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beginner skier

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I have a friend that wants to start skiing and I want to be able to teach her how to, it's been a loooong time since I first learned how to ski so I'm not up to date on the various methods of instruction. I have been reading the CSIA ski instructors manual but it doesn't really tell me a lot for how to teach an adult, mostly focuses on children. Any help would be great.

Oh and yes I am a good skier, and I'm going to be taking the level 1 CSIA course one of these days...
post #2 of 13
It really doesent matter if you are a good skier or not. A good instructor doesent have to be a good skier in order to teach well. What is needed is great teaching and coaching skills. Teaching a friend or family member is difficult. Instructors themselves dont usually teach friends or family, they let other instructors do that.

My advise is to let her take some private lessosns by a good instructor and you pick up from there. Coach her inbetween lessons. Get her some nice and comfortable boots and clothing to keep her warm out on the mountain.
post #3 of 13

Friends don't teach friends how to ski


The best method for teaching beginners how to ski is called Direct to Parallel. Instead of teaching first timers to first get their skis into a wedge for speed control and turning, they are taught to make parallel turns. Short (110-130cm) skis are required to for this approach to work. If you're going to teach one of these lessons, at a minimum you will need to know what all the prerequisites are (vs reverting to teaching a wedge based lesson), you need to have some psychology knowledge, movement analysis skills, a large "bag of tricks" (exercises) to draw from and an idea of what order to do them in and why to choose one over another, safety awareness for beginners and be on short skis yourself.

There's a reason why new instructors go through 50-100 hours of training before they ever teach their first lesson. It takes a lot more than what can be posted in an internet thread to lead to a good chance at a successful experience.

We could spend a lot of time trying to do brain dumps or trying to cram 50 pounds of info into a 5 pound sack. But the bottom line is that there is no shortcut that will do your friend justice. It's possible that you could get lucky and be successful. But the odds are against you. Why take the risk of ruining a good friendship? Wait until you're properly trained before you attempt to teach first timers.
post #4 of 13
Listen to therusty. You will learn everything you can about the DTP system, be sure you have it nailed, start teaching her and find out that things aren't working exactly like they should. Without the experience doing it answers that seem obvious later will be baffling on the slope.

I have no doubt that if you spent lots and lots of time, energy, and money she will eventually get it figured out. However, she will get it figured out significantly cheaper and quicker if you get her an experienced instructor and ask to attend the last 10-15 minutes of the lesson so you can learn what she was working on and help her in between lessons.

You can still be a great part of the experience but it will work better if you act as an assistant and supporter rather than the sole source of instruction. At least that's my two cents on the deal from being in the same position and taking the same path last season. I'd recommend picking up a pair of short skis that therusty mentioned on the cheap.
post #5 of 13
As a recent beginner, I heartily endorse the "send her for lessons" approach. I found it very helpful to have a dedicated professional with an established routine walk me through the basics like "this is how you put on your skis", and "this is how you get on and off the lift."

If a student is with a dedicated instructor, she is free to learn; she won't be worrying about holding you back or wasting your time. The dynamic between beginner and friend is much more complicated than the dynamic between beginner and instructor, and it's best to keep it as simple and uncluttered as possible until she's comfortable on skis.

On a side note, I don't know that "direct to parallel" programs are readily available. I may be wrong here, but I suspect that the CSIA program will employ the more traditional approach of snowplow, wedge, etc. If your friend is determined to become a capable skier, and plans to devote the necessary time to learning the skills, you may be able to find a DTP program, but I wouldn't do so unless she is willing to do a lot of work up front.
post #6 of 13
It really doesent matter what kind of ski school you take your friend to as long as they have a good reputation and you get a good instructor. I have no experiance with the DTP system but they seem to do a good job over there in the US. Regular ski-schools are easier to find and 1000 of people learn every year all over the world now and in the future.

I have mostly been teaching private lessons full and part time for over 10y now and usually an adult woman has the wedging part nailed in just one lesson and can ski arround by her selfe on easy european green and blue pists after just a few lessons. Like onyxjl said, ask if you can stick arround for the last part of the lesson and get some pointers on what to practise on and what dangers to look out for.
post #7 of 13
Originally Posted by Colossus178
On a side note, I don't know that "direct to parallel" programs are readily available. I may be wrong here, but I suspect that the CSIA program will employ the more traditional approach of snowplow, wedge, etc. If your friend is determined to become a capable skier, and plans to devote the necessary time to learning the skills, you may be able to find a DTP program, but I wouldn't do so unless she is willing to do a lot of work up front.
Nice to hear a students opinion on beginner lessons. It really doesent matter in the end if you choose the DTP or traditional. Both will take you there, out on the mountain and having fun. I just read a book on direct to parallell and it all made sence except for the fact that they didnt call the wedge the wedge. And they talked about it much later in the book. IMHO learn the wedge as your first way of controlling your speed and successfull turning (safety first) and then after you progress into parallell turns you can instantly resort to it if nesessary. Therusty can probably point you to a good DTP ski-school if you PM him or just post your Q here.
post #8 of 13
DTP is a great option, but not always the best choice. What method to use is a judgment call based on the student’s ability, terrain and conditions.

If the student is not particularly athletic and the terrain somewhat steep and crowded, I would teach a micro wedge and have the student focus on turning their leg from the hip socket.

Tdk6 made a good point of checking in with the instructor at the end of a lesson. I usually discuss with parents what terrain to ski and some ideas on what to do when you are skiing together.

After the first lesson I operate on “don’t ask, don’t tell.” I don’t look at or comment on a friend or fellow instructor's skiing unless they ask me to.

Good luck
post #9 of 13
DTP is not an approach that is used widely in Canadan for a couple of reasons, the first being obvious:
a) The CSIA doesn't give the tools to its members to apply it (namely, they don't even mention it).
b) I have yet to see shops that widely carry these 110-130 carving skis for adults that seem to be a prerequisite for DTP. People here buy a traditional beginner ski and dump it after a few years.

I've taught the old fashion way for many years and it works. But back to the question at hand: teaching family members or friends almost never works. Take into consideration here that I was a "seasoned veteran" with seasons where I taught 8 lessons a day, all never-evers... so I had a few tricks up my sleeve.
post #10 of 13
The guys and gals seem to have covered just about everything; all very good advice. All I'll add is this: If you have any sort of romantic inclinations towards this friend, teaching her to ski will shatter any chance you've got. My girlfriend looked at me like I was from Mars when I told her I would not under any circumstances teach her to ski, but after her first few lessons she understood why!

There's nothing wrong with coaching in-between, but for the sake of all involved, leave the gruntwork up to an indifferent party!
post #11 of 13
I'll back the romantic notions part... my instructors and I take bets on how soon she removes the skis & takes off when we see men teaching their girlfriends to ski......

Sometimes we manage to get there while it is still just tears & yelling & suggest lessons.... other times we just have to shrug as we go up the lift knowing they will not still be together when we get back down to them...
post #12 of 13


It is not enough to take the level one course. You must teach to really learn how to teach. Don't teach her. Get her a teacher.

In fact, get her a series of lessons with the same teacher and switch teachers if she does not like the instructor.

Whether or not she is taught DTP, Fast track to parallel or whatever, it really doesn't matter one bit.

What matters is that she is happy when the lesson is over, and continues to practice her stuff. NOT YOUR STUFF!
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Okay okay thanks for all the advice! I guess I won't teach her after all!
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