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Technique vs.Terrain: Student Preferences? - Page 2

post #31 of 50
Some very interesting thoughts.

Let me pose an interesting situation I encountered this week and see how you would approach it.

In a full day group lesson (meeting at 10AM) of about 8 students one individual was a young lady in her mid 20's. In talking with her at our meeting place she informed me she had:

1. Lupus-a mild form and was skiing with her doctors permission
2. Had a kidney transplant 2 years ago
3. Has just driven from near Dallas straight through to Summit County (probably 12 to 16 hours with stops) arriving at 12:30 AM the morning of her lesson
4. Was taking pain meds in the meeting area
5. Had skied low greens and a few blues about 10 years ago
6. Wants to join her husband (they were on their honeymoon) on blues

Knowing there was going to be a split in this lesson I coralled the sup in charge and took and extra instructor with me (At Copper the instructors do their own splits)

So do you meet her motivations and get her quickly onto more difficult greens and maybe a blue or play very cautious and put her in the lower group of the split. Additionally the other instructor was relatively new. Where should I put him?
post #32 of 50
Take a couple of warm up runs with the whole group and the 2 instructors, she how she plays out with all the factors you mentioned, if she is really fatigued after the 1st run maybe she make the choice to be in the slower group, you are the one in charge and you have to use good judgement in regards to which intsructor will work out best for her and /or the rest of the split. Why not try to meet up with the whole group after a few more runs, terrain selection might still be the same for both groups but just at different paces. I think an instructor should always mention to people in group lessons that private lessons are always an option if they feel they are not getting enough individual attention.
post #33 of 50
Thread Starter 
I'd be interested to hear what ended up happening. My intuition would be to put her with whatever instructor she clicked with. But I agree, this is a situation where private lessons would be much more appropriate.



Quote:
Fortunately you “saved the day” so to speak, for the instructor.
As someone who takes many lessons, and enjoys different teaching styles, it's sometimes fun to be in the unique position to do just that. Often, instructional technique that I may have been cynical about ends up being just what I need. Since I can empathize with a fellow student's frustration, I can sometimes be the more credible source of assurance that this is really going to work.

Daytrippers and vacationers are often in a hurry to get to the "good stuff." By the afternoon, this woman was actually skiing stuff that was more challenging than she expected, and skiing it in control.
post #34 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by klkaye
Js137,

My first inclination - as you read from others - is to ask WHY you want to take a lesson.

In this forum I have often posted about 3 types of skiers:
1. skiers who see skiing as a fun diversion - recreation/vacation activity
2. skiers who see skiing as a hobby
3. skiers who see skiing as their sport

Which category do you identify with most?
When you go skiing what are your top 3 goals?
What's your motivation for taking a lesson?

IMHO - your answers to these questions will help unlock some answers to your concerns.

Thanks,
kiersten
Thanks again for all the response. I see skiing as my sport and truly love it. I can only ski a very limited amount now because I am working on my doctoral disseration. I hope to get placed in the west near the mountains and increase my skiing time after graduation. Worst case scenario, I will have more money for skiing trips! I read most of the magazines. I also read the entire All Mountain Skier book (you only get a limited amount out of it without any snow or a place to practice though!).

Right now when I go skiing my goal is to improve while challenging myself. My motivation for taking a lesson is that I really think I can get a big payoff from it after watching how much improvement my wife made in two days -- although I still had reservations.
post #35 of 50
Hi.....

responding to JS137.......you are taking 'privates' right??? Best way to optimize that instruction time.

have fun in Jackson,
Shannon
post #36 of 50
This situation may be a quandry because we must remember SAFE, fun, skiing. Since it is early season, this may be a good time to do a little marketing and split down even further. It is also a good time for personal communication, we can always move up. In the end, while the instructor must be the final judge, this person is an adult with personal choices. My inclination, husband and wife together, so now we have a sales job to do.
post #37 of 50
I can say that when I have had a "friend"(usually a guy) along in my lesson who is like that woman my instructor quite often lets them have their way.... He takes them to the terrain they want to work on (especially if they think the groomed is "boring") & he skis just that bit too fast for their poor skills....

After they ski it badly he explains how the stuff they were learning in the "boring" lesson will aid them in the "tricky" area & then asks if they want to go back & work on the other stuff now.... Usually he gets a yes this way....
.
post #38 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Js137
Thanks again for all the response. I see skiing as my sport and truly love it. I can only ski a very limited amount now because I am working on my doctoral disseration. I hope to get placed in the west near the mountains and increase my skiing time after graduation. Worst case scenario, I will have more money for skiing trips! I read most of the magazines. I also read the entire All Mountain Skier book (you only get a limited amount out of it without any snow or a place to practice though!).

Right now when I go skiing my goal is to improve while challenging myself. My motivation for taking a lesson is that I really think I can get a big payoff from it after watching how much improvement my wife made in two days -- although I still had reservations.
Ok - limited time budget & determination to improve - first will get better when you want - second is GOOD.....

As super-gumby turned super-"how to find the ski teaching you need" expert I'd suggest...

No snow time - inline skate... BUT remember you still need to work on good technique (good technique in inline is NOT A-frame - so when some bunny posts that it will cause you to A-frame in a few more posts along ignore it unless you intend to skate & ski with bad technique).... a few lessons here & there do not go astray with this either - iisa are the people to find re good instructors for inline.... (oops - you will probably spend some early time in an A-frame - but it is a small part of the progression & will disappear very quickly in an athletic person learning to skate)

Pilates also helps core strength & this helps good technique (ask the Austrians... oh but wait they are not PSIA or PMTS qualified better not... )

Ski time - do what someone suggested & go to small hill & work on technique so when you go to big hill you can PLAY.... I spend the early days of the season working on technique on the available snow/ice/slush/grass & terrain... lessons are also often cheaper in spring/autumn & when purchased as a bunch.... if they don't have a 5/10 lesson pack then try asking for a discount for bulk...

TELL the ski instructor & ski school if you do not get what you are paying for - THEY want to sell you product..... If you know your learning preferences then tell ski school when you book your lesson & tell instructor...
post #39 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikewil
Some very interesting thoughts.

Let me pose an interesting situation I encountered this week and see how you would approach it.

In a full day group lesson (meeting at 10AM) of about 8 students one individual was a young lady in her mid 20's. In talking with her at our meeting place she informed me she had:

1. Lupus-a mild form and was skiing with her doctors permission
2. Had a kidney transplant 2 years ago
3. Has just driven from near Dallas straight through to Summit County (probably 12 to 16 hours with stops) arriving at 12:30 AM the morning of her lesson
4. Was taking pain meds in the meeting area
5. Had skied low greens and a few blues about 10 years ago
6. Wants to join her husband (they were on their honeymoon) on blues

So do you meet her motivations and get her quickly onto more difficult greens and maybe a blue or play very cautious and put her in the lower group of the split. Additionally the other instructor was relatively new. Where should I put him?
Lupus is a form of autoimune disorder. It can take a couple of different forms. In about half of the lupus cases, adrenaline decreases the symtoms and makes the person feel, for a short while, like they have found the fountain of youth. Your lupus skier is very apt to know which type she is. She may have wanted to have the hell scared out of her in the first five minutes of the lesson. Gotta watch how you handle that one.

Which type did she end up being?
post #40 of 50
Pierre,

She was probably the "I need the hell scared out of me" type. After about 2 hours she bolted to ski with her husband. Intentionally, until I could assess her true ability and stamina levels, I held her in the lower level group with the intention of moving her up at lunch if all was proceeding well. She made the choice to split a bit before that point.
post #41 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikewil
Pierre,

She was probably the "I need the hell scared out of me" type. After about 2 hours she bolted to ski with her husband. Intentionally, until I could assess her true ability and stamina levels, I held her in the lower level group with the intention of moving her up at lunch if all was proceeding well. She made the choice to split a bit before that point.
What's the thinking here? Evaluate till lunch and if she hangs in, she gets instruction after lunch? How long does evaluation take if the lesson is a half day? How long can you stretch evaluation in a private or semi-private lesson?

Where is the dividing line between real assessment and teaching, and managing group dynamics? When is a group too diverse for everyone in it to get appropriate instruction?

I'm asking these questions as a consumer of skiing instruction. I hope the conversation isn't just for the producers.
post #42 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by jstraw
What's the thinking here? Evaluate till lunch and if she hangs in, she gets instruction after lunch? How long does evaluation take if the lesson is a half day? How long can you stretch evaluation in a private or semi-private lesson?

Where is the dividing line between real assessment and teaching, and managing group dynamics? When is a group too diverse for everyone in it to get appropriate instruction?

I'm asking these questions as a consumer of skiing instruction. I hope the conversation isn't just for the producers.
As I responded to Pierre I held her in the lower level group for very valid reasons. She hadn't skied in a number of years-a ski off on very gentle terrain can be very misleading.. She has a history of major medical difficulties. She told me the pills she was taking in the meeting area were major league pain pills. I questioned her prior to leaving the meeting area on what medical problems I should look out for-one was tiredness.

Remember this lady had driven almost 16 hours the prior day, arrived just after midnight and came from very low altitude to over 10,000 feet in that time frame-a recipie for major disaster. Prudence was well warranted with this individual. A few hours on easier terrain prior to possibly moving up to another group was well warranted.

Also the evaluation to 1/2 run-not all morning. During the rest of the time with the group she received very valid and needed instruction.
post #43 of 50
I guess I was asking in terms of the general student population, not just in terms of this student.
post #44 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikewil
Some very interesting thoughts.

Let me pose an interesting situation I encountered this week and see how you would approach it.....snip
You ask her what kind of pain meds and if she has any extra.
post #45 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jstraw
What's the thinking here? Evaluate till lunch and if she hangs in, she gets instruction after lunch? How long does evaluation take if the lesson is a half day? How long can you stretch evaluation in a private or semi-private lesson?

Where is the dividing line between real assessment and teaching, and managing group dynamics? When is a group too diverse for everyone in it to get appropriate instruction?

I'm asking these questions as a consumer of skiing instruction. I hope the conversation isn't just for the producers.
Well, since the topic was started by a "consumer" of ski instruction....

IMHO, the best instructors are constantly assessing as they teach. For example, the first run off the chairlift will give you some feedback about the student's level of confidence, but it might not give you the total picture. Many students may be relatively proficient once the slope opens up, but the may be pretty inept at dealing with the chairlift crowding. You may see an occaisional wedge happen at that point. While I don't think a seasoned instructor would assume that the student always skis in a wedge, they may be accurate in the suspicion that the student is not a completely confident about choosing a line.

Many students are not as up front about medical issues as Mikewil's student was. I myself am guilty of this. For reasons way too complex to get into, I have an irregualr heart beat. The first two runs of the day sometimes feel pretty awful, so I sometimes end up lagging way behind the group. Then, things become normal, and I shoot ahead.

It's also interesting that Mikewil's student has an autoimune disorder. Believe it or not, they are highly prevalent amongst fitness professionals. In some cases, these people can tend towards over-achievment as far as physical activity is concerned.
post #46 of 50
Thread Starter 
Epilogue: A few weeks later, the same student returns to Copper, and actually requests the instructor in question. IMHO, this sort of turn around in a student's attitude is pretty impressive.

We lucked out this time in that it was only she and I in class, so the instructor was able to push the envelope quite a bit. We skied the bumps on I-Dropper, worked on pole plant, and even went up the poma lift.

I felt as if I was back in Bormio, but with an instructor who, while being of Italian descent, bore a whole lot less resemblance to Mussonlini than my instructor in Italy!

When she and I chatted after class, she was estatic! Now, her only concern is that he may not be available the next time she takes class.
post #47 of 50
Js137 Another option for you is to enroll in a dki camp like our own ESA or another camp such as Snowbirds steeps camp. you will be skiing with like skilled skies learning and having more fun then you ever imagined you could have on skis. not only will you be a better skier you will make some friends that share your passion.
post #48 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
In my very limited experience, students judge themselves by the terrain they can survive. They also judge themselves by how they think they look doing it. :
yep. Terrain is the biggie, they are so terrain obsessed! You spend a lot of time selling them on the concept of skiing the easy stuff while they learn their new skills, so they can take the skills to the harder stuff and score wins.

I think some very successful (ie the ones who get lots of return business and tips) instructors have worked out how to fudge people onto harder terrain in such a way that the guests feel like they've made massive strides, without doing anything much other than getting that lessons. (being bitter here).
post #49 of 50
Actually, LM, I suspect that her new attitude has a lot to do with your gentle persuasion, getting her to recognise what was happening, and to appreciate it. plus a good instructor. A good combination.
post #50 of 50
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Ant! I made a new friend in the process, which is one of the great side benefits of taking ski lessons!
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