Originally Posted by nolo
BigE, they way you put it sounds like there's very little fun involved in becoming a strong technical skier--how do you motivate recreational skiers to want to put in the work to master the drills necessary to acquire perfect technique? So far as I know, ski lessons are elective activities, and few will buy into the kind of work that it takes to ski to the level you describe. Perhaps you work with young racers and not the general public, which I did too, for 10 years, and as I recall it was still a toughly negotiated transaction to get a measure of work for a measure of goofing off.
In summary, my questions are: WC racing may be the exact model of technical excellence, but how does it sell to our customers? Do they aspire to ski like a WC athlete? If not, how do we persuade them that they do?
Well, I am a customer of the ski industry and ski schools so I feel I have something to add. I am pretty new to modern ski gear and really am looking to gain efficiency with the equipment. Beyond this I think the answer to the question you posed depends on who the skier is. I really am interested in skiing to the extent that it offers a fun and active outdoor activity in the winter. I look at it like it will be great to gain more skill and competance that make the experience easier, more efficient, and fun. Beyond that I really draw a blank. Also, most skiers would not put in the time neccesdary to really practice the drills just because as I said, to many like me, this is about having fun and being active in the winter.
I have no goal to get into racing or advance in the sense that I want to be thought of as a highly skilled skier at an advanced level. Certainly I would like to advance, but for the sake of practicality, not just for the sake of being more advanced - if that makes any sense. So, I think this is what seperates recreational skiers from diehard 'lifestyle' skiers. I suspect the majority of skiers on the slopes you polled would fall in the former, and the majority of skiers who frequent this forum would fall in the latter.
The bottom line is, I suspect most recreational skiers are just in it for fun and realise WC skiers are on a totally different plane of existence both in terms of skill and goals. In this regards- drills, although important to advance, are really something thought of as somerthing we grudgingly have to do to get better. Most skiers I suspect have very limited time to spend on the slopes so lessons take a back seat for many. They are not something we want to do - the philosophy being the time could better be had having fun free skiing and getting our lift tickets worth of skiing. If we spent every other day on the slopes it would be a different story. Most of us recreational folks will get to ski once a week if we are lucky. For many I suspect skiing is simply a one or two week trip each winter.
As far as lesson, honestly I have to say most group lessons and drills I have undertaken I have found painfully boring and scripted. I really prefer private lessons where I can state what I want to work on and get more proficient at. I underdstand no pain, no gain, but again our time is very limited. WC skiing is the last thing on our minds. To sum it up I think instructors fail to realise most skiers lack the time or money to really keep with the lessons.
For me lessons are a calculated decision where the benefit vs time vs cost is factored in: Do I spend a few bucks for a group lesson packed with folks at my level where most of the time is spent gathering at the ski lifts and riding up, the other half of the time doing drills one by one as we all fall down and stop and regroup? Or do I spend top dollar for private lessons where I can really get into one on one interactions? IMO the only way I have advanced is through private lessons. To me Group lessons have been a waste of time and money. The problem is private lesson=very expensive and its not something one can do every weekend. In the end I compromise and take private lessons once a month - this is what pays off the best for me in terms of money and time.