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Oldest never-ever you have taught? How'd it go?

Poll Results: how old is the oldest never-ever you have taught

 
  • 12% (1)
    0-59
  • 37% (3)
    60-69
  • 12% (1)
    70-79
  • 37% (3)
    80+
8 Total Votes  
post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

How old was the oldest person you ever taught that first lesson to?

Did it go well?  What made that happen?  

Was the terrain you started on beginner-friendly, or not?

If it didn't go so well, can you share some insights about that?

 

Let's see what experienced members here have with older first-day-beginners. 

post #2 of 30

My story is cheating. My 66 yo "first time" student admitted that he had "skied" one time 10 years previously. He didn't say "tried to ski" but he did say that based on the first experience that we should consider the lesson to be a first time lesson. It was scheduled as an one hour private lesson, with an optional second hour as needed. Without revealing too much personal info the man was extremely tall and extremely large. Right off the bat the man had trouble staying upright with two skis on even on flat terrain. And there was no way I (or Arnold Schwarzenegger) was going to be able to help him get up. My recollection is that the first half of the lesson was so bad that I was already dreading the second potential hour of proof that I was incompetent. I don't remember whether we got to the lift because he was actually good enough or just out of gas from hiking up. I do remember praying on the first run that he would not go unguided missile on me. Fortunately, straight in any direction was not in his vocabulary. Unfortunately, curves weren't either. But at least we were getting some mileage in. Suddenly, the guy started making absolutely perfect wedge turns straight down the middle of our beginner run. These turns were absolutely identical all the way down the run and better than 1/2 our staff could make. We did one more run to validate before the hour was up and then he thanked me and skied off while my jaw hit the snow.

 

Our resort had decent, but limited teaching terrain (which has since been expanded exponentially and has magic carpets) and great conditions that day. It would be nice to claim that great teaching skill was responsible for the great results, but I can only give credit to the terrain, patience, mileage and the natural ability of the student. The only thing I really did was have faith in the teaching system.

post #3 of 30
85 year young father of a co worker. He was a good old god fearing farmer who was strong as a bull. Good time and he left as a level 3. If only we all had those good genes. The coolest part was both he and his son did the lesson together. It would be so great if we all could do a bucket list thing like this with a parent.
post #4 of 30
Thread Starter 

Anybody else interested in weighing in?

post #5 of 30

I'll add this which is only peripherally related.   My SO started skiing at 54.  Initially thought she was going to die on the mountain.   (7 years later she is doing quite well-level 6ish)  What has surprised her the most (besides the fact that she is actually becoming competent in most situations) is how many skiers she sees skiing who are well into their eighties.  YM

post #6 of 30

Jasp Quote:

85 year young father of a co worker. He was a good old god fearing farmer who was strong as a bull. Good time and he left as a level 3. If only we all had those good genes. The coolest part was both he and his son did the lesson together. It would be so great if we all could do a bucket list thing like this with a parent.

 

God fearing is not only lame, it is responsible for an irreversible manifestation of very poor ski technique. Don't ever accept one of these students in your lesson group. You will get nowhere fast. Rather fear Satan for it is me who will toast your ass as soon as you fall from your lofty realm of assumed anagogic propriety. In dealing with me, you are given a trade for which you can highly appreciate your end of the bargain: Expert skiing for the price of something you rarely ever think about, your after life experience (and location). No need to think about such insignificant details now when you have so many people to impress on Epic. Hoe the row of God and wear your anguishly high angled snow plow like a cross over your shoulders as you tumble like a ragdoll to the eventual hell leashed upon all truly lost and misdirected snow sliding souls. I am only here to help ...

post #7 of 30
All kidding aside this crosses so many lines Rich. I described a person in the best way I could. He didn't impose his beliefs on me but made sure to thank his maker for the opportunity to share that experience with his son and even to thank his maker for lunch in a silent private way. It was a pleasure to be part of their day together and witness an 85 year old willing to try the sport. Make fun of that if you must but I think that is in very poor taste.
post #8 of 30

While you apparently have no idea what I am actually making fun of, you are crediting me in the right direction. For a man whose work is never done, I appreciate your heartwarming validation.

post #9 of 30

Not sure why you feel compelled to continue down this path Rich, the topic is elderly first timer students and my reference to his religious upbringing was only to share a picture of a man who quite frankly was refreshingly polite, attentive, positive, and thankful for the chance to do some bonding with his equally polite, attentive, positive, and thankful son. It's easy pickings for you I suppose but I find it sad and tedious to discuss your all too frequent religious agenda. The guy was a pleasure to meet and work with, remarkably taking up skiing at that age when most are in a home for the aged. That he still possessed that level of willing and capable participation is IMO something to admire not ridicule.

post #10 of 30

Blah, blah, blah. Jasper, I have no idea what you are talking about. Continue if you must. Makes for good lurker fodder. To some, it may look like you are going out of your way to “appear” stupid enough to take offense to something obviously not meant that way. To others, it will appear that you are not going out of your way at all. Me? I luv ya either way!

 


Edited by Rich666 - 10/10/16 at 12:38pm
post #11 of 30
Back on ignore...
post #12 of 30
Time for a time out for the devil man?
post #13 of 30

Can we please get back on topic? I want to hear more of these stories from instructors. We need 20 stories, not 2.

post #14 of 30

I agree with @nemesis256  above.  I love reading the stories shared by @TheRusty, @justanotherskipro and @yogaman.  Thank you.  Yes, I would love to hear more stories from other instructors.  

post #15 of 30

Apparently, that's all there is. Perhaps the others who had stories have passed away themselves. Who knows? Maybe settle on ski ghost stories?

post #16 of 30
Thread Starter 

Rich, you have never taught a never-ever over 50?

post #17 of 30
Thread Starter 

My oldest never-ever did not speak English.  She looked to me to be in her mid-60s.  She was from Belarus, and I think this was her first experience with English speakers.  Her son-in-law explained to the line-up boss that she had skied in the distant past and would need a refresher lesson.  Something got lost in translation (his spoke in broken English).  After we started the lesson it was clear she had no muscle memory from having skied in the past.   

 

I have no specific memories of how we proceeded, but I taught her somehow without any initial boot work or straight runs, because she was booked as a fresher-upper lesson and once I realized that this was not the case it was too late, were were on the trail.  I got her to make wedge turns left and right, and to stop with an uphill turn.  This was not easy, because I had to teach her several words from scratch.  The word "stop" was not in her vocabulary, nor any of the other words used often in lessons (uphill, downhill, slow, foot, face, look).

 

As the 1-hour lesson drew to a conclusion, her turns were still uncertain, although she had not fallen.  There was one point right at the end where she gained speed and froze, heading for the woods at the side of the trail.  I thought she would surely run into a tree. That didn't happen; at the very last minute she turned to a stop, as we had been practicing.   So I took her for two overtime runs and that did the trick. 

 

The issue with her turns initially being weak wasn't her age, it was the language barrier.  When I said goodbye, she could turn in both directions and do a turn-stop on the beginner terrain at our mountain, without any freezing-up or pauses.  She smiled.  Actually, she smiled the whole lesson.  


Edited by LiquidFeet - 10/17/16 at 7:43am
post #18 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

Rich, you have never taught a never-ever over 50?

 No. Maybe. Perhaps likely. I'm too old to remember. ;)  Though I have been coached, guided and advised by a number of folks over 50. That I remember.

post #19 of 30
Thread Starter 

...bump.

 

If no one else contributes to this thread, should I assume there aren't many instructors who have taught never-ever adults over the age of 50?
Or that there aren't many instructors posting here any more?

Or that instructors who have taught older beginners prefer to not tell how it went?

I guess I'm surprised that more have not shared their experiences.  It could be an interesting read, yes?

post #20 of 30

Had a family of 6 one time. 3 generations.  Youngest 14 and 16, Skied once or twice. Parents Never ever, Grand parents never ever. Grand parents were mid 70's my guess. I think they decided it would be a great family outing to just spend a couple hours together.

 

Chinese family, grandparents spoke mostly a village dialect of Cantonese. Parents did most of the translation so I didn't have to dig too deep into my lacking Chinese language skills. Teens were mainly enjoying the time with the whole family. Something pretty rare these days (youth that appreciate time with their elders)

 

Both grandparents did Tai Chi so turning feet independently was the easy part. Wide stance and balancing on one foot, No problem. Trying to figure out how to get them to "edge" or "tip" their feet was the tricky one but I finally figured out how to explain it to them. We were still doing boot work (no skis yet) and I was trying to get them to climb up the slight hill sideways and "set" an edge as they sidestepped up the hill. The breakthrough was asking if they ever played Ping Pong or in Chinese terms (which I used) "Bim Bum Baw (ball)" Lots of laughing and smiles. Now we are getting somewhere!. I had the parents ask if they (grandparents) ever had to "level" a ping pong table so it didn't rock. and they immediately showed me how they would jam something under one leg of the table. I then demonstrated the same on one edge of their boots and lightbulbs went off. Now we were moving around pretty good and were able to climb up the slight slope to get to a place were we could do a straight run.

 

Using pointing of feet and tipping of feet we were able to do straight runs and very gentle turns left and right. Very little wedging (although there was some). They figured out how to stop by turning up hill (having a bowl shaped learning area helped)  The teens were laughing and giggling the whole time.

 

At the end of the 2 hrs we did make it up one chair lift ride and one successful run top to bottom of the beginner lift. I would suspect they never skied again (they sort of hinted at it as I thanked them for coming out and sharing the the mountain with me) but they were all smiles and very grateful to have had a chance to experience something the teens apparently wanted to share with their elders.

post #21 of 30

Numerous 60+ people over the years, 1 that I know was 72 (it was his birthday present to himself).  What mostly sticks out is that nothing stuck out. If you keep the awareness on your class and have a working knowledge of teaching and skiing it's just another lesson. The less satisfactory (for me) lessons are ones where the whole time is spent dealing with fear issues, particularly when the student is there to please/appease others. Nearly everybody I see, at any level, over their 50s is there because THEY want to be there. They know their minds, they know their bodies, The rest is just straight forward teaching.

post #22 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

Or that there aren't many instructors posting here any more?

 

 

I can't speak for others but I'm still shutting down my landscaping business for the season (one more work day, 2 more invoices to write, Yea!!!). I'm just starting to get back into ski mind. When I moved to VT I made a decision to stat outside as much as possible. One result of that is I'm not online all day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

 

Or that instructors who have taught older beginners prefer to not tell how it went?

 

Beginners are beginners. They are about the individual, not a stereotype.

post #23 of 30

I think he was 55 and he was obviously not athletic he wanted to get into skiing one because his wife was a life long skier and raced in college and #2 He had a fear of heights and thought getting used to a chairlift might get him over that. I started him on the beginner beginner hill for a 2 hour it was rough he had huge calf's and insisted on keeping his rear entry rental boots unbuckled at the top.

Ok the first hour was HELL he weighd 200lbs+ and couldn't get up without taking a ski off .................baby steps never got him up the rope tow either so we worked on straight run and side step for the two hours. He was determined!!!! so then so was I we went back to the ski school and he booked a whole series of lessons with me and a series of semi pvt for his son and daughter. I also took him into the ski shop and ended up buying a  whole set up that day.

     Over the next few weeks we made progress turning and stopping still no rope tow. So I suggested the chair and the sweat broke out on his forehead I talked him into it when a 5 year old went over head by him self and waved "Hi Mr.Dan"...... I told my sweating student hey I taught that kid too. So he sucked it up and we headed to the chair he got on no prob but he was white knuckles all the way holding on for dear life! Then came the unload ramp! and around  he went still on the chair and six feet in the air.............baby steps!!!!

So over the rest of the winter I got him comfortable on the chair he ski'd with his family they went out west in the spring life was good......  He came back the next season and booked some more lessons and he told me he got over his fear of heights enough to take flying lessons yep he got his private licence and said he owed that to me WOW ! Now he wanted to do some club racing  baby steps created a MONSTER  lol so when I finally turned him loose he was turnin and burnin he went from a never ever to a always and forever!   ;)

post #24 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave W View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

 

Or that instructors who have taught older beginners prefer to not tell how it went?

 

Beginners are beginners. They are about the individual, not a stereotype.

However, stories about older individuals can be an inspiration for both future students and instructors who haven't taught a beginner over 50, or 60, or 70 before.  I can't imagine that any instructor would treat a 10 year old or a teen exactly the same way as someone starting a new advantage adventure after 50.

post #25 of 30
IMO what separates students isn't so much age as physicality. Old people aren't harder or different to teach to ski, so I never thought about them differently as beginning students. Unathletic people are harder to teach to ski. I remember the hard ones and they are usually not in real good shape. One guy, 300+ ginger from Texas (3strikes right there, haha) informed me after he fell -almost immediately - that his ACL is already blown out from college football. I literally couldn't pop his ski off at the high din and angle he was laying on it. It took some doing but I finally got it with relatively little screaming and tears. Most memorable lessons for me, (Emelie age 3 neverever) are memorable for things other than age.
post #26 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

However, stories about older individuals can be an inspiration for both future students and instructors who haven't taught a beginner over 50, or 60, or 70 before.  I can't imagine that any instructor would treat a 10 year old or a teen exactly the same way as someone starting a new advantage after 50.

Absolutely agree. I make the initial approach to a 10 YO, a teen, and an well practiced adult with slightly different expectations of how I will proceed. As far as it goes, to me, the lesson starting point/expectations for under 10s and over 50s have more in common with each other then with typical 20 to 40 YOs. However while no 2 kids, teens, or adults get exactly the same progressions or challenges, to the extent that I try to help THAT student with THEIR abilities, to reach THEIR goals, yes, I do try to teach them all exactly the same way.

post #27 of 30

In 1991 at the Laurentian Ski Hill in North Bay, Ontario I had the opportunity to teach an 84 year old grandmother who was visiting from Japan.  First time on skis, former professional dancer and avid cross country skier.   I was an 18 year old kid.  We had plenty of appropriate learning terrain, and it was a very successful day.  Overall I benefited more from the lesson than she did.  She may have learned the basics of skiing, she changed my perspective on strength and courage.  

post #28 of 30

@waldo : thanks for sharing your story.  Question:  did you ever concern /worry that 84 yr-old grandmother may fall and resulted in fracture?  

Reason I am asking: My father is 78 yr old and he's very much interested to learn how to ski, but he is afraid of falling and hurting himself, so he decided not to pursue it after all.....  Hearing your experience is quite encouraging.  

post #29 of 30

“The Master said, At fifteen I set my heart upon learning.

At thirty, I had planted my feet firm upon the ground.

At forty, I no longer suffered from perplexities.

At fifty, I knew what were the biddings of Heaven.

At sixty, I heard them with docile ear.

At seventy, I could follow the dictates of my own heart; for what I desired no longer overstepped the boundaries of righ.”

 

~ Confucius

post #30 of 30

@fosphenytoin : Absolutely I was worried about any potential falls.  My perspective as a teenager was that any one that old could be done in by a vigorous sneeze.  What would happen if she were to fall?   With most young kids i used to have them fall on purpose ( in a controlled environment)  so they would know what it felt like and shed some of the fear of learning.  In this case i skipped that bit.

 

Our lesson plan was based on building comfort at each stage of progression.  The majority of our time was spent on a very gradual decline that we climbed up and skied down.  Probably about 40 meters in total.  Took a number of attempts before she was comfortable starting from the top.  At that point the initial lesson was done, she was happy but wanted to accomplish more so she booked additional time.  We got on to the beginner terrain which was serviced by a t-bar which almost gave me a nervous breakdown.  After our time was up, we took another couple runs together and then she joined up with her grandkids and did more runs.  

 

I don't remember her falling during any of the time we spent together.   She never pushed past what was comfortable for her, and i never tried to push her.  

 

Saw her a few more times that season, and we skied together a little bit,  but then I moved away.  

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