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Teaching never-ever friends how to ski [- A Beginner Zone topic]

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

Was hoping for some help here.

I'm heading up to Mt Buller with some mates of mine soon for a daytrip, and none of them have skied before.

I'm a decent skier that likes to go during the holidays - and my friends know that. As such, they're expecting me to teach them how to ski. Unfortunately, I am JUST a skier, not an instructor, and I have no idea how to teach them other than tell them pizza/frenchfry haha

All my attempts to convince them to get a lesson have failed- the main arguments being the price (we're poor uni students) and the fact that I can ski (why pay for lessons when our mate can just teach us for free). And I would much rather teach them (albeit poorly), than let them loose on the slope and letting god knows what happen.

 

The plan so far is make them go for the free discovery lessons in the morning, and .... well that's it haha

I'm not really sure what they get out of that to be honest, just that it gets them started.

So, any tips on how and what to teach them after that, or at least how to stay in control would be greatly appreciated!

 

Thanks in advance! :)

post #2 of 20
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post #3 of 20

That's a tough one. You've tried the right answer (paid lessons). A couple of questions and ideas :

 

How athletic are your friends? Do any of them have skating backgrounds? Very athletic folks, or those with skating backgrounds, will tend to pick things up a lot faster.

 

The one thing that comes to my mind to suggest (not an instructor here at all either) is to watch some online video series for beginners. It will give you a good idea of the things they won't know and need to be walked through. 

 

I like this series : https://www.youtube.com/user/elatemedia/videos

 

Look for all the ones that have "beginner" in the title.

 

I'd also suggest setting expectations before you go... i.e. that they may spend all day on learning area just trying to figure out how to balance or turn.

post #4 of 20

Many, many resorts offer a beginner deal that packages a lift ticket, equipment rental and a group lesson. It's usually so cheap that the lesson is virtually free.

That's how I got started. The instructor was great and I ended up as a group of one, so I got a private lesson. That one lesson was enough to let me enjoy the rest of the day and discover that I absolutely love to ski. It would be easier on you, and better for your buddies, if you can talk them into at least one lesson to start them off right.

You're right. The fact that you can ski doesn't make you a teacher. And heck, you need to enjoy the day too.

post #5 of 20
Send them to ski lessons first thing. Then meet up after and ski as a gang for an hour on the easiest runs you can find. Then ditch them after lunch.
post #6 of 20

just teach them how to stop.

take them up to the easiest run and see how they do. (it will vary)

offer pointers as needed.

 

don't get hung up on too much instruction.  it sounds like they just want to have fun.  emphasize fun.

if they like it they'll come back and figure it more, like with a real lesson.

post #7 of 20
Well it looks like the "Discover" lessons will cover most of what you could teach them on the first day, anyway. They'll only get access to beginner lifts, so that will limit your exposure. Just have them keep practicing turns. Not just to change direction, but to slow themselves and to stop. They should wear out before you.
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by helpmeskipls View Post
 

Hi all,

Was hoping for some help here.

I'm heading up to Mt Buller with some mates of mine soon for a daytrip, and none of them have skied before.

I'm a decent skier that likes to go during the holidays - and my friends know that. As such, they're expecting me to teach them how to ski. Unfortunately, I am JUST a skier, not an instructor, and I have no idea how to teach them other than tell them pizza/frenchfry haha

All my attempts to convince them to get a lesson have failed- the main arguments being the price (we're poor uni students) and the fact that I can ski (why pay for lessons when our mate can just teach us for free). And I would much rather teach them (albeit poorly), than let them loose on the slope and letting god knows what happen.

 

The plan so far is make them go for the free discovery lessons in the morning, and .... well that's it haha

I'm not really sure what they get out of that to be honest, just that it gets them started.

So, any tips on how and what to teach them after that, or at least how to stay in control would be greatly appreciated!

 

Thanks in advance! :)


Welcome to EpicSki!  Don't often get Beginner Zone questions from Australia.

 

Definitely worth pushing the free discovery lessons.

 

When you ski with them, insist on doing at least one run on a green.  Make sure they can turn and stop before heading to something steeper.  Doesn't hurt to practice getting up off the ground, with or without popping off one binding.  I'm guessing that they will be falling now and then. ;)

 

Do you know how to side slip?  It's useful survival skill to know.

 

If visibility is low, then try to keep them off narrow trails.  I say that because of a trip in the 1990s when an advanced beginner (from Florida) decided to take a never-ever to the top of the mountain (smaller place, Mt. Rose) to ski a green that was essentially a narrow cat track with pretty steep drop offs on the edge.  Took them 45 min to get down because it was snowing and blowing hard enough that they couldn't see well.  The never-ever took a lesson in the morning and thought he knew what he was doing.  But that meant he mostly would straight line the greens since he liked speed.  I was only an intermediate at the time and wasn't about to ski with the never-ever.

 

Check out the info about how to avoid (hopefully) knee injuries.  Unfortunately, doesn't take much for a beginner to tweak a knee.  Especially if they wander off the groomed onto ungroomed, even for a few turns.  Had a friend do that after a snowstorm at Alta on an easy blue with a few inches of skied out powder.  Was lucky and only sprained the MCL instead of blowing the ACL.

 

http://www.vermontskisafety.com/kneefriendly.php

post #9 of 20

If you just HAVE to:

 

Wedge  to a stop - gentle slope

 

Wedge - press R big toe into snow/ski and they  will turn left

 

Wedge- press L big toe into ski/boot/snow and they will turn Right

 

Show how to get up after falll, show how to fall, i.e., skis across fall line etc. Tell/shows what fall line is.  Show them how and why heel piece has to be cocked to get back into ski

 

If you are on a real beginner hill and they are half way athletic this should do it for lst day.

 

 

KISS principle at all times.   Keep it simple stupid.  Smiles and fun

 

Forgot.  show them how to use lift on beginner hill.

 

Good Luck

post #10 of 20
Don't try to teach them, just point them towards the bunny slope and let them loose to have fun on their own.

I know.........
post #11 of 20

I teach a lot of never-ever adults.  Some do well right away, some really, really struggle.  This is on a very easy bunny slope.  VERY easy.

 

If they can ice skate they'll do fine.

 

If you try to teach them you have to find a very flat area with a nice runoff, or even uphill section at the bottom.  Don't try to take them to something else. 

post #12 of 20

Trying to teach your friends to ski is riddled with all kinds of problems.

 

Like SkiMangoJazz says, some of your friends will catch on.  Others will probably not.  What will you do then?  If you are in the "instructor" role, you may be seen as responsible for getting everyone taught so you can all go ski together.  If you take this seriously, things can go downhill fast; people can get confused as you try different things to get the clueless ones going.  You may find yourself impatient or angry that your day is being ruined, and that no matter what you show them, they fail.  Friendships can be damaged.  If, as their instructor, you don't stay and help the slow learners in your group when the others move onto new terrain, and you leave them behind to ski with the fast learners, there's the humiliation factor, and you are now at the center of it.

 

FRIENDS DON'T TEACH FRIENDS TO SKI.

Just say no.

 

Here's what you can do.  Find helpful videos and recommend them to your friends to watch before you go, as debostedo suggested upthread.

 

When you get to the mountain, stay with them when they rent their equipment.  Make sure they all get boots that are snug.  My advice is to have them set the boot next to the shoe they walked in with; if the boot is longer, don't even try it on.  Get a boot that is the same length as the dryland shoe.  Show them how to get their foot down in there.  They will be surprised that it's possible, and amazed that the boot does not hurt, even though it may have been quite difficult to wedge the foot into it.  Then walk them out to their Discovery session.  Make plans to meet up afterwards, and go enjoy yourself in the meantime.    

 

Recognize that you just did yourself and your friends a big favor by not trying to teach them.   The beginner adult lesson is often the hardest lesson to teach successfully.  


Edited by LiquidFeet - 8/28/16 at 7:49pm
post #13 of 20

I have to agree with LiquidFeet on this one. Just don't do it. LF is a very experienced instructor. I also have a few thousand hours of teaching ski lessons under my belt. We both say, don't do it. Just don't. Knowing how to do something and knowing how to teach it are two completely different things. Even most of us who are professional instructors do not teach our novice friends how to ski. It's just a different dynamic between friends (or god forbid, girlfriend/boyfriend), than there is between professional instructor and client. 

 

If they complain, remind them that they're the cheapskates who don't want to pay for lessons. 

 

If they really really insist upon you teaching them, take them out on the most gentle bunny hill there is. Start skiing around it yourself. Don't tell them what to do at all. Let them stand there trying to figure out how to just get their skis on without eating a faceful of snow. When they ask how you do things, just say "I don't know, I just do it." When they look at you with a bewildered look, remind them that you aren't an instructor, and you told them that beforehand. At that point, they will have purchased lift tickets, and in order to not make their day a total waste, they're more likely to purchase a real lesson from a real instructor. 

 

Is it harsh? Yup. But they're the ones sticking you in an incredibly undesireable situation in the first place. If they want to try to pull that on you, then they can reap the consequences of it. 

post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
 

I have to agree with LiquidFeet on this one. Just don't do it. LF is a very experienced instructor. I also have a few thousand hours of teaching ski lessons under my belt. We both say, don't do it. Just don't. Knowing how to do something and knowing how to teach it are two completely different things. Even most of us who are professional instructors do not teach our novice friends how to ski. It's just a different dynamic between friends (or god forbid, girlfriend/boyfriend), than there is between professional instructor and client. 

 

If they complain, remind them that they're the cheapskates who don't want to pay for lessons. 

 

If they really really insist upon you teaching them, take them out on the most gentle bunny hill there is. Start skiing around it yourself. Don't tell them what to do at all. Let them stand there trying to figure out how to just get their skis on without eating a faceful of snow. When they ask how you do things, just say "I don't know, I just do it." When they look at you with a bewildered look, remind them that you aren't an instructor, and you told them that beforehand. At that point, they will have purchased lift tickets, and in order to not make their day a total waste, they're more likely to purchase a real lesson from a real instructor. 

 

Is it harsh? Yup. But they're the ones sticking you in an incredibly undesireable situation in the first place. If they want to try to pull that on you, then they can reap the consequences of it. 


Oh, wow.  I love this.  The issue is always how to get out of teaching them.  Here it is, the perfect way.

post #15 of 20
Put your friends in a learn to ski group lesson. Later in the day they will rejoin you able to turn both ways, stop and ride the lift.

Then you can all cruise the bunny hill together and have an awesome time. You might have ski buds for life at the end of the day.

I taught skiing for years and I always entrust my first timers friends to the local ski pros for first tracks. Then I can take it from there. Better for them, much better for me!

I always recommend renting ski gear the night before and getting comfortable with the strange stuff we skiers use.

Oh, YouTube is your friend. My beginner tips thread is loaded with good stuff !

Free!
post #16 of 20
post #17 of 20

I am a business coach and I love teaching.  So I have taught my over a dozen family members how to ski and had fun doing it.  None of them wanted to pay for skiing lessons.

 

The only ONE I couldn't teach was my wife...and that's because she wouldn't listen to me.  She took lessons for three days and then fell on her first green run with me.  Her skis didn't come off as they should and she hurt her knees when she fell.

 

I agree to have them watch these excellent videos https://www.youtube.com/user/elatemedia/videos

 

I would teach them how to do wedge turns on the bunny hill, then go ski alone.  I'd stop by to check on them after a couple runs and give them feedback on their performance.  I kept up this cycle for the day until they were ready to follow me on a regular green run.

post #18 of 20

I agree with the folks who suggest you just say 'no'. Why do you feel that it is your duty to teach your friends? Teaching adult beginners to ski is not so easy as you might think.

 

Lest you think, "What's the worst that can happen besides wrecking my day skiing?", about 50 years ago I was in the same situation as you, long before I was a ski instructor. I never even got the chance to try to teach my friend, who refused to pay for a lesson.  Within five feet he more or less exploded and spent the next six months in a half-body cast.  His mother blamed me and I lost a friend.

post #19 of 20

This thread came to mind on my daily commute today, listening to Larry Miller's stand-up routine about skiing for the first time. This line really got me (paraphrasing here) :

 

"Getting on a ski lift, if you haven't done it before.... is like hopping into a moving car while carrying groceries"

 

The entire 35 minute set is here and well worth a listen : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTjKRLp5Rb0

post #20 of 20

Look where you're going, not at your feet. Point your toes where you want to go. Start slow. Observe and discuss. I've taught for 9 yrs all ages and people who don't speak english-that's enough to get the basics :) But plan on spending all day teaching and going slow, if you think you'll get bored and want to go somewhere else, or if your friends are out of shape or very nervous- get a lesson.

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