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Looking for funny ski instructor stories

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
This was sent to the Vail/Beaver Creek instructor community. I thought it would be of interest here. Perhaps we could post our stories are responses and point him here.





Over the years, ski instructors have incurred some pretty hilarious
situations with their clients. Now is your chance to share your stories
and see your name in print.

Allen R. Smith, author and instructor with the Vail/Beaver Creek Ski &
Snowboard School is writing a book about humor on the slopes and is
looking for material from fellow instructors. The book will be published
in Fall 2004 by Classic Day Publishing.

Submissions should pertain to Alpine skiing only, be short,
entertaining and no more than 750 words. You may also send shorter contributions,
including humorous quotes, observations or anecdotes.

Thermals and Other Fashion Statements (anything to do with
Cool Kids and Cranky Parents (issues with kids, families, etc.)
Mid-mountain Misadventures (miscellaneous adventures on the mountain)
Wedging through Oblivion (mishaps & adventures during ski lessons)
The Motel 6 & the Sommelier (anything to do with accommodations &
Getting There is 2.58 Times the Fun (Flying, driving, rental cars,
travel, etc.)
Obsessions in Alpine Hardware (skis, boots, equipment, etc.)

Recommended format is in Microsoft Word or RTF file but Allen will
accept other formats including verbal or handwritten accounts. Need
assistance writing your story? He will be glad to help.

Please send submissions to: allens@vail.net or
Allen R. Smith
P. O. Box 3852
Vail, CO 81658
(970) 479-9755
cell (970)390-3717

Please include your name, mailing address, telephone number, email, and
the name of your home resort. Let us know if you would like to remain
anonymous. Authors will receive one personally autographed copy of the
book for each published story. Deadline for submission is February 22,


Clickety Clack (included in the Obsessions in Alpine Hardware chapter)
From thirty yards away, I watched Paul while he painfully collected his
equipment. Bending over to gather his poles, shuffling to the ski rack,
every move was excruciating. Recognizing that I had arrived to teach
his class of "never-evers", Paul approached me with a tortured look on
his face. "Are we going to have to walk very much in these boots," he
asked. I explained that while most of the day we would be on skis,
there were occasions when we would have to walk to lunch and take breaks.
Concerned with the grimace on his face, I asked him why. "Well, I've
really been looking forward to skiing," he said. "All of my brothers
ski, my girlfriend skis, but I just don't know if I can keep putting up
with this clickety-clack." Looking down at his boots, he had them on
the wrong feet, causing his buckles to rub against each other. Clickety
post #2 of 41
The 'wedging' chapter brings funny ones to mind, but I'll just mention the one that took place many many years ago when we were teaching the 'breaking snowplow to a stop'. This also was before political correctness, if there is such a word..

I had a class of eight never-evers on a balmy day for our one-hours class that comnes with a package.

The progression at that time was to step up a little piece and have first a straight run, then teach the gliding snowplow and widen it out to a stop at the bottom.

Everyone could do it except this well endowed girl in a tight sweater, no matter what I said or demonstrated, she would end up fifty feet further down the flat.

After many tries, as she is coming down screaming that she couldn't stop, I moved into her path, stretched out my arms and cupped my hands aimed at her breast and hollered "don't worry, I'll stop you!". There was panic in her eyes as she stopped just about a foot short of my hands. [img]smile.gif[/img]

post #3 of 41
Maybe PSIA should put that in the next edition of the Alpine Technical manual, "The dirty old man technique" :
post #4 of 41
Originally posted by Ott Gangl:
Everyone could do it except this well endowed girl in a tight sweater, no matter what I said or demonstrated, she would end up fifty feet further down the flat.
I would pay good money for PhysicMan's explanation of that.
post #5 of 41
Originally posted by Ott Gangl:
After many tries, as she is coming down screaming that she couldn't stop, I moved into her path, stretched out my arms and cupped my hands aimed at her breast and hollered "don't worry, I'll stop you!". There was panic in her eyes as she stopped just about a foot short of my hands. [img]smile.gif[/img]

I just tried this here in the hallway at work....It does a great job of bringing things to a halt. [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]
post #6 of 41
Originally posted by Skidmo:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Ott Gangl:
Everyone could do it except this well endowed girl in a tight sweater, no matter what I said or demonstrated, she would end up fifty feet further down the flat.
I would pay good money for PhysicMan's explanation of that.</font>[/quote]heh ... Hardly any need for an explanation. The repulsion of men's hands from certain parts of the female anatomy is very well documented, but the effect is rarely strong enough to stop a skier. The only possible conclusion is that Ott was an extremely "repulsive" guy in those days (in a charmed quarkish sort of way, of course). [img]tongue.gif[/img]

(...thanks for the setup, Skimo... Sorry, Ott, couldn't resist...)

I can just picture a re-enactment of the original incident for next year's EpicSki gathering. It could be in B&W in the style of the old silent movies where the damsel is tied to the RR tracks, the train is approaching, and a piano is tinkling away.

In this case, Ott, would be cast as the villain, complete with black ski garb and a black moustache, hands leeringly outstretched as the poor girl's snowplow fails to completely stop or even turn her. Then, at the last moment, BobB (in white, of course) suddenly appears skiing towards her yelling, "Tips right!". The girl misunderstands his first word, but she is nevertheless saved since she quickly over-rotates her upper torso and Ott is left holding only the back of her ski jacket.

In next Saturday's installment, Bob is happily proceeding down the slow line fast with the girl, but arch-villain Ott is still lurking in the background just waiting for his chance ...

Tom / PM

PS - Ott - That was one of the funniest stories I have ever read on Epic, but I can't imagine that even *you* had the nerve to try it (at any time in the history of M/F relations). I know there is absolutely NO way I would try that on one of my students. Come clean - did you actually do that?

[ January 22, 2004, 12:56 PM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #7 of 41
Ott & PM,

TOOOO FUNNNY !!!! [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]

ROFL [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

post #8 of 41
Originally posted by PhysicsMan:
"Tips right!"
Was that a typo? [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]
post #9 of 41
Originally posted by Skidmo:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by PhysicsMan:
"Tips right!"
Was that a typo? [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img] </font>[/quote]Absolutely not! Surely, you must recall Bob Barnes' famous mantra, "Tips right to go right"?

Tom / PM
post #10 of 41
Drat! And all this time I've been turning my chest to the right to go right! I gotta read this stuff more carefully.
post #11 of 41
Yeah guys, it actually happened that way, but I must confess that had she not stopped I would have stopped her by hugging her. I do (have) feelings [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]

But I must say, I can't stop laughing, you guys crack me up. Tom, that white hat/black hat story was priceless.

I have a few more involving my wife Ann but I would have to ask her permission to tell them because they are a little, ahem, not politically correct, anymore.

post #12 of 41
So, Ott, with benefits like these how do I become a ski instructor?

post #13 of 41
Back to the original purpose of this thread, here's one for the chapter on fashion:

Back in the early '80's, I was casually acquainted with a nationally known ski instructor who had written a few "How to Ski" books as well as several others on fitness and other topics. This guy was in super shape, worked out daily, and always looked great (full head of jet black hair, appropriately weathered features, etc.). No matter what the weather, he would dress entirely in black leather and top it off with a silver studded black cowboy hat.

He always maintained a serious, never-smile, nothing's ever funny, don't-mess-with-me disposition. Between his disposition, looks, and over-the-top dress, he came across like a skiing hybrid between Johnny Cash and Clint Eastwood in his toughest-guy spaghetti western days.

This guy had a very serious image to maintain. One day, I was following him down the mountain at pretty high speeds when his precious cowboy hat flew off his head. I stopped and picked it up and noticed something else of his in the snow nearby. I was flabbergasted at what it was, but I picked it up and skied down to him.

I returned his hat and toupee. The guy turned out to be bald as a buzzard! The only thing he said was, "If you ever ...".

Tom / PM

[ January 24, 2004, 04:10 AM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #14 of 41
CENSORED by my wife who shall remain nameless to protect her identity. [img]smile.gif[/img]


[ January 23, 2004, 08:18 PM: Message edited by: Ott Gangl ]
post #15 of 41
Originally posted by Ott Gangl:
CENSORED by my wife who shall remain nameless to protect her identity. [img]smile.gif[/img] ...Ott
Fortunately, I caught it while it was still posted. That was a GREAT story. Tell her not to be embarrassed. I seem to recall an incident from my own past where a very proper Indian (S. Asia) gentleman (student) asked me if he should remain erect while skiing. :

It was pretty hard to keep a straight face after that question as a multitude of possible responses kept running through my mind.

Tom / PM

[ January 25, 2004, 09:53 AM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #16 of 41
By popular requests, here it is again, just be kind to mine wife when you meet her, she really is the sweetest:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

About 40 years ago my wife, who shall remain nameless to protect her identity, was a first year instructor who had only taught two lessons but knew the teaching manual inside out but was nervous because English was not her native language and she worried if all understood her.

A local high school rewarded their football team with a ski outing after a championship season, and my wife, who shall remain nameless etc., got six 200+ pound bruisers who had been outfitted with 210cm skis and ill fitting boots, as was the custom at the time.

She had them sidestep up the hill after explaining that they should balance on the balls of their feet and hold their hands like they were carrying a cafeteria tray and make a gate to step into the fall line and they should look ahead, not at their skis.

As these guys came down they sat back, same as they do now, and my wife, that beautiful young thing, who shall remain nameless so as not to embarrass her, hollered at them:

“Boys, you have to ski on your balls, SKI ON YOUR BALLS!!!”

As my wife, who shall remain, etc. etc., looked clueless at six high school kids rolling in the snow laughing uncontrollably, a merciful bystander took it upon himself to explain the English colloquialism she just uttered.

For the rest of the hour, every time she addressed the class: “Boys…” , the kids shouted in unison “YOU GOT TO SKI ON YOUR BALLS” .

My wife, poor thing, who shall remain nameless to spare her the agony, came to me with quivering lips and announced that she was through with ski instructing.

Suffice it say that for the next twenty-five years, my wife who shall remain nameless and whom I love dearly, became one of the finest and most popular ski instructors in our school.

post #17 of 41
PM, I used to love watching Willard Scott on the tube. He is one of the only guys I know who wore his toupee like a hat. One day he would wear it the next he wouldn't. Ya gotta love the honesty there.

post #18 of 41
Here is another one:

Our small areas have 1000+ student show up between 3 to 7 p.m. every day and so there are classes stacked closely along the bottom of every slope, the steepest and most dangerous ones are now closed off during these hours. But it wasn't always so.

Instructors, and sometimes classes, were hit quite often. One day our ski school director observed one instructor teaching his class, and while standing in front of them during the explanation phase of the instruction, he kept his uphill pole with the grip at his hip and the pole pointing uphill parallel to the slope.

When confronted about that technique the instructor said:" I'm tired of getting run over, the next guy will have to shove this basket fifty inches up this pole before he hits me". The SSD gently persueded him to stop this practice lest all his student learn and practice it.

post #19 of 41

I've actually used that technique myself. I also have another safety rule that I use: never ski within 30 feet of anything covered in animal fur - alive or dead. Thanks again for the contributions!

post #20 of 41
Not as funny as Ott's, but to keep the thread going ...

Middle aged but very shapely gal in tight pants had just completed her first linked turns. As she herring boned back up in front of the class, I looked at her tracks in the snow and exclaimed ... "Now that is an ess .. great ess". She glared back at me with looks that could kill as the class sniggered. The only thing that saved me was the prominent track in the snow.

I was honestly commenting on her tracks .. [img]redface.gif[/img]
post #21 of 41
Ok All,

You've done such a wonderful job with entertaining all of the rest of us, I thought I give something back from one of our instructors at Vail. Here's a story I call The Dogpile:

I was working with a very small ski school in Austria when a group of VIP Israeli travel agents came into town. The agents had never seen snow before and were touring various resorts so they could make recommendations to their clients for European ski holidays. Given the importance of their visit, our Ski School Director and his assistant elected to teach the group. They lasted one day, then turned the group over to me.

Being first time skiers, we decided to go up the neighboring mountain to the beginning area, which meant riding two, single chair lifts. Protocol dictated at the time that we send each of the clients up first, followed by the instructor to insure that all of the students arrived safely at the top of the mountain. We approached the first chair lift and after a brief set of instructions, I began sending the Israelis up, one at a time. I told them to wait at the top for me, as I would be riding in the last chair.

When I arrived at the top of the chair lift, a very red-faced lift attendant was standing next to a pile of my clients with all of their equipment heaped on the other side of the unloading ramp. Apparently, the first Israeli had panicked when he reached the top of the unloading station. To prevent him from going around the bullwheel, the lift attendant grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and yanked him out of the chair. When the Israeli hit the ground, he immediately popped off his skis and threw them across the other side of the ramp so that he could scuffle out of the way of the oncoming rider.

Meanwhile, the Israeli in the second chair was observing the melee as he rapidly approached the unloading station. Thinking that this was the correct unloading procedure, he dove off of the left side of the ramp when his feet hit the snow. As soon as he stopped sliding, he immediately tore off his skis and poles and pitched them over to the other side of the ramp as he had observed his colleague doing.

One by one, each of the 19 Israelis skidded down the ramp, dove to the left and pitched their equipment to the right. By the time I arrived in the last chair, there was a dogpile of VIP’s lying in the snow with a mound of skis and poles on the other side of the ramp.

At the end of the day, I checked in with the Ski School Director and asked him, “OK, whose turn is it next?”

Can anyone think of any new ones? Thanks all.
post #22 of 41
Eldora is a small area and we have a new building called the Indian Peaks Lodge.

The majority of the first floor is ski/snowboard rentals.

The back door opens out to an area where lessons meet and first timers are taught.

About a week ago I was standing near the back door talking to another instructor. A young boy about 8-10 yoa came walking in the back door and headed into the mens room. An unusual occurence?

Only in so far as the fact that he walked in with skis on. We just stood there laughing. The kid emerged from the bathroom several minutes later still wearing all his gear and headed right back out to our magic carpet.
post #23 of 41
We were discussing rental boot mishaps yesterday, and the best story was of a kid whose boots were agonizingly painful, so my colleague sent him back to rentals for a bigger pair. This went back and forth, until in desperation the instructor went to the shop with him, and discovered that the kid was wearing his sports trainers inside the ski boots...
(If I'd got it 3rd hand I wouldn't believe it, but I got it from the instructor involved).
post #24 of 41
Here's a funny scene I witnessed a couple of weeks ago:

When I arrived at the midway lodge to meet my 10 o'clock class there were only two pairs of skis on the racks. They had been separated so that one of each pair was nestled at some distance from the other to foil the thieves.
post #25 of 41
Don't laugh...it worked.
post #26 of 41
Yes, I almost always do that too. As for myself, it's always funny to look at people faces when I put on one type of ski (say my 198cm P40F1) on one side and a different ski on the other (say my friend 200+cm Rossignol 9- me and my friend have compatible boot sole length)
post #27 of 41
Here's a couple of great kid's quotes that I heard:

One child was scratching his head all morning during class. With this, he complained to his instructor, “My head itches.” The instructor suggests, “It must be your wool hat.” The child responded, “No, I have lice.”

While helping to dress a group of young skiers, the instructor asked a class of 5-year-olds, “What is the one thing that you need to have in order to go outside and ski?” A small girl stood up and said, “A credit card.”
post #28 of 41
Hello All,

Just thought I'd post another note to see if anyone has thought of some additional entertaining stories. I've received some great ones, but could still use some more. Or alternatively, does anyone know of a colleague that might have something to contribute?

For info, please see beginning post at the top of the thread. Please feel free to pass on my contact information from the original post.

Hope you all had a good season.
post #29 of 41
Thread Starter 
You've probably heard this one from the archives of Vail instructors.

The run under Chair 4 at the top of Vail Mountain has a cliff, probably 25 ft high? And, it is a cliff! Interestingly enough the terrain that approaches it is very mellow.

One day two Vail instructors (no uniforms) got ahold of two bibs, one that said Blind Skier and the other that said Guide. Well, they were heading down this run, right under the lift and they were skiing well and the guide was yelling Left, Right, Left, Right, and of course they were approaching the cliff and were right under the lift. The people on the lift were watching and seeing the "blind" skier approaching the cliff they started shouting to him "HEY, THERE'S A CLIFF UP AHEAD".

But, the instructors were oblivious and kept right on moving and the guide kept shouting Left, Right, Left, Right, and then just as they got to the cliff he shouts JUMP! They both jumped off this huge cliff and landed perfectly and kept moving without missing a beat, Left, Right, Left, Right.

I tell that story to my groups every time up that chair.

post #30 of 41
Actually, I hadn't heard that one, but that's a great story! I've always thought about showing up to a beginner's class in one of those bibs just to see what type of reaction one would get. I'm sure that there would be enough people concerned about political correctness that they would just go along with it.

"Rental ski boots should be like airline seats; hot, tight and uncomfortable with an unfamiliar smell" - Allen Smith
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