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What is the protocol for giving *requested* skiing advice when you're not a professional instructor? - Page 2

post #31 of 39
It's actually pretty simple. Only tell him what you know. If you don't know anything, take some lessons yourself. Also qualify your advise with you lack of teaching credentials.

BTW it's one thing to know what someone is doing and what they need to be doing; it's quite a different thing to teach him HOW to do it. Different folks have different problems that may not be apparent to the casual observer, and need to be doing different things to address those deficiencies before they can proceed, for e.g. they may need to work on fore aft balance in a comfortable way before learning to carve, some people cannot put their skis on edge and balance on the edges without falling over and will naturally resist, some folks have ingrained movements from years of repetition, etc.. Often though, for analytical folks, as soon as they understand how a ski works the progress much faster.

By the way, I'm not a ski instructor either, but I know what I know if you know what I mean.
post #32 of 39
Thread Starter 

Thanks to all for the responses. I was kind of expecting to be flamed a bit for this one, but these responses are genuinely helpful, and I think many can relate to this basic situation. 


I understand that it doesn't have to be "serious business" to provide a bit of "this works for me" advice here and there. I find that the problem is, when the advisor is a much better skier than the advisee, and isn't trained to teach, the points just don't connect, as it can be rather difficult to explain elementary skiing movements in a way that a relative novice can relate to. So, in my case for example, I haven't had to worry about torquing my body into the turn and dropping my inside arm in ages, so I can't describe exactly what to do in order to stop it, from the perspective of someone who does it. 


I do like the advice of taking a lesson myself to set the example - that is really something I should do again. I took beginner lessons when I was about 7, then learned by feel for many years, then took a few more lessons, then received informal instruction over the years from several friends who were current or former racers. I also try to emulte my father-in-law, who is probably the most technically sound and graceful skier I have ever witnessed in person, on any mountain, anywhere. I'm sure I could use a tune-up, though. 


My dad's upper body twisting/back and seat skiing habit is extremely entrenched, and I think dirksuchy and LiquidFeet are right that it will be difficult for him to break. He is an engineer and a teacher, so I think a detailed book might actually be very helpful to him - I think I smell a Christmas present!


The good news, there is not tension present. He enjoys skiing and I enjoy skiing with him, sloppy form or not. It would just be nice if he could tackle more of the mountain comfortably.  

post #33 of 39



Here's a progression you could try:

Ditch the ski poles

Ski with hands clasped behind the back

Side slips - focus on upper body facing downhill and keeping skis perpendicular to the fall line and steady, practice steady speed, increasing speed, decreasing speed (stretch out come to a stop) and stop on command

Falling leaf - transition from side slips (skis steady) to skis making a "U" track (tails uphill, then tips up hill) (check for upper body facing downhill at the bottom of the "U")

Falling W leaf - continue laterally across the slope instead of staying in the U channel to make a "double U" shaped track

Ski medium speed large radius turns focusing on starting the turn with counter (same as bottom of the "U") and only edge change to start the turn (must have patience - but no need to hurry because of large turn size)

Same as above except shuffle feet throughout the entire turn (may want to practice shuffling on a traverse first)

(All steps in the progression to this point with no poles and hands clasped behind the back)

Same as last step except with holding poles normally

Same as last step except no shuffling (i.e. normal skiing)


post #34 of 39


I think it's time you got a job as a ski instructor.  Think about it... free training, free season pass, locker in the pro room, new ski buddies, chance to spread the joy of skiing to lots of folks in addition to Dad.  Thinking about how to teach your dad means you are part of the way there already.


Think about it.


post #35 of 39

Bingo! wanting to share more of the mountain is a great goal but from experience I would also say only as long as it's also your dad's goal. If it is, Rusty's progression certainly will help him discover how much he currently uses his upper body (to create turning forces). My only concern would be if that method is too drill oriented and classroom like for the two of you.

I also want to mention how terrain specific that progression is. If the terrain is too steep, their performance becomes defensive (all about braking), if it's too shallow, the student may not posess the patience, balance, or the fine motor skill to even get the skis to slip sideways. In fact, that shallow terrain sideslip drill is one of my favorites for Cert 3 candidates who have release issues. Below that skill level the results are pretty sketchy so I generally recommend avoiding it's use. Don't get me wrong I agree with Rusty's advice, just make sure you choose the proper terrain.


An alternative idea is to do a less drill like activity like dragging the outside pole, or dragging both. Especially for a student seeking a tip but who would not be interested in a full on progression like we would use in a lesson. The difference is that while it quiets down the shoulders it leaves it to the student to figure out how what they need to move to create the same amount of turning force. That's usually not an issue because most people intuitively turn their legs instead of their shoulders but you may find yourself suggesting that and encouraging them to focus on that change. Since it's a wholesale change it may take a while before you see the amount of change you want. So be patient and again if it's a tip, don't obsess over it and turn that activity into a formal lesson.


Beyond that, I also want to mention form over function thinking verses function over form thinking. How your dad performs either Rusty's (or my suggested alternative), remember that age, physical shape, and his lifetime of walking, standing, etc, all contribute to how he will perform those activities. So while the outcomes will resemble your skiing it will not create a carbon copy of it. Don't worry too much about that as long as it functionally creates a positive change in his skiing. Ski well...JASP

post #36 of 39

Livejazz, two pretty obvious factors affect whether or not you're giving effective feedback:


1. we have no idea how well you understand the mechanics and principles of skiing. Ie the progression of each fundamental skill (stance/balance, edging, pivoting, pressure control, and timing/coordination) and how to develop each skill. 

2. it takes a trained eye to assess a skier - and without that eye, any feedback is like throwing darts blindfolded. You may not even see the impact of your feedback. (Even among instructors there are vast differences in assessment skills.)


The danger in giving advice is that no matter how well intentioned, it may be irrelevant, wrong, or damaging to the skier's progression. That's more responsibility than I'd want if I weren't confident in my skills! 


It might not hurt to use Rusty's progression just for "something to do". Results will vary based on assessment/development skills. 


So if your dad wants pointers from you, does that mean he wants instruction but is just too thrifty to pay? If so, I liked the idea someone proposed earlier of giving lessons as a christmas gift. 

post #37 of 39

He asks for pointers from you but doesn't way to take lessons from a professional? OK..what is the root of the problem here? Is it the money? Is it the pride? is it that he wants to spend time with his boy? Is it all the above? Explain that while you might ski more proficiently, that you aren't the best to help him and as a matter of fact you are finding some limitations in your skiing and would like to get better too. Offer to treat him to some lessons when you take yours and do it together. 


If he is halfway computer savvy, show him this thread and see what he thinks. Let him know that you are frustrated too. 

post #38 of 39


Originally Posted by LiveJazz View Post

So, what do you think? Am I worrying too much? Is there any way I can be helpful without being irresponsible, or should I continue redirecting the questions and politely suggesting lessons?


I'm sorry if this seems frivolous, but it's been bothering me for a few seasons now. 



Not frivolous at all. Maybe slightly different but this topic even plagues myself as an instructor. When I'm out skiing with friends or fellow instructors and asked for advice, it becomes a thin line that varies with person to person. There is a lot of good advice here. See which agrees with you most I suppose. I'll be taking some of it on myself. 


post #39 of 39


Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

Skiing is supposed to be fun, so if in having fun together you share what works well for you, it's nothing more than that. So don't be afraid to share that type of information. Although it needs to be said here that no advice is universal (even mine) and if your advice works for him great, if not don't worry about it too much. You won't screw up his skiing with a friendly tip. Also make sure you don't obsess over flaws in his technique and ruin your ski time together by doing a bunch of corrective drills and such. Mention the tip and let him use it as he will. Beyond that enjoy sharing the experience of skiing with him. Not everyone gets that opportunity...

BTW, after three decades of teaching and mentoring ski pros, this is the same advice I give every new pro. It's really a balancing act and only you can say for sure how much advice would be appropriate when out free skiing with your dad.





Well said and I totally agree. If someone asks you how you do something, tell them what works for you. Or if certain drills that you learned work, share them. If it doesn't help, oh well. If it does, great. 


But remember that even though they asked once, may not mean they always want to hear from you. I made that mistake with my Dad. I was trying to be minimalist in my help, but at one point I made a minor comment "you might want to try..." and his response was a curt "I am doing that". Message received: Dad doesn't want anymore advice from his daughter. No problemo. 


I think you should view it as sharing what you've learned more than teaching. This is a big part of how people learn virtually everything. Not all teaching needs to be formal. Now the cool thing is that if you share something that helps him, he may start craving more. If you've got more tips to pass on, go for it. At some point you'll probably run out at which point the "maybe it's time for some lessons to take this a step further". At that point he may actually be receptive to it since he's seen the benefit of the new tips. 


Either way - good luck! 



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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › What is the protocol for giving *requested* skiing advice when you're not a professional instructor?