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group lesson selection process

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I've been reading the create your own epic ski lesson, and it struck me that the tricky thing would be self-selecting the group. I was going to post there, but this is a question of wider interest. What's the best way to self-select for group lessons in general.

I've had three lesson's, the 1st one after a dozen years or so of skiing, and they were all privates, so I didn't have to give myself a "rating" other than "I haven't got a clue". Now, I'm thinking it might be fun to try a group lesson.

I've seen the various lists from different ski schools with levels 1 through 9 (mostly) and though I'm not a square peg or a round one, I can fudge it. However, all ski instructors seem to suggest males rate themselves two levels too high, and females two levels too low. My daughter certainly seems to verify the females. Maybe I fit the male mold. I know I prefer "expert" or "race" skis, and race speeds, and have an "expert" understanding of the physics, but think I'm a level 8. According to my standards I'm good at carving, high-speed skiing, steeps and powder, but I suck at moguls.

I also read that people get shifted into other groups. How often does that happen. Is a person more likely to be shifted down than up? Should you select a higher group knowing you will be put down? Is it unwise to select a lower group because the instructor will care less if you are in too-low a group? Should you just do your best?

Oh, and which of the many self-grading level lists do you instructors consider the best?

If it's hard for me to select a rating, it's no doubt hard for other's as well.
post #2 of 11
It shouldn't really matter. Every resorts rating system is going to be slightly different. And any supervisor worth his salt will verify your requested level before assigning you to a group. If they don't, you can take the initiative and ask what kind of terrain is appropriate for each level and what kind of skiing tasks are done. But basically all you should need to do is tell the supervisor what you want to work on and they should accommodate you. Finally, at many resorts, class sizes for upper level lessons are so small that you get taught what you need regardless of the label attached to the lesson.

People do get shifted up and down. At my resort, this mostly happens at levels 2-5 because at level 6 and up there is rarely more than 3 people in a group. Not counting ski offs, for levels 2-5 less than 10% get shifted (I'd bet more like 2%). Up vs down is about equal. As a part time supervisor, when I'm not sure about a group, I'll send another pro along with instructions to split as necessary. If you do self select below your ability and express your desire to remain there (e.g. you are tired), the instructor SHOULD provide equal feedback throughout the group, but will often give you less attention. Even when I get "tag alongs" who don't expect any instruction, I make a special effort to give them at least one thing worthwhile.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks Rusty. Works out for me. When asked if I'm a 5,6,7 or 8, I'll just tell him I want to work at carving icy moguls and he'll tell me where to go . What about people who don't know what they should be working on?
post #4 of 11
Quote:
What about people who don't know what they should be working on?
I get many people in groupes when asked, what they want to work on, don't know. After further questioning, the answer seems to be something like;
more confortable skiing greens/blues
speed control
more effecient/less tired
better balanced
shorter turns
more parallel
ski faster/more control

When I am assigned a group of unknown abilities, (novice, intermediate,advanced), but know the basic break, I downgrade the terrain for the first run to be shure everyone can ski it. While I am ascessing the terrain selection and performance on the terrain, I am also ascessing what skills each skier needs to develope to ascertain their goals.
The level of skier means little to me (a basic guide line) of what the content of the lesson might be, but the level of skill development/deficiency of the skier means much more.

RW
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
What about people who don't know what they should be working on?
You know .... it used to bug me when I'd ask a student what they wanted out of the lesson and they answered "I don't know". How am I going to give them what they want if they don't know what they want? If I got pushy, I could sometimes get "make better turns" (as opposed to my Mom made me do this, or I'm just killing time) like that was a big help. Sure, it's usually not a big deal to find something to work on and I have been getting better at finding out what the real motivations are eventually. So far, I've come up with a couple of major categories:
- I don't know what it is, but I feel like there is something more out there
- I know I'm doing things wrong, I just don't know what it is I'm doing wrong
- I want to be able to ski like "they" do
- I want to go the next level - whatever that is
- I don't want to say anything in front of the group
- I came to the lesson expecting you to tell me what I need and I'm so shocked at you asking the question I just can't answer it right now
- Skiing is getting boring

My primary goal in all lessons is to create an "aha-Wow!" moment that is caused when a skier experiences what "the next level" is all about. My secondary goal in these types of lessons in the past has been to make sure that the experience is surprisingly fun and eye opening - to set new expectations for what ought to happen in a lesson. My goal for next year is to get better at leaving these students with the capability to give a definitive answer to this question in the next lesson that they take (as opposed to simply covering where to go next in the lesson summary - i.e. more of Weems "Diamond" approach).

But with respect to the supervisor role of assigning these people to groups, at my resort it is fairly easy because we only need to ask them which slopes they've been skiing on (if they have never skied there, you can see most everything from the base and just point). Because there's a big difference in pitch between each section of the resort, that separates people pretty quickly. At that point all I have to do is read the emotion of how they answer the question. When I point to our relatively steep intermediate runs and ask "do you ski there?". If they answer "Yyyyyeeeaahhh" (i.e. yes - but it's not pretty), they're a 5. If they answer "yeah" (i.e. no big deal), then they are a 6 if they're not skiing the blacks yet. It takes a bit more experience to be able to read the range of responses from the people who are fibbing to get into a higher level lesson, to the kid who answers based on his nintendo experiences, to the timid who are underselling themselves, etc. But if I can learn to do this, I've got to believe that regular supervisors are generally pretty good at this.
post #6 of 11
I would like to summarize what I have learnt in past two years.

On my local hill (Cypress Bowl, West Vancouver), they have only 6 levels of group lesson. I have gone through all of these in two years. 5 lessons per year with my ALP program pass (Adult Lesson Program, which is a very good deal even as a season pass. You can ski one night(4~10pm) a week all the season, and have 5 lessons with 5 full day tickets any time, less than 300CDN, early bird group price).

Back to the lessons. they categorise the drop-in group lessons by ability and terrain, and teach corresponding almost fixed contents on each level in general.

leve 1: never skiied, no lift, walk, step, slide, basic wedge turn on near flat ground, might try beginner chair once or two at the end of lesson;
level 2: green, wedge turns;
level 3: green to easy blue, start to learn parellel
level 4: all blues, face down parellel
level 5: blues, going to easy black, different turn size, long /short turn, separation of up/low body.
level 6: blacks, steeps, bumps, various condition and terrains they can find that day, advanced turn skills and tactics. such as carving on groomers, hopping turn on steeps...

We got shifted or splited often. When registering, if you don't know which level you want, they give you above descriptions and ask you where you want to go? Then, before the lessons, instructors will gather students on similiar levels(normally 3/4, 5/6) to do a "trial run", and shift and split to final groups.

I have repeated three times leve 5, three times level 6. In my experience, if you get a very good instructor on level 6, you may have instructions and teaching more pertinent to you, otherwise they just teach same thing to anyone.

I happened to ski with a same instructor in two different years on two different levels. Last year, I had my last lesson on level 5, I don't think I was even qualified to level 5 at that time. This year, after twice level 6, I went back to level 5 once, wanted to refine basic turn skills. This same guy just let us do exact same things I did last year! I'm not saying that's waste of time, but I want a more pertinent instruction towards my pertinent problems. I will never go back to level 5 again.
post #7 of 11
vansnow,

Good instruction in group lessons should address the individual's needs and not just teach technique. Some instruction is a "canned rap" by people that don't build skills or they don't know why a particular drill (exercise) is helpfull in skill development. Group instruction is the luck of the draw, or in your case, the instructor you get is dependant on what level lesson you are taking. Not all instructors have the same level of training or understanding of teaching, skill development, or effective communciations.

Better luck in the future!

RW
post #8 of 11
It's easy to get hung up on skills stuff when trying to sort adults (and kids) into groups.

My favoured criteria are comfort on specific terrain, and moving at around the same speed as the others in the group.

One might ski like a bag of laundry coming undone at the seams (this'll be the guy who thinks he's wonderful), or might ski like a very careful level 1 ski instructor (this'll be the lady who thinks she can't ski very well because she can't keep up with her husband.... see aforementioned bag of laundry).

But if they ski the same terrain at around the same speed, they'll make a cohesive group. Splitting these groups is easy. say you've got a gaggle of levels 5-7 (you seldom see real 8s). You send the pack of them down the hill, and then make groups out of the ones who reach the bottom (successfully) first, the mob in the middle second, and the third group can be the ones who get down last. Everyone'll be happy.
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ant View Post
...

But if they ski the same terrain at around the same speed, they'll make a cohesive group. Splitting these groups is easy. say you've got a gaggle of levels 5-7 (you seldom see real 8s). You send the pack of them down the hill, and then make groups out of the ones who reach the bottom (successfully) first, the mob in the middle second, and the third group can be the ones who get down last. Everyone'll be happy.


I have to admit to using this method on way more than 1 occassion.
post #10 of 11
I and an austrian Statlissche (the ski instructor equivalent to God) used this often back in Australia! It really works.
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ant View Post
It's easy to get hung up on skills stuff when trying to sort adults (and kids) into groups.

My favoured criteria are comfort on specific terrain, and moving at around the same speed as the others in the group.

One might ski like a bag of laundry coming undone at the seams (this'll be the guy who thinks he's wonderful), or might ski like a very careful level 1 ski instructor (this'll be the lady who thinks she can't ski very well because she can't keep up with her husband.... see aforementioned bag of laundry).

But if they ski the same terrain at around the same speed, they'll make a cohesive group. Splitting these groups is easy. say you've got a gaggle of levels 5-7 (you seldom see real 8s). You send the pack of them down the hill, and then make groups out of the ones who reach the bottom (successfully) first, the mob in the middle second, and the third group can be the ones who get down last. Everyone'll be happy.

Hey i do see Level 8s

how about the bushwacker skate up the hill and ski one foot back down to me split

if they cant skate up the hill they are yellow(level 2)

if they can skate up the hill but cant ski down on one foot they are light green(level 3)

if they can skate up the hill and ski on one foot most of the time they are green(level 4)

if they can skate up the hill quickly and ski all the ways down on one foot they are light blue(level 5)

if they skate up the hill quickly and make direction changes they are blue(level 6)

if they skate up the hill quickly and make turns they are dark blue(level 7)

if they can skate up the hill and make turns say it was fun and want to go back up again they are black(level 8-9) bushwacker takes this class I am mostly kidding about that last part.
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