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The bottom end of how good do you have to be..

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
On the opposite end of Helluva's "how good do you have to be to pass your level 3 exam", I'm wondering what it takes to get level 1. What level of skiing as well as what other skill sets.

There were weekend instructor clinics at Crystal a month or so ago. I was tempted to take them and was wondering if I could have skied and taught well enough to get a little part-time work, just for fun.
post #2 of 18
As a propsective instructor at Crystal last year (Cascade concession ski school, not Crystal's school), it might be fun, and you might make enough to buy lunch. I don't think you'll make enough to pay for gas.

I was accepted by Cascade but not hired due to the poor snow. Good folks at Cascade, but I didn't care for the way they wanted us to teach skiers. I don't ski that way, and don't want to teach it.


Ken
post #3 of 18
L I is not difficult for a skier who can do the drills. For example, if you can carve a clean uphill arc and sideslip within a corridor, you'll likely have no trouble passing the skiing portion. You'll need to pay attention for the teaching portion, but your experience here is likely to help a lot (it did me).
post #4 of 18
Instructor Training Clinics (ITC's) are given in those weeks where the snow may or may not be a happening thing and the customer base is slim. Some hill charge $150 to $200 to take the two weekend clinic.

The object of the clinic is not to prepare you for Level I, PSIA. The object of the clinic is to put you in front of a bunch of newbees and not embarass yourself or the mountain too badly. At busy hills with a large number of never-evers, even a solid wedge turner with reasonable "matching" (I'll get beat up for this I know!), has a good shot at getting hired.

You do not have to be a "Winged God of The Snows" to teach at this level, in the wisened words of one of our clinicians ..... "When the busses roll in, just the fact that you are standing on skis puts you in the "God" category. don't worry, at this stage, they are dumber than sand."

In theory, the idea is to get you teaching the first two levels (of ten) and a bit of three or perhaps four. Most "line" work will be first timers.

There is a good chance that the curriculum for the lessons varies from the PSIA textbook, and frankly, it has to. You simply can't put ten never evers in a one and a half hour class and expect it to end on time and hit all of the PSIA required items. Here is are some examples:

The "boot drill" .... the first thing I cut out. Watch them walk up carrying their skis and you'll have a clue on their coordination. During this drill you have them hop on the right and then left foot etc.

Circle ski .... first the right ski and everybody kum-ba-ya's round and round counterclokwise to get used to sliding. Then the left ski and go clockwise this time. One of these will have to go. IMHO .... ditch both.

You area will have it's own shortcuts, but the problem here is that you have to know every task from level one to level four to pass ..... Translation, you must adjust what and how you are teaching and if you get lucky, (I did) they had a old hand go out and clinic us to death for a month.

A section is graded regarding your personal ability (round matched short and medium radius at slower speeds), slips and skids and a bit of backward stuff too. But that is not the prime component. When he/she points the finger and tells you to demo "X" phase of an __ lesson. Ya' gotta' have that part on autopilot.

Pay range is from $5.25 to $7.50 (paid for only "teaching on snow" hours. Be prepared to buy or rent your uniform jacket and (usually), black pants. As a part timer, you may be asked to committ to a schedule of about twenty days for the season.
post #5 of 18
Most hiring clinics are quite different from a LI exam.

At hiring clinics, the ski school is looking for folks who demonstrate patience, a desire to be helpful, maturity and an ability to ski slowly. They expect to train you for what they want you to do.

A PSIA L1 exam is just that, an exam. They expect you to have some prior exposure to the material being covered because you've supposedly either already worked some for a ski school or at least had some training by one. The process generally is that you spend day one covering what the examiner expects you do on day two. You should be able to ski reliably in an open stance parallel on an average blue run. You might be asked to ski steeper terrain, but how well you do there should not determine the outcome of your exam.
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson
You should be able to ski reliably in an open stance parallel on an average blue run.
I am from eastern, but my understanding of the skiing standard is what Kneale explained above. I would also brush up on your wedge and wedge christy demos.

Also, be prepared to teach a short segment that will demonstrate your understanding of ATS. Review your beginner progression and some lesson ideas for levels 2-3. Let us know if you have other questions.
post #7 of 18
L1 is mostly about the teaching aspect. The skiing part is cake. Hell its all cake !!! Right up to level 3If your a decent skier with good technique it is cake !!! You just have to put in the time. PSIA is a bunch of crap if you ask me
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by huckingfellers
L1 is mostly about the teaching aspect. The skiing part is cake. Hell its all cake !!! Right up to level 3If your a decent skier with good technique it is cake !!! You just have to put in the time. PSIA is a bunch of crap if you ask me
Whether it is crap or not is immaterial! For those of us who teach full time at large resorts, PSIA certification is extremely important, if not downright mandatory.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by huckingfellers
L1 is mostly about the teaching aspect. The skiing part is cake. Hell its all cake !!! Right up to level 3If your a decent skier with good technique it is cake !!! You just have to put in the time. PSIA is a bunch of crap if you ask me

That is true about a lot of certifications in most industries, but it gives the respective industry a standard of performace to judge by.
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by lennyblake
Whether it is crap or not is immaterial! For those of us who teach full time at large resorts, PSIA certification is extremely important, if not downright mandatory.

ONLY if you are american of course.... many people teach full time at large resorts without PSIA certification....

Vail also employs many instructors with no cert I believe - certainly not full cert.... they get the high level lessons that full certs do not want - as in they are already booked... (someone want to confirm this... it is what I have been told happens) handing your lesson off to a non-full-cert gives you more chance of regaining the client
post #11 of 18
I completely understand that many resorts require you to get registered and certified etc. etc. But that still don't mean that PSIA is Rediculous the way they do shit. And I won't even go into the BS examiners I have come across. PSIA is a sore subject in my book.
If I go any further I will have to go open the bomb shelter to crawl down into till the fall out subsides .
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by huckingfellers
I completely understand that many resorts require you to get registered and certified etc. etc. But that still don't mean that PSIA is Rediculous the way they do shit. And I won't even go into the BS examiners I have come across. PSIA is a sore subject in my book.
If I go any further I will have to go open the bomb shelter to crawl down into till the fall out subsides .
PSIA is a joke- just an organization that keeps trying to come up with a teaching philosophy to justify its existance. Vail has many Level 3 instructors who in most cases are good teachers are generally lousy skiers. Vail makes little effort to be on the forefront of teaching its instrcutors current WC ski tecnique or even to follow the Austrian system which has clearly shown to be the most effective.

Being a level 3 is no guarantee a student will get an accomplished and current all mountain instructor. I know of many Vail part time instructors who gave up or never wasted the time to get full cert and will out ski ANY Vail level 3 or examiner. At least Vail recognizes this and keeps these guys and girls on for privates with higher end clientle who demand skiing competance.

That being said- Most all of the Vail instructors are very well trained and excellent teachers. Just do not hold that being level 3 certified is the ultimate indicator of skiing or teaching competence.
post #13 of 18
If you would like to complain about PSIA, I suggest you start another thread. Chris, I hope that this discussion does not deter you. Like all organizations and industries ours has problems, but it is still a worthwille endeavour.

If you are comfortable on blue/black terrain, you will likely meet the standard to become an instructor. Think of it this way, if we can't make you better how can we teach anyone.

Level I is very attainable in your first season. I found this email from someone who shadowed the exam, they are looking for:

Personal Skiing:
Good balanced stance.
Good open parallel turns.
Tipping and steering the both skis at the same time.

Skills and movements
Vertical Sideslip in a corridor.
Skating downhill.
(There may be other tasks they ask for)

Demos:
The group was evaluated on wedge and wedge christie demos. There was a lot of coaching from the examiner.

Teaching:
Each candidate had to get out in front of the group and do a small teaching segment.
post #14 of 18
No, do let it deter you. It is a complete waste of money for you. Way overpriced for registration, not mention the way overpriced certification. Don;t forget the dues you need to pay every year either or pay full price to get recertified.

PSIA should be dismantled, more than half of their skiers suck bad and think they know it all. Especially the old men who can barely ski but still think they know everything thier is to know about skiing technique; WHAT A JOKE!!!!!!
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisInSeattle
On the opposite end of Helluva's "how good do you have to be to pass your level 3 exam", I'm wondering what it takes to get level 1. What level of skiing as well as what other skill sets.

There were weekend instructor clinics at Crystal a month or so ago. I was tempted to take them and was wondering if I could have skied and taught well enough to get a little part-time work, just for fun.
Hmmm - someone seems to have the lost the orginal focus here. Helping fellow skiers have more fun on the slopes is a tough job, but it can be a lot of fun and highly rewarding. Taking an ITC is a cheap way to get a taste for what teaching might be like. Mind you that they won't tell you about all the whiny kids, rude parents, silly rules, obnoxious bosses and how much money your part time job will actually COST you. There is a high "burn out" rate for new instructors. But an ITC will also not begin to cover the sense of pride and satisfaction you will get when one of your students smiles from ear to ear and starts to "get it".

There are many resorts that will hire intermediate level skiers who can demonstrate some moderate people and teaching skills. Teaching skills covers a wide range of activities/knowledge/skill sets from class management, to psychology to speaking and listening skills, time management, safety/risk management, bio mechanics, technical and industry knowledge, movement analysis and much more. One benefit of ski teaching that many people overlook is that the skills you learn on snow can often help you do your "day job" better.

Most resorts do not require certification. PSIA membership/certification is available for people looking for an extra resource beyond the staff training available at the resort. If you care about becoming the best teacher you can be, PSIA can help you. If you expect PSIA to be a magic wand to cure all problems, you will be disappointed. It does not take much effort to achieve level 1 certification. The 2 main points about level 1 certification are:
1) You can teach a quality lesson to beginners
2) You have started on the path to high performance TEACHING

Chris,
If you've thought enough to ask the question, you really ought to try it out. We'd love to have you join the "family". We're always looking to add more folks who love to ski and have a positive attitude. Even if you don't join the team, there are a lot of insights to be gained from an ITC.
post #16 of 18
Chris: By all means give it a try. I am one of the ones who has stopped teaching but that is mostly due to problems in the southeastern region; mostly management issues and those seem to be unique to the Philly/NY corridor.

I do miss the "family" and learned bunches from my involvement. Sign up for all of those free clinics, your skiing skills will improve.

My gripe with PSIA is that they do not advocate for the "rank and file" .... yet the "rank and file" pay the dues to support the organization.

Despite it all I am never sorry that I did what I did, it was good despite the "management".

In Washington you will probably find a far better crowd. I've recieved calls to teach at other hills outside of the "NY Metro", from SSD's and instructors who have "gone north" and they were much happier. If and when I retire I can't wait to go back to putting on the jacket.
post #17 of 18
Chris,

Another thing the PSIA whores aren't telling you is if you don't instruct at a big mountain with alot of boots coming through the door you won't get many lessons at all. You definately won't make any money. You will definately be in the whole on cash after gas, registration, certification, Jacket, Name tags, etc. etc..
The school drector will most definately give the good lessons to seniority instructors even if thier technique is worse than your. If you are ata little rinky dink place you can forget about any sort of tips. Here and there but not like a big place.
Definately see if you like teaching by all means. I am not saying don't teach at all ever. What I am saying is stay away from PSIA, atleast at first to see if it is going to work out for you. Also if you are doing this as a way to ski bum for a winter you better forget that idea rather quickly indeed!! (waiter, best job a ski bum can have) How old are you
post #18 of 18
[quote=ChrisInSeattle]I'm wondering what it takes to get level 1. What level of skiing as well as what other skill sets.
[quote]
Chris,

As far as I remember PSIA-NW L1 exam has only one "on the snow" module and written portion. You must have 10 hours teaching experience prior to taking this exam. More details could be found at http://www.psia-nw.org/certification...pine/index.htm
I think skiing tasks are extrimely easy there, teaching tasks are not formally evaluated so in my mind it takes almost nothing to pass L1. If you want to teach and at least upper intermediate skier you can train to those tasks.

I think teaching part time is great thing - it does not may much at all but it will make you a better skier yourself if you want to learn.
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