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Can I try teaching the Flores book to my family?

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
I'm a fan of Lito Tejeda Flores. I've had some very positive results translating his writings on ski technique directly to my own skiing - dramatic results, actually. I just read the introduction and first chapter of his latest 'Breakthrough on Skis' book - the one that focuses on the newer shaped skis and how technique has changed to take advantage of their amazing capbailities - and I'm thinking I might be better off methodically teaching my wife and daughter (both basically novices) his methods, even though I'm not a certified ski instructor. I am good at communicating ideas and I have faith in Flores' techniques. It's not so much that I don't trust the ski instructors out there - as much as the reality that if they take lessons they'll bounce from one ski school to another as we ski @ various ski areas from weekend to weekend. I'd like to give them one central focus for their learning - and they can treat the disparate lessons they get from pros from time to time as adjuncts to the central curriculum that I'll be trying to impart to them on a regular basis.

This all makes sense to me. At least I'm willing to give it a try for the first few weeks of next season. I'm not sure if I'll be any good as a ski instructor anyway, but I don't see what harm I can do to them by trying. I won't be flying blind - Flores' book is laid out as a series of lessons and exercises that pretty much build from scratch and go up from there. My motivations for doing this are two fold - to get my wife and daughter a solid foundation and maybe a big head start on the way to becoming competent skiers - and to better learn and absorb the Flores material for my own skiing.

My background: skiing since age 8 (I'm 47), a long layoff of 7 years until just about three weeks ago due to two back operations. I'm an advanced (in some respects expert I guess) skier who can get down anything. I'm comfortable on everything except gnarly tight bump runs and bumps on steeps - but again, I've been out of the game for a long time. I'll get some of that back just by skiing regularly again. I had a major breaththrough on my new shaped Volkls just the other day and spent the entire day marveling at how easy it was to ski if you just let the new skis do most of the work. It was so remarkable that it has be all excited about skiing in a way that I haven't been in over a decade...
post #2 of 36
Yes you can try. It doesn't mean that you will be entirely successful but you can certainly give it a try. I take it that you have not been married all that long.
post #3 of 36
Thread Starter 
>>I take it that you have not been married all that long.<<

What makes you say that? I've been married to the same woman since 1992. Very happily I might add. Sounds like you think this might be a bad idea and a threat to marital bliss. You may be quite correct on that one Pierre...

I'll have all summer to reconsider : ).
post #4 of 36
I would second that notion about teaching your wife to ski. You already have all kinds of impediments to learning already that have built up through the relationahip, and in times of stress they may bubble to the surface. "What do you know, you can't even load the dishwasher correctly" was one I got (among many others). An instructor will have a clean slate and any good instructor will have a large bag of tricks to teach concepts in many different ways- something books usually don't teach you.

As for Lito, I was a big fan of his as well. His writings introduced me to the carved turn and he has a way of communicating the beauty of skiing. That said, I've spent the last several years and a whole lot of money unlearning quite a bit of what I got from his books and videos. Some of it was my misinterpretations of what he said, and some of it was based on his core concepts. Lito is a smooth and fluid skier, but his teachings are hardly modern and do not fully exploit the new shaped ski designs.
post #5 of 36
I was a full-time instructor when I met my wife during the summer 30-odd years ago (and have remained one). She claimed some knowledge of skiing, which obviously wasn't much when the season began. In the few months of our lives together at that point I already knew that teaching a spouse probably puts a strain on the relationship, so I suggested she follow some of the other guys around. She has a French background and the ski school was run and staffed by Frenchmen then, so she got along well with them. And that process got her to the point of skiing most anything, albeit without a great deal of precision. Last year was the first time I could get her off straight skis. Last week was the first time in maybe 20 years that she asked me to explain/demo something to her. I only comment on her skiing if she asks.
post #6 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by patentcad
>>I take it that you have not been married all that long.<<

What makes you say that? I've been married to the same woman since 1992. Very happily I might add. Sounds like you think this might be a bad idea and a threat to marital bliss. You may be quite correct on that one Pierre...

I'll have all summer to reconsider : ).
1992 is nearly 15 years, have you lost your mind. Your wife has spent 15 years listening to everything you have spewed. To keep an even keel she has learned to turn off much of what you say and just enjoy you. You really don't think she can suddenly tune you in after 15 years of turning it out do you. Could you listen to your wife give you critical feedback or would you just kinda tune it out as say to yourself; "I'll just go under me own power thankyou".

Wouldn't it be better to find a top notch instructor for your wife and actually have her do something for herself?
post #7 of 36
Treat them to a lesson with an experienced instructor.

Treat yourself to a lesson with an experienced instructor.

What I "hear" you saying is that you have been off skis for a long time compounded by some medical issues and that you still aren't comfortable on shaped skis.

Don't feel challenged to paint yourself as an expert .... you sound like you were a good skier with a high level of enthusiasm ... but hardly an expert.

A good instructor has a "way of saying it" to each student on a personal basis. Thay have a "bag of tricks" and/or analogies that they can call on and can percieve and correct body/mechanical issues.

If I sound a bit harsh, ten years ago, I felt just like you.
post #8 of 36
Add "The All Mountain Skier" by Mark Elling to the mix.
Add some lessons incorporating "new technique" for yourself.
Try it. But the baggage of expectations for your family
should not be thrown in the mix. If it is, let them take
lessons from an "outsider" (read regular instructor).
post #9 of 36
It sounds like they already get ocassional lessons. The rest of the time they can practice what they learned or just enjoy the ride! As long as they are having fun and getting better, they don't probably need a lot of lessons. Let the students decide when they need more advice and who to get it from.
post #10 of 36
Thread Starter 
>>Let the students decide when they need more advice and who to get it from.<<

Unfortunately the ski slopes are full of people who think they don't need instruction. I've often asked pretty lame intermediate skiers how they learned to ski - and if they've ever had a lesson - and they'll often say 'never took a ski lesson'. Which is rather obvious. I think we all need instruction, particularly beginners. And before bad habits become permanent. Asking novices if they need instruction is like letting the inmates run the asylum. I want to get both of them a basis upon which to build a technique - and once they have that how much they want to continue will be up to them. I also want to pace the lessons - for instance if we go for three days I'd like for them to have a lesson on Saturday, then one on Sunday - and Monday will be for them to free ski all day. The lessons are only 60-90 mins. long anyway - so it's not like they're with the instructor all day.

I don't disagree with the comments above - and that's why I posted this idea in the first place. I just really need to find a good ski school where they can get some consistent instruction. I was really taken back by my daughter's first lesson on her first day of skiing at Gore Mountain in NY. She's 11. She winds up in a ski class full of 5 year old kids - because obviously all the first timers in the kid's class that day were little tykes. What did she come away with after 90 minutes? Nothing that I could discern. She didn't seem to even know what a wedge turn was. How was she turning? She was steering the skis with her feet. When I asked her if the instructor had showed her anything, she couldn't tell me a thing. Very strange.

Her second lesson was a bit more encouraging. She knew how to wedge turn and she had learned 'teacup' turns. She was getting down the hill OK - as long as the terrain was flat. She still didn't seem to know how to effectively slow down and stop using the wedge, but at least she could do it. More importantly she seemed to have no fear of gliding down the hill @ speed. At one point she was going 25mph+ and I had to try and get her to slow down. But she wasn't afraid at all. If she can handle speed like that and maintain balance on her second day on skis, I'm encouraged that she'll do just fine.
post #11 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre
I take it that you have not been married all that long.
last time I made a similar comment the Admins crucified me, as did the targets of my derisive humor.

I see the humor in it though, Pierre. pay no attention to these hypersensitive and/or slow-witted folks.
post #12 of 36
I would suggest that your wife read Lito's book. If she reads it, she will gain an understanding of the instruction you will be administering. Plus Lito is a great read, he explains things in such a manner that it is not over technical and an enjoyable reading experience. I'm a huge Lito fan, I love his writing style and believe any intermediate or advanced skier reading the book will benefit from the contents.
post #13 of 36
"Unfortunately the ski slopes are full of people who think they don't need instruction"

Unfortunately, there are too many people who think they can teach their wife, girlfriend, kids etc how to ski. Given the fact that you are new to shaped skis and discovering newer technique, you may not be the best choice of instructors for your family. I agree with the suggestions - why don't you all take some lessons and then go out and practice the stuff you learned.

I am not sure what to think of your comment that your daughter was going 25 mph and you had to stop her. I understand you are happy that she is not afraid but perhaps that is not a terribly safe situation for your daughter and others.

Your location is not posted so it would difficult to make recommendations on ski schools and ski instructors in your area. There are plenty of people on this forum who will be able to direct you to excellent instructon. Take advantage of it.
post #14 of 36
Mitioto (old man) to Karate Kid:
- aaaa... so you are learning karate from a book!
post #15 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson
I was a full-time instructor when I met my wife during the summer 30-odd years ago (and have remained one). She claimed some knowledge of skiing, which obviously wasn't much when the season began. In the few months of our lives together at that point I already knew that teaching a spouse probably puts a strain on the relationship, so I suggested she follow some of the other guys around. She has a French background and the ski school was run and staffed by Frenchmen then, so she got along well with them. And that process got her to the point of skiing most anything, albeit without a great deal of precision. Last year was the first time I could get her off straight skis. Last week was the first time in maybe 20 years that she asked me to explain/demo something to her. I only comment on her skiing if she asks.
Ditto. I learned to bite my tongue and simply ski with my wife. No teaching to spouse in this family. Never asked; not appreciated; not wanted. Nope. Don't go there myself. I restrict my comments to the end of the day when I merely mention how nicely she has been skiing. Once or twice she mentioned how she was following me trying to mimic a certain move I was making. Once or twice I corrected her and told her how I was able to make that move.
post #16 of 36
I've basically taught myself to ski using Lito's book and videos (and a week in his former clinic at Snowmass). I'd highly reccomend the videos or DVD's as a complement to the book, as it is often helpful to see the movement patterns. I think his method is a great starting point for building skills, which can then be expanded. I've had my wife and daughter watch the videos with me, and make significant improvements by knowing what to focus on. I would also agree that being the "instructor" with family can certainly backfire, and will not always lead to a blissful experience!
post #17 of 36
Before I took my ski-instructor exam I thaught I knew it all. I was teaching friends and giving good advise here and there thinking it was the right thing to do. Nowadays I dont teach friends and family on my spare time even if they aske and I dont hand out anything but general compliments. If they want me to teach them I tell them to book a lesson and pay $$$ for my advise. They need to be motivated and committed. After my wife had been skiing with me for several years she started to take ski-school lessons on our hollidays. When I asked what she had been learning during the day it turned out to be stuff that I had been trying to teach her for many years.
post #18 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaska Mike
As for Lito, I was a big fan of his as well. His writings introduced me to the carved turn and he has a way of communicating the beauty of skiing. That said, I've spent the last several years and a whole lot of money unlearning quite a bit of what I got from his books and videos. Some of it was my misinterpretations of what he said, and some of it was based on his core concepts. Lito is a smooth and fluid skier, but his teachings are hardly modern and do not fully exploit the new shaped ski designs.
I agree. I found Lito books good reading and full of compelling explanations. However as I have tried to apply his ideas to my own skiing I am less convinced. My take is that Lito simplifies too far. A more complete teach yourself manual is the "All Mountain Skier".

Examples of Lito's oversimplifications IMO:
1) "Early weight shift is the cure to stemming." This might be true on gentle groomed blues, but on steep/icy/bumpy runs the stem will return unless you can learn to get off your edges and STEER both skis.
2) "Don't worry about upper body position, focus on your lower legs and the body position will take care of itself to stay in balance."- Good in theory, but in practice bad habits in the areas of angulation, counter, swinging shoulders, dropped inside shoulder etc could easily develop.
post #19 of 36
Thread Starter 
I'm going to defer to all this advice and bag the whole idea. That's why I posted it here - to get feedback. Time to go to plan 'B'. That's where my wife and daughter get whatever instruction I can get them at whatever ski area we wind up with. I'm not entirely convinced that route is really better, but that's how it will be. For all of you who are so sure 'professional' instruction is the way to go: unfortunately it's not all the friggin Squaw Valley Ski School out there. I wish. I was so angry and disappointed after hearing what my daughter had to tell me after her first day at Gore Mountain that I wanted to go talk to the ski school director. I never did because I'm not sure when we'll ever return to Gore and I was getting this second hand from an 11 year old girl. But it was pretty deflating.

All that being said I agree after reading your comments that I'm no ski instructor and I'm better off leaving them in the hands of the pros. I'm sure there's a good deal of luck involved to some degree. I'll have to get reccommendations for good ski schools in the East - southern VT/Bromley/Stratton is where we'll probably wind up. I'm pretty confident Bromley's ski school is very good, no?
post #20 of 36
patentcard, sorry to have your plan A hammered here. Your intentions are very noble and nice and personally I think you should do whatever YOU think is best. You can give it a shot. It wount kill them. And ski teachers are really not all good. Take it from a ski-instructor that learned skiing in different ski-schools in many different countries; some ski instructors suck bigg time. I know many teachers I would not want my kids to ski with. Get good reccomedations from instructors right here at Epic in locations were you are going to ski. Thats were this forum can help you big time.
post #21 of 36
The real pitfall in teaching your family members is that you end up in a teaching mode all the time. Gone are the days when you can simply go out and enjoy skiing in their company. Your family start resenting that every time they are out with you, they are either doing drills or they are getting "input" from you when they simply want to go and have fun.

There is a time for learning, and there is a time for simple fun. If you end up instructing your family, even with their enthusiastic consent, make sure the lesson time is well defined and limited. The rest of the time, keep your mouth shut about how they are skiing. Even if they ask, resist the temptation to launch into another mini-progression.

The best advice about being a teacher came from my long time mentor, and I paraphrase, "The hardest but most useful strategy in teaching is knowing when to keep your mouth shut."
post #22 of 36
My husband has been teaching me to ski, and it has worked out great. He didn't want to, because of all the accepted wisdom about how you should never do that. So, 15 years ago he signed me up for a private lesson. The experience was so horribly traumatic that I wouldn't even consider skiing again for 12 years. After he finally convinced me to give it another try, I told him I would try only if he would teach me. When he started teaching me, he had never skiied on shaped skis, but was a very advanced skiier in the old school methods. Like you, he hadn't skiied much for over a decade.

Over the past three seasons, we have skiied together more than 100 days and have only had a few minor tiffs. It worked so well for me I wanted to let folks know that they shouldn't dismiss this idea for everyone. I've supplemented his instruction with some lessons--especially when I feel like I'm hitting an obstacle in progressing (like this year when I wanted to learn to carve and when I wanted to start skiing bumps) or when he wanted to take a lesson himself. For the most part, though, I'd say that nothing beats having someone who really cares about you and is in it for the long term.

I learned the Lito approach first, and then unlearned some of it later as we both discovered modern ski methods. I wasn't sorry to have started out that way, though, because Lito's technique allows a novice skier to have a lot of speed control on steep terrain. Also, early on when I was stressed out on a slope I thought I couldn't handle, I would just remember Lito's friendly, mellow video and it made me feel a lot better.

I do think that it is a mistake to teach more than one person all the time, though. Maybe you can work with one person while the other takes a lesson, and rotate who you work with. It would probably help to ask about what they learned in their lessons, so you can direct your instruction to those skills. Anyway, good luck!
post #23 of 36
Thread Starter 
While I appreciate the support, I tend to agree with those who advise me to leave my family in the hands of pros. Ultimately it may wind up a combination of both approaches.
post #24 of 36
If you get a random instructor, you are almost guaranteed to get one who teaches things that conflict with Lito's instruction. Unless you are willing to risk domestic tranquility by teaching your family, your only real options are a expensive private lesson with a PMTS cert instructor or an expensive trip out west to Sol Vista. See www.harbskisystems.com for more details, it's very similiar to Lito's teaching.

Or just don't worry about it and let them take their chances with a random PSIA instuctor.
post #25 of 36
Patentcad:

I lend my one cent to the thoughts of the wise men on this thread: It seems like a reasonable thing to do--that's why so many people do it--but do yourself and your family a favor and resist the urge. There are many fine instructors; do a little homework, find out who they are are various areas, and turn your wife and daughter over to them.

Good luck,

JoeB
post #26 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by patentcad
While I appreciate the support, I tend to agree with those who advise me to leave my family in the hands of pros. Ultimately it may wind up a combination of both approaches.
I would ask here for some specific recommendations for instructors before you go to a specific area. Also, why not consider coming to the ESA next year? You and your bride could independently attend the ESA, and your daughter could spend some time with the great instructors at Snowbird or Alta...
post #27 of 36
Thread Starter 
Can somebody clue me into this - what is 'ESA' and why would I want to participate or attend? I'm really new to this board if not to skiing. And I almost feel new to skiing with the big change in equipment that has transpired since I last skiied regularly. My new gear is just incredible and is going a long way to fueling my renewed enthusiasm. Laying out those big carved turns on these shaped skis is such a joy...
post #28 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by patentcad
Can somebody clue me into this - what is 'ESA' and why would I want to participate or attend? I'm really new to this board if not to skiing. And I almost feel new to skiing with the big change in equipment that has transpired since I last skiied regularly. My new gear is just incredible and is going a long way to fueling my renewed enthusiasm. Laying out those big carved turns on these shaped skis is such a joy...
Happy to do that!

ESA is the EpicSki Academy, the premier ski education event sponsored by EpicSki.com. See the EpicSki Instructional Ski Camps forums for all of the details. Most of the coaches also participate here on the Instructional Forums.
post #29 of 36
Thread Starter 
Can I attend with my wife and daughter even though I'm not a ski instructor and they're novices?
post #30 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by patentcad
Can I attend with my wife and daughter even though I'm not a ski instructor and they're novices?
Absolutely! As was discussed in a few threads in there prior to this past ESA, what better start can you imagine for a new skier than to get instruction from some of the best coaches on the planet? Not to mention the ability to chat with them both before and after the event. There is also going to be an east coast weekend event early in the season at Stowe.

To make sure I communicated correctly, the ESA coaching is for those 18 and older for liability reasons. But, your daughter can get great instruction from the hosting ski area's ski school while you're there.
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