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How do I make the most of ski lessons/clinics? (a.k.a., what do you want from me?)

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I am planning to spend more time in ski lessons this year, including at least one specialty clinic.  Whether in a clinic setting, group lesson or private lesson, I am looking for input from instructors here about what they want most from a student in order for the time invested to be most productive.  Lessons aren't cheap, and I want to make the most of each clinic or lesson, so knowing what an instructor is looking for would be most helpful.  So ... what do you want from me?

post #2 of 8

We want what you want. It's that simple. Tell us what YOU want from US. If you want to improve your carving, tell us. If you want to do bumps, tell us that. The best way to get the most out of your lessons is to tell the instructor what it is you want to get out of them. Then we can adjust our teaching to your goals. That may mean changing up the lesson entirely, particularly in private situations. More often, it'll mean tweaking our drills to suit your goal. I typically set out a baseline drill to do, and then go down the line and say 'Okay Jim, do the drill, and focus on THIS while you do it... Jane, do the drill, but do it THAT way...' etc, etc.


Oh, and don't argue. We are ski gods, sent from Ullr to impart the mystical knowledge unto the mortal masses. Just kidding. cool.gif But usually the drills have a point, even if they seem strange or totally off track. Don't be afraid to ask the why. But don't be surprised if your instructor gives you an extremely enthusiastic explanation. Skiing is what we do, and talking about it is what we love to do. Ergo, Epicski.

post #3 of 8



 Show me what what your every day skiing looks like. Tell me as truthfully as you can what you feel you can and can't do. The only place to start is where you honestly feel you are, and where you want to get. I will do my best to present you with the physical or mental skills I think you need to get to your goal. Don't try to assimilate more then you can. A successful lesson is one where you really learn something, not where you are shown, but don't get, 2 (or more) things.


So many show up for lessons wanting to be told how great they already are. It is important to reinforce what you have right, but also to admit where you need help. It's not likely I will be impressed by your skiing. I am impressed by people who are able to articulate what they want, listen to suggestions, and  work to own what they need.

post #4 of 8
Originally Posted by hobbes429 View Post
 So ... what do you want from me?

Ve Vant to suck your blood - oh - sorry  - it's Halloween


1) Know what you want to achieve in the lesson and be realistic about your goals. (Yes this is easier said than done - your first lesson goal thus might be an assessment and establishing goals). Otherwise tell us your plan, where you are in the plan and what is working well or not well. We can tell a lot  about what is going on today, but if you can tell us where you've been and where you want to go, that eliminates some guesswork on our part.

2) Have equipment issues resolved before the lesson (e.g. fresh tune, boot alignment work complete)

3) Don't be afraid to interrupt to ask questions about things that aren't clear, but try to maximize lift time for extended discussions. Don't get upset if we ask you to have patience before some things get clear. When there's a real understanding road block, ask for the topic to be explained a different way.

Help us break through communication road blocks. 

4) Give us feedback about what is working or not working.

5) Don't get frustrated when something new is hard to do or feels awkward. New stuff is going to work best when you can do it without thinking about it. When you are working on something it is hard to "ski".

6) If you're not falling, then you're not learning. It's not the code. It's more of a guideline. You'll never discover your limits if you don't exceed them occasionally.


It's frustrating when we get intermediate and advanced students coming to lessons and they tell us they don't know what they want to achieve in the lesson and when pressed, answer "turn better". On the one hand this does give us a blank check to teach whatever we want and still exceed expectations. On the other hand it's a lot harder to deliver "break throughs". So it's huge even if all you can is item#1 on the list above. Item#2 is not a big problem in most lessons, but when it is a problem, the lesson is virtually wasted. The rest of the above is just BS.



post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feedback from all so far.  I am re-working my equipment in preparation for the season ... including working with a bootfitter on new, properly fitted boots, alignment, etc..  I have also been spending some time thinking about the last 2 years on my improvement journey and focusing on what is highest on the priority list for this season.  I have some definite ideas in mind about where I'd like to be in the next few seasons, tempering expectations by the knowledge that I don't get a lot of days on the snow.  I should be able to communicate a pretty clear picture of what I am hoping to achieve.


Keep the feedback coming ... I'm all ears!

post #6 of 8

Be clear and specific with your end goals. Let the instructor worry about and communicate to you what is achievable in the time frame. At the very least they will be working you towards that goal if not actually achieving it within the time frame. 


If you know it, communicate your learning style. This can greatly accelerate the learning process. It is usually a combination of VARK (Visual Auditory Reading Kinesthetic) with a predominance on one. 

post #7 of 8

As a consumer of lessons, I'd suggest this:  Book the right length lesson.  The one time I was part of a full-day lesson, it seemed to get repetitive.  I find the sweet spot somewhere between 2 and 3 hours.  To me, it's important to spend time alone working on what I learned.

post #8 of 8

Basically what everyone else said but to put it in my words I would say,


For group lessons make sure you are put in the right ability group, and make sure that everyone in that group has the same goals, If your in a group and everyone wants to work on bumps but you want to work on carving, the instructor is mostly just going to work on bumps.


For group or private lessons make sure you ask questions, especially if you didn't get something he said. 


Ask for feedback, for group lessons a lot of instructors wont give individual feedback, simple ask him to watch you. This would tell me that your open to individual feedback.


The last thing I can think of would be to have fun. You wont learn much if you have other things on your mind. ex: Your cold and your ski equipment is't working correctly. The instructor feeds off of the energy the group is giving. Same goes for the other way. If your happy and have lots of energy so should the instructor. 


hope thats helps.

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