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A question for PSIA instructors - Page 3

post #61 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado
But the dilemma is not hopeless. In fact, I think there is room for BOTH of my solutions. Redefining the Certification standards for the three levels to assure that "Certified" always means "Excellence" would produce Certified instructors worthy of promotion. And perhaps a second organization, parallel to but separate from, PSIA, could promote the highest levels of certification, primarily focusing its marketing on the intermediate and advanced skiers that currently find little inspiration to take lessons. Good promotion and high visibility of (and demand for) this group of high-achieving pros would provide a strong incentive for instructors to pursue Full Certification. And PSIA could focus on what it can do best--educate and certify instructors--without the ethical (and practical) dilemma of using membership dues to promote only the faction of its members who have "graduated."
I think there's wisdom in this. I know that the vast majority of my friends, who are reasonably high-level skiers (generally 7-9 in the old classifications) don't even think about taking lessons. For some of them, it's due to the weak lessons they have seen their kids get. For others, it's a sense that most of the instructors that they've seen don't ski as well as they do! The point, though, is that they don't know what they are missing, and there is no clear avenue for getting them that information. For the good of the profession of ski instruction and the long-term good of this sport, we need to do some communicating and educating, I think.

BTW, I bet that, with the proper work, we could get "community service" ads in most of the major pubs at effectively no cost.
post #62 of 79
There is no catch-22 because there is no required teaching component to obtain Level 1 certification. Level 1 instructors are taught how to teach the never-evers. That is the point of Level 1.
post #63 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
There is no catch-22 because there is no required teaching component to obtain Level 1 certification. Level 1 instructors are taught how to teach the never-evers. That is the point of Level 1.
Before or after employment?
post #64 of 79
Thanks for the new references, BigE.

Steve--it wasn't long ago in PSIA-RM that we had something similar to what you have described. Each cert. level had a "Teacher Prep" clinic to help prepare for it--TP1 for Level 1, TP2 for Level 2, and so on. "TPR" was the "Registered Instructor" clinic, for new instructors. Unlike the other TP clinics, TPR could be offered internally by your home school, as well as through the Division. It was a basic introduction to PSIA's philosophies and skiing and teaching models for new members of PSIA.

Quote:
my interpretation of the current certification is that a Level I is certified to effectively teach students at low levels, and is nearly as good as a Level III for these levels of students
Unfortunately, that is NOT how it is designed now. As evidence, note that "wedge christie" is a tested maneuver in our Rocky Mountain exams for all three Cert. levels, but the passing standard for Level 3 is much, much higher than for Level 1. My "perfect world" would be as you describe, requiring "excellent" demonstrations of the pertinent lower-level maneuvers for Level 1--and eliminating the need to test those maneuvers again at the higher levels.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #65 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado
Unfortunately, that is NOT how it is designed now. As evidence, note that "wedge christie" is a tested maneuver in our Rocky Mountain exams for all three Cert. levels, but the passing standard for Level 3 is much, much higher than for Level 1. My "perfect world" would be as you describe, requiring "excellent" demonstrations of the pertinent lower-level maneuvers for Level 1--and eliminating the need to test those maneuvers again at the higher levels.
Gotcha! I concur. Until you get to DCL, etc. when you'd have to be able to demo them for the candidates! As you know, I complained last year that my examiner wasn't able to properly demonstrate (or grade) a gliding wedge at our level II.

Interestingly, I think that the gliding wedge is one of the more difficult maneauvers for a skier to do intensionally, given the requirement for independence of movement for the two legs and feet. Of course, that may be because I don't really understand what I'm doing!
post #66 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado
Consider the important differences between the following promotional statements, all of which sound good (to me) on the surface:
  • "Take a lesson."
  • "Take a lesson from a PSIA pro."
  • "Take a lesson from a PSIA Certified pro."
  • "Take a lesson from a PSIA Full-Certified (Level 3) pro."
[/i]
There's a fifth possibile ad that might make more sense. How about something that describes the certification process and what the different levels mean. This lets the skiing public know what type of instructor they should be looking for. I'm no marketing guy, but you could maybe compare the different levels of certification with the standard green blue and black signs.

Maybe I'm wrong (quite possible as I'm just a lowly Level II), but I think most Level I instructors are capable of teaching a decent beginner lesson. At a bare minimum a Level I cert should have a year of teaching experience under their belt, and has a basic idea of how to teach a first-timer to ski. If the ad was worded correctly, it could imply that first-time students will get a good lesson from a Level I, a better lesson from a Level II and a best lesson from a Level III. At the same time, the ad should imply that taking a lesson from an uncertified instructor is a total crapshoot. If the copywriter is slick, they can do this in a way that doesn't aggravate SAM while still getting students to ask for the higher level instructors.

I've got another thought on advertising. We don't need a glossy ad to get the attention of the skiing public. PSIA/AASI is a union of sorts, so we can always use union tactics. Print up an ad and get some instructors to distribute it gorilla style in the parking lot. Or print up a ton of stickers and plaster the resorts with them (Squeezing the whole message onto a sticker is tricky, but we could get the basic idea across). I know someone at Sqaw did this with a bunch of "Tip Your Child's Ski Instructor" stickers. Yeah it aggravates SAM, but if you were careful, you could probably get them to see it as promoting the ski school.
post #67 of 79
Then why shouldn't everyone ask for a level III? If it costs all the same I would certainly ask for the highest qualified instructor....sooo, make the cost in escalating steps, then a beginner wouldn't buy an overqualified lesson, but if no level I instructor was available they could get a FREE upgrade to a level II.

That's like getting business class for a coach ticket on an airplane. Getting a free upgrade to first class would have a beginner bragging about it for days. I know that now beginners lesson are often cheaper for a come-on , but one should have a choice to upgrade to a higher grade teacher. The difference wouldn't have to be great, just big enough to make a student think about not overbuying.

....Ott
post #68 of 79
I fought quite hard against the Level 1 certification when it was coming on line. For all the reasons mentioned above.

I now regret that, and I LOVE that Level 1. It has opened the door to so many more instructors realizing that, level by level, competence and excellence is within their grasp--as long as they don't stop there. (But even if they do, they at least have a sense of what it is all about.) It has given so many of our instructors more of a sense of identity, commitment, and motivation (for great teaching and training) than ever before. Certainly it does not mean the same as the full level, but I don't mind working next to those people on an equal basis. At least I know that they have SOME consistency and training. I motivated, enthusiastic Level 1 is a lot more fun than a Level 3 who has lost the will to grow.

I also think it is TOTALLY appropriate for PSIA/AASI to support SAM through research and development of instructional programs. What this means is that SAM has a vested interest in making sure its customers get a great and valuable product that will get them excited and committed to skiing. Anyone have a problem with PSIA/AASI supporting that effort through its particular set of skills?

I think that's what (good) SAM wants. I know there are bad SAM's out there, and I know that some SAM's have elements of both. But I fiercely believe that any business has the number one priority of the acquisition and maintenance of customers. I further fiercely believe that this priority will be served by creating happy customers who have received value beyond expectations. The best of the SAM's believe the same thing. Nor is this ultimately incompatible with profitability and fair pay, although many areas don't quite understand that. If PSIA/AASI doesn't support that, then I want out.
post #69 of 79
And I've paid my dues since 1970.
post #70 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
Gotcha! I concur. Until you get to DCL, etc. when you'd have to be able to demo them for the candidates! As you know, I complained last year that my examiner wasn't able to properly demonstrate (or grade) a gliding wedge at our level II.

Interestingly, I think that the gliding wedge is one of the more difficult maneauvers for a skier to do intensionally, given the requirement for independence of movement for the two legs and feet. Of course, that may be because I don't really understand what I'm doing!
A gliding wedge is not part of the level II exam.

Maybe you just had a lousy trainer. I say that somewhat tongue in cheek. In my opinion, I have seen a wide range of descriptions as to "how" to ski this maneuver.

I have come to the discovery through Bob Barnes help that one really can't "try" to do a wedge christie. I won't open this can of worms, however it is a source of clinic confusion in the RM division.....IMHO.

Weems I don't know who it is, however, someone at Aspen describes this maneuver well by suggesting the first half is marked by an active outside leg and the second half by an active inside leg.

I just try to make my normal lousy open parallel turns and......surprise, a little wedge appears!
post #71 of 79

wedge christy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty Guy
Weems I don't know who it is, however, someone at Aspen describes this maneuver well by suggesting the first half is marked by an active outside leg and the second half by an active inside leg.
Although I believe the wedge christy as a demo will soon be obsolete (a notion I first heard from Harald Harb some time ago), I think it is a really cool turn, because it is invented by the customer, and because some really fun, complex things happen.

What you may be referring to is Squatty Schuler's take on this turn, which I think is pure genius. Part of the description of the turn says that, at the initiation, the outside skis pivots (or is steered) at a higher rate than the inside ski, while at the finish, the inside ski pivots more quickly than the outside ski. This has been part of the description for some time, and seems an adequate way to especially describe how to match the inside ski to the outside ski--to turn the wedge into a christy.

Squatty's take: If you steer both skis at the same rate (in terms of your muscular action) throughout the turn, the above relationships will happen automatically if you make the transfer of weight smooth and progressive. The reason is that if you steer both skis at the same rate and one is more pressured (first, the downhill/new inside ski) than the other, the lightly pressured ski, having less friction against the snow will naturally move through more degrees of pivot than the other one in the same time period. Hence, the uphill/outside being less weighted, steers more quickly than the other, weighted, one. Similarly, as the turn progresses, the weight naturally moves towards the outside ski, and the inside ski, now being lighter, starts to steer more quickly.

One of the great results of this awareness is that I know longer am even slightly aware of making a wedge or making a wedge disappear. If I simply don't try to hold my edge too much, and let the natural weight change happen as I steer slowly through the arc, all of the wedging and matching occur just at the right moment without my ever having to force it. The result is a wedge christy that is really quite elegant. Too bad it's not really something to think about anymore. The new short skis allow it without making a big deal about it. It's, like you no longer have to teach sideslip in order to teach skid. (Remember those days, Ott?!)

I believe that this is, in fact, how students end up inventing the wedge christy for themselves: They have a natural weight shift, and they really suck in their edging skills.

This is much too complicated for this time of night, and I repudiate all of it. Good night!
post #72 of 79
> ...I have seen a wide range of descriptions as to "how" to ski this maneuver...

One day last season, we had a doozy of a thaw-freeze cycle, and by night, the surface was rock hard and smooth as a mirror. I was given a bunch of level 2-3's. On the bunny hill, I had them work on using corresponding edges while in a nice, reassuring stable wedge. Two left edges and they turned nicely back up the hill to the left in an amazingly tight little turn, two right edges and ...etc. etc. While you don't want to introduce strong edging too early to a beginner, in this case, there wasn't much choice.

Much to my surprise, I didn't have one runaway that night, and I think the reason was that this group was initially so scared of the ice, they did exactly what I told them to do.

In fact, during the class, I had no less than about a half-dozen people who weren't in my class gingerly try to make their way over to us and ask, "how come you guys aren't slipping all over the place on this ice", "can I join your group", "...this is impossible ... how can you guys turn on this...", "...can I at least ski to the bottom with your group...", etc. etc.

Even my students realized that they were doing something that other people on that hill couldn't do. Everybody parted that night with a high of accomplishment (myself included).

After class, an old-tyme L2 instructor immediately skied up to me and demanded, "WTH were you having those people do ... They looked bizarre ... contorted ... Whaddya mean corresponding edges in a wedge - In conditions like this you have to spread 'em WIDE ... etc. ... etc." :

There was no reasoning with him and he would barely acknowledge my existence for the rest of the season.

The problem is more than just describing "how to ski this maneuver". For some people, it's the more basic, "why SHOULD I ski this maneuver".

Tom / PM

PS - Not precisely on-topic, but close enough, I hope.
post #73 of 79
I love this, Tom. This is why I say that the classic wchristy will be obsolete. You done 'xactly right. This is also very close to what we end up doing in our Beginner's Magic program in Aspen. Heading towards two edges is a great idea.

Also one of the essential elements of the Sports Diamondâ„¢ is your statement that: The problem is more than just describing "how to ski this maneuver". For some people, it's the more basic, "why SHOULD I ski this maneuver".

The two resources these refer to are Power and Purpose. We often spend too much time in Power (technical stuff) without adequate clarity of Purpose (goals, tactics, strategies). A little attention to Purpose can have massive results in achievements in Power. It's an enormous leverage issue.

Great work.
post #74 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by weems
One of the great results of this awareness is that I know longer am even slightly aware of making a wedge or making a wedge disappear. If I simply don't try to hold my edge too much, and let the natural weight change happen as I steer slowly through the arc, all of the wedging and matching occur just at the right moment without my ever having to force it. The result is a wedge christy that is really quite elegant. Too bad it's not really something to think about anymore. The new short skis allow it without making a big deal about it. It's, like you no longer have to teach sideslip in order to teach skid. (Remember those days, Ott?!)

Natural weight shift........that's it, that's what I've been trying to describe!

We don't shift our weight....our weight simply shifts.
post #75 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhysicsMan
:

There was no reasoning with him and he would barely acknowledge my existence for the rest of the season.
I'd call that a perfect night.....mission accomplished!
post #76 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
Before or after employment?
In Canada, there is no legal requirement for having CSIA certification to work as a ski instructor. However, it is a defacto standard -- the number of certified instructors far outweighs the uncertified ones. According to the CSIA, their majority is quite overwhelming.
post #77 of 79
Quote:
"Wedge...wedge christie...how...why...parallel...who......"
Hey guys--take it outside, would'ja!?

(I'll see you there!)

Best regards,
Bob
post #78 of 79
Okay, as long as you don't make me do any wedge christies.
post #79 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty Guy
A gliding wedge is not part of the level II exam.
Doh! I guess I just have a complete mental block after my level II fiasco last spring. Thanks for the correction; I meant wedge christie, of course.
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