality Lori Verderame. After a week of shipboard seminars and on-shore antiquing, plus all the normal all-aboard activities (badminton, anyone?), you’ll navigate flea markets and antiques shows with enviable trash-or-treasure radar.
THE TIME: One week.
THE TAB: From $599.

Have more time to spare? See what you can learn to do in a month or so.