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Suggestions for teaching ski

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I'm in the middle of instructor clinics and planning on instructing this season, for the first time.  


While I am so far able to demonstrate the skills, drills and techniques for newbie skiers, I would appreciate some feedback on skis.  


(Yes, my boots fit well.) 


I'm 5-10, 140 lbs.  My daily driver is K2 Apache Outlaw, 92mm at the waist, 170cm in length.   I've had them for 3 years and pretty happy with them, looking to get something wider later this year (probably in the 98-105 range) and/or possibly powder ski as finances allow.  That said, they might not be an ideal width for teaching.  In soft snow they were great with the various drills, but on hardpack a bit more effort to get securely on edge.


I also have a pair of Stockli Spirit SC, 65mm at the waist, I think about 174cm in length.  Picked those up last year (for $99 smile.gif) but haven't used them more than a couple of runs since we generally don't have too many really hard pack days in the PNW.


As I'm taking the clinics I'm acutely aware that most, if not all of the instruction for never-evers and other newer-to-skiing skiers is done on flat groomers.   I'm thinking the Stockli's might be the better tool for this, maybe easier to cleanly demonstrate edges and wedges and such.   Is there any reason a 65mm wide ski would be inappropriate for teaching?  


Any other suggestions?  I'd rather not spring for a new pair of skis just for teaching, not just yet at least.



Another way to ask this question:  what skis do you like to use for instructing?



post #2 of 10

What's wrong with the Outlaws?


At lower levels you should be demonstrating skidded turns.  I think as you do more demonstrating and teaching your basic skills will improve to the point where you will find it easy to carve the Outlaws on most hardpack.  I don't see a problem teaching on either ski, but think the Outlaws will be better.  

post #3 of 10

Your Stocklis sound like a good teaching ski, even with the narrow waist.


I teach all my lessons on frontside carvers, this year my teaching ski is a Fischer Progressor 1000 (78 mm waist and 18 m radius). Anything with a waist in the 70s and a radius between 14 and 18 m is perfect for teaching pretty much any lesson at any level and in any snow conditions, in my opinion at least. A waist in the 80-90s wouldn't be so terrible either, but might start to make your life a little harder if you plan on pursuing higher levels of certification.

post #4 of 10

Congratulations DU on joining the ranks of the over worked and under paid!


One thing new pros learn quickly is that their "teaching skis" get a lot of top sheet wear. Many new pros don't have a quiver to choose from for their teaching skis, so you have a good problem.  Since most first year pros spend the entire season teaching mostly beginner lessons, the skis you are on don't make a big difference. Here are some considerations:


  • Appearance
  • Length
  • Match to the rental fleet
  • Tune
  • Ability to swap gear for freeskiing and clinics





You want to make a professional impression. No racy graphics. No duct tape. No bindings old enough to get rejected by a shop. Yes on top surface scuffing so you can honestly say no big deal when a student runs over you.



If you're teaching a lot of kids, you are going to want shorter skis.


Match to the rental fleet

It's really cool to be on the same gear as your victims (er, guests). It's not fair to do stuff their gear can't do. My resort periodically arranges pro deals for the rental gear. If you're going to wear out gear teaching, why not wear out really cheap gear? Our current rental gear is rockered. How cool is that?



I always know that whenever I demo a straight run, there is no way any of my victims are going any further down the hill.


Ability to swap gear for freeskiing and clinics

If you're not going to have time to swap gear for a free run or a clinic, you're going to want better gear to teach on. If you have to swap jackets, you might as well swap skis.

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Good food for thought.  Thanks, TPJ, Adam and Rusty.


Both my skis are mostly intact, no duct tape (although the Outlaws do have an Epicski sticker).  The Stockli's are pretty plain, the Outlaws are pretty tame as far as graphics.  Neither of them are slalom ski length, but 170cm - 174cm is not exactly long either.  Good idea about rental fleet skis.  I'm working with an independent ski school rather than the ski resort's ski school, but I could check out what the rental shop would sell a rental ski for.  


I could probably swap them out pretty easily as needed, assuming I want to schlep both pairs with me from the car.  

post #6 of 10

I only mentioned the graphics because some of the (cough) less experienced instructors I've worked with didn't think twice about going out to line up with gear that had graphics of scantily clad women. Personally I (cough) LOVE the graphics, but not when you could be teaching little ones. Similarly we have a local ski shop called Alpine Ski Shop. They publish one of those black letter on a white background oval stickers with their initials (cough cough). We love the shop and encourage pros to support their local shops, but that sticker is also not appropriate on teaching gear. One would think that this would be obvious. Alas the conversation inevitably goes "but the kids I teach will thin its cool". True, but.

post #7 of 10
NO DUCT TAPE! Guess I'll have to switch to rivets to hold my tips together. I agree with Rusty, I'm on 168 cm skis (bindings happen to be missing a brake and an AFD), I don't care if they get skied over, they regularly do. Make sure they're fairly inoffensive looking, well tuned, shorter length helps, so does a short radius, mine is ~ 20 and its a little long. I prefer a twin-tip to teach on, as I spend a large portion of my lessons skiing switch, plus they have to do double duty as park skis. Congrats on the instructing job! It's a ton of fun.
post #8 of 10

Listen to Rusty. He's always right.

post #9 of 10

Thanks Andrew,


That is way too kind and absolutely not true. I count on my fellow barking bears to catch my errors. I am here to learn, to help and to learn by helping. If I was always right, wouldn't I just be going in circles?

post #10 of 10

Andy Rooney used to say "You know...."


Enter the Sierra Trading Post MY FAVORITE GEAR Contest Here!


$250 could do wonders for your new ski budget. 

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