I thought we needed a thread to offer some contrast to the other thread asking if ski instructor hate the way racers ski.
The summer is too long..............
I've been both an instructor and a race coach. I wouldn't say coaches disrespect instructors, but instruction and coaching are two different things.
Instruction is approximately 100% for low level skiers. Advanced ski skills are not really needed for most instruction, and enthusiastic intermediates can give a pretty good beginner lesson.
coaching is more about motivation and competitive strategies than about skiing skills. All the kids came to us with good technical skills. Ski race coaching has more in common with coaching in other sports than it does with ski instruction.
My role at the mountain is a bridge between ski school and race school. Ski school teaches to ski. Race school teaches skiers to race. I work on the transition from one to the other. We call the group Future Stars. It's a preparatory course to introduce the kids to the what they'll be learning and doing in race school. My focus is to make them all mountain skiers; moguls, trees, groomers, powder (should we get any ) and of course race. I take them through the easy terrain parks but for two reasons they are limited on what they can do in there. 1) I'm not certified to teach terrain and 2) they and I are usually on race skis, so my rule and they all repeat it before we go in, "No metal, wood or plastic. Snow only." They can go over the little jumps and features and is good learning.
We usually run a few times through NASTAR and towards the end of the season, we put on a race for them and invite kids from the local mountains in a similar program. And it is accurately named "The Really Big Race". The kids love it and it also serves to introduce the parents to the duties they will have too. We spend about two months prepping them for the race. We prep them by getting them to be better skiers and doing many of the same drills instructors and coaches use. Instructors and coaches support this.
I have many customers in this role; the kids, their parents, race coaches and the mountain. Pretty much in that order. One of the first things I did was ask the race coaches what they want the kids to be able to do once they finish the course. Some of it is simple; ride the lift by themselves, go to the bathroom and come back by themselves. Others are more to do with being introduced to certain drills. Even better if they can do them. Some of my instructor friends were almost shocked that I had all the 6, 7 and 8 year olds out there skiing on one ski. Success was varied but they were all going for it. The coaches on the other hand thought it was great! Of all the things we do, getting little ones to safely lower and lift the bar is by far one of the most challenging.
I don't think there has ever been any disrespect. Just an understanding that there are two different jobs to be done and many of the instructors haven't raced. I happen to like racing and is one of the reasons I became a life long student of the sport. I think if you asked most coaches and they thought about it some, they would agree that without instructors, they would be out of a job in a couple years.
I'm not really a race coach but they do have me fill in as one time to time. I don't usually teach for the ski school anymore either. I store my gear and usually tip a few with the coaches in the coaches locker room. I do a lot of my training with the instructors but also some with the coaches. My certifications say I'm an instructor, but all the kids call me "Coach".
I have the best job on the mountain.
In my experiences here at my local mountains, certain members of our race team (sometimes coaches) have had a clear opinion that they were a notch above the instructors.. but there are many coaches as well, usually the best (again, in my experience), who are completely at home skiing with instructors or having the instructors work right alongside them. The guy I'm thinking of in particular was a WC racer for a long time and then became a DCL later. Doesn't matter who you are or how you ski, if you want to try out for the D-team or if you want to slide down a hill to release some stress, he'll ski right along with you.
I think you could have this discussion of "Who lacks respect for whom" for just about anyone on the mountain. I've met people who are in a stem-christie phase (with some redeeming traits of course) that are convinced they are among the best skiers on the hill because they can make it down 90% of the runs on the mountain without a fall. I know some guys who find freestyle a completely different sport, both those who enjoy it and those who don't. I've also been put into a situation where I took part in a racing practice with some of the coaches and team members and was informed many, many, MANY... times about how racing is the "highest end of precision skiing", and if I wanted to improve, that was the next step.. and I've been ridiculed by instructors who were of the opinion that I was clueless and held themselves higher than me for plenty of different reasons...
So anyway, just a brief spiel but I guess my point is that people will always try to justify what they're doing as the end-all if they refuse to learn anything else so that they don't feel like they're wasting their time.
When I take out students who are new to me I give them all a similar spiel. I believe we need to achieve two things while skiing (with very few exceptions).
That is, we need to control our speed and we need to control our direction. We accomplish that by turning. It doesn't matter if we are racing, skiing bumps, trees, steeps, powder or crud. The better our turns, the better we are able to control our speed and direction. It's all about the quality of the turn. For me, a great skier is one who can ski all conditions from an icy race course, serious bumps, crud, and all the many conditions we face, with out missing a beat, that's a good skier. Last summer in Austria I saw a skier repeatedly skiing the same ruts in a couple feet of new heavy powder. He skied them several times without missing a beat, I forget who it was but it was someone on the world cup. Last winter I saw a patroller ski a steep pitch at Smugglers Notch. The conditions were a mix of scratchy, icy, interrupted by ledge and other obstacles. He wasn't searching for his turns. Looked pretty good. If you can't accurately control your speed and direction in a variety of conditions, you are probably not an accomplished skier. I saw a remark the is attributed to Marcel Herscher, where he said he was still trying to perfect his turn.
There are some race coaches that look down there nose at instructor. Then there is the ones that work with you and enjoy your view point. I don't hang with the first group. I'm first a Pro who coaches race for the first ten weeks of the season to High School kids rangering from wedge turner to good racers. I than move on to teach the general pubic. I enjoy both worlds.
The race coaches need to remember who the US World Cup coaches went get help improve there athletics skill, Mike Rogan the top men for PSIA. So we need to respect each other, because we must be doing something right in each group.
I hold active and current memberships in CSCF and CSIA, so I'll claim a position in both camps.
I've always felt that the training I got from CSCF courses made me a stronger instructor, and CSIA training made me a stronger coach.
Having said that, the people that I look up to these days to continue to develop my skills are mostly coaches rather than instructors.
I know and have known a variety of overlapping circles of instructors, coaches, competitors and ski bums and feel I see well how respect is distributed among many especially as determined conversationally at the bar down the street at the end of the day. I find it usually primarily falls to a group's perspective on how well a skier can ski and the ability to teach and/or coach a distinctive second. An instructor's skiing ability only needs to be a couple levels above the person they are teaching and a far majority of most lessons are given to low level skiers. Of course, that being said, there are a number of instructors that train other instructors that need to be very good skiers. In most race programs that I have seen, every race coach needs to be able to demonstrate considerably higher level turns. More importantly is the respect that is fostered among those being taught or coached. Unlike in forums like these where advice is shared "blind", on the hill, if you cannot demonstrate what you teach with adequate proficiency, whether or not your advice is spot-on, the student or athlete may not be experiencing a level of respect required for the message to get through.