EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Tips for Teaching Beginners to Ski
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Tips for Teaching Beginners to Ski

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
cdnguy's thread has gotten way technical for the original purpose of how to teach beginners to ski. For those of us who are instructors, the season's going to get going in a couple of weeks. Let's face it, most of of our lessons early season are going to be Level 1 lessons.

Let's see some good tips for teaching beginners.

A few base rules
  1. KISS, if people start getting too technical for a Level 1 lesson, I'm going to ask them to start their own thread
  2. NO philosophical arguments - I don't care what teaching organization uses a tip, I care that it works
  3. NO tangents to anything other than Level 1 lessons, if you do, see No. 1 for what I'm going to ask

Thanks.

Let's keep it friendly
post #2 of 22
Level 1 is at the very basic level - just Scooter-Ski and hobbling around with those new longer-than-normal-feet. Are you limiting input to such absolute Beginning steps - or up to actually sliding around and first turns?

.ma
post #3 of 22
this is totally off topic, but how much does ski instuction pay these days? just curious?
post #4 of 22
codyblank,
considering the initial post's request for tangential restraint, please post your question in a new thread or 'search' for existing threads for an answer to your question.

.ma
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
.ma

good point. Let's consider a "perfect world" never-ever lesson, one in which you have the students for 5 hours, not including a lunch break. (That's the norm where I'm teaching this year.)
post #6 of 22
If the class was small enough or ideally in a private I always tried to relate skiing movements to other athletic activities a person had some skill at. It seemed to relax them and also gave them insight into skiing.
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maineac View Post
If the class was small enough or ideally in a private I always tried to relate skiing movements to other athletic activities a person had some skill at. It seemed to relax them and also gave them insight into skiing.
such as?

Can you give us an example of what sports and how you related it to skiing?
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by icanseeformiles(andmiles) View Post
such as?

Can you give us an example of what sports and how you related it to skiing?
Hockey, in-line skates, ice skating.
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by memosteve View Post
Hockey, in-line skates, ice skating.
With tahat in mind I am going to post this here.

Great idea to start another thread...

I have used this approach with both first timers & experienced skiers, who want to get the most out of shaped skis. Basically, it's a railer progression. I certainly don't advocate using this approach exclusively, & it requires an extremley gentle pitch on an uncrowded slope for first timers. I have had remarkable succes with this format & many variations of it depending on individual needs.

My ideal imaginary scenario is a hockey team, but roller blading kids, or anyone athleticly inclined would fit the bill.


110–150 cm skis, w/9–13 meter turning radius, are ideal for this, or shorter for small children.
  • With beginners follow a traditional approach at the beginning, including all balancing and straight running maneuvers.
  • Emphasize high edge angles when sidestepping.
  • Practice falling & getting up. (Emergency stops)
  • Practice gliding wedge, wedge change-ups & breaking wedge.
LEARNING THE ART OF ARC
  • Talk about ski design (sidecut, flex, camber).
  • Standing across falline, roll skis on and off corresponding edges.
  • Emphasize parallel legs (thighs, knees & feet), matching sidecuts (less uphill lead), & level shoulders.
  • Emphasize a descending amount of flex in all joints, starting with the ankles, then knees, waist & spine.
  • With skis pointing slightly downhill, push with poles while rolling edges into the hill till you feel them arc on the sidecut of the skis to a stop.
  • Use a fan progression on a wide flat slope (the wider & flatter the better, remember you are trying to teach offensive movements), giving equal time to either direction. Make sure everyone is coming to a complete stop at the end of each arc, almost pointing uphill.
  • Continue making large parallel arcs to a stop from the falline, or before the falline, until everyone is comfortable (no twisting, pivoting or skidding).
  • Try tightening arcs with forward pressure, more speed & higher edge angles.
  • Once you are comfortable arcing to a stop, try different methods of turn initiations i.e., stepping, hopping, wedge, or ideally finding neutral, and gliding toward the falline.
NOTE: These initial attempts at making the whole turn require a wide-open slope that is not too steep.

LINKING TURNS
  • Using the completed arc to control speed, try linking long radius turns. Big toe, little toe – neutral - little toe, big toe.
  • Without poles, put hands on knees and press & roll knees in turn direction. This will induce flexing of the joints, and enhance matching the inside edge angle. Check amount of inside ski lead.
D.I.R.T. (duration, intensity, rate, timing).
  • The earlier in the turn the edges are engaged, the earlier the arc can begin.
  • On the flattest portion of the hill, try linking shorter incomplete arcs.
  • With higher edge angles, earlier engagement, and good pressure regulation, play with different turn shapes.
FLEXION & EXTENSION
Bend and unbend - high to go, low to slow – up & down – raise hips to the falline, progressive hip angles to cross falline – angulate, deangulate. Put the hammer down! Whatever it takes to feel the G’s, get big angles, and "ARC EM!"

Thanks,
JF
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by codyblank View Post
this is totally off topic, but how much does ski instuction pay these days? just curious?
If you have to ask, you can't afford it.
post #11 of 22

Beginners

First. Codyblank. In Tahoe $12.50 an hour
In Idaho $9.50 an hour (only when teaching)
Tahoe. Tips more than salary
Idaho. Almost no tips.
Idaho. Costs me to work as a ski instructor.


Back to Beginners.

lst Timer, small class.

First Thing. I look them right in the eyes and tell them that we are a team and that I will no let them be hurt or scared. That the biggest fears of lst timers are caused by speed and steepness and that we will not go too fast and will definitely not go too steep. Reiterate that we are a team working together and that I am here to help them. And, they will have a good time and we will have a good fun time together.

Then and only Then the lesson starts........

Yes I know this is rather unusual but as a teacher with many years experience in person's fears, lack of confidence and personal hesitancies I have found this portrayal of empathy is a great way to start a lesson with a lst time skier.

Works very well for me.
post #12 of 22
I've found that I work out what it is I'm trying to build in the student, and then choose movements and thoughts that will facilitate that.
Confidence? Control? Balance? Fun? Each thing gets its time in the lesson. I don't generally teach canned lessons (I teach a lot of level 1) as I get bored. The cues come from the students as to what we'll do and how we'll do it.
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post
lst Timer, small class.

First Thing. I look them right in the eyes and tell them that we are a team and that I will no let them be hurt or scared. That the biggest fears of lst timers are caused by speed and steepness and that we will not go too fast and will definitely not go too steep. Reiterate that we are a team working together and that I am here to help them. And, they will have a good time and we will have a good fun time together.

Then and only Then the lesson starts........

Yes I know this is rather unusual but as a teacher with many years experience in person's fears, lack of confidence and personal hesitancies I have found this portrayal of empathy is a great way to start a lesson with a lst time skier.

Works very well for me.
Very good approach here. Im a salesperson so I pritty much do exactly the same at the beginning of my lessons. I try to get the students confident that they are going to succeed at what they are attempting and that it is going to be safe. Once they know how to stop and are not affraid of crossing the fall line they pritty much need to practise on their own before next lesson.

But lets go back a few steps... first thing I allways do at the beginning of all my lessons no matter what level they are is a basic warm up with our skis on. We usually stand in a half circle at the bottom of the hill and I tell them to raise their hands out to both side like an airoplane and then to drop them back down. The reason I do this is to see how well and quickly they respond and how motivated they are at doing stuff just right out of the blue. We slowly progress to balancing on one ski and walking arround and stuff like that and in no time we have started to enjoy being togeter and I have observed things that will be invaluable when adjusting my initial plan on how to progress and if there might be someone not fitting into the group for whatever reason. Once we get started with children if we are two teachers I never ever split the group in two.
post #14 of 22
To me the most important thing is to start feedback, especially on balance, early. If the students get balanced during all the flat work, such as standing on one ski, and doing figure 8's, then they will have much less trouble staying balanced when they actually ski. PSIA recognizes four skills, balance, edging, rotary and pressure. Balance is job one in a beginner lesson, followed by rotary.

The single most important thing to remember when giving feedback is that new skiers do not know how anything is supposed to feel. If you want them in a particular stance, aks their permission to touch them and guide their msucles and bones into the right stance. If you want them to rotate a leg from the hip socket, again ask for permission to touch them and take their foot off the snow and rotate the leg in the hip socket.
post #15 of 22
Five hours for a beginner lesson????

Here on the ice coast, we get 60-90 minutes to teach them how to spell ski, plug them into their bindings, place them at the top of the run and then prepare the body bag for the trip home.:

Tips:
Make it fun and entertaining
Use positive feedback
Keep the students moving
Keep your lesson content skills focused
Start with a good "canned" lesson, but
Adapt your lesson to the needs of the students
post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post
...Once we get started with children if we are two teachers I never ever split the group in two.
Great tip!

That has been my experience, also. Tag teaming IMHO is much preferrable to a close split (with children).
post #17 of 22
Great topic,

There are any number of Level 1 students (adults, kids, athletic, couch potatoes, etc), but that being said, here's the approach I usually take with a never skied before, reasonably athletic group of adults:

1. Start with stance and balance, relating the athletic skiing stance to whatever sports they might play or have played in the the past (baseball, basketball, volleyball, etc.).

2. Get them comfortable on their skis walking and sliding around on flat terrain both on one and two skis (to reinforce the "outside" ski I have them move in a clockwise direction on the left ski, counterclockwise on the right).

3. Do straight runs and move into gliding wedge, paying particular attention to their ability to stay in equal balance in the gliding wedge (keeping the skis on either side of a painted line or small rope works gwell).

4. Explore turning of the legs and feet with skis off, and then trying to turn the skis from the wedge. At this stage I usually start with from the fall line and work on turning the skis in one direction and then the other.

5. As soon as they can do this, work to link turns in both directions.

The class "progression" can change dramatically depending on the student's goals, aptitude and success as we work together.

Finally, I tend to focus primarily on stance and balance as is usually skills that most beginners (at least the ones I work with) struggle with the most.

Mike
post #18 of 22
One thing I make a part of the early basics in a lesson for beginners is after we have done some one ski scootering on the flats, I set up 2 large hoops about 15' diameter circles and have everybody go around the 2 creating a figure 8 pattern. With just the one ski one set of turns on the figure 8 is pretty easy for them ,the one that is with the ski on the outside of the turn. The other turn when the ski is on the inside of the turn is a bit harder to control. This is the part I really want them to feel because if they can actively work that inside ski around the hoop and balance on it then the offensive move we need to make turns happen, right ski turn right to start a right turn, (left turn left) will start to develop on flat terrain before we have moved to any slope. Then we change direction and make sure we get the feeling on the other inside ski.
post #19 of 22

Just stand on 'em!

Many people who have never been on skis have an exaggerated or inaccurate idea of what they have to do in order to ski. These preconceptions lead to many different kinds of ineffective stance and movement. Balance is adversely affected from the beginning, and great muscular effort is expended to attempt something for which the instructor usually has not asked.

The initial introduction (this is how the binding works, "scootering" on one ski, sidestep, etc.) is generally followed by a short straight glide (3m or less!) down into a relatively unpopulated area which will naturally stop the skier with no braking required. At this point, I often emphasize that it works well to just stand on the ski and enjoy the ride. We aren't trying to lean forward, lean back, slow down or turn. Just stand on 'em, like you would in your shoes, and let the skis and the snow carry you a few meters.

If the guest is too stiff (and in the back seat as a result), I might suggest a little relaxing - allow the knee to drop forward and allow the boot provide some support. I'm not suggesting pressure on the tongue of the boot, but I do want to get them off the back of the cuff. A bit of contact with the tongue doesn't hurt. Mainly, though, just stand there while your skis move and watch the doofus (me). No fair looking down at your ski tips. The skis will carry you, gently, and I'll step aside as you glide to a stop.

Using the "just stand on 'em" idea, we can start to add a low-effort, flat ski gliding wedge. If they're nicely centered already, this doesn't require anywhere near as much muscle as they think it will.
post #20 of 22

Kids ski school

Quote:
Originally Posted by icanseeformiles(andmiles) View Post
Great tip!

That has been my experience, also. Tag teaming IMHO is much preferrable to a close split (with children).
Glad you picked up on it because the weaker ones get motivated and learn quicker by looking at the better ones. I have been a kid once myselfe and I have kids now and I know how important it is to belong to a group and get treated eaqual.

Another important tip relating to the one abowe is to get out of the parrents sight. Not only is it a pain in the butt to have them look at you all the time but the kids behaviour changes radically to the better once mom and dad are beyond sight and reach. It may sometimes take a few tears but its highly reccomended. Here the group is really comes in handy.
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowbowler View Post
One thing I make a part of the early basics in a lesson for beginners is after we have done some one ski scootering on the flats, I set up 2 large hoops about 15' diameter circles and have everybody go around the 2 creating a figure 8 pattern. With just the one ski one set of turns on the figure 8 is pretty easy for them ,the one that is with the ski on the outside of the turn. The other turn when the ski is on the inside of the turn is a bit harder to control. This is the part I really want them to feel because if they can actively work that inside ski around the hoop and balance on it then the offensive move we need to make turns happen, right ski turn right to start a right turn, (left turn left) will start to develop on flat terrain before we have moved to any slope. Then we change direction and make sure we get the feeling on the other inside ski.
Great tip here also. I will deffinetly try this one out this winter.
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post
First Thing. I look them right in the eyes and tell them that we are a team and that I will no let them be hurt or scared. That the biggest fears of lst timers are caused by speed and steepness and that we will not go too fast and will definitely not go too steep. Reiterate that we are a team working together and that I am here to help them. And, they will have a good time and we will have a good fun time together.

Then and only Then the lesson starts........

Yes I know this is rather unusual but as a teacher with many years experience in person's fears, lack of confidence and personal hesitancies I have found this portrayal of empathy is a great way to start a lesson with a lst time skier.

Works very well for me.

EXCELLENT!

I was a 37 year old grown man taking a ski lesson for the first time. When I pulled into the parking lot, I remember feeling very scared. Scared of looking stupid, making a fool of myself.

It felt like the first day of 7th grade all over again, actually.

That was 5 years ago and now I’m skiing black diamonds and loving skiing. But I remember how intimidating it all was in the beginning.

I was intimidated by the ski lift. I didn’t want to look stupid there either. Having a kind instructor is the best.

So keep doing what you’re doing with beginners! Always remember too that no matter how big or old the person is, inside they’re a scared little kid. They’re looking to you for assurance.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Tips for Teaching Beginners to Ski