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Any hardcore students out there?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
The following exchange (in quotes) occurred in another thread. I've provided my answer to Prosper here as I think it might constitute a new topic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
GCT,,,, I'd have a hard time with that.

I want to teach people to ski, not cater to their silly whims and strive to make them happy for a day. I want to be a teacher, not an entertainer. I want real results, not fleeting smiles.

When someone comes to me to learn to ski I can evaluate their skiing and quickly know what they need to do to improve. I know much better than they do what their shortcomings are and what's called for if they're to improve. I'm not willing to waste my time on students who aren't interested in devotedly accepting my prescriptions, following my lead, and applying themselves to the tasks I assign with dedicated enthusiasm.

When it comes to teaching skiing it's serious business with me. I couldn't care less about providing a student with fond memories from a short vacation. I'm not all things to all people. I'll teach a student to ski, and to ski well, but only if they're willing to buy into my program and do it my way. If not, it's best they pursue another route.

I don't think I'm instructor material. Resorts want to please everyone,,, keep them happy,,, it's all about the cash flow. I don't care about that, money is not what drives me when it comes to skiing. If it was I could have never justified devoting over 20 years of my life to full time coaching. My sole motivation is the intense pursuit of results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prosper
Rick,

What you describe is more coaching than instructing. You want to work with those who are passionate and driven to improve. There's nothing wrong with that and good coaches are definitely needed for upper level or elite athletes. However, I think the vast majority of people who take ski lessons are not that driven and motivated and certainly are not at the elite level. In most advanced ski lessons you'd probably find some students who would respond well to your teaching style. But the vast majority of students taking lessons want to become better skiers, have fun and be social. Most recreational skiers are just that, recreational. They're trying to have a good time. For a small minority, having fun is skiing at the absolute best one can ski. For the rest, it's being in a beautiful setting, being with family and friends, doing something that can't be done very often, being on vacation. Rick, you sound more like ski coach rather than ski instructor material.
Prosper, you're reading me pretty accurately. My sole requirement of a student if I'm to offer them my time is that they're serious about improving. They don't have to be elite level skiers, they just have to WANT TO BE elite level skiers.

Your right too about my not being ski school material. Too many students there for less intense purposes to suit my taste and patience. I wonder though,,,, if offered an intense, season long training program at a reasonable price, and run by someone like myself, how many out there might be interested.

Imagine a program that provided intense technical ski training 6 days a week for the duration of the season. 3 hours in the evening tue-fri, and 5 hours every Sat and Sun. Plus a 5 day beginning of the season camp to kick off the year on the right foot. That's over 300 hours of available coaching during the season. And what if it only cost $800 for the whole package, including a season pass? That's what the kids at my program received.

I wonder if such a program existed for adults who were serious about taking their skiing to high levels, if it would draw a crowd? What do you think folks? This question is directed at the lesson takers as much as the lesson givers.
post #2 of 32
I´m neither lesson giver nor taker and as the man from the other side of the world I can only have some general comment.
I have been thinking a lot about skiers´ motivations because I also write articles about modern ski technique for exactly the sort of dedicated skiers Rick defines.
Dedicated or hardcore students are a rare commodity everywhere, especially when the activity is a mere hobby.
It is as described. Most people - even in traditional ski countries like ours in Central Europe - just want to have a good time and fun. Most of them are simply happy to glide and turn. Hardly anyone wants to look bad on skis but the desire or urge to improve technically is mostly not strong enough to make them take a high-level course. (Most skiers here even don´t take even a beginner course and struggle "the snowboard way" guided by parents or friends.)

I would be a rich man if I could persuade some skiers to take some advanced courses I would organize/offer. I haven´t found the recipe yet. I´m eager to read what your experience and strategies are.

Btw, it´s a more general problem. Dedicated serious pupils/students are every teacher´s dream. I have had my 8 teaching years at the Agricultural University in Prague back in 70s-80s. I had only two two-semester courses (foreign languages: German and English) which were fun and pleasure to teach...

I´d be happy to be able to use your experience and expertise, Rick. I simply envy all who reastically could make use of your offer. Let´s hope I´m not the only one.
post #3 of 32
A whole season, maybe just a little too intense. I'm just about to hit Thredbo for the one week SLAP programme:
http://www.thredbo.com.au/thingstodo...p?ref=12&sub=8
I doubt that I will have much time for free skiing. With accomodation etc I expect the week to cost circ $3k (AUD). This week will be about 1/3 of my skiing for this Oz winter, so for a recreational skier I guess that might be considered hardcore.
post #4 of 32

disski! where are you? .

If you can tear yourself away from the "barbie" and put down that Fosters, they are calling you!
post #5 of 32
Season pass plus season-long lesson (with a good instructor of course) for $800??--Sign me up. I love this idea. I would want to be sure however that the instructor and I were a goodfit. I'm not saying I want to be pampered, entertained or coddled, but if student and instructor do not click in an hour, or even a one-day lesson, it is no big deal, but if you are tied together for a whole season then this is another story. Overall, I think this is an interesting idea.
post #6 of 32
Interesting question, Rick. What exactly are your qualifications to teach this type of program? Do you have a USSA or PSIA certification?
post #7 of 32
You'll find more Fosters in the US and the UK than in australia. A bit of creative advertising license, sadly.

Disski will be along shortly! She phoned me last night while I was driving back from thredbo, but the signal dropped out.

Taxman, take skis that don't mind rocks, and have sharp edges.

On this topic, I did a Masters programme for 3 years at my local resort. It varied in price (going up each year) but when I did it was in the hundreds (might have gone into 4 figures by now, I hope not) and we got a season pass deal with it. 4.5 hours every Sunday morning for most of the season with a pool of high level coaches. It was excellent. We were all committed to skiing and wanted to be the best we could be. Some did the racing stream, we did the all mountain stream, which included the odd race.
post #8 of 32

I'd do it

I don't know if i have the time to commit to a whole season Rick, but i would be down for an intensive training program. I'll never be a world cupper but i always love to perfect my skills on the snow. Now, funding might limit me at this point in time, but I suspect that given vacation time in the furture I would be able and willing to participate in such a program.

Would it involve off snow training as well (sprinting up the hill)? Powder skiing? Racing? It might be a good curriculum for high level skiers, but average skiers might end up injured or something like that... Not a lot of skiers can handle intense skiing for multiple days in a row, let alone every day for several weeks. You should make a qualification program so that you don't get students in over their head. I would be interested to ski with you now Rick - my skiing improved a lot last year, especially in terms of speed, balance, and strength. I might just be a worthy candidate of such a program now.

Later

GREG
post #9 of 32
Ant, I have skis that have shart edges (Volkl AC3's) and skis that don't mind rocks (Salomon Axendo's), do I ski with one on each foot?
post #10 of 32
There will be rocks and there will be ice.

They are reporting 15 cm... but draw your own conclusions.
I'd take rock skis and get them sharpened. And I was up there last night.
post #11 of 32
Rick,

I think your idea is a good one. The biggest advantage of the kind of program you're talking about is the continuity. As a student, I've found that my progress has been greatest when I've skied with the same instructor over a period of time. Because that instructor knows me, knows what makes me tick, what makes things easy for me to understand, etc. He/She knows how I've progressed, where I've stumbled, and where I've breezed through. The lessons go a lot smoother and I end up learning a lot in a short amount of time.

Because of this, I think the student-instructor fit, as someone mentioned, is very important. I'd be leery of signing up without knowing if there would be good rapport with my instructor/coach. If the fit is good, then it would be a great deal.

The only thing I'd be wary of personally, is the intensity. I love skiing, but I don't want to make it a chore. If I had to go to "practice" 6 days a week, I'm afraid it would become more like work, rather than a fun activity. Mind you, I want to get really good at skiing, but it must be fun for me. In fact, I was offered a similar program by somebody (for free), but I didn't feel the student-coach fit was there -- he saw it more as an intense program of practice-practice-practice, too "competitive", and that didn't sound like too much fun to me.

As an aside, do you think the frequency of your suggested program would really work? The only ones who would be able to ski 6 days a week are those who already live in ski towns. And if you live in ski towns, you probably ski a lot already, and probably ski pretty well. I live in Denver, and I just can't see myself making the trip up to the mountains after work that frequently. I'd have no time left for anything else!

Now you might say that all these things are signs that I'm not driven enough for your program, but I guess you'd have to know my skiing history and see how I ski to determine if that is the case or not. I personally believe I am quite driven, and am always looking for ways to improve my skiing, and from what I hear from other Bears I've skied with, I haven't done too badly since I started skiing.

Copper had something similar to what you're suggesting -- for I think $100 (or is it $200? $300?), you can take all-day group lessons every Sunday of the season. I know some folks have worked it out so that they ski with the same instructor during those Sunday lessons. Don't know if they'll offer it next season.

Just my 2 cents.

-F.

PS -- I'm looking forward to making turns with you in the next few months.
post #12 of 32
Rick,

when I first skied with Yoda he gave me a self-description similar to what you said and told me that he'd work with me if I was going to take my skiing seriously and his suggestions seriously. because I don't respect any teacher (coach, instructor, educator, professor, whatever...) that doesn't demand seriousness and rigor, I think I smiled when Yoda gave me his strict requirements. I know it always makes me chuckle when I think back on it. He was stating his philosophy in his own inimitable way, and I wonder how many others have agreed to work with him but found him too strict or difficult. Little did he know, he was exactly what I needed.

I plan to ski with him a lot more this coming season. BTW, he noted this season that my skiing was much more fluid and confident and powerful. I told him that it was from doing the ESAs with nolo and her gang.
post #13 of 32
I was waiting for you to chime in this thread, Gonzo. It sounds like Rick's a chip off the Maestro.

One of the better compliments I ever received is when mutual acquaintance and PSIA-E examiner par excellence Ray Allard told me I skied like Yoda. I don't think I've had a chance to tell Y that yet. He could be appalled.:
post #14 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the responses folks. Looks like there are some out there how would have some interest in such a program. Let me respond to some of your comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiDeC58
Season pass plus season-long lesson (with a good instructor of course) for $800??--Sign me up. I love this idea. I would want to be sure however that the instructor and I were a goodfit. I'm not saying I want to be pampered, entertained or coddled, but if student and instructor do not click in an hour, or even a one-day lesson, it is no big deal, but if you are tied together for a whole season then this is another story. Overall, I think this is an interesting idea.
RiDeC58, your right about the student/coach fit, tough if it ain't there. To be honest though, with all the 100's of students I've worked with on this level it's never been an issue. As long as both sides are there with purpose there seems to be a common thread that binds the two. A relationship such as this is like any intense personal relationship, it requires effort and from both parties to make it work at times.


Quote:
Originally Posted by skier31
Interesting question, Rick. What exactly are your qualifications to teach this type of program? Do you have a USSA or PSIA certification?
Really, 31, my question was a generic one about how people would feel about this type of program. That said, if I were to coach adults out here in Colorado this would be the type of program I'd like to design. My qualifications are over 20 years (started teaching in 1978) of coaching/designing/directing race programs in New York State and Colorado with PSIA and USSCA certification. I've worked with kids, adults, women only groups, and special olympians. While I did do some ski school teaching in my early days, the majority of what I did (and what I'm comfortable with) is working with students in long term arrangements,,, season long or multi year long.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ant
On this topic, I did a Masters programme for 3 years at my local resort. It varied in price (going up each year) but when I did it was in the hundreds (might have gone into 4 figures by now, I hope not) and we got a season pass deal with it. 4.5 hours every Sunday morning for most of the season with a pool of high level coaches. It was excellent. We were all committed to skiing and wanted to be the best we could be. Some did the racing stream, we did the all mountain stream, which included the odd race.
Ant, this is the mentality I've found in most all the Adult students I've worked with in intense programs. They're a pleasure to work with, very committed and serious. Often even more so than some of the kids. They chose to be there, they're committing their time and money to it, and they really want to learn. I love it. I thrive on it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier
HeluvaSkier
Would it involve off snow training as well (sprinting up the hill)? Powder skiing? Racing? It might be a good curriculum for high level skiers, but average skiers might end up injured or something like that... Not a lot of skiers can handle intense skiing for multiple days in a row, let alone every day for several weeks. You should make a qualification program so that you don't get students in over their head. I would be interested to ski with you now Rick - my skiing improved a lot last year, especially in terms of speed, balance, and strength. I might just be a worthy candidate of such a program now.

Later

GREG
For those who don't know it Greg is a former race student of mine. No question, Greg would be a prime candidate for this type of program. On the training hill he's a no nonsense, all business student. I'd be fortunate to have a class full of Gregs

Greg, if by off snow training you mean a fall conditioning dry land training program to prepare for the on snow season I think that would be a great idea. Yes, I'd make that part of the program if the interest was there.

There really wouldn't need to be qualification for the program beyond desire. A good coach should be able to alter physical intensity and skill level addressment as needed to accomodate individual needs. All I care about is desire, I can work with the rest.


Quote:
Originally Posted by faisasy
Rick,

I think your idea is a good one. The biggest advantage of the kind of program you're talking about is the continuity. As a student, I've found that my progress has been greatest when I've skied with the same instructor over a period of time. Because that instructor knows me, knows what makes me tick, what makes things easy for me to understand, etc. He/She knows how I've progressed, where I've stumbled, and where I've breezed through. The lessons go a lot smoother and I end up learning a lot in a short amount of time.
Exactly faisasy, that's the beauty of this type of program. It's why it works so well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by faisasy
The only thing I'd be wary of personally, is the intensity. I love skiing, but I don't want to make it a chore. If I had to go to "practice" 6 days a week, I'm afraid it would become more like work


As an aside, do you think the frequency of your suggested program would really work? The only ones who would be able to ski 6 days a week are those who already live in ski towns. And if you live in ski towns, you probably ski a lot already, and probably ski pretty well. I live in Denver, and I just can't see myself making the trip up to the mountains after work that frequently. I'd have no time left for anything else!


PS -- I'm looking forward to making turns with you in the next few months.
Your right, faisasy, 6 days a week is a lot for most adults with full time jobs and families to commit to skiing. This was a program I designed for my race team and I just offered it up here as an example a type of training program that produces outstanding results, but unfortunately is rarely available for adults. I don't think that's right. I think the absence of such programs for adults is leaving a need unmet.

Of course the format could be tweaked if needed. Participation would not need to be manditory, it could just be available and the student could attend as much as his/her life would allow. Actually, that was the general format on my race teams, yet most the kids seldom missed a day of training. Intensity and dedication was not as much demanded as it was developed and nurtured. That was my goal, I led by example, and most would feed off my intensity and follow suit.

Dedication, hard work and intensity are not things that necessarily walk in opposition to fun. They can, in fact, be a source of fun. You'd be surprised the turn outs I'd get at my fall training sessions. I'd work these kids into the ground, run for miles up and down the slopes and through the woods, strength work outs till their muscles screamed and anaerobic work till their lungs burned, yet they would continue to attend in droves. I'd get 90 percent of the team there everyday. They loved it. They understood why we were doing it and how it would benefit from it. And their motivation was spurred on to even greater heights as they saw the fruits of their labors ripen.

Looking forward to skiing together with you also faisasy


Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzostrike
Rick,

when I first skied with Yoda he gave me a self-description similar to what you said and told me that he'd work with me if I was going to take my skiing seriously and his suggestions seriously. because I don't respect any teacher (coach, instructor, educator, professor, whatever...) that doesn't demand seriousness and rigor, I think I smiled when Yoda gave me his strict requirements.
Gonz, Yoda sounds like my clone, and you sound like my ideal type of student. Sounds like a perfect match.
post #15 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki
If you can tear yourself away from the "barbie" and put down that Fosters, they are calling you!


Actually I am working 13 hour days so i can afford to PAY for all the ski lessons Yuki.... (I work 3 this week = 39 hours & gross almost more than an average person for 2 weeks)
post #16 of 32
3 hours a day after work? could be tricky as the drive to the snow for me is between 2 & 4 hours depending how close I can get work.....

Now if I won tattslotto & did not have to work - I'd be there!

Even for the month of annual leave I can swing - I'd be there & then the weekends I could manage (& do) ..... so i could fit on current pattern 2-3 days a week & a month of 6 days.... would that be acceptable to the coach?

Faisasy - I do something similar to this (private lessons every day up to 70 days a season) right now...
I have NEVER found it a chore..... at times I get frustrated with my lack of understanding/ability but it was always enjoyable....
post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
I was waiting for you to chime in this thread, Gonzo. It sounds like Rick's a chip off the Maestro.

One of the better compliments I ever received is when mutual acquaintance and PSIA-E examiner par excellence Ray Allard told me I skied like Yoda. I don't think I've had a chance to tell Y that yet. He could be appalled.:
surprised? or appalled? or maybe even pleased?
post #18 of 32
I'll have to get over to LT this season and see what he says.
post #19 of 32
Interesting subject. I have a little expereience with it myself.

For race training, I attend camps, clinics, Masters training sessions, jump in with the juniors when possible, and grab the odd coach for some private feedback when I can. Most people I know consider me slightly nuts, training as much as I do when I have no chance of "going anywhere" with it. They just don't get it.

For example, I run an intramural program on a small hill (NASTAR-esque 27 second GS). We have a group of about 5 racers that place well in Masters and USSA races at other resorts, and are considered the "elite" skiers on this hill. Right behind them are some talented advanced skiers that need only a little coaching to make major leaps in their skiing- knocking seconds off of their times. We've offered free coaching to several of these skiers. How many have accepted so far? None.

What I figure is that these people ski as well as they want to. Ignorance is bliss. They know there are better skiers out there, but they would rather believe that these skiers were born that way. More fun and less work.

The more I learn, the less I find I know. This inspires me, but for many it's disheartening. After an initial giant ability leap, I'm now measuring progress in 10ths and 100ths or a second. I don't care, it's progress. A lot of people would consider it diminishing returns and not worth the effort.

The question is- how do you inspire a "good enough" skier to become a perpetual student? Obviously the internal motivation has to be there to some degree, but how do you kick-start it so they push past the diminishing returns to see the big picture?
post #20 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Imagine a program that provided intense technical ski training 6 days a week for the duration of the season. 3 hours in the evening tue-fri, and 5 hours every Sat and Sun. Plus a 5 day beginning of the season camp to kick off the year on the right foot. That's over 300 hours of available coaching during the season. And what if it only cost $800 for the whole package, including a season pass? That's what the kids at my program received.

I wonder if such a program existed for adults who were serious about taking their skiing to high levels, if it would draw a crowd? What do you think folks? This question is directed at the lesson takers as much as the lesson givers.
I'd buy it in a heartbeat, even just for the weekends. Reduced price weekends only package perhaps?
post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaska Mike
What I figure is that these people ski as well as they want to. Ignorance is bliss. They know there are better skiers out there, but they would rather believe that these skiers were born that way. More fun and less work.
it's also easier to believe that, in your own small internal mental world of all skiers you encounter daily, you are one of the best... and to hell with whatever margin of skill or daring separates you from THE best.

with the caveat, of course, that automatically you must exclude all those skiers who simply DO NOT care about improvement, and this group indeed can include former junior racers, etc.

sports are a pastime, not a passion, for most folks who participate in them. skiing is no exception, and in fact, because such a small number of athletically inclined people are alpine skiers, you see an even TINIER fraction of dedicated serious athletes on a lifelong pursuit of improvement... or approaching one's maxima, whatever you want to call it.
post #22 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaska Mike
For race training, I attend camps, clinics, Masters training sessions, jump in with the juniors when possible, and grab the odd coach for some private feedback when I can. Most people I know consider me slightly nuts, training as much as I do when I have no chance of "going anywhere" with it. They just don't get it.
Hey, brother. A pity you´re so far off. That´s me as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaska Mike
The question is- how do you inspire a "good enough" skier to become a perpetual student? Obviously the internal motivation has to be there to some degree, but how do you kick-start it so they push past the diminishing returns to see the big picture?
Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzostrike
sports are a pastime, not a passion, for most folks who participate in them. skiing is no exception, and in fact, because such a small number of athletically inclined people are alpine skiers, you see an even TINIER fraction of dedicated serious athletes on a lifelong pursuit of improvement... or approaching one's maxima, whatever you want to call it.
We´d need the dedication people show on the golf course or in the gym. I guess the main difference is the mountains. You go the gym around the corner after work as a part of your daily/weekly routine but you go to the mountains to have vacation there. For most people skiing equals vacation equals a pleasant week with fun, not a week of onsnow workout.
post #23 of 32
Gonz-
I hear you. I taken a few of those intramural racers to a Masters Race where the courses are faster and the level of competition is much higher. A true wake-up call, but for some it was too much. Some people get to the bottom of the mountain, decide it's just too tall, and go home. A few start climbing, even if there's little chance they'll summit.
post #24 of 32
exactly, Alaska Mike.

desire for PERSONAL excellence is quite rare. many, many top athletes that I've known -- most of them -- have done it out of pure competitive spirit, to beat others, to achieve SOCIAL excellence.

what is the goal?

(a) to beat others, to humble others?

(b) to explore and expand the self?

I suggest that those who follow (b) typically will find that (a) takes care of itself with the proper coaching etc., PROVIDED the athlete is dedicated and works hard.

and,

I suggest that those who follow (a) don't do a good job of achieving (b) because the focus is in the wrong place (cf my favorite Vince Lombardi quote, "winning isn't everything, it's the ONLY thing")

Ego feeding?

Ego nurturing?
post #25 of 32
Mountain kids may have little choice but generally I think that those pursuing Gonzo´s "(a) to beat others, to humble others" incline to different sports than alpine skiing is.
Except skicross you´re alone with no direct rival to "beat". It´s primarily you and the course.
At least me. That´s how I feel and MHO.
post #26 of 32
I'd settle for personal mediocrity at this point. Seriously though, my only regret is that I didn't find this particular inspiration earlier in life. I cringe when I think of the wasted potential. I could have been almost marginal.

Performance skiing and ski racing in particular has given me quite a lot. If I can return the favor in some small way by introducing more people to my particular addiction, hopefully I'll have new people to race and gauge myself against in the future.

I applaud anyone who tries to expand the upper echelon of skiers. It's makes for a safer and more enjoyable sport for everyone.
post #27 of 32
I really don't care who ski's better than me. I will likely never enter an officially sanctioned race. Your training program sounds great, but it would require too much time, unless I won a lotto and didn't have to work for a living.

As it is, I seperate my skiing into spending maybe 20 to 30 percent of my time trying to work at getting better, and the rest just out enjoying myself. I would have no problem at all going skiing from Lift opening to closing and taking 2 hours of that doing any kind of intense program you care to devise, but I want the rest of my ski day to play on the hill.
post #28 of 32
Obviously true performance skiing requires a lot of skiing for the pure joy of it, or it almost becomes a job. Outside of camps and clinics, I never train more than a half day. The rest of the day I'll either be setting courses for other people, freeskiing with friends, or goofing off around the mountain. The training makes it all easier and besides, I wear out doing drills and gates for 8 hours straight. Make your point, reinforce in, then put it into practice.
post #29 of 32
I like these intense programs, and the skier fanatics they produce.

However, I'll ski with anyone, for any amount of time--15 minutes to weeks--if they're willing to "see" skiing, to experience the joy and transcendence of it. They don't have to be intensely committed. Only to be aware and present.

Right now I'm doing some day hikes around Aspen with some friends of one of my students. They're really unfit, underprepared, and even somewhat demanding. But the "get it" about the mountains. They're stunned by the wildflowers, and the tundra and the streams and the sky. It's amazing when you actually have to teach someone how to suck water from her camelback, but it's really cool when you see the childlike satisfaction of her learning something that simple. And they will all go back home with more light in their eyes--refreshed, rejuvenated, and recreated. That's worth it for me.
post #30 of 32
You are right on Weems. If you can help someone to "experience the joy and transcendence" of skiing, hiking, the mountains, or whatever, then that is a truly valuable accomplishment. I believe that many of the same interactions and experiences that can occur in an intense program can occur with anyone who open to "seeing."
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