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Ideal student????

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

There seems to be a large number of instructors (or at least people that have taught) on this website and no shortage of opinions, as well. :D  I thought it might be interesting (as a student) to learn how you guys define an ideal student???


Is it someone that is knowledgeable (ski theory), or one that is not?  Aggressive (skiing) or not?  Are those ideal students proficient at other things?  Are they just naturals? 


What is it that makes those "shining stars" stand out from the rest?????

















post #2 of 17

My ideal student is one with a big smile at the end of the lesson.


Athletes with skills that readily transfer are usually easy to teach, but rock stars who blow away the learning curve are a little scary because although you don't want to hold the student back from what they are capable of, managing risk is extremely difficult. The challenge is how fast you can let them ascend the learning curve vs trying to make the curve steeper. For example, I once had a first timer with incredible carving skills move up to the next level of slope right away (which we have rules for not doing), but his carving ability exceeded his awareness of danger from other advanced beginners on the same run. If it wasn't as crowded that day we could have progressed up to the next level of slope, but I would have been panic stricken at the speeds he could have achieved there and my inability to stop him from going into the woods if he got in trouble. As it was I had to work my ass off to coach the sponge and simultaneously prevent collisions. In this sense, rock stars are just a different kind of challenge than "normal" students versus what some would say are ideal students (i.e. they can instantly do everything you ask for).


It is always helpful when a student has an accurate assessment of their skills coming into the lesson, a clear desire of what they want to achieve in the lesson, an understanding of how they learn best, a concise learning history and/or reasonable expectations. Student's whose only goals are to "get better" in one sense are easy to please because they arrive with low expectations, but in another sense make it much more difficult to get them to the next level because you need to spend so much more time evaluating them before determining the best path for changing their skiing. 


Frankly, if they come to the lesson because they want to learn, they're not puking or bleeding and they have the ability to actually remain upright while moving then I figure it's already a good day.

post #3 of 17

Just want to cut lines on a powder day then leaves a $500 tip?

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

Just want to cut lines on a powder day then leaves a $500 tip?

HAHAHAHAHA! :rotflmao: 


I knew a comment like that would crop up sooner or later.

post #5 of 17

I sorta take and coach what I not consciously thinking about the type of student I want, I am not disappointed by what I end up with.  


I teach both kids and adults.  With kids, it is nice if they can manage their gloves, zippers, helmets and other gear themselves.  Also nice when they are good with the altitude and comfortable being away from mom and dad.  The one thing that is generally easier with kids is that they are less afraid of getting hurt.


With both kids and adults, it is good if they are active athletically, especially skating or other things that involve balance and using their feet.  A willingness to listen and try new things is always appreciated.


I like it when students tell me what they like and/or what they thought helped them improve.  In a group lesson, I suppose the ideal student has some idea of what they want to get out of the lesson, but is flexible and happily supports what works best for the group.  I have always been impressed when adults and kids as young as 5 have tried to help others in the group or made me aware when another student has some sort of issue.


Smiles are always a good thing.

post #6 of 17
The perfect student wants to learn and actively demonstrates that in their willingness to explore change. We can figure out the rest of the details based on their needs.
post #7 of 17

My ideal student is hot, single, independently wealthy, and into part-time ski instructors. 


But from a teaching perspective, my ideal student is just someone who's happy, open to change, wants to learn, and has trust in themselves and in me.  


My nightmare student is resistant to change, sullen, and clumsy. Yerch!

post #8 of 17

I have a friend who just came back after teaching privates for 20 years in the Italian alps. He said there has been a shift in the private lessons. He came back because he became sick and tired of "wealthy Australians and Russians who are more interested in being guided around the mountain and skipping lift lines than learning anything"


So a student that actually wants to learn is definitely the most important criteria. 


I had a kid in the race program who said "I already know how to ski, I'm just here because my dad says its cheaper". 

post #9 of 17

I teach everything and really do have fun with everyone. Today I am teaching ages 3-65 levels never ever though 7. 


IMO the easiest people to coach are kids that can move like adults up to adults that are still kids. that age range is roughly 8-9 to mid 20s sadly though I have had some 21-22 year old that have already forgotten how to play. bu sometime that age goes well into adult hold. 


Other than that I have seen no other age range that can learn faster and easier. 


if someone is high level skier and wants to be guided than I have no problem with it, I really really dislike the beginmediates who wanted to be guided on over their head terrain with out having any input on whats going. 

post #10 of 17

For me, it is all about attitude.  Be positive & realistic & you will excel!

post #11 of 17

As someone who teaches all ages, abilities, alpine, tele, and occasional snowboard, the things the "best" students have in common are.....


1. They are there because they want to be there. It doesn't matter who is paying the bill, it does matter if the student, kid, spouse, boy/girl friend is there because.....


2. They actively want to learn. To want to be able to have more fun on a wider set of conditions then they currently are (AKA "get better") and....


3. Have some idea where they want to get to without being convinced they already know what they need to get there.


"I'm here because my wife is bored with skiing blues (where I am perfectly happy) with me" or "little Betty isn't as fast as Johnny, fix her" are not things I want to hear. Nor do I get thrilled with "I read on the internet that I need to tip my inside ski to fix my turns" as they massively over rotate. I guess I just don't like starting from the basis of "fixing" anyone.


"I really want to be able to ski (bumps, powder, trees, blue runs, or just ski at all) because it looks like fun!" makes for a way learning environment for everybody.

post #12 of 17

I've wanted to post in this thread but have had difficulty figuring out what to say.


I find myself drawn to the difficult-to-teach students.  People who are excessively old and new to skiing; people who don't speak English (my only languages); excessively clueless and wobbly folks who can't even stand up; folks who are overly frightened and rigid in all kinds of ways.... there are so many variations on "difficult student."  Having some success with these folks is a real high for me.  Disclosure:  I don't always have success.


When I get to teach someone who doesn't require as much creativity or work on my part, who responds immediately with exceptional brilliance to my every suggestion, I do like it.  I feel like a hero, but honestly I'm not doing that much for them and it's so easy.  


So I guess the difficult student is my favorite.   

post #13 of 17
LF, you need to come here and give me a lesson..
post #14 of 17

No, I need to go to Whitefish and have you guide me around your mountain.

I can ski ice, but powder ... don't see it much here.

post #15 of 17
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

So I guess the difficult student is my favorite.   


3 students I particularly remember.


A season long series with a deaf boy.  I learned how to better teach with my feet rather then my mouth. As a bonus my wife and I had fun taking ASL classes to be better able to communicate.


An autistic teenager that over the course of 2 hours got to where he could stand up and scooter on one ski, or glide very shallow slopes with two. A good reminder that my goals are not the clients goals. 


An early 20s hot bumper. A could never dream of out skiing this guy. We spent an hour talking strategy in the moguls rather then tactics. In all his time skiing and being trained (including annual Nelson Carmichael camps) he had never thought about how to use the shapes of the bumps to further shape his turns rather then imposing his will on them. He was thrilled with a new idea, I was thrilled to find I can teach even if I can't match the physical skills.


Yes, now that you mention it I too like difficult students for what they teach me, but in all these cases they still met the first 3 conditions.

post #16 of 17

Idea students for me are the little rippers, 7/8- 11-13 year old range. They are just fun and willing play. Although something happens to the girls (not all) around 12ish, maybe hormones who knows but they lose it and usually they are better skiers than the boys. Boys lose it around 13-15 hormones again? By lose it I mean that playfulness. I wish they could leave that angst at home and just come up and play on the mountain.  My best student this year has been a 60 ish women 2nd year skier. She is giving me feedback of what she wants and when I go off the deep end on info overload. She is making me a better instructor and for that I'm grateful. She is also the rare species of older adult who is not afraid, she plays like the kids. While I wouldn't mind the $500 skip the lift line type except for the money I'd get bored with that type fast. I'm more than happy to ski with anyone but I'm not into selling out the jacket to cut lines.

post #17 of 17

Visual learners.

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