or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

CalG, schools

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
CalG. One more thing on the issue of school programs for kids at ski school.

Don't forget to let the school know about the problem. You'd do that about your academic school teachers, and the same should hold true here. The fact that this is a deeply discounted program does not mean your kids' time is not valuable.

Complain (nicely) to the ski school director and the director of the program for the school. This will double the pressure on the ss director to provide the product he/she has promised to provide.

Administrators need to know when their programs are failing.

I also think that anyone who gets a bad lesson should notify the supervisor. It is a service to the whole program, and many people just don't want to be "complainers". But you're not a complainer if you do it nicely. You're a collaborator.
post #2 of 18

Thanks for this separate thread

My observation is that there are two groups that agree that the "lesson" is less than useful, but noone has taken note. The Pro's may bite the bullet and get "through it" earning their credits, but the kids leave with a bad taste about guided learning.

I don't think "complaining" is the attitude. Rather, as I said, as a parent and school board member and on aquantance with the SS director, I will champion a path that doen't end in the disillusionment of the kids. Even if the instructors are perfect, if the kids aren't there, It can't work. Kind of like the Montessori teaching philosiphy. When the children are ready, if the right "stuff" is available, they will learn on thier own.

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Exactly. It seems that this age may be where Nolo's learning disability starts.

We've got to make the pros aware of it. Because the kids really do like to learn to ski better, and they do not like to be "warehoused".
post #4 of 18
When the children are ready, if the right "stuff" is available, they will learn on thier own.
I've been thinking about this, CalG. What's the right stuff we could have available?

Are you thinking of, say, a timed dual slalom?

A half-pipe?


Snow bikes?

Steerable tubes?

A luge run?

Ski boards?

(Am I following your meaning?)
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
He means baggie pants and sweatshirts.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Maybe you're following his meaning, but maybe it's also the connection, the relationship you refer to in the other thread. More likely, don't you think?
post #7 of 18
Actually, yes. I was thinking of camp. Of teams. Of counselors just a bit older and more together than the campers.
post #8 of 18
In my experience with school programs, and we have about 3000 kids every day of the season, is as follows:

There is an advisor with each school group and they are to make sure their kids get a lesson once a week for five weeks. And some of them have been coming for six years, from Jr. High through high school.

Once some of the beginners know how to make it down the hill without crashing they will do anything to duck the class. The advisor will see that they start but they'll run to the bottom right away instead of stopping where the class and the instructor stopped and they'll shoot to another chair and that's the last you see of them that night.

Now the standard procedure is to tell the advisor and let them handle it, but that just creates animosity between the instructor and the kids and next week they curse you out.

Though I seldom had to teach school groups, one year I did and when three kids left I took the now smaller group and worked intesively with them and they made great progress in the next two weeks.

These kids get to free ski for several hours after the class and they were skiing circles around their friends and tounted them and all of a sudden these slackers were in class trying to catch up which they never did that season.

It was peer pressure and the competitive nature of teenagers that brought them back.

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
There's the answer. Ott's got it. Commitment, connection, results.
post #10 of 18
Are we not saying that the secret is the people staffing these groups? They have to like being with a bunch of smart-ass, peer-driven, ridiculously vulnerable people and understand how to relate to them on that level.

[ April 27, 2002, 10:33 PM: Message edited by: nolobolono ]
post #11 of 18
At WC our school kids are Jr High ages. In order to be a part of the program they must put in a day a week for at least three weeks. After an unfortunate incedent three years ago they must be in lessons all day. Needless to say they generally don't want to be. Group sizes can range from 5 or 6 to 20+. We try to put the kids with the same instructor each time, though this is not always possible.

I will always end up with more kids trying to join my class in the afternoon. Why, because they see us having fun and using the whole mountain. To borrow from nolo, yes with one group this year we worked some off the wall stuff, including on rail slides. They will do it anyway so why not do it in a safe manner. Besides isn't a rail slide just a pivot slip? In fact, practicing pivot slips is one of the excercises we used top increase the length of their slides. And I know it helped their skiing to.

I always try to remember that they are their to ski. I start each lesson at the top of the chair with three rules:

1. Have fun.
2. Follow the skiers safety code. EAch student will have to recite a different element of the SSC each time we stop.
3. I ask them to tell me to shut up if I talk too Much. They do and I make it a point to listen.

Instead of looking at school kids as less money look at it as an opportunity to ski with, and help some friends. I could go on and on with stories of good days with the drasted school kids but I'm sure noone wants to here them.
post #12 of 18
Tom's got the mojo!

I'll bet they call you the Pied Piper. And I'll bet you have people of all ages hanging on you.

Enthusiasm is infectious.
post #13 of 18
>>>I will always end up with more kids trying to join my class in the afternoon<<<

Tom, I know the feeling, and it's great [img]smile.gif[/img] ...

In my classes I always made a show of praising an accomplishment with the whole class clapping and shouts of encouragments, while downplaying failures with such words as "almost there, just a little more of this or that" etc.

I also ecouraged, and with some classes made it mandatory that we sing, shout, hoot and holler while making a free run, it takes their mind off of what they are doing and many things in skiing come naturally if you don't think about them, really.

About the free run. Our hills are short and I made it a point to teach with several stops along the hill for one run and do a non-stop free run, follow the leader style, the next. It worked wonders for me and the class.

Now the downside. Since I was given the more advanced classes, many who skied up to me wanting to join my class because they saw all the fun we were having were in no way able to keep up with the regulars and I would be spending all my time trying to bring the straggelers up to speed since you always teach to the slowest in your class. Giving the good learners in your class something to work on while you spend your time with the slow ones is cheating the good ones, I think.

So when this happened I would promise five minutes after class to spend with the ones I had to reject. That is barely time for a couple of turns each, not learning much skiing but they learned to sing, hoot and holler and give their fellow student a clicking of the poles.

post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by nolobolono:
Are we not saying that the secret is the people staffing these groups?
Yes, we are saying that. Tom and Ott DO have the mojo.

We hire for mojo in Aspen.

People ask us how we develop the school we have. (which, as you know, I'm ordinately proud!). I tell them we hire great people, support them, respect them, and get the hell out of their way.
post #15 of 18
Tom, Nolo, Weems, Ott, and all

Great reports.

I feel the things that need to be done are to give the kids the chance to make the commmitment to the lesson program, not their parents. Also, the SS Staff need to be awake! to the feelings of the kids. If the kids don't want a "lesson" don't make them "school" Take them skiing! It seems so simple.

My eldest son, when He was about 10, went with me to Stratton, where I enrolled him and his boarding brother in "lessons'. He was bummed!. When I asked after if he had fun, and what he did, he said the instructor, a younger fellow, said to him. "You're a kid, I know you like to do jumps. Let's go do jumps!" A Real winner!


Your story is from the success side. We all want all the opportunities to be like that. Old or young. We can't change the kids, but we can change the situation.

Regarding the right "Stuff". I don't feel it is optional equipment, but rather the right tone and influence. Timing! My kids only "want" a guide that will take them all over the mountain. They listen and learn on their way. They love to go with me, and ask "how to questions all the while.
Some "theme" might be powerful. Hit park, all mountain, race gates. Heck, The "pay to play" gates are always up and under used. Take the kids in class and run the gates. That would get their attention.

Thanks all for the ideas.

post #16 of 18
I don't know why Pierre eh! hasn't joined this thread, he can tell you how it is now. I've been away from actual teaching for many years.

From what I see now there are classes that are overloaded, and like in public schools, there is a discipline problem. Many instructors of lesser experience, when they can't control the yapping and pushing that's going on, just look straight ahead with glazed eyes and spout the jargon.

Sure, they were teaching, but were the kids learning? And it is not entirely their fault, they are handed a bunch of unruly kids who are more interested in hollering to their friends on the chair than in paying attention.

And then there are many, even most, excellent groups whom it is a pleasure to teach.

Please don't take what I'm going to say as any kind of prejudice, just as my observation.

Private school groups and kids from schools in rich or well to do neighborhoods are much easier to teach than, well, the opposite groups.

I have my suspicion why, but I'm not going to say.

post #17 of 18

Your comment about how the rich kids from private schools are easier to teach than the public school kids is no doubt true, but here in Montana we prefer the ranch kids from little schools over the "city" kids from big schools.

What's a real trip is teaching the kids from the Rez. These kids grow up with ponies and "basketball as religion" and those who aren't already obese and courting juvenile diabetes often exhibit outlandish talent for sliding downhill.

But local color aside, the variables of success in ski school are very close to those in the classroom: the skills/experience/affect of the teaching staff, the teacher-student ratio, and how well the lesson addresses the motivation of the students.

The "industry" could make these school programs a major prong in an overall marketing strategy, by bringing in sponsor support--as, for example, Nike/Reebok/Addidas do in sponsoring youth basketball camps and hoopfests.

Now, what would be the snow-version of a hoopfest?
post #18 of 18
The real bother of this topic, is that the young people are all too often having a bad experience of ski instruction. When things are suposed to be fun and enticing, the results are just the opposite. Then we make streams of comment, and dreams of what it will take to get the recognition/ participation, what ever we care to invision, for the revival of the ski industry.

Fun first, and I see that in the training my son had as a first year Pro in the perfect turn camp.

It just doesn't manifest in the "by the Bus load" enviornment. It needs to!

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching