Well, I got "forced" into the instructor role this weekend. The people I'm stationed with up here either love it or hate it, and the ones that hate it say there's nothing to do in the winter (I know, I know...). So when I heard a couple of co-workers were going to try skiing at the base ski hill without taking a lesson ("It's too expensive"), I offered my services to avoid injury to them or other people. Besides, the whole "Alaska sucks" mantra was getting on my nerves and I wanted to see if I enjoyed teaching.
First of all, I think my students were excellent. They were relatively fit and had extremely positive attitudes.
Since the rope tow wasn't operating, we booted up a 25 yard sled hill and I taught them the basics about the snowplow and turning, as well as taking off/putting on skis while on a hill. They didn't really seem to get the turning experience down until I set up a ski pole slalom course and gave them a visual to turn around. We progressed further up the hill onto steeper grades until they felt comfortable.
One of my students was grabbed by friends at that point and taken down the big hill. She came back 30 minutes later shaking her head about how steep the hill was and how out of control she felt. She left soon after, and I felt bad because she is leaving tomorrow on an all-expense paid vacation to Saudi Arabia. I think she still had a positive experience, besides that little foray into terror.
I then took my remaining student, now shaken by reports of the "Death Mountain", up the chairlift. Once at the top, I showed her how to read the terrain and make the slope less steep by traversing. She fell once near the bottow when she encountered some cut-up powder, but on subsequent runs she not only stayed up, but grinned the whole time. That was her only fall of the day. Meanwhile her husband, who was trying to teach himself to snowboard, sat at the base of the hill in the lodge slumped over in pain/exhaustion. He's not going to hear the end of this one.
I really enjoyed the experience, other than the numerous times we booted up that sled hill. I did feel that my progress with them could have been a little quicker. It took us three hours to progress from start to going down the big hill. I just don't have the vocabulary or bag o' tricks. I'm sure that a lot of that comes with experience, but can anyone recommend a book or something to give me a hand? From the way that student was talking to our group of friends, I will probably be spending next weekend teaching. That is, if my legs ever heal from all of that walking.