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Would like some feedback on kids skills and lesson expectations [Breck lesson pass for advanced 8yo]

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I purchased my 8 year old a season lesson pass at Breck this year, We live in Breck so I will definitely get my moneys worth out of the pass.

 

My question is how do I make the best out of her lessons, last year we were skiing the easy double blacks, and that is where I have to back off because that is all I can do. I am no longer good as a teacher.

 

Is there anything I should be asking for or requesting to give my kiddo the best experience with the right instructor.

 

Thank you

post #2 of 12

Development Team

post #3 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bohse View Post
 

I purchased my 8 year old a season lesson pass at Breck this year, We live in Breck so I will definitely get my moneys worth out of the pass.

 

My question is how do I make the best out of her lessons, last year we were skiing the easy double blacks, and that is where I have to back off because that is all I can do. I am no longer good as a teacher.

 

Is there anything I should be asking for or requesting to give my kiddo the best experience with the right instructor.

 

Thank you

 

I guess the question is, what does your child want? Are we talking an race aspirations? Off-piste dreamer? Future park rat? That will have a huge effect on what you ask for. Also, a little more knowledge of how the season lesson system works at Breck would be helpful. I've worked with a couple different "seasonal" programs, and they can run differently. Is it a season pass for the regular kids group lessons? So they would have a different instructor and different classmates each time? Or are we talking a seasonal group, where the kids and instructor are the same from week to week? The consistent group can be an absolutely amazing dynamic, both socially and skill wise. However, even if it is different instructors and kids, it will work a lot in that way too. Typically, seasonal kids tend to rise to the top of the lesson level structure pretty quickly. Once there, there are only a few kids at that level, and a fairly small group of instructors who will instruct those upper level kids lessons. So while it might not be the same exact kids and not always the same one instructor, the group of kids in her lessons will be fairly consistent, and you'll know the instructors by name pretty quickly. 

 

The number one priority for a kid who is in a seasonal program of any kind is to maximize fun. Yes, skill development is important. However, your child will spend a ton of time on snow, and skill development in that kind of system can be a little less intense than in one-time or week long lesson formats. After all, in a one-time lesson, the instructor needs to maximize the skill development and concentrate it into one small period of time. With an 8 year old who we see every week, the priority is going to be keeping that passion for skiing going. If we do wall-to-wall drills with the kid every single time they're on snow, they are not going to want to keep skiing. In most seasonal programs, the skill development is going to be more folded into the day, presented as tips and pointers given throughout the ski day by the instructor, and less formal drilling. In my seasonal program, we more or less take the format of one run in the morning and one run in the afternoon is dedicated to pure instruction. Drills, skill practices, stuff like that. The rest of our day is devoted to skiing the mountain, exploring, and having fun. An average day in my program is 8-10 runs. But even during all the 'fun runs', I'll be throwing out a constant stream of 'tune up tips' to all of my students. And of course, lift rides are excellent times for us to talk about things. Gondola rides are even better. 

 

So what should you be asking for? You should be asking for your child to have as much fun as possible. At the end of the day, ask how their day was. If they say they had fun, score. If you ask them what they learned today, they might shrug. They might say 'I dunno', or even 'nothing'. But then watch their skiing, that's where you'll find out if they're learning. 

 

*EDIT: instructional drill runs are, by rule, skipped on pow days. Pow days are dedicated solely to gnar shred. That is all. 

post #4 of 12
Make sure she has fun. And ski with her. I've had hundreds of students and the ones that mak great improvements are the ones who do it more than just when they're skiing with me. Shoot lots of video. She'lol appreciate being able to watch it later when she's older.

But above all , make sure she has fun. Your objective out of this is whatever her objective is going to be be. The goal shouldn't be for her to be the best skier in the world, but for her to be a lifelong skier.
post #5 of 12
In the adult season lesson pass program, the classes generally get assigned to the same instructors. It's not guaranteed, but that's the common thing. Same group of instructors generally run the same level of class. For example, I usually do 7s, but sometimes 5s and 6s or even "easy" 8s. I'd expect (but don't know for certain) the same approach would be used in the kids season lesson program. Kids groups get some real rippers, so she'll be seeing advancing terrain. For the future, consider the BAT (Breck All Terrain) program for kids.
post #6 of 12

Since we travel to ski we haven't experienced season long programmes - but have gained some knowledge through having upper level kids lessons at a variety of places. 

 

First, we usually skip lessons on Saturdays and or Sunday's depending on the resort because all of the best, most experienced instructors that we have had have had commitments to local kids in season long programmes - so you're likely to get great instructors. We've had some great ones (when you get kids begging to have another day(s) of ski school).

 

As others have said having fun is huge - some things that have added to that for us are: 

 

The group she is with - are there any good friends that she'd like to be with?, if yes then I would ask ski school about that. Also we've found it best if the kids in the class are roughly similar in age - our son has had the most fun with kids the same age and either a good mix of boys and girls or mainly boys in our case. The lessons that have been the least enjoyed have been when DS has been 3 to 5 years younger than the other kids in the group.

 

Arrive early for the first session and let you child do the talking with the instructor - the best instructors we have had have really engaged with the kids in the class rather than talking with parents over the heads of the kids.

 

Be waiting when they come in from the lesson and ask both your child and the instructor together what they did and what they need to remember when they are skiing.

 

Trust the ski school to get the right match in the first instance, but if you get the feeling from your child that there is not a good match with the instructor, group or level - then follow it up. You can get a good sense from the mood of your child after the lesson and enthusiasm for the next one. For example we have had an instance where the skill level was so diverse, because they used height and age as the mechanism for dividing a larger group into two smaller groups - DS hated that day. After this happening twice we moved him up a level and he ended up with "Uncle Glen" a Steamboat legend who was perfect for DS. UG also had a ski-off for any new group members which meant that the group skill level was more cohesive. We went from negotiating a minimum number of lesson days to DS begging for more days than we had planned.

 

Finally, ski with them on the non-lesson days and let them lead - show you where they have skied and what they have learnt. Since we ski at different places most years we have found some gems courtesy of ski school.

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

In the adult season lesson pass program, the classes generally get assigned to the same instructors. It's not guaranteed, but that's the common thing. Same group of instructors generally run the same level of class. For example, I usually do 7s, but sometimes 5s and 6s or even "easy" 8s. I'd expect (but don't know for certain) the same approach would be used in the kids season lesson program. Kids groups get some real rippers, so she'll be seeing advancing terrain. For the future, consider the BAT (Breck All Terrain) program for kids.

 

 I wasn't aware the ski school had much say in which instructors we students pick ;-)  We glom onto an instructor who will either welcome us or suggest another group if they're too full / not the right level.

 

Which brings me to my question.  If the OP isn't able to help his kid any further - maybe he should join those of us doing the adult lesson pass. I guarantee we go much farther than easy double blacks.

post #8 of 12
The supervisor assigns the instructors to the lesson levels. We usually have more than one for each level, and we usually have students decide which one they want to stick with, provided the instructor thinks that's appropriate.
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

The supervisor assigns the instructors to the lesson levels. We usually have more than one for each level, and we usually have students decide which one they want to stick with, provided the instructor thinks that's appropriate.

Ah. Got it. Are you doing the pass already? I'll probably be skiing with Dirk again today.
post #10 of 12
I'm "off sick" this weekend because I had kidney stone lithotripsy Friday. Hope to be back at it next Thursday.
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

I'm "off sick" this weekend because I had kidney stone lithotripsy Friday. Hope to be back at it next Thursday.

 

That sounds miserable. I'll try to find you at the top of Vista House some morning, just to say hi.

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your advice and all the others that chimed in with positives.

 

Did what y'all suggested used the pass on Saturday skied together on Sunday.

 

Never requested a instructor and she had 8 I think, but her group always stayed together and she made some good friends. We saw a lot of them this weekend at Vail at the Epicmix race finals. (waste of time and parking money Vail Ski Club will just stomp on the rec ski racers. Do not recommend that show, one of those first and last things)

 

Always wanting to go every weekend, looking forward to skiing.

 

She is skiing Tiger and Mustang quite confidently, had some time on Mach 1 and loves Southern Cross, a few off of E chair and tons of 6 Chair runs.

 

She had a great time with all her instructors and got a chance to go out 15 times this year with her pass.

 

Well worth the money and the tips to the instructors.

 

Just thought I would wait until the season is over to give her experience.

 

Bounceswoosh, thanks for the invite, but my knees are pretty shot from hockey, hard to teach a old dog as the saying goes. If ya want to get together sometime before Breck closes let me know, I live in town and in between projects for a week or so.

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