EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Ravings of a demented ski instructor
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Ravings of a demented ski instructor - Page 2

post #31 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatoldman View Post

To the several who have mentioned parents who take kids down too steep terrain,

Yes, parents do that but, so do instructors. Which instructors teach the bulk of children's lessons? The youngest and least experienced. Just those who are likely to get bored with easy terrain day after day and make a poor decision to go too steep too soon. This problem reached the point where, for first timer, beginner and advanced beginner levels, the directors of the children's program had to publish a list of appropriate runs for each level and back that up with disciplinary measures (some instructors actually lost their jobs over this) to control the problem. Further, this wasn't just a problem with new instructors, some level II instructors considered the goal of a successful never ever class to get the kids off the beginner hill and down the nearest green run which happens to be the steepest green at the resort. They usually made it and had a class of locked in power wedgers as a result. Would you want to get that group of students the next day and have to explain to them and their parents that they don't have the skill level to go down a slope that another instructor has already taken them down!

Its because of the above that I have a standing request with the children's supervisors that if I am called on to help out with the children's program (usually happens once or twice a season) that I get assigned to the first timers.

oldyd

I see this problem a lot now in my first year of teaching, where I'm doing lots of kids groups and am coping with the kids who assess themselves by what runs they "ski" rather than how they ski. I find it tough to get such kids to care about the "how" and it also becomes tough when they demand challenges that they aren't ready for, technically. When a ski school's priority for kids is safety first, fun second and learning third, I tend to think the 3d and 2d need to be reversed.

Maybe that means I should become a race coach.

But I really, really hate watching kids' skills go backward and/or fall apart because they're thinking only of what run they ski, rather than how they ski.

And to be fair I see this among many of my adult friends who occasionally ski with me. Some of them don't care about their technique at all, they just want bragging rights. It's a mindset that's hard for me to understand.
post #32 of 38



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fatoldman View Post

To the several who have mentioned parents who take kids down too steep terrain,

 

... some level II instructors considered the goal of a successful never ever class to get the kids off the beginner hill and down the nearest green run which happens to be the steepest green at the resort. They usually made it ["usually"? eek.gif] and had a class of locked in power wedgers as a result. frown.gif  Would you want to get that group of students the next day and have to explain to them and their parents that they don't have the skill level to go down a slope that another instructor has already taken them down!  confused.gif mad.gif

 

Its because of the above that I have a standing request with the children's supervisors that if I am called on to help out with the children's program (usually happens once or twice a season) that I get assigned to the first timers. icon14.gif

 

oldyd


 

Flip side: I once had a Level 3 buddy who INSISTED on following me down Liftline at Stowe. Not the toughest trail in the world but geez, why won't you just believe me when I tell you "no" for like the eighth time? It took him 20 minutes to power wedge the first 100 yards, me watching from behind a tree, not wanting to be associated. th_dunno-1[1].gif

 

When he reached the spot where National crosses over and stopped (again) to breath I skied down and pointed back up to where he'd been. He blanched. Then I pointed up National (which is steeper) and told him that was next. He finally gave up.

 

He never stopped power wedging though. I think he even does that going down stairs now.  biggrin.gif
 

 

post #33 of 38
I'm now teaching at Alpental, an area with limited 'beginner' terrain (further limited by a large portion being fenced off on busy teaching days). The beginner chair/run at Alpental is sloped OK (Green) near the bottom but a bit steep for beginners at the top. Once a beginner "masters" (well... does OK) on that chair their next available terrain is effectively a full-on Deep-Blue run (Sessell).

Because of the jump in difficulty we'd like to see Wedge skiers using a very slight Wedge that is directionally controlled through independent leg steering (ILS), and students turning further across the hill for speed control. Of course, that's ideal - and tough to accomplish - but that's why they pay ski instructors the Big Bucks, right?

Just because something is difficult to teach doesn't mean we should "just move on" and teach something easier to teach, then take students onto more difficult terrain anyway. That's nothing but a disservice to them in the long run. With my own classes I teach ILS early and often. At all levels I tend to start each day with reminders of ILS - deliberate tasks focused on making sure everyone retains the pattern before we continue on with the day's topic. At higher levels I simply expect more accuracy.


---
Too often I see instructors lead groups of Power Wedgers straight (or nearly so) down the hill. Granted, getting kids to stand up tall in a narrow stance and twist both feet is difficult - but I submit it's worth it - and no harder than getting them to do anything else we might want of them!


Please, please, please - if you're teaching students at Level-2 or 3 try really hard (and repeatedly) to get them to stand up tall with a hip-width stance and twist both feet at the same time. Sure, they may throw their upper-body or hips to get 'er done - but that's OK to start! It's far easier to correct 'throwing the upper-body' above good foot-turning than it is to correct a locked-in Power Wedge (with which we can do nothing worthwhile!).

To teach ILS, show students simultaneous twisting of both your arms/hands - with elbows straight (not bent) - to simulate the legs and feet in a tall stance. For kids be sure to aim your arms/hands downward at the snow. Make students actually twist their own arms/hands correctly by manipulating their arms/hands yourself as needed to give them the idea. Then get them to try twisting both feet on the snow (no skis on). Again, throwing the hips or upper-body is to be discouraged - but as long as the feet are turning independently directly under them, we're getting somewhere.

Now drill it in while sliding slowly forward on very easy terrain. While they're moving forward at a snail's pace, ask them to do the same thing as above - twist both feet across the hill while standing up tall. It will work! As they begin to get it, ask for progressive (not jerky) twisting of both feet. Standing up 'taller' helps here (because it flattens the skis, releasing the edges a bit more). Try to get students twisting both feet all the way to the left and all the way to the right while they slide facing you downhill. Repeat. Repeat again! The sense of easy sliding and easy direction-change will help them retain it.

Following this progression we get several good things:
a) A tall stance - which automatically reduces blocking edge-angles
b) Turning of the legs and feet under a less-turning upper-body
c) Larger changes in direction (because it's easier to turn and slide across the hill)
d) Automatic Counter - inside-half-lead tends to form automatically
e) Lateral Balance will tend to migrate to a point over the downhill ski

I've used the progression above (and variations) for many years and always found students adopt the pattern successfully. Yes, it takes some effort on my own part and often requires me to do several one-on-one teaching segments to build the pattern in less capable students, but it has ALWAYS worked given a bit of effort on my part.

I've never found teaching ILS to students to be difficult.
Getting instructors to teach ILS properly and with determination - now that's difficult.

.ma
post #34 of 38
Originally Posted by GrizzledVeteran View Post


I see this problem a lot now in my first year of teaching, where I'm doing lots of kids groups and am coping with the kids who assess themselves by what runs they "ski" rather than how they ski. I find it tough to get such kids to care about the "how" and it also becomes tough when they demand challenges that they aren't ready for, technically. When a ski school's priority for kids is safety first, fun second and learning third, I tend to think the 3d and 2d need to be reversed.
Maybe that means I should become a race coach.
But I really, really hate watching kids' skills go backward and/or fall apart because they're thinking only of what run they ski, rather than how they ski.
And to be fair I see this among many of my adult friends who occasionally ski with me. Some of them don't care about their technique at all, they just want bragging rights. It's a mindset that's hard for me to understand.


Grizzled, most people identify their ski level by which terrain they can get down.  They are unaware of how out-of-control they may be, and what a danger they may be to themselves and others as they skid sideways down the hill.  I think this is probably not fixable.

post #35 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA View Post

I'm now teaching at Alpental, an area with limited 'beginner' terrain (further limited by a large portion being fenced off on busy teaching days). The beginner chair/run at Alpental is sloped OK (Green) near the bottom but a bit steep for beginners at the top. Once a beginner "masters" (well... does OK) on that chair their next available terrain is effectively a full-on Deep-Blue run (Sessell).
Because of the jump in difficulty we'd like to see Wedge skiers using a very slight Wedge that is directionally controlled through independent leg steering (ILS), and students turning further across the hill for speed control. Of course, that's ideal - and tough to accomplish - but that's why they pay ski instructors the Big Bucks, right?
Just because something is difficult to teach doesn't mean we should "just move on" and teach something easier to teach, then take students onto more difficult terrain anyway. That's nothing but a disservice to them in the long run. With my own classes I teach ILS early and often. At all levels I tend to start each day with reminders of ILS - deliberate tasks focused on making sure everyone retains the pattern before we continue on with the day's topic. At higher levels I simply expect more accuracy.
---
Too often I see instructors lead groups of Power Wedgers straight (or nearly so) down the hill. Granted, getting kids to stand up tall in a narrow stance and twist both feet is difficult - but I submit it's worth it - and no harder than getting them to do anything else we might want of them!
Please, please, please - if you're teaching students at Level-2 or 3 try really hard (and repeatedly) to get them to stand up tall with a hip-width stance and twist both feet at the same time. Sure, they may throw their upper-body or hips to get 'er done - but that's OK to start! It's far easier to correct 'throwing the upper-body' above good foot-turning than it is to correct a locked-in Power Wedge (with which we can do nothing worthwhile!).
To teach ILS, show students simultaneous twisting of both your arms/hands - with elbows straight (not bent) - to simulate the legs and feet in a tall stance. For kids be sure to aim your arms/hands downward at the snow. Make students actually twist their own arms/hands correctly by manipulating their arms/hands yourself as needed to give them the idea. Then get them to try twisting both feet on the snow (no skis on). Again, throwing the hips or upper-body is to be discouraged - but as long as the feet are turning independently directly under them, we're getting somewhere.
Now drill it in while sliding slowly forward on very easy terrain. While they're moving forward at a snail's pace, ask them to do the same thing as above - twist both feet across the hill while standing up tall. It will work! As they begin to get it, ask for progressive (not jerky) twisting of both feet. Standing up 'taller' helps here (because it flattens the skis, releasing the edges a bit more). Try to get students twisting both feet all the way to the left and all the way to the right while they slide facing you downhill. Repeat. Repeat again! The sense of easy sliding and easy direction-change will help them retain it.
Following this progression we get several good things:
a) A tall stance - which automatically reduces blocking edge-angles
b) Turning of the legs and feet under a less-turning upper-body
c) Larger changes in direction (because it's easier to turn and slide across the hill)
d) Automatic Counter - inside-half-lead tends to form automatically
e) Lateral Balance will tend to migrate to a point over the downhill ski
I've used the progression above (and variations) for many years and always found students adopt the pattern successfully. Yes, it takes some effort on my own part and often requires me to do several one-on-one teaching segments to build the pattern in less capable students, but it has ALWAYS worked given a bit of effort on my part.
I've never found teaching ILS to students to be difficult.
Getting instructors to teach ILS properly and with determination - now that's difficult.
.ma


Good thoughts, michaelA.

 

post #36 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatoldman View Post

The greatest disservice done to novice skiers is teaching them to do hockey stops.

 

oldyd



I would have thought being able to stop quickly would be a good thing to teach skiers who may quite soon end up needing that skill.

post #37 of 38
Thread Starter 

Ghost,

 

Your statement has been answered several times in the course of this thread. Don't see why I should repeat myself and others.

 

oldyd

post #38 of 38

Quote:

Originally Posted by GrizzledVeteran View Post


I see this problem a lot now in my first year of teaching, where I'm doing lots of kids groups and am coping with the kids who assess themselves by what runs they "ski" rather than how they ski. I find it tough to get such kids to care about the "how" and it also becomes tough when they demand challenges that they aren't ready for, technically. When a ski school's priority for kids is safety first, fun second and learning third, I tend to think the 3d and 2d need to be reversed.
Maybe that means I should become a race coach.
 
But I really, really hate watching kids' skills go backward and/or fall apart because they're thinking only of what run they ski, rather than how they ski.
And to be fair I see this among many of my adult friends who occasionally ski with me. Some of them don't care about their technique at all, they just want bragging rights. It's a mindset that's hard for me to understand.


So reverse them? Who cares? Aren't you basically unsupervised? (is that what i read?)  I mean if the kids are miserable then they're not going to learn much anyway so it's moot. If they're having at least some fun, they will learn more readily.

 You're not making a budget here and allocating funds from a limited supply.  I don't get the huge gap between 2nd and 3rd. It's a challenge, sure.

 

We should not rate trails "expert" cause people just want to go down it to say they did.

Hey, the parents aren't much better. When you tell them their kids are in a green instead of a blue, they don't want to hear it a lot of times. 
 

 

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 › Ravings of a demented ski instructor