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The Nine Levels of Skiing Performance - Page 3

post #61 of 81
Thread Starter 
The thing is LF when the goal is to ski with friends it is more than likely two hour lessons do not get them to that level. That is when helping them set more realistic goals is in order. If they exceed that goal you are going to appear in their eyes much better than if they fail to reach the loftier goal.
post #62 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bounceswoosh View Post
....

Data point: My family didn't ski. My first ski experience was with my high school boyfriend's family. I did take a lesson, but I think I had two ski days that whole season. Basically, what you're saying is I shouldn't have bothered. But somehow I turned into a passionate skier anyway. Also, there's a huge difference between "I don't  want to be here at all" and "I want to learn some stuff, but I also want to spend time with the friends who brought me here."


Why would you make that conclusion?  Of course I'm not saying that.  I'm only pointing out that there are differences between client bases in different areas, and making the point that beginner terrain differs at different mountains.  There's no reason to jump from that to saying don't bother.  Many first-timers learn to ski and get "hooked" on skiing at local hills after short contact with an instructor in a group lesson, after which they go out and ski with friends.  

 

I was quoting fatbob. Your text just came along for the ride.

post #63 of 81
Thread Starter 
So we have drifted far enough. The mindset of intermediates is where we left off. Where we work, length of lesson, students too cool to play, are all interesting but I feel they are excuses for not being open minded and just accepting the status quo. I am not saying that to be cruel or dismissive, they are just not the topic.
post #64 of 81

Jasp, you have an odd but unfortunately predictable way of misinterpreting others' posts.  The people posting in this thread of yours are not closed-minded because they report experiences that don't mimic your own.  An open-minded thread-starter would respond to those posts with respect for the added data points they bring to the discussion.  You do not.  

 

At the very least you could continue your thoughts online while ignoring what people say if you don't think it's relevant or worthy of attention, without resorting to putting down the posters.

 

It's you who lacks an open mind.


Edited by LiquidFeet - 6/27/15 at 5:27am
post #65 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

So we have drifted far enough. The mindset of intermediates is where we left off. Where we work, length of lesson, students too cool to play, are all interesting but I feel they are excuses for not being open minded and just accepting the status quo. I am not saying that to be cruel or dismissive, they are just not the topic.

JASP, with respect, you've yet again painted those here who are every bit as passionate about helping others with their skiing into the 'you're lazy and making excuses' corner. It's really not at all fair. There are some things an individual instructor can control, and other things they can't. Our SS makes the area a good deal of money, but so long as there's a dearth of lodging at the mountain and we're 1:45-2:00 from the airport, we're not going to sell the week long programs like you can in Aspen, Whistler, etc... Its going to be a challenge to expand destination type products. We talk about this all the time. I've neard a load of great ideas, but there's not much a non-head office person can implement without buy in from area management. Believe me, they're working on it, but given some of our infrastructure restrictions, it will take awhile. Some mountains have 'instruction cultures', others don't. I wouldn't blame the rank and file ski instructor for the business decisions of those that don't.
Edited by markojp - 6/27/15 at 12:33pm
post #66 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

So we have drifted far enough. The mindset of intermediates is where we left off. Where we work, length of lesson, students too cool to play, are all interesting but I feel they are excuses for not being open minded and just accepting the status quo. I am not saying that to be cruel or dismissive, they are just not the topic.

Jasp, you may not intend to be cruel or dismissive but that is how it sounds.

I may not have the experience, certification or client base that you do but I am anything but closed minded. I work on my skiing, shadow other instructors to get ideas, go to clinics and discuss skiing and teaching extensively with fellow instructors and my significant other who is a phenomenal skier, instructor and emeritus examiner. I do not do canned lessons and work very hard to do a better lesson and ignite a love for skiing in my guests.

There is a certain reality of where we work. I do not think people are making excuses. What I think people are trying to do is figure out how to incorporate different ideas and methods into their lessons given the reality of the lesson.

Moving on, back to the intermediate mindset, there are places I can take intermediates where the pitch is ideal and there are few people. The goal is to ski the whole run (it is fairly short) without using a wedge to slow down or stop. We do it several times and it is amazing to watch people figure out how to use the various terrain features to go the speed they want to go without ever having to use a wedge. This is very eye opening for some people who think you must wedge or defensively wedge to slow down.
post #67 of 81
Thread Starter 
With all due respect only you control you and how you choose to teach. You all seem to assume I lack small market experience and I am insensitive to working within SAM directives. Been there did that for over two decades. To be perfectly clear here all the "ya but" comments are what I was addressing and I do see them as self limiting thoughts. SSD's set general tones but also recognize when numbers drive a change in operation and procedures. The one and dones turning into returning clients at four or five times their average is usually enough for them to sit up and take notice. If you own better numbers please share how you create them, if not please accept the idea that there is room for improvement and that happens only along with changes in how we approach the entire problem. It really is up to all of us to see past that mental minefield that prevents us from operating as a facilitator instead of a drill sergeant.

Additionally those that mistake a softer and more student centered approach as undirected chaos are so far off base that it gets frustrating to read it over and over. So while you may not intend to use "ya buts" what you are writing certainly comes across as that.
Having said that I was going to discuss level 7-9 mindsets and how to uncover the deep seated reasons why old habits often are the roadblocks to progressing. Please restrict your comments to how you successfully overcame your students roadblocks at the 7-9 levels. Or yours if that makes sense for you.

SAM policies and procedures that restrict how you teach might be worth discussing but please share your successes instead of why your SSD is standing in the way.
post #68 of 81

I have a problem with the thread topic.  I've restrained myself from saying anything, but at this point there isn't any reason not to say it.

 

Assigning a "mindset" to a skiing skill level is never going to work.  There are two unstated assumptions underlying that project.  

The first is that thousands of people who can be categorized as skiing on the same level as each other have the same mindset while skiing.  Really? 

The second assumption is that the particular mindset that they share is directly determined by the movement patterns that justify labeling them as level 4s or level 6s or 8s or whatever.  

This is not how people's minds work. 

 

Humans have in their skulls a thing that works in a more complex manner than anything else in the known universe.  

Trying to assign nine distinct ascending "mindsets" to each of nine ascending skiing levels is not going to be reliable because of that complexity.  

 

The project as stated in the thread title is as doomed to failure as trying to assign mindsets found on Bloom's Taxonomy (a chart progressing from lower level "critical thinking" to higher level "critical thinking") to instructors according to their PSIA certification.  That was something you, jasp, talked about here on Epic several years ago.  You asserted that Level I instructors have the mindset found at the bottom of Bloom's critical thinking chart, Level IIs have the next level up, Level IIIs one more step up, and area trainers such as yourself were up the chart one more step at level four.  Examiners and then national team members, if I remember correctly, had mindsets correlating to the two highest levels.  Bloom's taxonomy was conveniently a list of six levels, so you could easily line it up with six levels of ascending PSIA instructor-hood.  I disagreed with you back then, and clearly remember it, and I disagree with you now as you try to do something similar.  

 

The mindsets of instructors and the mindsets of skiers do not firmly correlate to any hierarchical charts.  

Bloom's taxonomy is useful, but not for the purpose of discerning ahead of time what's going on in the mind of a person by checking what their certification level is.  

The same thing goes for people who ski at different levels.  You can't discern how they are thinking about instructing or skiing by checking their certification or their skiing levels. 

 

You may somehow come up with nine descriptions of mindsets with increasing confidence or increasing assertiveness or increasing creativity or fluidity of thinking or something.  If you then take those nine mindsets and assign them to the nine levels of skiing skillsets, that will make a very pretty picture.  I cringe at the prospect.

 

People aren't simple.  You need to get to know them to figure out what's going on inside their heads.

post #69 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post
 

The nine class levels are very well known and with few exceptions agreed upon. First experience skiers are just that new to the sport and level nine skiers are advanced enough to have been exposed to enough tactical and technical advice to handle all but the most extreme skiing situations. What is less defined are how a skier's cognitive development occurs. A first timer is open to the advice of their coach unless it threatens their safety, a level nine skier need advice packaged in a way that compliments what they already have learned. But is there a pathway that has been developed that would accurately track the cognitive development of a skier? If not why not? To take that one step further can we create one that would help us understand this less studied part of skiing?

 

First Experience: Curiosity or a trusted friend / significant other usually bring the newbie to the sport. While they lack experience they bring a willingness to try new things, even if that is just to please someone else. In this world a lot of command and task based teaching is prevalent and for the most part that it is sufficient beyond the fact that students are simply following orders and trying to perform tasks set by the teacher.

 

Level 2: Armed with rudimentary skills the student begins to experiment with things like complete turns and eventually a series of linked turns on very gentle terrain. Their corresponding cognitive development depends on a few factors like their willingness to overcome real and imaginary fears. As an instructor our role begins to shift to that of a facilitator instead of a drill sergeant but not too fast.. The student's still lack enough experience to draw upon and solve many of the problems they will face next. So it's a balancing act to encourage their free thinking and concurrently define safe parameters for them. It's common for them to feel like exploring new terrain but without a bit more skill development that new terrain may be too much for them.

 

 

Seven more levels exist and I will add them in due time but this snippet is enough to begin the process of fleshing out each level. Anyone else care to add a thought or two about the cognitive development at these beginning stages? I look forward to reading your thoughts and suggestions.

 

JASP

 

I am sure it has crossed the minds of a few readers that human cognitive development typically refers to intellectual and emotional development based on age, intellectual maturity and life experience that in almost no way is influenced by which sport we may choose and at what level we reach. In other words, an expert skier is not necessarily going to be considered as more cognitively developed than a beginner skier (or a non-skier for that matter) and is a point that may nullify the original concept right out of the start gate. I think jasp would rather refer to neurological pathways that are developed when identifying, instilling and ingraining new movement patterns through both intellectual and physical means. I am sure there is plenty of relevant scientific study in sports psychology, kinesiology, etc. as well as many studies on athletic performance for maturing athletes in order to accelerate advancement but perhaps not ski-specific. In his defense, he does pose it all as question to be pondered and played with. However, when he asks "If not why not?" I think the questioned is answered. While it also appears that he may have chose to present without enough whip to tame his own thread, he is also putting himself out there to get a thread going when there was really nothing else going on and one should drop him a prop or two regardless of protest.

post #70 of 81
Thread Starter 
LF change comes from within and the change I am proposing is instead of cubby holing things and looking for finite mechanical prescriptive solutions only, we as an industry need to tap into our intuitive and empathetic intellegences to realize what our students are going through and how they are likely to react to how we present ideas to them . It goes so far beyond Blooms and Maslow, or even Piaget. Those pyramids and graphics are not made of stone, which means they deconstruct with life events and we rebuild them from that point. Learning a new sport, or elevating your performance in one you currently practice tbus becomes more a circular than linear endeavor. At times what we once held as sacred just might turn out to be what is holding us back. That "cliff" you once feared jumping off might be nothing more than a top to bottom run in the beginner corral. But students at that same level you once were at will see it as a "cliff" just like you did. A pet theory may prove to be wrong because we used a. wrong assumption somewhere. Or our logic could be the problem. That is a risk you take though
post #71 of 81
JASP, having never seen me work, why would you assume that I'm not every bit as creative you consider yourself to be? And why would I assume anyone here is an unimaginative drill sargent? I hope we're not revisiting the need to put others down to elevate ourselves. IMHO, THAT is far from the best way to promote positive change. I hope you'll reconsider your assumptions.
Edited by markojp - 6/27/15 at 10:49pm
post #72 of 81
Thread Starter 
Mark we create our reality. Be it where we work, or how we teach. I have no doubt you are creative in presenting and conducting a lesson. But creating isn't limited to that and when I read more about roadblocks than ways around them I say those comments lack creative thoughts.
post #73 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post
 

The nine class levels are very well known and with few exceptions agreed upon. First experience skiers are just that new to the sport and level nine skiers are advanced enough to have been exposed to enough tactical and technical advice to handle all but the most extreme skiing situations. What is less defined are how a skier's cognitive development occurs. A first timer is open to the advice of their coach unless it threatens their safety, a level nine skier need advice packaged in a way that compliments what they already have learned. But is there a pathway that has been developed that would accurately track the cognitive development of a skier? If not why not? To take that one step further can we create one that would help us understand this less studied part of skiing?

 

First Experience: Curiosity or a trusted friend / significant other usually bring the newbie to the sport. While they lack experience they bring a willingness to try new things, even if that is just to please someone else. In this world a lot of command and task based teaching is prevalent and for the most part that it is sufficient beyond the fact that students are simply following orders and trying to perform tasks set by the teacher.

 

Level 2: Armed with rudimentary skills the student begins to experiment with things like complete turns and eventually a series of linked turns on very gentle terrain. Their corresponding cognitive development depends on a few factors like their willingness to overcome real and imaginary fears. As an instructor our role begins to shift to that of a facilitator instead of a drill sergeant but not too fast.. The student's still lack enough experience to draw upon and solve many of the problems they will face next. So it's a balancing act to encourage their free thinking and concurrently define safe parameters for them. It's common for them to feel like exploring new terrain but without a bit more skill development that new terrain may be too much for them.

 

 

Seven more levels exist and I will add them in due time but this snippet is enough to begin the process of fleshing out each level. Anyone else care to add a thought or two about the cognitive development at these beginning stages? I look forward to reading your thoughts and suggestions.

 

JASP


Beginners also bring with them a previous track, be it from bicycling, cross-country running, skating, dirt-bike riding, whatever.  Beginning skiers are not cognitive beginners; you have to facilitate just as much at level 1 as at level 2, and "drill sargent", whatever you mean by that, no more at level 1 than at level 2.  At all levels, you try to show them something new to them and have them try it and learn from trying it.

Beginners are so diversified with regards to fear, enjoyment, what turns them on in skiing, etc. that you can't pigeon hole them.  Many factors are more skier dependent than level dependent.

post #74 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

Mark we create our reality. Be it where we work, or how we teach. I have no doubt you are creative in presenting and conducting a lesson. But creating isn't limited to that and when I read more about roadblocks than ways around them I say those comments lack creative thoughts.

And I think you're out of line. I know the owner of our area. I'd like to think that some of what's said in conversations has an impact. I still think you're painting me and others into a corner when you no idea for better or worse our operational reality. Our school has grown. The schools' profits have grown. The hard work we do had a role in that. There are changes afoot that will positively impact our programs that I'm not at liberty to share publicly.. One that I can share is new snowmaking capacity for next season. We lost all of our beginners teaching terrain during last years' record dry season. With snow making, we'll be able to maintain the school as profit center even in poor snow years. This however is not a decision that the rank and file instructor has a say in even if we all support it whole heartedly. That's for the owner and the banks. JASP, sharing some of our challenges is not a rational basis for placing me or any other member of our schools' staff into your losers and whiners column. I cannot negotiate directly with the forest service to fast track future plans. I cannot negotiate with the bank to finance more on hill lodging. That said we're all actively working on improving things. If I were to move and teach at DV, Aspen, etc... I'm sure there would be challenges, but different ones. Acknowledging those challenges would make me no less effective as a positive agent of change in my role within the school. I think several here would make excellent contributions to your school as well, but we've failed your evaluation before you've even read our CV, seen us on the hill, or spoken to our current bosses. This all seems like an exercise in elevating yourself by putting us into our place in the shadow of and in service to your ego. I hope I'm mistaken. nonono2.gif
Edited by markojp - 6/28/15 at 10:58am
post #75 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post


Beginners also bring with them a previous track, be it from bicycling, cross-country running, skating, dirt-bike riding, whatever.  Beginning skiers are not cognitive beginners; you have to facilitate just as much at level 1 as at level 2, and "drill sargent", whatever you mean by that, no more at level 1 than at level 2.  At all levels, you try to show them something new to them and have them try it and learn from trying it.
Beginners are so diversified with regards to fear, enjoyment, what turns them on in skiing, etc. that you can't pigeon hole them.  Many factors are more skier dependent than level dependent.
Re read that post and look for a solicition of relevent ideas. The cubby hole idea certainly is not mine. What I wrote only scratches the surface and was not intended to become more than one or two examples meant to start a conversation. Not about obstacles imposed by company policy or client vacationing habits. We all have those regardless of the company size. But it would seem instead of discussing cognitive development as an ebb and flow thing and how we move through each stage repeatedly throughout life so many here seem to see it like the Giza pyramids that are rigid stone monuments. Philisophically that seems weird to me, attititudes and opinions set in stone ignore the idea that changes in how we think and process information happens when our environment changes. When we are more aquainted and comfortable in that environment discussions about the theoretical side of skiing are quite common. Not so much so when the student has little or no relevant experience base.
Edited by justanotherskipro - 6/28/15 at 1:20pm
post #76 of 81

It's always good to review what we think we know. Without it, we're relegated to regurgitating dogma. I'm always curious year to year what I'll discover and how it will effect my teaching and skiing. 

post #77 of 81
Thread Starter 
So as I mentioned a situational variable exists when it comes to how we think and act in new environs. It could be cultural, physical, or simply a mental thing. Anyone taking a cert test can relate to the later. It is an opportunity to learn as much as show your talents. But for some the added stress makes them abandon formal operational thinking (abstract theoretical) for concrete operational type of thinking where they are trying to show how they can manipulate the tool (skis/snowboard) and regurgitate a rote catch phrase, or concept they think the examiner is wanting to hear. It's Pavlovian conditioning in a way. Then when asked to expand on the concept (to assess their understanding) they dig themselves a hole and when that gets frustrating they dig even faster. How much easier would that experience be if they approached the test like just another day at work? Most thrive at work and the confidence they exhibit there make their performance better. In any case the example is only to point out how an environment can profoundly effect our oerformance.
Out on the hill it is less prevelent among students but 7s often get stuck in the how to use the tool focus as well and they all but ignore the strategic and tactical decision making habits so important at that level. Even worse is the subjective narrative that becomes distracting to the point of inhibiting their performance. Would it be a fair statement to say translating the theoretical into action and doing it accurately might involve formal and concrete operational thoughts? I say yes. To reach that elusive level 8 all of this needs to be managed to the point that the student can perform maneuvers without much active thinking focus beyond line choice.
Edited by justanotherskipro - 7/1/15 at 8:13am
post #78 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

So as I mentioned a situational variable exists when it comes to how we think and act in new environs. It could be cultural, physical, or simply a mental thing. Anyone taking a cert test can relate to the later. It is an opportunity to learn as much as show your talents. But for some the added stress makes them abandon formal operational thinking (abstract theoretical) for concrete operational type of thinking where they are trying to show how they can manipulate the tool (skis/snowboard) and regurgitate a rote catch phrase, or concept they think the examiner is wanting to hear. It's Pavlovian conditioning in a way. Then when asked to expand on the concept (to assess their understanding) they dig themselves a hole and when that gets frustrating the dig even faster.
Out on the hill it is less prevelent among students but 7s often get stuck in the how to use the tool focus as well and they all but ignore the strategic and tactical decision making habits so important at that level. Even worse is the subjective narrative that becomes distracting to the point of inhibiting their performance. Would it be a fair statement to say translating the theoretical into action and doing it accurately might involve formal and concrete operational thoughts? I say yes. To reach that elusive level 8 all of this needs to be managed to the point that the student can perform maneuvers without much active thinking focus beyond line choice.

I'm struggling to follow much of this but but by recognising and identifying with what you are saying at L8 I guess the other levels track back.  The biggest single step in skiing IMV comes when you are not actively thinking about the turn or body/balance mechanics but thinking about line choice, feeling surface conditions etc.  There's not a single point when this happens - I'm sure I'm not alone in mentally rehearsing first turn in a tight exposed spot or that roll in over a cornice, while once the "I didn't screw that up too badly" endorphins kick in we don't think about a single turn thereafter.  To prepare for this big step, skiing as much as possible in as varied conditions feels like the prep rather than specific instruction  re "teach me how not to think great teacher".

 

Purely anecdotal but I tend to notice that people who never ski alone or are used to letting partners/companions/instructors/guides make all the route choice decisions tend to have a more difficult time in letting go of the focus on each turn and a tougher time developing their own original tactics.  There's something about the "oh sh*t these trees seem to be getting denser with no way out" problem that liberates one pretty quickly from thinking abut the micro.

post #79 of 81
Thread Starter 
Exactly, the focus shift away from movements and towards line takes confidence though. Like any performance activity rehearsing is where that process starts but often we miss the mental and emotional shift that is mostly due to repeated exposure and familiarity. When that creates success there is less stress and more confidence.
post #80 of 81
I'm a L1 skier. My sister is either L2-3 depending upon the slopes. How can I learn to ski and where? I think I should start off on a bunny slope.
post #81 of 81
Thread Starter 
Hi Thara, As a new skier in Pennsylvania where you choose to learn is important. Many schools in your area exist and many options do as well. That first experience is very important because no other lesson will involve quite as much new information and activities. Thinking along those lines go roller blading, ice skating, prior to going skiing. Then choose a full day program so you will have more guided practice with the coach. I know several folks will disagree and suggest shorter lessons because their schools do not offer much more than that. It's your choice but my experience is a full day lesson allows you to progress further and the price for that full day is usually packaged with rentals and a lift ticket. Hope that helps.
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