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Instructors for Adult Learners

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
Hey Gang! My editor wants me to put a section in my ski-fitness book that suggests instructors who enjoy teaching adult beginners. We are especially interested in instructors who have had success teaching students who learned in their 30s, 40s or 50s.

Again, I am not looking for someone who "does not mind" teaching an adult beginner, I need people who enjoy it and are great at it.

Also, since it's a book and not a website, I need people who are pretty sure they will stay at the same ski area for the next few years. If this describes you or if you know someone, reply here. Thanks!
post #2 of 36
Stephen Brooks - especially good at picking up body language so great for nervous types...

Roger Systad - grew up at Whistler, loves to teach those who want to learn... very subtle at teaching you stuff when you have no idea you are learning it so good for not quite so techo types...

Deer Valley - brett plumridge aka "rover" - aussie examiner... great with nervous women

Hugo Haring (also austria some place but I don't know location).... Joy to have lessons with...
Also Roger Systad...
Pete Clarke would be a good bet - super fun and loves teaching ANYONE...
Graeme Morris is cool....

Falls Creek
Brett Plumridge
Kemp Dowdy
Ivo ???? (czech republic)

Kemp Dowdy

Christiano (young guy only teaches 3 days a week as at uni the rest)... loves teaching and great biomechanical knowledge from other degree
post #3 of 36

What do you want these instructors for?

I prefer teaching adults over rugrats. I generally don't ask for ages when I teach, but out of the 100+ first timers I teach every year, it's a fair guess that I average at least a dozen are over 30. I once taught a beginner lesson to a 68 year old (he had skied twice before > 10 years prior). That was a story.
post #4 of 36
Thread Starter 
The book is a ski fitness group with a special emphasis on people learning the sport as an adult. It is part of the publisher's series about the psychological, physical and spiritual benefits of developing a new hobby as an adult.

My book focuses on the adult beginning skier who falls in love with the sport but does not have the funds to suport 50 plus days on the slopes. The fitness routines support the sport itself, but there is also some info about avoiding situations that will make you hate skiing, such as what happened to me at my first ski lesson at Killington.

Anyone can look at Ski Mag's Top 100 Instructor List, but how many of those instructors are really, truly happy to teach adult learners?
post #5 of 36

All of the top 100 folks I've met enjoy teaching adults. It is true that some have specialized in teaching children, but I would think a reference to that list would work well for your target audience.

Are you simply trying to publish a "sample" list of pros who your readers can go to?

BTW - most of the first timers I've met in this category are more limited by time than by money. But I teach close to the DC area. Around here, at 50 days/year a season pass costs less than 25% of the cost of driving back and forth for the majority of our guests.
post #6 of 36
I'd like to volunteer if you'd like to list someone in the midwest. Boyne Highlands at Harbor Springs, MI (norther lower peninsula) is where I'm on staff weekends. Lessons at Boyne Mountain (20 miles south and the same management) could easily be arranged, as well as week day evenings near Kalamazoo, MI (southwest lower peninsula).

Not only do I enjoy teaching adults, I try to avoid kids if at all possable. I learned to ski at 35 so I have faith that adults can learn and enjoy our sport. I passed my level III exam at 50, five years ago, so I have faith that with enough time and practice fairly high skills are attainable.

I especially enjoy putting back together the wrecks created when significant others tried to teach the student first. I'm one of those that doesn't teach so much for the money but for the big grins people get when they realize they can ski in control and have fun doing it.
Send a pm if you want more info.
post #7 of 36
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I'll be listing people from all over North America. BTW, while certification and training are certainly important, empathy is even more crucial. If you yourself started skiing as an adult, that's even better!
post #8 of 36
I'll bet at least half the 265 hours I taught last season were adult beginner lessons, LM. I work for the same ski school as Kazooski except I'm at Boyne Mtn. day in and day out, week in and week out.

While I've been skiing since childhood, I'm sensitive to the struggles of beginners because I'm very much not an athlete and have developed whatever skills I have through considerable practice. I've been LIII since the early 1970s, but have kept abreast of modern equipment and techniques. I've had a good many experiences over the years with folks who ended up saying something like, "hey, this really could be fun".
post #9 of 36
Thread Starter 
Kneale, I was already going to include you!
post #10 of 36
Originally Posted by Lisamarie
...while certification and training are certainly important, empathy is even more crucial
Lisa I think you've hit the nail on the head with this comment. Personally, I did not learn as an adult, but I was the big kid no one thought could ski who later out skied all my instructors (with the exception of a few trainers who I am still friends with). My background lead me to teach completely different (when I learned I focused on what worked and why and how do I twist it for different body types and physicaly abilities).

Having taught primarily adults this year (about 90+% of my lessons this year were adults), I saw somethings from other instructors that scared me, pushing students too hard, putting them in harms way at times even. What surprised me the most this year though, was how many adults had very little to no athletic background and an unbelievable amount of fear issues (even crippling at times), so I think a book like this could be invaluable to adult learners. It's surprising how many adults do not think skiing is not that physically taxing (which they soon find out otherwise), and they don't realize how simple things can done before going skiing can help their learning tremendously.
post #11 of 36

My 2 cents


For what it is worth........you might also want to consider listing places and times of year that are suitable for beginners. Those who have been around the block a few times would no doubt agree that some resorts are great for beginers with lots of wide gentle terrain, good grooming, and not too busy (Sun Peaks in February).....while other places have limited terrain and are very crowded (Whistler at Christmas).

From my experience, if you have good terrain that is not too crowded....you are halfway there.
post #12 of 36
I do the instructor trainning at my area for first time beginners and having taught for 28 years have taught thousands in the age group you are describing. The beginner progression I have developed and implemented in our ski school is very different from anything I have ever seen and is very effective. I outlined the progression in a thread last fall. I am located in the Catskill Mountain Region of New York State. If there is anything I can help you with, let me know. My history is in the "your Qualifications in the MA Threads, post 14.

post #13 of 36
Thread Starter 
Excellent! Please keep these coming because I have an August 1st deadline to submit the manuscript. I am actually thrilled, because so far everyone who has replied is someone I would have chosen anyway!
post #14 of 36
Bill Stanley at Crystal Mt., MI. He's excellent with adults and was a Ski Mag Top 100 in 04, I think.
post #15 of 36
Lisa, I know a few people, including a former examiner who I would recomend, however, without their permission I would not feel comfortable posting their names here, however, if you wanted their info (and they are east coast instructors) I can see if its ok with them and then PM them to you.
post #16 of 36


Hello Lisamarie,
Had lessons with skiswift (Keith R) at Stowe, based on recommendations here, and also from Jeb Boyd, who I met while skiing at Killington...he was there for a PSIA event.
Skiswift evidently only started skiing at age 40, is a certified off-piste guide in Europe, and passed his Level 3 here in the States at 60!

I'm going to post some thoughts about his lessons in another thread...they were so totally different from the countless lessons I've taken before.
Unreservedly recommended!!
post #17 of 36
Thread Starter 
I actually took one of my my first lessons with him! Do you remember his last name?
post #18 of 36


Sorry, I do not recall skiswift's last name, I left his card at my place in Stowe.
I know he does post on here, I looked up his info. and it looks like he hasn't visited here for a couple of months. Maybe, someone else knows.
post #19 of 36
Originally Posted by Lisamarie
My editor wants me to put a section in my ski-fitness book that suggests instructors who enjoy teaching adult beginners. We are especially interested in instructors who have had success teaching students who learned in their 30s, 40s or 50s.
Harald Harb and Diana Rogers run camps and provide private instruction. The beginner camp is so popular it fills up quickly.

Jay Peterson (skies in the PNW) is another PMTS instructor that is great with adults.
post #20 of 36
Just caught Roger as he has just arrived in Australia for the winter there...

He would love to be in your book... Loves teaching beginners... (actually as i said before he loves teaching ANYONE)....
Heaps of seasons skiing under his belt and a heap more instructing(getting 2seasons per year kind of ups the season count fast)

let me know if you want email details...

I probably prefer the Italian at this point in my skiing - but I think maybe a WC racer is not a beginners best choice...

Roger rules... patient, listens to client, knows his stuff and can SKI!
When i get nervous THIS is the quiet voice I hear in my head. THIS is the voice that tells me how to handle the ice/crud/deep soft stuff... This is the person I "see" when I want to imagine skiing with "finesse"...

Others may explain the technical stuff better... but Roger is the master at getting you to SKI... gentle, subtle, never rude like some arrogant instructor types that THINK they are god's gift to skiing and ski instruction - Roger is ALWAYS a gentleman and a GENTLE man. Probably the instructor I trust the most - although one other is better at getting me to do things due to his ability to read people.
post #21 of 36
Thread Starter 
Hey Gang,

I don't mean to be a pest, but the book is close to completion. If you have sent me a PM, keep in mind that I need your real name and where you teach. Thanks!
post #22 of 36
I am not a ski instructor, I am an adult learner. It's great that you are doing this book. I started skiing three years ago at age 53, and it's lonely out there. I can't convince any of my friends to join me, because they are fearful and think they are too old to start. I am a very motivated, assertive learner and have progressed to doing double blacks in New England without fear, but it sure didn't happen because of ski instructors. I was disappointed every time I took a lesson. Books have been my best helpers, and now Barking Bear Forums is a great find. Plus, I joined a ski club full of seasoned skiers who I could follow down the hill. That works well, too. I'll look for your book. When is is due to hit the stores, and what's the title?
post #23 of 36
Thread Starter 
Hi Liquidfeet! The book will be out in January be out in January of 2007. The title is still being discussed and "negotiated." It is part of series of books that highlight the psychological, social, physical and spiritual benefits of developing a new hobby as an adult.

However, rather than waxing poetic like a New Age psycho-babbler, it contains hard-core, practical information about what you need to do in order to re-develop the balance skills that are needed for snow-sport participation. As such, I am trying to negotiate a title that won't make the book sound too "spacey."

Okay, enough self promotion! The other aspect of the book is to serve as an information source for people who are looking for an instructor who has empathy with adult learners. More than that, as I mentioned earlier, the instructor really needs to take joy in teaching newer skiers. Without being judgemental, I find it interesting that not many people have responded to this. Not that I don't understand it. Given the low pay and the limited time for their own free-skiing, I can understand why an instructor would prefer to work with students who they can bring to terrain that they enjoy skiing. It's a rare person who really delights in seeing someone go from cautious wedge turns to skiing parallel on blue terrain.

Please keep in mind that even if I know how good a teacher you are, I will not list you unless you ask to be listed...And not to be a pest, my deadline approaches!
post #24 of 36

Teaching Adults

Lisamarie, Sorry I hope I,m not too late. I am a L I instructor at Silver Mt. Idaho. I instuct adults 90percent of the time, my choice. Adult never evers, beginners and low intermediates always bring some level of fear with them. Fear of injury, fear or speed, steep, snow, moguls, trees, others, snowboarders from behind, failure etc. etc. I believe in is necessary from an instructor to be able to read body language to correctly gauage the fear level of his pupils. Yes mechanics, drills etc. are important however if you don't get past the fear stage none of the drills etc. will be sucessful.

As background I was a hostage/crisis negotiator and ran the crisis unit of a large police dept. for over 20 years. EMPATHY is very important when dealing with bad guys, mentals, druggies, Emotionally Disturbed People, etc. It is necessary to differential between sympathy and empathy (sincere understanding). To be sucessful in teaching adults it is crucial to empathize with their fears, aspirations, hesitancies etc.

Without writing a book: Usually I do the following: l) before leaving the lodge or ski school area we have a talk and stress "we are a team, we need to interract, share do's and don'ts etc. (the main thing here is to look them right in the eyes up close and say:"We are a team, we will work together,l will take care of you, I will not take you anywhere beyo nd your ability, we are going to have a good time etc." 2nd) I maintain close contact with my students often times verbally reassuring them and maintaining close contact with them.

A good example of this can maybe best be illustrated as follows:

In a clinic one day. paired instructors. One blindfolded had to ski down the hill, the other instructor had to tell him how to do it, where to go etc. When performing this task as the instuctor I kept very close verbal contact with my blindfolded student and she skied right down with no problems. Other pairs had a lot of problems. Why? Trust, some instructors did not keep CL0SE contact with their blindfolded student andd the student didn't know what/who was in front of them etc. Later whenI was the blindfolded student, my teacher sounded as if he as 100 yards away. I lost close contact and constant personal feedback and lost trust in my instructor on his keeping me safe. This example really illustrated to me what sometimes a beginning student feels.

I believe in EMPATHY, TRUST, RAPPORT, KISS AND DOING IT. Adult students obviously come with different skill levels and personalities. I use the above in differing degrees AND relate them to having fun.

LisaMarie, some of the other benefits of this approach to teaching adults is that the above methodology fosters repeat busines and especially the start of a lover affair with the sport of skiing. The realization, "hey this is fun".
Sorry if I misread your intentions on this post. For what its worth the above description just scratches the surface of good people techniques involved.
post #25 of 36

Where was this when I needed it?

Originally Posted by Lisamarie
The book is a ski fitness group with a special emphasis on people learning the sport as an adult.
Don't forget to let us know where to find it...
post #26 of 36
Thread Starter 
The book will be in the stores in January of 2007. However, in the event that we are able to get the publishing process done sooner, you can order it at
Ask about the Winter Fitness Book.

Back on topic, if anyone is still interested, I need this by July 31st at the ABSOLUTE latest! The manuscript is going to be submitted on August 1st. Some of you have not listed your last names, which I really need. My PM box is getting full, so use the email on one the websites in my signature.

Once again, I am less concerned about certification level than I am about the empathy required for teaching adult beginners. Also, no matter how good I think you are, I am only listing instructors who REQUEST being listed.

post #27 of 36
keep me off the list. i'm going back to my roots and requesting a strict regime of 4-5 year olds.
post #28 of 36
Originally Posted by Max_501
Harald Harb and Diana Rogers run camps and provide private instruction. The beginner camp is so popular it fills up quickly.

Jay Peterson (skies in the PNW) is another PMTS instructor that is great with adults.
and where........ pray tell would harald or diana provide private instruction?
post #29 of 36
the silence is killing me
post #30 of 36
. . .

Originally Posted by Rusty Guy
the silence is killing me
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