EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Hey Weems (and others) Teaching how to instruct
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Hey Weems (and others) Teaching how to instruct

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

A business course for ski, dive,marina and spa business managers is being prepared with an adjuct on ski resort management. The course balances between academia and 'real life' exposure to every facet of resort/mountain operations, and includes about 2 months a year in snow in resorts in Australia, New Zealand and Lake Tahoe.

 

Students will mostly be intermediates or low advanced skiers/riders with most never having the ability to be 'real' instructors. Nevertheless, the course  proposes to expose them to an introduction to how to teach skiing, eg with analogies.

 

Weems, please p.m your email address if you have a series of dvds that might be useful.

 

Are there good simple books on teaching  basic ski instruction - titles would be appreciated.

 

In short, we just want the students to learn how to teach basic ski/riding so they can see things from the point of view of a ski school student and walk a mile in the shoes of an instructor. After all, no one wants myopic souless beancounting accountants running any aspect of a resort,

 

Thanks in anticipation.

post #2 of 24

G'day Veteran!

 

The foundation of The American Teaching System is Core Concepts for Snowsports Instructors (published by PSIA). In it you will find concepts like:

The teaching model - how to teach

The skiing model - the fundamentals of skiing skills and movements

The service model - how instructors can be part of helping guests have more compelling ski experiences

 

Were you to collect this kind of material from some of the various national teaching systems and distill it down to one course offering, you'd have an outstanding course.

 

Weem's book/dvd is called Brilliant Skiing.

 

post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks. 

 

We aim to make this course's international component 'mind-opening', and Tahoe has cheap travel for international tourists, the marina/yachts, casinos, self catering condos and uum our freeze-thaw for snow groomers to turn into magic. Squaw has offered to expose the students to every facet of resort ops, and I hope Alpine Meadows, Homewood, Poulsen Properties Resort at Squaw Creek and Vail Resorts do the same. Snowbomb.com have really helped us out too. We'll be picking resort masterplans to pieces too. 

 

I have one Weems dvd called brilliant skiing (are there more?)  so I want to contact him re copyright usage for educational purposes.

 

(We use PADI dvds for dive instructors which work really well- in the legal section on negligence and manslaughter/2nd degree murder I use 'fictionalised' court room scenes like coronial inquests into deaths from failing to follow due process. Nothing like putting the bejeezes into students.

post #4 of 24

Hi there Vet, our mutual friend Rednut has my CASI level One to Four ski instructors manual, you are welcome to borrow it from him to get an idea of what the Canadian system offers.

post #5 of 24

Hi Veteran.

 

There is only that one dvd.  But the book has been revised pretty extensively.  And I believe it to be applicable to how to teach all sports.  You can check it out below in my signature.

 

Also, willing to travel to help out if useful.  PM me if you would like.

 

Thanks!

post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks Weems. 

 

I've ordered your book and then I'll give it to our steering committee of resort CEOs to evaluate as a possible text. Our manager is also hunting up Core Concepts for Snowsports Instructors (published by PSIA). 

 

Regarding travel, you're in Aspen (judging from the logo wear in the dvd) but Squaw so far been the most amenable resort ops wise (though Heavenly looks like it'll be 'within budget' for accom for 20 struggling students on our first trip in Feb 2010).

 

Paul, thanks and I'll track down our errant auditor Rednut. You realise though that once your book goes into the bowels of Angliss Academia, its gawn. 

post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by veteran View Post
After all, no one wants myopic souless beancounting accountants running any aspect of a resort,.


In case Rednut reads this thread, I didn't mean him!

post #8 of 24

If these "students" are getting paid, make sure they only get paid what ski instructors get paid so they understand how nearly impossible it is to live on that.

post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 

No they don't get paid, and they're not used as cheap labour either. They're also smart enough to aim for general manager or cfo or ceo or cio jobs up to $150k p.a + apartment, 4wd, free lift pass etc.

post #10 of 24


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by veteran View Post

Students will mostly be intermediates or low advanced skiers/riders with most never having the ability to be 'real' instructors. Nevertheless, the course  proposes to expose them to an introduction to how to teach skiing, eg with analogies.

 

 

 

Much as I wish this could succeed, I would question setting this up as anything but an adjunct, as this quote shows little understanding about how teaching works. The last thing I look for in new hires is skiing ability. I am a ski instructor, I work for a ski school. We can teach them how to ski. What matters is personality. You can have people who are top skiers and know all the drills and analogies from the books but if they can't relate to clients, communicate not only the hows and whys, but the love of the sport they will never be much more then filler on most staffs. Perhaps an exaggeration yet the only way to survive at this job is by generating request business (or having a trust fund) and people who don't have the personality for teaching don't make money for either themselves or their schools. But As you state these are people looking for $150k+ so I guess they really Don't have the ability to be 'real' instructors. 

 

At one time instructors were gods. Unfortunately far too many area managers started to think it was just a case of being a 'good' skier and learning a few analogies to get good results. Funny thing, around the time that managers (aka "myopic, soulless beancounting accounts") started to think it was bad for the bottom line to treat instructors as valued, well paid members of the resorts team, instead of people who would put up with anything to get a pass is also when industry wide growth stopped.

post #11 of 24

Great post, Dave W. 

 

Yes, we can quickly and easily demonstrate a few basic progressions and introduce some of the education theory, biomechanics, physics, and skiing technical and teaching models that are the tools of the trade. But the tools are not the trade and "teaching skiing" is more than the sum of its parts. As in an instructor certification exam, success involves recognizing that you have embarked on a journey, not that you have arrived at a destination--that if you are not a student first and always, you are not a teacher. For great instructors, it is about learning, not about having learned. It is often more important to question answers than to answer questions.

 

This course will be a great success if it actually inspires someone to abandon that "$150,000-salary career track" and spend a few winters (or more) immersed in the life of a dedicated ski instructor. I suppose that it will also be a success if it deters someone from the journey by exposing some of the reality of the not-particularly-glamorous job of teaching skiing.

 

 

 

Quote:
Nevertheless, the course  proposes to expose them to an introduction to how to teach skiing...

 

 

Really, the only way to learn what teaching skiing is about is to do it, a lot, with total commitment. "Walking a mile" won't do it, although it is certainly better than nothing. If you don't live there, you're just visiting.

 

smile.gif

 

Best regards,

Bob

post #12 of 24

Veteran, 

 

May I suggest that you Google The Teaching Dimension and/or Joan Heaton for a compilation of articles on teaching.  You might also want to have a look at our book: A Little Book About Skiing Better.on www.littleskibook.com

 

Let me know if you find either/both helpful..

 

 

post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks Joan. 

 

And I'd like to hear if instructors at Vail Resorts made more this season, and if so why, and if not, why.

 

 

 

"Vail Resorts has reported certain ski season metrics for the comparative periods from the beginning of the ski season through January 6 and for the prior year period through January 7, 2010. The data mentioned in this release is interim period data and subject to adjustments. Season-to-date total lift ticket revenue at the company's six mountain resort properties, adjusted as if Northstar-at-Tahoe, acquired in October, was owned in both periods, and including an allocated portion of season pass revenue for each applicable period, was up approximately 7.4% compared to the prior year season-to-date. Season-to-date total skier visits for the company's six mountain resort properties, adjusted as if Northstar-at-Tahoe was owned in both periods, were up approximately 10.1%. Season-to-date ancillary spending at the company's six mountain resort properties, adjusted as if Northstar-at-Tahoe was owned in both periods, increased significantly, with revenue from ski school up 11.5%, dining up 13.3%, and retail/rental up 17.5%. "

post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by veteran View Post

No they don't get paid, and they're not used as cheap labour either. They're also smart enough to aim for general manager or cfo or ceo or cio jobs up to $150k p.a + apartment, 4wd, free lift pass etc.


You can get a $150k job at a ski resort by taking a management course!?!?  From what I've seen, those types of jobs require substantial industry work experience as well as relevant degree(s), usually an MBA.

 

BTW, are you calling us stupid?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post

This course will be a great success if it actually inspires someone to abandon that "$150,000-salary career track" and spend a few winters (or more) immersed in the life of a dedicated ski instructor. I suppose that it will also be a success if it deters someone from the journey by exposing some of the reality of the not-particularly-glamorous job of teaching skiing.


Bob, there's a significant number of us that ski instruct part-time, and it's usually the best compromise situation.  As much as I like being an instructor, I have no desire to be poor.

 

post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 

 

 

I'm puzzled by the animosity towards an idea that might help management realise instructors   are very valuable contributors to the total experience and the bottom line. As for needing an mba, I didn't see anything in the curriculum vitae for two new VPs, snaffled from Vail Resorts' ski school and marketing divisions, who were instructors. Maybe there are pathways to living the dream on a decent pay packet. 

post #16 of 24



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by veteran View Post

 

 

I'm puzzled by the animosity towards an idea that might help management realize instructors   are very valuable contributors to the total experience and the bottom line. As for needing an mba, I didn't see anything in the curriculum vitae for two new VPs, snaffled from Vail Resorts' ski school and marketing divisions, who were instructors. Maybe there are pathways to living the dream on a decent pay packet. 



Wow....good luck with all of this.  I'm going to take a wild guess and say you are not employed by a ski area full time. 

 

Ski area management absolutely realizes instructors are highly valuable contributors to the areas bottom line.  They also realize it's a "dream position" for many and with a few free beers, free skiing, a locker room and a snazzy uniform they can hire many who are taking a break from real life for awhile and make a ton of money (the area that is, not the instructor.)  In tough economic times like now in the states Ski School management actively TRIES to lop off the top half of the staff to increase profits.  I've seen it happen and been a victim of it.  And...........don't forget it's usually in the SSD's best interest to do so because almost always he/she gets a percentage of what the school does. Most always Ski School it the areas bigest money maker.

 

The best thing you can do Veteran is take some time off from life and head to an area and try yourself to make it to what ever level of ski area management you can attain.  Then you could speak from real (ski area) world experience.  The reality is that a scant few, maybe 2% make it to a position that's enviable by those that work at the area and they are soon shown the door when the area changes hands.

 

The one good thing in your program is this "real world" experience will show on your student's resume.  I worked for an area manager once who was very proud of being a liftie, instructor bartender, car parker etc etc before becoming the top of the pile at a large eastern resort and now top of the pile at a large western resort after the main portion of the conglomerate failed where he originally was. Anybody here really believe he started as a liftie and became area manager ?  I don't.

 

As far as an answer to your comments about Vail Resorts, these ares some of the best bean counters in the business.  Here's a news flash for some.  My wife actually applied for a job that she was well qualified for in the fall at Vail resorts.  The benefits were marginal and the pay was about 1/5th of what she used to make at a VERY well known company you see referred to on the evening news frequently.  It didn't fly. 

 

Now I can give you an few easy answers to your comments/questions about Vail resorts above in post # 13.

 A.) It's carefully worded (adjusted a whole season for Northstar?)

 

B)  it was a big snow season here ....case in point.  I put double the days on my pass as last season.  I'll bet I only spent maybe 5% more this season than last, plus the difference in the cost of my pass.  Vail didn't do too well on me this year vs last but a great marketing campaign noting my skier visit count.

 

C)  any idea how many ski shops Vail own and more importantly where they are ?  Do some research on that and you will be blown away.  It's very possible some of those rental skis were at areas other than Vail Resorts,  though the numbers would indicate the resort did great.  Keep in mind Americans are more likely to buy gear in bad economic times due to the discounts.  Yep, we were up !

 

D) there is a good possibility the Vail Instructors made more than last year.  It was a big season, but along with that what about the visa (not the credit card) situation?  With high living expenses and less workers available the on the line instructor perhaps did make more.  Hope it was enough to get through the fringe seasons this year.

 

Feel free to use this lesson plan Veteran.

 

Louie

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #17 of 24

CSAI, CSCF CASI can be reviewed and publications can be ordered on our Canadian methods  http://www.snowpro.com

 This is a college in Barrie Ontario Canada that offers this specific industry training for resort management. http://www.georgianc.on.ca/programs/SKIR/outline/.

Well worth checking out for reference in the industry and it’s taught by industry experts with years of experience in all aspects of a resort, from snow schools, grooming, maintenance, customer service, front office and GM, etc... The front line people who get your customers coming back are usually in the Snow school. If the kids are jacked-up and excited about skiing with the instructor then mom & dad are ecstatic to comeback and spend money time and time again. If you want your students to understand what ski teaching is why not have them take a lesson, make notes and compare with each other.  Have them involved in shadowing a lesson private and group from skiing, snowboarding, race camps, pipe and park. For hands on when we train potential instructors we usually will have them work as snow school assistants the 1st year to see what we do on a daily basis, while also training them to ski and teach to the standards of the Level 1 so they will pass on the 1st try.  Look @ the people as mentioned in some other posts, what make them popular and most requested along with easy to understand. In any job if you are always trying to improve and learn you have passion and that passion will be viral as they say on the web and anyone you come in contact with will catch the bug! There the secrets out good employees are VIRAL! So pass it on, it’s catching!

Good luck! 

post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Louie View PostWow....good luck with all of this.  I'm going to take a wild guess and say you are not employed by a ski area full time. Louie

 

 


Its a government public private initiative with government board members, several resort ceos, entrepreuneurs and connections to an institute funded  by philanthropic foundations who send people overseas to study ski resorts in NA and Europe. 200x150-Dive.jpg200x150-Spa.jpg200x150-Water-Rec.jpgthumb_shakti_sobron.jpg

 

post #19 of 24
Veteran:

 

 

In short, we just want the students to learn how to teach basic ski/riding so they can see things from the point of view of a ski school student and walk a mile in the shoes of an instructor. After all, no one wants myopic souless beancounting accountants running any aspect of a resort,

 

Thanks in anticipation.


Really? I'd have thought that was the main criteria.
 

 

post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Louie View PostWow....good luck with all of this.  I'm going to take a wild guess and say you are not employed by a ski area full time. Louie

 

 

I have hired and fired people up to the level of general manager.

 

 I'm more optimistic about making this work as well, or better, than the other areas.

 

200x150-Dive.jpg200x150-Spa.jpg200x150-Water-Rec.jpg

 


Edited by veteran - 4/15/11 at 12:08pm
post #21 of 24



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by veteran View Post

 

 

I'm puzzled by the animosity towards an idea that might help management realise instructors   are very valuable contributors to the total experience and the bottom line. As for needing an mba, I didn't see anything in the curriculum vitae for two new VPs, snaffled from Vail Resorts' ski school and marketing divisions, who were instructors. Maybe there are pathways to living the dream on a decent pay packet. 


In my particular case, it's more skepticism than animosity.  If I could take a few courses and it would guarantee that I could get a six figure job at a major resort, I'd do it in a heartbeat.  Seems to me that your course is geared to people who are already in management positions at resorts, not kids coming out of college or professionals looking for a new line of work.

 

As for the animosity, you have to keep in mind that the average ski instructor makes between $9 and $17 per hour depending on resort.  The typical overhead rate is about 100% for the service industry in general, yet instructor wages are about 1/4 of the hourly rate a ski school charges.  Vail charges $710 for a full day (6.5 hours) private lesson, and if the instructor makes $17/hr, then they are running at an overhead rate of 543%.  Why is there so much overhead?  Well, part of that is the 6 figured salaried manager that you want instructors to train.  Any time you ask someone making subsistence wage to train someone making six figures, you're bound to run into some animosity.  If you want improve the lives of ski instructors, the focus should be on reducing overhead and allowing instructors to keep a higher percentage of the revenue.  If you gave an instructor the choice between higher pay or having a manger who knows how to ski and instruct, I know what most instructors would choose.

 

Ironically, I straddle the line at my resort, since I'm an instructor and the hiring clinician.  I realize that when I run a paid clinic, I'm overhead.  Fortunately, ski instruction is a hobby for me so I do a lot of free clinics which benefits both the instructors and the resort.

 

If these people really want to learn how to instruct, have them participate in a hiring clinic then shadow a few lessons.  That's the requirement at my resort.  Another option would be to find an instructor who runs a hiring clinic, and pay him/her to run a mock hiring clinic at a location more convenient to your group.

post #22 of 24
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundown View Post



 


1/. In my particular case, it's more skepticism than animosity.  If I could take a few courses and it would guarantee that I could get a six figure job at a major resort, I'd do it in a heartbeat.  Seems to me that your course is geared to people who are already in management positions at resorts, not kids coming out of college or professionals looking for a new line of work.

 

2/. Another option would be to find an instructor who runs a hiring clinic, and pay him/her to run a mock hiring clinic at a location more convenient to your group.

2/.. That's now in the bag with the Australian PSI Association. Looks like they'll get funding and can now expand their operation with a course open to those who don't want to pay a ski company to go to a 'job interview'.

 

1/. The kids are in this college and the resort CEOs are certainly contributing ways to make graduates more appealing to employers and get placed. The mature age students included retrenched airline hosts, one of whom took on a management office job after a large accounting firm discovered 'problems'. She did so well, she was promoted to manager and then to general manager and her contract was extended for 5 years until the 'greed is good' beancounting resulted in complaints from staff and clients. Another has just started on $75k + 2 bedroom apartment 365 days a year + undercover parking + 4wd + lifts + 10% retirement + free medicals/workcover + KPI bonuses + 4 weeks holiday + airfares to NZ. Another is on $120k + apartment etc. A resort is interviewing new execs on packages of $80k to $120k+ benefits. Another had his apartment renovated for $180k to ensure his wife was happy. A US resort was paying decent money to poach VPs who were instructors many years ago. Of course there's no guarantees that all or most have what it takes.

 

And if they have a little better understanding of every aspect of what the troops endure, they won't run things from an ivory tower.
 

 

post #23 of 24

You could start your process by having your students brainstorm what they want to learn about instructors.  They can come up with questions they want answered, and a list of what they think they already know.  

 

Then assign each participant to shadow a single instructor for an entire day, from booting up in the morning in the locker room to signing out in the afternoon, plus whatever apres-ski activities the instructor attends afterwards.  Assign participants to instructors who work with children's groups, to adult groups, to private lessons, to rookie instructors (very important!), to seasoned veterans, the whole works. That way individual participants will get exposed to different teaching situations which they can share with each other later.  If the day includes instructor training, the participant should go for that as well, even if they can't keep up.

 

The next day have small groups of participants meet with small groups of instructors (over lunch or after the day is over) to ask questions that arose during the shadowing experience the day before.  This should turn out to be an eye-opening experience.  Then have your participants meet together afterwards to share what they've discovered and how it changes what they thought they knew at the beginning.  Perhaps the flavor of being an instructor will rise to the surface this way.  

 

Reading books on teaching/learning how to ski is not going to let your managers know what ski instructing is all about.  Teaching is about relating to people with a task to accomplish, not just about the task.  Your participants need to watch an instructor work with different students and then have enough time to talk with that instructor afterwards on the chairlift to find out what was really going on and how that one lesson compares to other lessons that teacher has taught.  Feeling the rhythm of the day with its stresses and victories is important for managers who might wonder what's going on in their ski school.

 

Presentations with Q&A by the ski school director and any trainers, examiners, and others are also important, but a day shadowing an instructor is more so. 

 

Teaching (in any context) is something one needs to observe at length to get any sense of what it's all about.  Even a day and a half spent with instructors on the snow and in the locker room isn't enough, but it might help.

post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 

Books though are essential according to education bureaucrats, so that's why the APSIA will now have them for almost a week of real life. That's better than nothing 

 

One +ve development - a resort has $ set aside to replace a hostel used by staff.


Edited by veteran - 4/16/11 at 5:36pm
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Hey Weems (and others) Teaching how to instruct