Kneale, let me toss this at you and it may well have been covered in later posts but I would hate to forget and let this pass.
Since you are one of the more senior PSIA guys here I'll toss this off you?
As I start reading this thread just as the other guys the obvious starts falling out; how skills are lost and the old use it or loose it right. And as I used to hear a student say "Now that I have mastered that railroad track drill" ... or ... "Now with the last instructor I mastered using poles and" .. what is going through your mind is how after 40 years you aren't the "master" of much but of course you would never say that would you?
My next thought was that despite it's warts in some other (perhaps organizational), areas, PSIA did, IMHO, do a pretty nice job with the progressive aspect of what is in the "normal" lesson for Level 1 intro or 2 and so on for the "normal" ... "Joe Doe".
Two things pop out at me so far and I am fully aware that it is not a perfect world and with that in mind:
Never getting the same instructor twice. Hmmmm in some cases there is not much can be done. Way out west where you are and the guest comes for the week perhaps not as much the issue and indeed some things can't be solved. Work hours, burn out rate and all of those things but? Let me quit on that and let the pot of tea steep for a monment?
Next and most importantly here as Bushwacker gets into responding to Powder Jet, (I agree fully with him and such on the students hate drills), but lets put the notion of a log book under the microscope for a moment?
Flying is always a "sport" or avocation that commands more immediate and serious consequences for failure to adhere or participate in "the drills", like failure to recover from a spin is pretty nasty for sure, but for most of us, like 97% of the people who get any stick time it is not professional but it's a recreational pursuit. A simple tidy little log book is de rigueur, you get one and it follows you for life. Now, we don't have to be that nuts about the book but really, if you are half way serious about your skiing this should be in your flight bag.
Honestly, we could design one that is more soft cover, smaller than the usual flying log ( 8" X 4 1/4" ) and has rounded corners so you don't get poked in a fall?
As a PSIA "copyright" type tool they even make a few dollars off it? To save time most of it is in the check of a box with one line for remarks for each flight .. "pathetic X-wind landings, student advised not to quit the day job, you want fries with that right?"
date .. aircraft .. ident # .. from .. to .. remarks .. category of aircraft (single or twin) .. cross country .. day .. night .. actual insturment, .. simulated insturments .. etc and hours with a total running
In a private not much of a problem, to sign off on a group of ten, fifteen or so ... hey, I gotta' pee sometime.
The instructor today can take a look and have a clue where the student has been and with whom ... "Kneale B. PSIA L-1" and you know what questions to ask at the start, "It's been two years since KB signed off on your work on short radius turns ... hmmm on icy ... what have you been doing since then?
I know, I know that finer minds than mine have probably hashed this out and dismissed it for good reasons but it doesn't hurt much to give it a look does it? There are many things in skiing that fit right in with flying. Coordinated turns and the carve, skids and slips are totally identical in approach. There is more similar than different perhaps?