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What Do You Include in Every Beginner Lesson?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Are there things you always include every time you teach a beginners' lesson?

I'll start with the gimme: By the end of the lesson, we will have have covered every point of the Skiers' Responsibility Code, with additional reinforcement and examples throughout the lesson.
post #2 of 21
Never evers ?
post #3 of 21
I am assuming you mean never evers....somthing I do, which some pros think is a little wierd...but they generally come around after seeing me do it...is this....I teach people to be "cool" on the hill.

You know I show them the little things that keep them from looking like a dork...I find it helps them feel comfortable, and like they belong...plus if you present it right it can be great way to keep your class light and fun....classic examples of things I show them:
  • how to wear their toque properly...(ie no gap between the hat and googles...simple demo works well here)
  • how to carry their skis properly(ie over the sholder, tips forward, again simple Lorel and Hardy routine demo works wonders)
  • how to wear ski pants (never tucked into boots)
  • How to wear sunglasses properly...never under toque
  • How to prevent skis from being stolen...separate them on the racks
  • How to prevent poles from going missing on racks...straps over tips
  • How to walk in ski boots...buckles always done up
  • How to dress in apres bar....ski sweater over top of the bib pants and suspenders
  • how to "pole across flats" (shuffle feet as you pole)
  • never walk/ski or be seen with jacket fully unzipped, unless sitting on bar stool
  • always pull pant legs down over boots
  • never use a "SkiTote"
  • never attach lift ticket to main zipper on jacket
  • how to use pole straps correctley
  • when to use a hood
  • ear muffs never were and never will be cool
  • how to rest by leaning on their poles...racer style
  • how to lower the safety bar with style
  • etc
  • etc
  • etc
Some of the above are safety related as well obviously, but generally people like to feel like they fit in and belong...I try to go out my way in lessons, especially beginner lessons, so that they at the end, they feel like not only have they skied...but now they are skiers.
post #4 of 21
How to knock snow off ski's while on lift down on to snowboarders with amazing accuracy and consistency.
post #5 of 21
Everything in the PSIA lesson plan.

Which component can you afford to leave out ... ??

OK .. I confess, I would skip the "boot drill and circle around" on one ski.

Too many in class and tool little real estate to do it effectively anyway.
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GarryZ View Post
Never evers ?
For the purposes of this discussion, yes, never-ever lessons.
post #7 of 21
We're here to have fun!-------Wigs
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by skidbump View Post
How to knock snow off ski's while on lift down on to snowboarders with amazing accuracy and consistency.
Ha Ha - very funny. My jokes may be bad, but I'd appreciate it greatly if you'd hire a new joke writer.

The ache in my shoulder from when one of YOUR students did this and dropped their ski onto me was suitably amazed. Fortunately, my student, who fell underneath the lift was covered by my shoulder instead of being seriously hurt. This is why we don't need these kinds of jokes about beginner lessons.

I don't cover every point of Your Responsibility Code in my beginner lessons, but I do point out where they can read the rest of the code. I do emphasize safety as job #1 in all of my beginner lessons.
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post
...
I don't cover every point of Your Responsibility Code in my beginner lessons, but I do point out where they can read the rest of the code. I do emphasize safety as job #1 in all of my beginner lessons.
I think one of the greatest differences between where you teach, and the Rocky Mountain region is the time alloted for a beginner lesson.
post #10 of 21
One item I always include in the safety portion of my snowboard lessons is to tell them to fall uphill. It results in a much less painful fall. Less distance to the ground. Snowboarders can really only fall in two directions. Skiers have the ability to fall in any direction.: Included in that portion I emphasize that before they hit anybody or anything on the beginner slope, they should fall down. They are usually learning speed and direction control at this stage.
post #11 of 21
Like daysailer1, I also like to teach my students how to fall. For most of the older students that I teach, their biggest fear is falling. If we get that out of the way, and I can show them various ways of how to get up, they lose a lot of the anxiety that has prevented them from trying to learn how to ski or from advancing off of the bunny hill.
post #12 of 21
I always show them how their gear works. After introduction I inspect how they are put together. I most often find gaiters stuffed into the boots and boots not buckled properly .
So it's the feet first and work my way up. I have found boots on the wrong feet .So big the kid could almost pivot inside them and the feet not seated in them as they should be.

I tell the kids our objective is to have a good time and learn a bit of skiing . I tell the parents what my objectives are for them. Usually it's make some turns,stop when needed and get on the lift.


I make the kids needs come first (safety, fun)and the parents objectives get handled in their own time. My kids always have fun . That's right, my kids. When you are on my squad you get taken care of.
post #13 of 21
1st thing I do after welcoming them as new skiers is check that their boots are on properly. Boots on correct feet, nothing other than 1 sock in each boot, no inner pant, outer pant, jeans, leg warmers or whatever else they always try to stuff in their boots. If they don't have a good fit in the boots ( snug , not flopping around or pinched too tight) then anything else we try to do is just a waste of time. It all starts at the feet and if they are not working right than that guest will not have much success at their lesson.
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by daysailer1 View Post
One item I always include in the safety portion of my snowboard lessons is to tell them to fall uphill. It results in a much less painful fall. Less distance to the ground. Snowboarders can really only fall in two directions. Skiers have the ability to fall in any direction.: Included in that portion I emphasize that before they hit anybody or anything on the beginner slope, they should fall down. They are usually learning speed and direction control at this stage.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowmiser View Post
Like daysailer1, I also like to teach my students how to fall. For most of the older students that I teach, their biggest fear is falling. If we get that out of the way, and I can show them various ways of how to get up, they lose a lot of the anxiety that has prevented them from trying to learn how to ski or from advancing off of the bunny hill.
This is where I differ. I was shown some accident prevention stats a few years ago, with there being a high amount of reportable injuries resulting from practice falls. I will always teach beginners how to get up, but only after they fall; I believe that protects me and the resort that I work for from liability, as opposed to possibly being liable in a "directed" fall.
post #15 of 21
Hi Icanseeformiles!

I don't make my students take practice falls. I will wait for a student in the class to fall, or I will just get down on the snow and demonstrate the various ways to get up. I can see where doing practice falls could be dangerous and would also not advise doing that in a lesson.
post #16 of 21
I tend to follow very closely a basic program laid out by our school. I am more worried about risk management form a liability avidance stance than I am with any other lessons I teach. I always do certain things. I always correct stance and balance during every phase of the lesson. i always teach the skiers' code of responsibility. I almost always have a drill which requires the students to steer a single ski, while wearing only one ski (unless I have that very rare class of accomplished inline or hockey skaters, although I teach them steering too). I always teach that turning is the way to control speed. I never teach absolute beginners a direct braking wedge, although I do teach steering into and out of a wedge, so the students may figure out for themselves that braking wedges affect speed. My goals duing a beginner lesson are to establish a functional stance, teach leg steering, teach turns which incorporate some or mostly rotary skills, so the students know how to vary turn shape and size, and to teach the use of turn shape to control speed.
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by icanseeformiles(andmiles) View Post
I think one of the greatest differences between where you teach, and the Rocky Mountain region is the time alloted for a beginner lesson.
I get 90 minutes for a standard beginner group lesson, but we are allowed to run over if the need arises (the next lesson starts at the top of the next hour). For group lessons with one or two people, or private lessons, these are supposed to be one hour long. However, I find that I can rarely complete a beginner lesson with more than one person in an hour.

This may seem rediculously short compared to full day and half day programs, but we often forget that a half day out West is usually 2 and 1/2 hours. The goal of our level 1 lessons is that our students will know how to ride the lift, turn and stop by the end of the level 1 lesson. If this is not achieved, students are allowed to take another level 1 lesson on the same day. Less than 1% of our students do this. Part of why this works is the smaller size of our resort. Everything is close and the beginner runs are short.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by icanseeformiles(andmiles) View Post
This is where I differ. I was shown some accident prevention stats a few years ago, with there being a high amount of reportable injuries resulting from practice falls.
This one is funny to me because I am the same way for the same reasons in my ski lessons, but opposite in my riding lessons. I always teach practice falls in my beginner riding lessons. This is because the number one injury to beginner riders is wrist injury from falls. This is quite common when catching the downhill edge. In this kind of fall, putting the arms out to brace the fall is automatic for most students. I have my students practice falling with their arms crossed in front of them, starting from a kneeling position. My opinion is that if a student gets injured doing this, then they most likely would have experienced a more serious injury later on if they had not tried the practice move.

One of my secret joys in beginner lessons is getting the "How do you get up" question before someone has fallen. 99% of the time this happens I say "good question, we'll get to that later" and then someone inevitably falls within minutes and we get to it. This avoids the need for practice falling.

In my ski lessons, part of my usual spiel is "3 ways to stop: turn, edge and fall". At this point I tell my students that everyone can fall and it always works, but please fall to the side instead of sitting down. I've found that this is all that is needed to adequately prepare beginners.
post #19 of 21
Quote:
I don't make my students take practice falls.
Same here. I just demo it. I have the same liability concerns.

Quote:
This is because the number one injury to beginner riders is wrist injury from falls. This is quite common when catching the downhill edge. In this kind of fall, putting the arms out to brace the fall is automatic for most students.
This is another reason I try to get it in their mind that it is okay to fall and the safest, slam-free, way to fall. Last season was the first season I've ever had a broken wrist happen in my class. The client caught the downhill edge and put his put his arm/wrist back. I keep safety first. I'd rather have clients fall down rather than hit another person or a tree. Hard slams can also result in a client dropping out of a class and never trying snowboarding again. I want to create safe, fun, happy life-long snowboarders.


Quote:
One of my secret joys in beginner lessons is getting the "How do you get up" question before someone has fallen. 99% of the time this happens I say "good question, we'll get to that later" and then someone inevitably falls within minutes and we get to it. This avoids the need for practice falling.

I always teach toe-side edge first then heel side. Just before starting toe-side edge direction and speed control, I teach how to get up on that edge. I do the same for heel-side edge. At a minimum, for the first new edge traverse, I have them use both my hands for support as I walk along. I don't let them use a death-grip as this is counter-productive. I am trying to teach them to use that edge and how their body/parts need to be positioned. Once they get some forward motion for a little distance, I have them try stopping. It usually take 2-3 stops and then you see the light bulb come on. I talk very calmly and patiently during this traverse and try to give useful feedback to help their efforts. This is also where I find out if bootlaces are still laced too loosely. Later when they take their first solo run, I also walk beside them and give feedback. If they do fall, I'll talk them through getting up.

I do have 2.5 hours per lesson.
post #20 of 21
Careful about my mixing of skier and rider teaching techniques. I will teach riders how to fall and then how to get up. We often do this on the flats before we ever get to the lift. I don't teach skiers how to fall. I often don't teach skiers how to get up until after we've gotten off the lift (because I wait until someone has fallen before I teach how to get up).
post #21 of 21
A Smile - it's as easy as that.
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