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What have you got to teach me? - Page 4

post #91 of 106
Hey Si,
How about becoming a coach yourself? A whole pool of oustanding skiers/coaches will be at your disposal. You can choose who you want as a mentor.This was the best approach I took to really improve my skiing tenfold. Not too mention a whole lot of fun with pay albeit small!!

post #92 of 106
Thread Starter 
Nolo, I was actually going to list you as a coach in the previous post knowing a little bit about your situation. Then I thought that if you wanted to be put in that category you could do it yourself, which you did.

Coach13, In general I agree that most coaching situations involve ongoing sessions. However, I have seen a number of occurences where someone will go to a well known coach for a one time evaluation to get an assessment of where they are at and suggestions for directions to take. Whether its a single time, a few times, or ongoing, I still think there is a difference between a "coaching" attitude and an "instruction" attitude. Looking at posts from different people hear at Epic I think it is possible to pretty easily classify attitudes and approaches in this respect. There are of course, those that seem to fit both categories or move between the two.

Personally, I would love to find a situation where I could consistently get an updated assessment once in a while from a coach and suggested directions for development. It would also be nice to also have some means to occasionally discuss things with them in between assessments. I could then consider taking a lesson from someone else to work on a specific direction if I thought I couldn't handle it myself, I wasn't making progress, or I was unsure if I was moving in the right direction.

In contrast, though, I would also add that I am very happy working on my own skiing based on self assessment. As many have said here at Epic the biggest part of continued ski development and improvement is mileage and experience. Also, as much as I want to improve my skiing performance I am perhaps even more interested in gaining further experience and developing skills for the backcountry. But that's a great thing about skiing - it offers so many dimensions for adventure and growth.
post #93 of 106
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by tcarey
Hey Si,
How about becoming a coach yourself? A whole pool of oustanding skiers/coaches will be at your disposal. You can choose who you want as a mentor.This was the best approach I took to really improve my skiing tenfold. Not too mention a whole lot of fun with pay albeit small!!

Terry, maybe some day. If I were to do that, however, I'd really like to work in one of the free skiing programs like All Mountain Ski Pros, Extrememly Canadian, etc. Unfortunately, I doubt that my skiing is quite at the necessary caliber nor is my retirement fund anywhere near the value it needs to be for this to occur.
post #94 of 106
Hi all,

This thread is actually pretty hard to read through. But two points that seem the strongest....one from each of the main players..... are:

Si....While using language of 'what can you teach me'....also goes very often to "I WANT TO EVALUATE AN INSTRUCTOR BEFORE TAKING A LESSON WITH HIM"

Bob B....Once you are in my class, I will reflectively teach what you want to learn or progress with.

Si being a high-level skier and very focused on learning more would probably be skiing with like minded people....share info about past instructors, then request them....if it doesn't 'work' for you figure out why, then ask the director for instructors that better fit your needs.

Ok....imagine that Si gets a school to do the evaluation process his way. 3 runs with an instructor to see if they 'mesh'. 80 instructors and 240 runs and 5 days later, Si goes to Director and says none of your instructors are worth paying for, but I did get a couple of pointers. See you next year.

Ok that is extreme, but........

Maybe we should refocus on "how does one find an instructor that works best for them?"

Early season snows here.....Hoping the same for everyone else
post #95 of 106
Welcome to EpicSki, Shannon.

How does one find an instructor that works best for them?
That's a good question. I think you answered it:
Si being a high-level skier and very focused on learning more would probably be skiing with like minded people....share info about past instructors, then request them...
My students have very few degrees of separation...
post #96 of 106
I will admit to not reading the entire thread so I apologize if you've already covered this.

To add a twist to Shannons example, assume out of 80 instructors, 10 were also race coaches, 10 had serious interest in pipe and park, 10 were telemark, 10 were back country guides and the rest were JUST run of the mill instructors. Haven't we, by using this example, committed to a huge failure rate before we begin? Unless of course, we want a lesson/coaching in ALL of this at once?

Shouldn't the student to be able to find out what basic direction an instructor/coach's interest lie? If so, how do you do that?

I know certification takes some of this into consideration---but certification doesn't allow for current interests, only past performance, (in the sense that the certification has been acquired).

I certainly would not want an instructor/coach whose current interest was in pipe and park tricks if my current interst was perfecting my EWS turn .
post #97 of 106

Aspen used to have just that... a nice little instructor "file" with pictures & all..... they also got to write a bit about themselves..... so you could pick & choose.......

To the how to chose an instructor bit..... that was sort of where I was trying to steer Si - but he missed all the bits....

I pretty much let ski school suggest people that they feel will be a match when I need a new instructor..... I let them know how well each lesson goes..... Once I find one I really like (or if I can't find another) I keep returning..... Yes Si - you BOTH have to work to develop a student/instructor relationship..... just like any other relationship it is a matter of compromise & talking it all through.....If I feel a bit stale - I try a different one for a while..... It seems to work OK - because I now ski at least at Level 1 instructor level & am still improving.....

Welcome back Fastman... I have missed you - but am all set to do your stuff next season to get me tuned in again... Meanwhile my aim is to rollerblade much more & surf more.....

To back up the point someone made about choosing the coaches that are interested.... The instructors I love all have one thing in common - they are PASSIONATE about teaching skiing...... They give me phone pep talks about what I need to do in off-season training, they want to go for b/c ski trips after season end, they send me emails to keep me training..... you get the picture...... but I have to say - they all seem to enjoy having me for a student too - I think it is easier to teach & learn when you BOTH are passionate not just "sort of keen".... It makes it easy to call off the schedule of training & take a "lets go ski out of bounds" trip instead when you meet a pair of other instructors taking a hike on the day after a big snow dump.... that way I do still learn - just not quite what was on the agenda earlier in the week....
post #98 of 106

How about a demo ski approach?

When we are trying out skis, we "rent" and that rent can be applied to a purchase if we decide to really commit to that ski.

What about this - Si, what if you can schedule a 1 hour lesson rather than a whole day expensive lesson. In that 1 hour of give and take, both the instructor and the student will get a feel for if there is going to be a productive connection. If it works out, schedule a day. If it doesn't then you hope you got something out of your hour but your not that much out of pocket.

Most places I've been to you rent the "good" instructors by the day with no chance to purchase just an hour of time. 1/2 days are possible at most places.

Beyond that, personal recommendations can be a good source (not foolproof in my own experience however (KaChing - out went 300 bucks).

Ski instruction ("brain hoes" - as in any renting of brain power and experience) - is it only by the day - or can it be had by the hour?

As in Demo skis, if you don't like them your out some money, but not near as much as if you had bought the skis.
post #99 of 106
Good advice, John. And I'll go you one further. If you buy a lesson at any ski school that I'm familiar with, and you aren't happy with it, they will HAPPILY give you another one if you go back to the ski school desk and ask. They WANT you to be delighted, and it's worth far more to them to pay another instructor for a "freebie" than to have you go home unsatisfied and complain to others about an unsatisfactory lesson.

So really, there is very little to lose.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #100 of 106

Bob, that brings up an excellent point

Still an issue for people from the flatlands as they are going to quite an expense to go anywhere with some "vertical". So getting a replacement lesson/teacher for a 2nd try still cuts in to expensive personal time and expense of just getting there. But it still brings up a thought I hadn't considered.

Are you saying it's customary for ski schools to have a satisfaction guarentee?

In my own case on my sole "I wish I had my money back lesson", since it was my 2nd day on the slopes, I didn't realize the lesson was not that constructive at the time. I didn't have that feeling of regret till later in the week when I was cruising blues doing nothing I was taught. (in fact doing quite the opposite of what I was taught)

(note to Bonni - what do you think? I'm not being disagreeable or argumentative.)
post #101 of 106
John--you're right. When you get right down to it, expensive as they may be, the real cost of ski lessons for many people is the time taken--or wasted. It's hard to put a price on that when you're on vacation! The industry is well aware that many vacationers, while they may be well off financially, suffer from "time poverty" (sometimes as a consequence of their financial success!) And there is no way to refund the time.

Even if you get a second lesson for free, there may be a cost involved in the first one. On the other hand, there is always SOMETHING to learn. And while you have described the scenario of not realizing how bad the lesson was until much later, I believe that quite often the reverse is also true--you may not realize the VALUE of a lesson until later! "Aha!" moments are rarely immediate--they're often the result of many ideas, feelings, and "things" gelling and gestating, and finally coming together in a wonderful moment of "Eureka"--weeks, months, or even years later!

Anyway, yes, it is customary--although not usually "official" and in writing--for ski schools to have a full satisfaction guarantee. On behalf of the whole resort, they want you to be satisfied, and will often go to more than great lengths to accomplish it. I've seen people unsatisfied with a group lesson get a "free" private lesson, usually with a top instructor hand-picked to please.

It is unfortunate that more people don't take advantage of this. I've always recommended that people go back to the ski school desk either way--to commend the ski school and instructor for a great lesson, or to "discuss" a less-than-satisfactory lesson. If more people did this--if more students were more obviously demanding of high quality and unwilling to accept anything less--ski schools would be forced to improve and deliver. While their short-term profits might diminish because of higher labor costs, I can't think of anything more likely to help the resort, and the industry as a whole, in the long run!

By the way--I should add that the willingness of the ski school to "make up" to a dissatisfied customer does depend to a great extent on the attitude of the customer. Discuss your experience in a rational, helpful, respectful way, and they are likely to bend over backward to help you. Act like a demanding, self-important dolt, and you may not get what you want. I've seen them both. It's just human nature, of course.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #102 of 106
Si –

Your post reads to me like you’ve been at it for a while and enjoy a certain level of proficiency that others might never attain. I’d like to get the same “assurances” you’re looking for, but you’ll never find what you’re looking for unless you shop around.

If you’re really on the quest to find the right instructor/coach – in all intent and purpose – wouldn’t it be easier to hire as many as possible to filter through?

Do that. Once you beat your instructor down the hill, or coach through the gates ask them why you were able to … you’ll know where to go from there.
post #103 of 106
1,431 readings of this thread! wow.
post #104 of 106
Thread Starter 
John and Woodee,

I started this thread to have a discussion on what I thought was a slightly different point of view about instruction, coaching, and the learning environment. I think it has demonstrated a variety of insightful opinions and perceptions on this topic and I hope some of the other readers and participants in this discussion feel the same. It also dwelved a bit into models of "service delivery" that might better fit a perspective such as the one discussed.

Personally, I haven't taken a lesson for a good while now but certainly not because I don't think I have a lot more to learn and there aren't those out there who can help me. Mostly it's because without investment of considerable time and money I feel I am unlikely to find a learning environment that will provide a good return on investment (limited time to play and work on my skiing as much or more so than money). For better or for worse, this thread reinforced this feeling for me, however, it also confirmed that there are some excellent opportunities out there for someone of my perpective if you want to search for them. This certainly has me thinking more about such a search but then again, one of the things I enjoy so much about skiing is that even left to just my own resources I am still able to find continued avenues of improvement.
post #105 of 106
Si, go to your nearest ski school and ask the director if you can join in on an instructor training session. Any school that considers itself respectable will be "sessioning" every morning. These sessions are usually lively and interactive so you'll get to see a bunch of instructors in action. What you see in the way they approach their own training and development says a lot about what you'll see if you hire that person.

Some directors might politely refuse your request. I wouldn't, so I'm sure there's others like me out there. I'm happy to let you preview my service before you buy it. Only one catch - if you don't buy it, we sit down and you tell me why, so I can try to fix it.
post #106 of 106
Great Idea niceturns.........
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