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Breck trainers and SAM notes

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
seminar 1. neurology and biomechanics how are we connected and how are movement based problems identified. In the kinetic chain it is all connected and the old crack the whip thinking is limiting. Think instead of how interrelated the joints are. Movements do not need to originate at either end but whatever we do will effect both ends and everything in between. Some of these movements cause excessive wear in our joints and 57% of all skiers will experience a use injury. Ironically the older skiers tend to be the one group not in that 57%. It is unclear if they are just in that 43% or if they approach skiing differently. Additionally, 98% of instructors will be in that 57% group. Back injuries are also prevelent (along with knee joints) so kinetic health is a very important issue among ski orofessionals. Interventions are planned within PSIA and it includes compression wear. An additional benefit of these cloths is anti vibration. Layered above that is a second layer that directs stress in a directionally compressive way. Thus reducing fatigue and wear and tear by redirecting forces and stress in the body. Studied are in progress to further identify benefits of braces and the whole compression garment industry. Presently a 5% improvement among the study group is happening. (1 in 20 injured skiers show improvement)
Inertial Management Units are producing data and are being used to create real time 3d databases so we can prescribe meaningful movement and physical therapy regimines for rehab and prophilactic training programs.
more to follow in an hour or so after Horst Abrams talks.
Edited by justanotherskipro - 3/14/15 at 3:07am
post #2 of 22
Thread Starter 
seminar 2. Engagement numbers are a concern, how can we connect better with our clients as demographics are changing and as boomers leave the sport. 12.5% returns at the beginner level mean we need to rethink the closed skill teaching idea. It amounts to being more invested in our relationships to our clients. Satisfaction among clients drives these numbers and developing better engagenent is the key. Mission statements show how connected to our clients.

meaning: make it relevent and meaningful from the neck up.
autonomy: self determination
what I do, where, how and who I do it with.
temporal
Spatial
Task
Social

Growth: How does the instructor /manager contract effect engagement and growth / personal development? How does that translate to employee job performance?
Impact: How much do we impact engagement and the lives of those we encounter.
connection: The quality of our relationships determine the quality of our work. think beyond ourselves and notice everyone that we connect with. Break the mold and be the difference that inspires us and others to raise our games and float all boats a little higher.
more tommorrow...
Edited by justanotherskipro - 3/14/15 at 3:09am
post #3 of 22


So, any thought to paying ski instructors a living wage as part of improving the product?

 

Snarkily,

 

Mike

post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
Uh, actually I want to say I do not speak for anyone. I thought some notes from this meeting might make some see the common complaints here at Epic in a new light. But did you see the growth heading above. How well a company empowers and supports their staff involves pay, training, advancement opportuities, etc.
On the flip side is the idea that workers need to raise their game and produce measurable business increases. So working together to float all bosts a little higher is how to earn more. Sadly most think like an inside salesperson / customer service staffer instead of an outside salesperson who develops relationships to create and strengthen client loyalty. It takes effort on both sides...
Edited by justanotherskipro - 11/10/14 at 6:14am
post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

Uh, actually I wany to say I do not speak for anyone. I thought some notes from this meeting might make some see the common complaints here at Epic in a new light. But did you see the growth heading above. How well a company empowers and supports their staff involves pay, training, advancement opportuities, etc.
On the flip side is the idea that workers need to raise their game and produce measurable business increases. So working together to float all bosts a little higher is how to earn more. Sadly most think like an inside salesperson / customer service staffer instead of an outside salesperson who develops relationships to create and strengthen client loyalty. It takes effort on both sides...


Yep, no doubt it does.  And you would be hard pressed to find a more ardent believer in the free market than myself.  I've been a ski instructor for a very short time after being a very senior executive for the vast majority of my career.  In fact, I have many relationships with top tier instructors as a client, and those relationships are with the instructor, not with the ski area.  

 

I also believe that both management and labor has to invest in the product.  But it does seem to me that management has been, for the most part, not particularly innovative in developing ski instruction nor, for that matter, willing to pay wages that attract, retain, and develop the best talent as ski instructors.  I've paid my own money to take lessons from some of the best ski instructors in America, including 6 members of the demo team.  And looking at their lifestyle and the income they achieve, it's pretty paltry for the folk at the top of the heap -- and they don't obtain the vast majority of their clients from the resort marketing machine, but rather from their own network and referrals.

 

I teach because I'm trying to become a better skier.  And I enjoy teaching -- its giving back to the sport I love.  Maybe I'm part of the problem as I'm basically doing charity work. Perhaps we need to get rid of the folk who are willing to teach for a song (like me, a wealthy retiree) and get instructors who create great experiences and can pursue teaching as a career.  But management has to see the whole problem -- it's bettering the product, and that requires (IMHO) pay and better effort at establishing best practices.

 

Mike

post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hobbyists tend to say they don't need to be paid to teach. Or they say I make so much more at my real job. What is implied is ski teaching isn't a real job. This leads to an attitude of limited effort when it comes to training, as well as day to day work efforts. So the question of what the SAM can do to change this, The first thing would be more selective hiring practices that clearly express a need to buy in to the idea of being personally better today than I was yesterday and that helped the school be better.
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
I LOVE the hospitality thread because it speak to the qualities we need in the hospitality industry and how skiing is part of that industry.
post #8 of 22
They can't even fill their stated staffing numbers today. Being "more selective" only reduces the numbers, so the work load becomes heavier for those who are here. Perhaps making the position more attractive ($$$$ for one thing, benefits, recognition and respect for others) would allow them to be more selective.
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post




I teach because I'm trying to become a better skier.  And I enjoy teaching -- its giving back to the sport I love.  Maybe I'm part of the problem as I'm basically doing charity work. Perhaps we need to get rid of the folk who are willing to teach for a song (like me, a wealthy retiree) and get instructors who create great experiences and can pursue teaching as a career.  But management has to see the whole problem -- it's bettering the product, and that requires (IMHO) pay and better effort at establishing best practices.

Mike

It's your kind of commitment to the sport that makes for caring, helpful instructors. We need that attitude of contributing to the sport you love and wanting to improve.
post #10 of 22
My data may be a couple of years old but last I checked, starting hourly wage for instructors at Breck is about the same as it was 30 years ago.

During the time I worked at Breck, I was amazed at the effort people gave to provide the best experience ever. I did not see any correlation between pay and teaching quality.
What I did see is great instructors leave because it just wasn't worth it to them.

A relationship requires commitment from both parties. Instructors need the support from the resort in terms of logistics, friendly and helpful people in rental shops, ticket offices, lifts etc. and instructors need to be at their best. If one side is lacking, it lessens the guest's overall experience.
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier31 View Post

My data may be a couple of years old but last I checked, starting hourly wage for instructors at Breck is about the same as it was 30 years ago.

During the time I worked at Breck, I was amazed at the effort people gave to provide the best experience ever. I did not see any correlation between pay and teaching quality.
What I did see is great instructors leave because it just wasn't worth it to them.

A relationship requires commitment from both parties. Instructors need the support from the resort in terms of logistics, friendly and helpful people in rental shops, ticket offices, lifts etc. and instructors need to be at their best. If one side is lacking, it lessens the guest's overall experience.

 

In what teaching field does this apply?  It is indeed a sad fact that there is next to no correlation between teaching quality and pay K-12 schools, nor in the colleges I attended.  

That said, I'd hate to see the day when school bureaucrats gain the power to evaluate teaching quality in order to enact merit pay.  That would backfire fast. 

 

Allowing the skiing public to seek out and enlist the services of independent, quality teachers might solve the issue, but I'm not all that trusting of the public in choosing quality products of any sort, given the powers of contemporary marketing.  In Europe, does the private ski school system produce more effective teaching than here?   How could anyone evaluate that?    

post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

 

In what teaching field does this apply?  It is indeed a sad fact that there is next to no correlation between teaching quality and pay K-12 schools, nor in the colleges I attended.  

That said, I'd hate to see the day when school bureaucrats gain the power to evaluate teaching quality in order to enact merit pay.  That would backfire fast. 

 

Allowing the skiing public to seek out and enlist the services of independent, quality teachers might solve the issue, but I'm not all that trusting of the public in choosing quality products of any sort, given the powers of contemporary marketing.  In Europe, does the private ski school system produce more effective teaching than here?   How could anyone evaluate that?    

 

Perhaps I did not make myself clear.  The posts prior to mine seemed to indicate that the quality of ski instruction is suffering because of low pay.   My point was that the people with whom I taught at Breck gave their guests great instruction and did their best regardless of pay, work environment etc.   They didn't hold back because they felt they were being paid unfairly.   My post has nothing to do with schools outside of ski schools.

post #13 of 22

I know.  I just thought I'd add that.  I think good teachers happen irrespective of pay.  

I'd like to see pay follow, but I don't think it leads, ever, when it comes to teaching quality.

Do you agree?

post #14 of 22

The pay is too low.  Its not that higher pay will suddenly make instructors more caring about their work.  Every instructor I know cares about what they are doing or they would not be even out there at all for the ridiculous low pay they get.  Its quite obviously a labor of love.  That being said, loving something, and truly being good at something are two different things.  Low pay does send talented people away from the industry because someone who is talented at ski instruction can also be talented at a wide variety of jobs that pay quadruple what ski instruction pays.  If they want to own a house, have a family and have job security, all but a very select few individuals will, out of necessity, have to leave the industry right about the time they are just starting to know what they are doing.

 

If the pay was higher, some of those individuals might stay.

 

Resorts can't find enough instructors now.  They are practically begging for people with zero qualifications to come be a ski instructor.  This is basic supply and demand.  Pay more and the supply will increase over time.  Resorts should not have to beg unqualified people to come teach.  If they were paying more, they would retain more long term ski instructors and never have to beg anyone to come teach.  Its simple economics really.  If ski instructors stay longer or make a real career out of it, they will become better and better at it.  More ski instructors getting better and better means better product for the end consumer.

 

None of that runs counter to the comments JASP and others are making about quality coming from within all of us trying hard to be continuously better at what we do, thinking in terms of hospitality and all that.  I do not think more money will make me any better then I am already trying to be.  I do not think most of my peers would become any better then they already are by getting paid more.  However, I know many of them are going to quit this job and move onto something that will pay the bills and so the churn of low skilled ski instruction will continue.

post #15 of 22

Jasp, Please do post about the stuff on day 2.  I don't want to derail what's coming out of management's perspective.  

 

I also didn't mean that people aren't committed to teaching and putting out a good product because of pay.  I do think, however, that better pay would also make it possible for instructors to invest more heavily in their own development with resulting positive quality impacts on their teaching.

 

Mike

post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

I LOVE the hospitality thread because it speak to the qualities we need in the hospitality industry and how skiing is part of that industry.


Skiing is indeed part of the hospitality industry. This is, perhaps, part of the problem. The rank and file in the hospitality industry is rarely well compensated, with management taking the attitude that the best teachers, servers, guides, etc. will get better tips. Management is motivated to take this attitude because it's an easy way to off load some labour costs and increase profits in a difficult industry.

 

The current problems that many ski areas are having finding enough instructors - even those with minimal, if any, skills - may require a change in strategy on the part of the management.

post #17 of 22

Regarding Day 2:

 

Were there any specifics offered to support the general goal-oriented material?

 

I.e., this kind of languaging has this result, successful sales techniques, specific approaches to motivating others, examples of how to make it relevant, how to achieve better engagement in a limited time, etc.

post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 
I was in meetings all day guys. So my posts will be abbreviated since tomorrow is another 11 hour day.
Seminar 3: Currency and the 4 year cycle. We all face the prospect of doing our jobs and not staying involved in the ongoing cert training. Katy mentioned as her management duties increased she had less time for staff training. My upcoming ski book has been swallowing most of my time as well. All of this leads to less connection with those going through that cert process. Knowing where we fit and how our skills compare to the new national standards gives all of us the opportunity to develop a targeted personal growth
post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 
Day 3
Fitts and Posner in the morning. We used the framework of stupid human tricks to identify the three phases of learning. We also spent a lot of time rethinking open and closed training methods. As a general rule the rote regurgitation of information has become common practice. Same goes for prescriptions for change that are so prevalent in shorter duration lessons. Perhaps instead of offering ideal movement and maneuvers (final forms) we need to explore multiple options and ways to do something. Then we must allow the student to make choices about which works best. Granted some movements and maneuvers are patently wrong for a situation and our job is to lead our students away from those sort of choices. So knowing when and where a movement / maneuver is appropriate becomes just as important as how we do it in the first place.

Additionally, exploring tactical line considerations allows the mountain to help in this sort of learning. The obvious benefit is we introduce the idea of decision making as an integral part of every student's learning activities. Terrain as a teacher is one such program, it has been very effective in our lower end lessons and has become a strong element in kid's lessons in particular. At the expert levels reading terrain and developing strategies and tactical line choices based on our particular physical aptitude and emotional mindset is really no different from how a kid would approach things like Tornado Alley at Keystone. In simple form it is nothing more than a riding some part of a swale that changes directions back and forth down the mountain. How much does the mountain (terrain we encounter) actually do most of the work for us? Bump lesson takers often talk about not seeing a line because they see a sea of obstacles rather than a clear path through all of those bumps. When exposed to the idea of letting the terrain itself make a lot of those choices and following that path, most shudder, or dismiss it as absurd. Sadly, unlike kids their need for control and need to over manage their skis in that situation is exactly what is leading to all their troubles.

National Standards have been adopted and will be rolled out by local training staffs. I am sure many here will want the view of the demo and ed staffers who developed this 5 fundamentals workshop. I cannot speak for them but I can tell you the assessment portion is similar to the Cert tests in that some of the maneuvers are the same. The short version is ability to perform maneuvers starts very basically with one fundamental being featured for level ones, accuracy must fall within a range. Twos may feature that same fundamental but with the additional requirement of one additional fundamental being appropriately demonstrated during the maneuver. Threes will demo all five fundamentals appropriately.
Edited by justanotherskipro - 3/14/15 at 3:40am
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 

As we get past the 3/4 pole and look the end of this season square in our sights, I wanted to look back at the efforts by the PSIA folks to bring about the changes mentioned in my notes from this fall. Some will notice I edited the original posts a bit. Mostly for spelling and more clarity but not in a way that changes what was set as a group objective back in November.

 

Some general notes follow.

 

I have noticed more willingness among my students to try ideas that I propose and a stronger sense of ownership among those who through experience and success adopted one of the options originally presented to them. It's also worth noting that the instructor to instructor classes demonstrated the least willingness to experiment and much preferred a linear progression and rote recitation method. "Show me how to get that next pin" seems to be an all encompassing mindset among that crowd. Sadly, what I observe in their teaching is exactly this same quality and I am hoping over time they come to see the folly in staying that course. As Horst pointed out, the internet has change a lot of things and ski instruction is not an exception. We can post final forms and well rehearsed test maneuvers as examples of how do a movement but that is just about as far as that one way teaching style can take them. If on the snow we limit our efforts to repeating this same information in a talk down to the masses way, what do we offer that they cannot get by reading blog sites like this one? Engagement of the student thus needs to fill voids that other sources cannot. As Horst pointed out though, generational gaps exist and personal interaction is a less frequent thing in today's world. It reminds me of the commercials where the kids brag about 10K internet connections but when asked about personal relationships outside the net they struggle to come up with more than a few people they actually spend time with outside of home, a classroom, or their work environment. I'm not bemoaning this change as much as pointing out to compete in the cell phone addicted generation we must offer more. Another poignant commercial claims that when served Manwhich  these folks stop texting long enough to enjoy dinner. What we can learn form that is there must be incentive and exactly what that will be is for greater minds than mine to determine. I will say my opinion is without go pros and social media many of today's skiers would sit at home and cyberski. Then again my opinion is life is about getting out in the world and experiencing what is out there. How we as ski pros solicit and encourage participation in that world is the key to our future. Semms od though to post this on the net, if you know what I mean...


Edited by justanotherskipro - 3/14/15 at 4:44am
post #21 of 22

JASP

 

I'm a new ski pro.  Perhaps because of my lack of experience, I have to do more experimentation with my guests than those of you who have been doing this for (much?) longer.  For example, this week I had an ultimate 4 group of kids aged 7-11, level 3's.  I spent a couple of hours working with them to get them parallel on the poma.  I tried a bunch of stuff -- garlands, J turns, wedge christies, thumper turns, etc.  What was interesting was that what worked for one didn't work for all.  So while I could see that as I gain more experience with "what connects" most often to students might lead to a preferred progression, I can't see how getting locked into a progression is likely to work very effectively.  It seems to me that we have to continually adapt -- is the primary issue stance width, fore/aft, foot to foot, or rotary?  Getting from a wedge to parallel seems to me, so far, to be the biggest hurdle in the progression of students.

 

I've also found that you have to mix it up.  While the students might benefit the most from continued practice on flat terrain, they get bored, and you risk them becoming unengaged.  So, I've been taking them out to explore the mountain even though it means challenging them with terrain that they will likely not be able to use the new maneuvers on.  But giving them something to engage their sense of adventure allows us to return to easier terrain and work on the new stuff.

 

I took up ski instruction to become a better skier.  I thought given the vast amount of instruction that I personally have received it'd be far easier than it is.  But I've also found that the real payoff is not in improving my own skiing, but in the reward of sharing my passion for skiing with my clients.

 

I could see pros becoming jaundiced with teaching.  Getting stuck in the progressions they've used and have had varying degrees of success with.  it seems to me, at this naive stage of my (part-time) ski instruction career, that it's important to remember why we are doing it.  Get passionate about it.  Be patient and innovative.  Don't be afraid to experiment.  Give the guest an experience they'll remember and treasure for a long time.  And if it isn't working, question what you are doing and what the guest really wants out of the lesson.

 

I teach at Breckenridge.  I've hoped for more clinic opportunities.  Some of my lack of participation is my own fault -- it always seems that there's a conflict in my schedule.  That being said, I sure wish there were more clinics available than there are.  For example, there are no training opportunities from now to the end of the season.  I flunked my level 2 ski last week (very close even though I didn't prepare at all).  So now I'm left to train on my own.  I think I won't have an issue with passing in April, but it'd be nice to have some opportunities to practice MA and have someone look at the 3 maneuvers I failed to get me on the right track.

 

Mike

post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 

Actually Mike,

With more experience experimentation is more common than among our cert 1 pros. If you think about it your experience suggests epiphanies are individual things and we simply don't know what is going to work for each student. So having multiple activity options, several ways of presenting the same information, and a steady eye on where that will lead that student is eventually where your teaching will go. It's harder than teaching rote progressions but ultimately that level of service to your clients will lead to a more personal connection and much more repeat business from those very same folks. But be patient as you gain that additional experience, as they say, experience takes time.

 

Beyond that concerning that upcoming test, with so many trainer level coaches there in Breck unofficial tips might be a better route during Spring Break. Maybe even more discussions with your trainer and mentor would work to sort out how to move past your current struggles. In any even it's our busy season so many of us are working without a lot of time off and our outside lives are being stressed a bit on that rare off day. Take separate notes as you do your report cards, track what you do and very quickly develop a personal data base about what activities and drill your students connect with best. And by all means ask them to share feedback about the day and what worked best and worst during the lesson.

Good Luck with that test!

JASP

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