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your advice - newbie instructor

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

I'm off to the races (as it were)!!! I'm a brand new (never taught before) level II tele instructor at Arapahoe Basin. Got my first lesson tomorrow morning with one student. I think I'm ready. Give me your sage advice please.

Kindest regards and Gracias
post #2 of 20
Safety, fun and learning.

Not to harsh on you dude, but you're level II, you tell me.

How does one become lvl II without ever teaching? I know in some places you take the tele-exam and at the end they say you attained x level and off you go, but no pre-req teaching hours before the exam? Are you a cross over instructor and I am not understanding your question.

Good luck.
post #3 of 20
You're PSIA LII without ever teaching a lesson?

Regardless, like Tief says, the goal is to have be safe, have fun and promote some learning.

Don't try to teach everything you know on one session.
post #4 of 20
Maybe he means level II as it could mean a level above never ever skiers. He will teach level II skiers.
Good luck , be caring and have some fun.
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
oops, i assumed that you guys knew that teaching isn't (or at least wasn't when i took my exam 5 years ago) a pre-req for getting a nordy downhill cert.

i did teach through the psia structure - alpine - 'bout 25 years ago when i was in college. it was at a little area called ski liberty with linda steinle as director.

20 years later i decided to get my psia nordy cert for an eventual amga (american mountain guide association) cert. a psia cert is a prereq for an amga cert. i did training with a psia-rm nord trainer and attended ma classes with mr barnes. i read manuals and boned up as best as i could for the exam.

i will admit that even the little that i did do was not nearly sufficient to get me all 789 in teaching. i did get 789 for my skiing and mostly 678 for my understanding - but not for teaching. I was pretty happy to end up with a level II cert. the exam was in telluride and the lead examiner was charlie macarthur (a former d-team member) ...the exam was no give-me is all that i mean to say. we skied gnarly bumps in frozen spring slush repleat with frozen baby heads lightly dusted with half an inch from the night before. we also skied western hard-pack (which is not the same as eastern ice - i know eastern ice)

anyway - i really appreciate any tips you have. but i'm looking for something that goes beyond gct, safety, fun and that sorta stuff. i'm looking for the stuff that you remember never being adequately prepared for.

so i had my first lesson this morning. it was good. i was ready as i could be. i actually knew the guy from 15 years ago when i first moved to summit county. so it was a really nice reunion and a fun lesson. he's coming back for another next week. a return is good no?
post #6 of 20


eNick. Just some general stuff I do. Talk with your student (not to him/her) and find out their goals for the day. Discuss these goals (you will have to eventually decide if they are realistic) and the discussion will reveal quite a bit about the skills you will want to teach AND will give you some insight to the psychological makeup of your student. Obviously this will be more helpful to you and the student when you don't know them. Good luck, have fun and a great winter. Pete
post #7 of 20
A big thing I've appreciated in lessons I've gotten and try to do in lessons I give, is to not teach TOO many things. Find something to focus on and work with it. It's very tempting to tell the student all kinds of technical things - and they will need to hear many of them - but a student can only work on and with a small amount of technical knowledge in a lesson.

Be sure to leave them with something to practice, a clear understanding of the one thing that is the most important at that stage of their learning. (Even if you're not sure you can identify what the most important thing is, still better for them to have a clear focus after the lesson.)

And remember it's all about fun and freedom - NOT right and wrong!
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
thanks so much pete ...i really like people (for the most part) so i'm looking forward to this whole experience. side note: idaho is a neat place. i've often thought of moving there. the cycling rocks.

Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz View Post
And remember it's all about fun and freedom - NOT right and wrong!
okay, this is great... fun and freedom ...not too many things in a lesson - good stuff.
post #9 of 20
not teach TOO many things
True, true, true. Teach the one most important thing for that student to progress. When they get a handle on that, give them the next most important thing for them. It's easy to give six or eight good tips. It is hard to give just the one tip that is right for that student. If you have a group, work to develop the skill to give an individual lesson to each student in that group.
post #10 of 20
When you have down time, put aside some of that free skiing and go out and shadow with some of the willing "old hands" ... if they will let you .. because that is where you will get many "tricks" on presentation and adaptive and creative approaches to situations when the conventional dogma fails.
post #11 of 20
The best and first question to ask a student is, "Why did you take a lesson today?" Then, LISTEN real hard to the answer. You have to fulfill the promise of the ad. A case in point; A new instructor had a private lesson with a level 2 adult skier. The student told the instructor that they wanted to learn how to ski bumps. The instructor kept the student on the green runs and worked on skill development etc. but never talked about bumps. The instructor was telling the story in the locker room about this beginner who paid for a private bump lesson and could bearly make it on the greens. The student returned the next day with the same request. Fortunatly the super hooked him up with an experienced instructor who asked the right question. "Can you take me to these bumps you would like to ski?" The student went to the same run the other instructor had used for the previous lesson but.. along the side of the run there were these very small dips (very slight rollers) that the "B"
kids class was giggling their way through. The student pointed to them and said, "those are the bumps I want to try." The instructor took the student through, treated the whole thing as a straight run with exersice and had a very happy student. The student became one of that instructors best private lesson clients. That student is now a part time ski instructor and will be taking his level II exam this year. The instructor fulfilled the promise of the ad. Stay student centered and keep your personal pre-conceptions in your backpack.
The ability to give someone the joy of skiing is pretty special, go get 'em.
post #12 of 20
Know when to shut up.

Don't just drone on and on, but take the time to listen to your student(s).
post #13 of 20
That is a great story/reality!

post #14 of 20

Welcome to the ranks.

When meeting a lesson for the first time, find out what they want to learn and what terrain they ski. Go to the terrain, or something slightly easier and ski with them as you watch their movements. From there you can assess what skills they posess and what skills they need to improve on. That is a good place to come with a lesson plan for achieving their goal(s).

I often choose a drill that will develope the skill that is needed (it can be upgraded or down graded as the terrain, snow and and performance dictates). After the drill has been worked on, relate it to the lesson's skiing.

Not too much talk, feedback on performance of the drill and allow time for practice (skiing). End the lesson with a summary and tell the lesson what is next. Good luck!

post #15 of 20


Wrangler, great point made!

eNick, you may not realize this but you have fulfilled quite a bit by just asking this question.
post #16 of 20
Ski when you're on-snow, talk on the lifts.

Listen more than you talk.

Make it a goal to have it be the most wonderful ski day of their lives... to do that, you need to know what "wonderful" means for them.
post #17 of 20
Listen more than you talk.
Great advice!!

post #18 of 20
Or as I was told once.

You have two ears and one mouth. Use them in that proportion.
post #19 of 20
Note: about the only way to do that is...

...ask questions...
post #20 of 20
This showed up as a QotD this morning in my e-mail:
Originally Posted by William Shakespeare
"Give every man thy ear but few thy voice."
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