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Why take a beginner to the top? - Page 2

post #31 of 33
I've been taken up to the top of the mountain as a beginner. After spending two days in Taos's Yellowbird program as a never-ever, I was looking forward to spending some time skiing with my friends. After doing a run down Whitefeather from mid-mountain, we went to the top of the resort and took other greens (Honeysuckle to Rubezahl, basically) all the way down. I did have a few moments of trouble, and by the end of the day my legs were killing me. But I'm glad I did it. I got to see what skiing was really like, realized that the Strawberry Hill lift of a couple hundred feet is quite small, and that the view from the top is absolutely beautiful and should be experienced as much as possible.

So, in my opinion, if you're skiing with a beginner and there's a green trail that can be taken from the top, by all means, they should be taken there.
post #32 of 33
This is a matter of instruction philosophy. Some believe in the theory of throw them in and they will swim. That philosophy has ruined some potential skiers by scaring them beyond their limits.

I hold to the philosophy of teaching in tiny, tiny increments. While challenges are presented, they are just a tad greater than the last one. In the field of psychology (my college major and Dr. Bigfoot's profession - she's my wifey), there's a unit of measurement called the jnd - just noticieable difference. I have noticed, both in ski instruction and in life, that moving forward in steps, each of which is LESS than one jnd, works wonders. The guest/student progresses with less fear and, hence, less defensive skiing. They also learn to trust the instructor and come back for more, and they are able to maintain their self esteem and confidence.

For those souls who can progress faster - they do. One guest I can recall was a soccer goalie from Scotland. After a morning session with me, he first practised on the bunny hill - I saw him. He got better and better, and eventually took it upon himself to try the easiest chairlift. He was a skier in no time.

On the other hand, one lady was loath to leave the comfort of anything she couldn't access without a chairlift. Although I encouraged her, she was very grateful that I didn't MAKE her take the chair.

Some people just don't have the skill, strength, or whatever it takes to become the skiers we wished they'd be - and we should accept and respect that. A true story of an event from the past at my home hill, Smugglers' Notch:

A well-known man had a condo at Smuggs. He invited a person, whose name you'd surely recognize, to visit him at Smuggs and give skiing a try. The famous invitee was assigned a private lesson with one of my friends - one our very best, top instructors. However, the famous invitee fell down way to many times and could not seem to get the hang of it, although he did not lose his sense of humor. After the day of skiing, the condo owner invited all to his place for a cocktail party to be held later that evening, and . . .

As my friend (the instructor of the famous invitee) and his wife arrived at the cocktail party, the condo owner called over the famous invitee to introduce him (apparently not knowing that my friend already knew him, having spent a frustrating day with him on the mountain). The famous invitee came over, lied down on his back, extended his arm to shake hands and said, "Hi! You'd probably recognise me better from this position." So, as you can see . . .

Johnny Cochran still had his sense of humor! Our guests can also retain their respective senses of humor if we are accepting and respectful of them and their limitations.
post #33 of 33
P.S. Beginning skiers - whom we call "never-evers" or else "Level 1" - are never started on a hill. They start on the FLATS, learning to scoot on one ski, as if it were a scooter. We work our way up hill in steps. If a person is truly a never-ever, I can think of absolutely nothing to be gained by starting them off on a hill, and I don't know any instructor here who would disagree with me. Worse, if you're not a trained instructor, why mess up a potential new skier because YOU think the hill isn't all that bad? If you want to teach people to ski - first, LEARN HOW TO TEACH PEOPLE TO SKI. Doing it and teaching it are not completely overlapping skill sets.
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