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Why Don't More Skiers Take (or Take More) Ski Instruction? - Page 15

post #421 of 571

The reason I did not get certified is I would have made less money the first few years I taught. By the time I paid for all the tests, the membership, and received the pay raise and other "benifits" of being certified my take home pay would have been less or the same. I could have easily taken all the tests and gotten level 1 and 2 but their was absolutely no benifit to doing so. The last few seasons I taught I was actually making more as a uncertified ski and snowboard instructor than the level 3 instructors on staff, again no benifit to me. Ski instructing was not a career I was going to follow, I never saw any kind of future being a instructor.

 

As a kid skiing with the school group we were required to take lessons. I could not stand them. To me the biggest problem was the instructors did not look like good skiers. Their were much better skiers on the hill I wanted to ski like and the way the classes were going was not taking me in that direction. Later in life is when I learned the whole PSIA thing and now know why the instructors are people I did not look up to when I was younger. So no the general public does not know what PSIA is, they do know what the local ski school jackets look like and see the instructors on the hill. Again it all boils down to offering something people want. Unfortunately the way the majority of PSIA certified instructors ski is not something alot of people want. 

 

Another reason people do not get lessons was mentioned earlier in the thread. On average people do not ski very many days a year, They are there to ski not stand around and talk about skiing. This is something there is almost no solution for when it comes to group lessons. With private lessons the standing around can be greatly reduced. Now the cost has gone up throwing another road block in the mix.

 

When I grew up I spent my time watching guys like Jean Luc Brassard in the bumps. I have always been a huge freestyle skier. What little I have seen of the PSIA Demo teams has not left me wanting to see more.

 

I have no idea what it will take to get more people to take lessons. I am just pointing out some of the things I have seen that is causing people to not take lessons.

post #422 of 571

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CR0SS View Post

. To me the biggest problem was the instructors did not look like good skiers.



 

Most ski areas do not want their ski instructors skiing in their uniforms when they are not teaching lessons. They do not want to be liable for any injuries the free-skiing instructors may sustain. When you see someone skiing in uniform he or she is probably teaching and their skiing probably reflects something the instructor is trying to teach, something immediately attainable by the student(s). If your instructor skied during the lesson as if he were skiing a World Cup GS, how useful would that be? On the other hand, the next time you take a private lesson from a PSIA level III you might want to ask him to do that. I know I would have enjoyed ripping while teaching. Most of the time though I was attempting to teach some fundamental movement pattern or correct some flaw which had crept into their skiing which was inhibiting their progress or showing something specific. In fact I can't recall ever teaching someone whose skiing level even remotely approached a very high level of skiing although that would have been nice. I did occasionally "teach" a group of people who liked to ski very fast. Their primary objective was to be able to cut the lift lines. The unspoken rule with such people was never to arrive at the bottom before them. Breaching their conceited opinion of their own skiing was a sure fire way to not get a repeat request which I eventually discovered. There's always a fine line to be followed in such cases anyway since an instructor is generally held to be somewhat responsible for a student's well being. I think ski instructors seldom teach high level skiing because people who ski at a high level seldom purchase ski lessons. Some of those people you see out there "ripping" so to speak, are likely out of uniform ski instructors.

post #423 of 571

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by oisin View Post

 



 

Most ski areas do not want their ski instructors skiing in their uniforms when they are not teaching lessons. They do not want to be liable for any injuries the free-skiing instructors may sustain...

 Neither statement is exactly correct.  Some resorts have no restrictions on freeskiing in uniform, some only allow certain levels of instructor to freeski in uniform, some only allow certain instructors to ski certain runs while in uniform, yada yada.  One of the reasons behind this is the resorts are aware that instructors have a broad range of ability and they don't want someone to ski badly in public while in the jacket for PR reasons. 

 

As for instructors looking bad while they teach because they're teaching low-level lessons, again, not quite.  I've seen fat, out of shape race coaches coach 7 year olds on the flats and look good doing it.  And SOME instructors can look good teaching beginners.  The instructors I've known who were or are rippingg skiers generally look that way in or out of uniform. 

post #424 of 571

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post

 

I've seen fat, out of shape race coaches coach 7 year olds on the flats and look good doing it.


I'm not sure I believe you. Usually I see the race coaches just standing around. :duck

post #425 of 571

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

 


I'm not sure I believe you. Usually I see the race coaches just standing around. :duck


epic, I don't know you well enough to know if you are being sarcastic or serious. I will presume the former.

 

For those that presume the latter, coaches are among the hardest working employees on skis at a resort; on a par with patrol. They arrive early, put in a long hard physical work day, and leave late.

 

As to the topic of this thread, and to summarize what I have read, it seems that people don't take more lessons because:

 

  • finances (skiing isn't cheap to start),
  • perceived benefits of instruction (do they want to look or actually ski better?),
  • does the snow sports school provide the instruction that the student desires (i.e. want to ski faster not make prettier turns) and
  • the skier's own perceived need for instruction (they think they are better than they are)

 

These rank among the most cited reasons that people don't get more instruction. What to do? As a colleague back at Apple said to me in 1981:

 

Part of the problem may be the distribution of skiers and riders. Younger skiers and riders learn in the parks from their buddies so don't want/need lessons while older skiers/riders may already know all they feel they need to know as they want to stay alive, not tear it up, thus don't want to improve.

 

There are two ways to solve a problem: 1) change the problem, 2) change the perception of the problem.

 

Assuming that instructors have a viable product for sale and I don't represent that (in general) they don't, get better at marketting what you have to sell. Change people's perceptions about what they can gain from lessons. Safety and performance would seem to be a couple of things that ought to attract attention. Let them know what they are missing by not getting better skills to get around more of the mountain. Have more instructors jibbing in the park to show what you might learn if you get a lesson; have all mountain clinics that allow students to expand their horizons; have race clinics for those that want to put the pedal to the metal. And let people know you do these things.

 

MR

post #426 of 571

MasterRacer, now you are getting to the meat of the problem; how to fix the why.

 

Perhaps the presentation of the product could use some tweaking too.  There are all kinds of learn to ski or board packages available, and they are needed to bring in new participants.  How about an enhanced ticket that would include a lesson at more advanced levels than 1st timers? 

 

Or:  a buy on-line package to allow an area to plan a little better.

 

Or: use some of the instructor staff for a mountain host program.  It would be a great way to pitch your product to folks that have not been there before.  Or charge for this at a reduced lesson rate?

 

Marketing ski school as a good way to meet other skiers of your own ability could be viable as well.

 

Perhaps I have been away from the economic side of ski school to give a valid view on this one, but looking at the class sizes when I am on the MT says more students wouldn't hurt.

 

 

post #427 of 571

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post

 

 ...

 

As for instructors looking bad while they teach because they're teaching low-level lessons, again, not quite. 

 

...

 

 

When I was a kid (in the 60's) and participated in proficiency competitions, part of the idea was to look the level that you were demonstrating. If you were demoing snow plow (a wedge to you newbies ) then look like a beginner, good, but beginner. Don't finish up with a stem turn or hockey stop. Stop by snow plowing to a stop.

 

The same should apply now to lessons; an instructor should ski proficiently at the level they are teaching. If you are teaching never evers, don't throw in some quick parallel turns at the end of a demonstration; it'll only discourage or worse yet, you'll have a student try to do it and fail miserably. Stay within the level that they ought to be able to acheive if they follow your instruction.

 

Don't do a simple garland across the hill and finish by hopping a 180 degree turn to stop. Let the students see how it should be accomplished from beginning to end. Don't do anything in front of your students other than what they are learning or should know already.

 

Instructors should look proficient at the level they are teaching. If they look bad at the level they are teaching, then they shouldn't be teaching that level. Students will ski to look like their instructor. Ski the way you want them to look.

 

MR

post #428 of 571

CROSS did hit a valid point that hasn't really got discussed. And MasterRacer expanded on it some. Namely, teaching more than just groomer skiing!   

Quote:
 

When I grew up I spent my time watching guys like Jean Luc Brassard in the bumps. I have always been a huge freestyle skier.  

Quote:
 

does the snow sports school provide the instruction that the student desires (i.e. want to ski faster not make prettier turns)  

 

Groomer might be the best place to instruct and pratice. But there is the perception of ski school teaching ONLY groomer skiing! Or the skills taught only apply to groomers! Do I see instructor's teaching jumps in the park? Do I see instructors teaching in the trees? NO! 
 

WHY???

 

Intermediate skiers ARE skiing in the trees. Many mountains have "blue tree zones". Mountains are building parks for many years now, but where are the park classes??? When a kid wants to jib, they have nowhere to turn but their own friends. Who would have thought about a class? Their parents? ;-)

 

When a developing skier, be it adults or kids, wants to venture off the groomer, they have nowhere to turn but trial and error. They may have the skill to enjoy it. Or they don't. If they have buddies who can mentor them, those are the lucky ones. Others either never go there, in which case they felt they don't really need to improve anyway, or they venture in and learn by crash and burn. Either way, they simply CAN NOT relate their failure in the un-groomed to the need to take some more lessons ON THE GROOMER. Why? Because the perception, AND to a lesser degree the actual teaching, are too focus on groomer skiing!

 

Just go ask any skier who could wobbly "make it" down a black diamond trail, why does he need to "improve", so that he can go ski where? Or to make his skis do WHAT??? Why would he felt the need to take more lesson?

 

post #429 of 571

 Not sure whether you are saying bigger class sizes or just getting more people taking lessons.  Sounds like you are talking bigger class sizes.  I can't agree with that.  I know an instructor I had one winter went to New Zealand one winter and had (I may have this wrong) like 25 or more students in a class and it was a nightmare.  Said it was assembly line instruction and he would never do it again.  I can't see more than 8 and too me that is already stretching it.  Just getting people up the lift line would be a nightmare with the waiting, let alone getting them all the "same" skill level AND having them all hear you.  Then the waiting around?  Forget it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger View Postbut looking at the class sizes when I am on the MT says more students wouldn't hurt.

 

 

 

post #430 of 571

Sibhusky, no just the wrong term used . The point trying to be made is the # of classes, not the # in the classes.  Agree with you if there are over about 10 people in a class not too much good is going to happen.   My bad! 

post #431 of 571

Groomer skiing instruction.

 

Work on creating good movement patterns on easy terrain and then apply it to more difficult terrain.

 

Groomer and on piste  skiing instruction is the path to off piste skiing for all skill levels.

 

It sure doesn't mean you spend all your time there. That would be pretty boring.

post #432 of 571

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post

CROSS did hit a valid point that hasn't really got discussed. And MasterRacer expanded on it some. Namely, teaching more than just groomer skiing!   

Quote:
 

 

Groomer might be the best place to instruct and pratice. But there is the perception of ski school teaching ONLY groomer skiing! Or the skills taught only apply to groomers! Do I see instructor's teaching jumps in the park? Do I see instructors teaching in the trees? NO! 
 

WHY???

 

Intermediate skiers ARE skiing in the trees. Many mountains have "blue tree zones". Mountains are building parks for many years now, but where are the park classes??? When a kid wants to jib, they have nowhere to turn but their own friends. Who would have thought about a class? Their parents? ;-)

 

When a developing skier, be it adults or kids, wants to venture off the groomer, they have nowhere to turn but trial and error. They may have the skill to enjoy it. Or they don't. If they have buddies who can mentor them, those are the lucky ones. Others either never go there, in which case they felt they don't really need to improve anyway, or they venture in and learn by crash and burn. Either way, they simply CAN NOT relate their failure in the un-groomed to the need to take some more lessons ON THE GROOMER. Why? Because the perception, AND to a lesser degree the actual teaching, are too focus on groomer skiing!

 

Just go ask any skier who could wobbly "make it" down a black diamond trail, why does he need to "improve", so that he can go ski where? Or to make his skis do WHAT??? Why would he felt the need to take more lesson?

 

At Smugglers' Notch, we teach the park, bumps, trees and steeps virtually every day. We teach that to kids, we teach that to adults, we teach that to intermediates, we teach that to advanced. The Snow Sports University at Smugglers' Notch is a great winter sports school, but I can't believe that we're the ONLY ones who do that. I DON"T believe that for a minute.

 

Where the hell have you been looking? Do you really believe that ski schools DON'T teach the park, bumps, trees and steeps?  The post by at_nyc quoted above is one of the most uninformed posts I've ever read but written as the writer actually knew this for a fact. Not good.

post #433 of 571

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by oboe View Post

 

At Smugglers' Notch, we teach the park, bumps, trees and steeps virtually every day. We teach that to kids, we teach that to adults, we teach that to intermediates, we teach that to advanced. The Snow Sports University at Smugglers' Notch is a great winter sports school, but I can't believe that we're the ONLY ones who do that. I DON"T believe that for a minute.

 

Where the hell have you been looking? Do you really believe that ski schools DON'T teach the park, bumps, trees and steeps?  The post by at_nyc quoted above is one of the most uninformed posts I've ever read but written as the writer actually knew this for a fact. Not good.


Since when? Last season?

 

Where were you 10 years ago when parks were build in every resort? When trees zones were becoming available everywhere? Or even 5 years ago?

 

Yes, I wrote it as I "knew this for a fact", because it WAS. A mere 3 years ago, I asked at one big (northeast) mountain. And was told by the head of ski school they were "just starting" teaching lessons in parks that very season!


"Uninformed"? Who is being uninformed? 


Edited by at_nyc - 6/22/2009 at 12:15 am GMT


Edited by at_nyc - 6/22/2009 at 12:16 am GMT
post #434 of 571

Don't know where that was, at_nyc, but it wasn't the places where I've been working or attending clinics. This is not a new phenomenon. Been  around awhile.

post #435 of 571

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post

 

 

 

When I was a kid (in the 60's) and participated in proficiency competitions, part of the idea was to look the level that you were demonstrating. If you were demoing snow plow (a wedge to you newbies ) then look like a beginner, good, but beginner. Don't finish up with a stem turn or hockey stop. Stop by snow plowing to a stop.

 

The same should apply now to lessons; an instructor should ski proficiently at the level they are teaching. If you are teaching never evers, don't throw in some quick parallel turns at the end of a demonstration; it'll only discourage or worse yet, you'll have a student try to do it and fail miserably...


The point I was trying to get across is that many instructors have some basic balance and fluidity issues among other things.  Some instructors are also ripping skiers.  The ones who are really good skiers look good teaching just about anything, with the possible example of that gliding wedge.  Tough to make the gliding wedge or a pivot slip look good, no matter who you are.  As an example I'd cite the video of the Alta clinic that was circulating maybe a year ago: I might not ever want to spend time working on a lot of what they were working on, but the trainer was clearly an excellent skier and you could see this even while he was demo-ing basic level skills. 
 

 

If the instructor is getting off the lift with a group of level 3 students and the instructor looks backseat, stiff-legged, with the same slight permabend in the knees for the entire run,  and is continually getting bucked by irregularities in grooming, those are not deficiencies that are being intentionally demoed. 

 

In terms of whether there's a viable product there, think in good conscience what you'd recommend to someone who hadn't started skiing yet.  Would a developmental path be regular ski-school heavy at most areas, or heavier relatively speaking on other types of input, assuming they really want to develop athetically as skiers and not just learn new-age consulting speak and cut some liftlines?  Think about your s.o. and tele.  I know some ripping tele instructors that might have done better than what her lesson experience was, but even they will tell you they didn't get to be ripping skiers by taking regular lessons.

post #436 of 571

 . . . and no one gets to be a world class violinist by taking lessons, either. It takes personal desire, miles, and ability. But that world class violinist STILL TOOK LESSONS. And even top professionals seek coaching. My late father was a terrific violinist who taught others - some of them rather pedestrian, and some rather excellent. He himself would travel into New York every few months for coaching from his own violinist "guru".

 

The premise of this thread, implicit or otherwise, seems to have been "a lot of people don't take lessons - now, why is that?" What I've seen is that lots of people DO take lessons, measured as a percentage of guests present. 

 

Much of the thought posted in this thread is from knowledgeable people in the ski instruction business or close to it. Some, though, has been posted by individuals who have strong thoughts about what the facts are when they obviously don't know squat.

 

The ski instruction business appears - to me, in my own limited experience as an instructor - to rise and fall with the fortunes of the ski areas themselves. When skier visits are up, lessons are up. When skier visits are down, lessons are down. Basically, as a part of the skiing industry, it appears to me that the instruction segment is not doing all that bad - not bad at all.

 

I'll rephrase the question in a way that may appeal to some and not to others:

 

Rather than ask "Why don't more skiers take (or take more) ski instruction?" I ask: "How can we increase the percentage of guests/skiers to take (or take more) ski instruction?" For those in the business, that's a constant thought, and one upon which people at Smugglers' Notch (and no doubt people in the business at other ski resorts as well) focus continuing attention. 

post #437 of 571

I know resorts that do not offer lessons in the park or bumps. For someone that sees bump competitions and wants to be a bump skier the ski school is not the best place to go. For park a lot of resorts lack the people to teach in them. I know where I work, I spend more time telling the ski school director about instructors that should be staying out of my parks. Quite a few high level instructors have no idea about park etiquette and until they know it they have no buisness in the park with a lesson.

 

Master racer touched on some very valid points. I think Brekenridge had the add this winter about coming to their ski school and choosing where you wanted to ski. The lessons would then be aranged so you could go there. The whole image of "school" needs to be lost I think. Who wants to go to school while on vacation?

 

No need to duck about the comment about ski coaches just standing on the hill. That is what they do they stand there observing then giving tips for the skiers to work on. I just finished working a race camp last week, We were on the hill at 7:30am, we had 2-3 athletes(arrived around 8:15am), did 6-8 runs(snowmobile shuttle to the top), off the hill at around 12:00. Then it was to a coffee shop to sit and analyze the video the coaches took while they stood around. Come to think of it the only skiing the coaches did was while carrying gates down the hill setting the course, or holding 40# salt bags as the salted the course. It was alot of work just for the athletes to take 6-8 runs through the course.

post #438 of 571

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CR0SS View Post

I know resorts that do not offer lessons in the park or bumps. For someone that sees bump competitions and wants to be a bump skier the ski school is not the best place to go. For park a lot of resorts lack the people to teach in them. I know where I work, I spend more time telling the ski school director about instructors that should be staying out of my parks.

I know resorts that don't even HAVE bumps. So what?

 

Can you offer thoughts on how to improve on the ratio of skier instructions to skier visits? Or not?

post #439 of 571

When it comes to the older crowd I am not sure their is much you can do.

 

With the kids, I think ski schools need to attract younger more energetic skiers as instructors. The kids want to do something cool, a reason snowboarding exploded onto the scene. What do kids see on tv as skiing, the X-Games or World Cup racing. This is what they percieve as skiing. If they come take a lesson that does not even begin to resemble that you will lose all interest from that student. Once the kids get the hang of a snowplow start exploring the mountain. I know next year I am building a park specifically for kids that are beginners. Large rollers, a large wide box only a few inches off the snow, and a mini skier cross course with minature berms and rollers. These features will all be something a kid with a decent snowplow can handle. While they are learning and getting better with the snowplow they will see themselves as ripping through a park like they saw on tv.

 

As I said in my last post, ski schools need to lose the name "school". School is a bad word when you are on vacation. How many parents just avoid the battle of sending their kids to school during their big vacation? Do kids have Basketball school or Football school? No they have coaches and go to practice or camp. Kids brag for weeks to everyone before they go to basketball camp. You rarely hear a kid telling everyone about his up coming trip to ski school. Ski racing is nothing but coaches and training camps. Why does the beginneer skier need to go to school with instructors? Skiing is a sport and is fun, once you start talking about school and instructors the idea of fun starts to disappear. It would be interesting to see what would happen if ski schools dropped the words school and instrutors and started using coaches and practice.

post #440 of 571

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CR0SS View Post

When it comes to the older crowd I am not sure their is much you can do.

 

With the kids, I think ski schools need to attract younger more energetic skiers as instructors. The kids want to do something cool, a reason snowboarding exploded onto the scene. What do kids see on tv as skiing, the X-Games or World Cup racing. This is what they percieve as skiing. If they come take a lesson that does not even begin to resemble that you will lose all interest from that student. Once the kids get the hang of a snowplow start exploring the mountain. I know next year I am building a park specifically for kids that are beginners. Large rollers, a large wide box only a few inches off the snow, and a mini skier cross course with minature berms and rollers. These features will all be something a kid with a decent snowplow can handle. While they are learning and getting better with the snowplow they will see themselves as ripping through a park like they saw on tv.

 

As I said in my last post, ski schools need to lose the name "school". School is a bad word when you are on vacation. How many parents just avoid the battle of sending their kids to school during their big vacation? Do kids have Basketball school or Football school? No they have coaches and go to practice or camp. Kids brag for weeks to everyone before they go to basketball camp. You rarely hear a kid telling everyone about his up coming trip to ski school. Ski racing is nothing but coaches and training camps. Why does the beginneer skier need to go to school with instructors? Skiing is a sport and is fun, once you start talking about school and instructors the idea of fun starts to disappear. It would be interesting to see what would happen if ski schools dropped the words school and instrutors and started using coaches and practice.



 

CROSS,

You are right on! Here is a link to a small ski area that operates much as you describe.

http://skiswissvalley.com/?page_id=41

 

The JDT program is quite large and well accepted, it is now growing into a HS race program, I believe 8 different HS's were involved last season.

 

If you read the total blog, you will see there is a separate program for the Park activites. That program is coached by different individuals with different objectives, That program is now developing into what is called "The Friday Nite Fights".

 

Sometimes smaller is better, why? Because they must compete aganst the larger areas..

 

Still "traditional ski instruction" is offered, but hasn't grown in years.

 

From what I've seen in the past few years adult instruction is almost fallen into a "guide" situtation, with the ability to budge lift lines and have skiing critque along the way, while seeing the area without getting skiers "in over thier heads".

 

Looking forward to next season.

post #441 of 571

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post

CROSS did hit a valid point that hasn't really got discussed. And MasterRacer expanded on it some. Namely, teaching more than just groomer skiing!   

Quote:
 

 

Groomer might be the best place to instruct and pratice. But there is the perception of ski school teaching ONLY groomer skiing! Or the skills taught only apply to groomers! Do I see instructor's teaching jumps in the park? Do I see instructors teaching in the trees? NO! 
 

WHY???

 

Intermediate skiers ARE skiing in the trees. Many mountains have "blue tree zones". Mountains are building parks for many years now, but where are the park classes??? When a kid wants to jib, they have nowhere to turn but their own friends. Who would have thought about a class? Their parents? ;-)

 

When a developing skier, be it adults or kids, wants to venture off the groomer, they have nowhere to turn but trial and error. They may have the skill to enjoy it. Or they don't. If they have buddies who can mentor them, those are the lucky ones. Others either never go there, in which case they felt they don't really need to improve anyway, or they venture in and learn by crash and burn. Either way, they simply CAN NOT relate their failure in the un-groomed to the need to take some more lessons ON THE GROOMER. Why? Because the perception, AND to a lesser degree the actual teaching, are too focus on groomer skiing!

 

Just go ask any skier who could wobbly "make it" down a black diamond trail, why does he need to "improve", so that he can go ski where? Or to make his skis do WHAT??? Why would he felt the need to take more lesson?

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by oboe View Post

 

At Smugglers' Notch, we teach the park, bumps, trees and steeps virtually every day. We teach that to kids, we teach that to adults, we teach that to intermediates, we teach that to advanced. The Snow Sports University at Smugglers' Notch is a great winter sports school, but I can't believe that we're the ONLY ones who do that. I DON"T believe that for a minute.

 

Where the hell have you been looking? Do you really believe that ski schools DON'T teach the park, bumps, trees and steeps?  The post by at_nyc quoted above is one of the most uninformed posts I've ever read but written as the writer actually knew this for a fact. Not good.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post

 


Since when? Last season?

 

Where were you 10 years ago when parks were build in every resort? When trees zones were becoming available everywhere? Or even 5 years ago?

 

Yes, I wrote it as I "knew this for a fact", because it WAS. A mere 3 years ago, I asked at one big (northeast) mountain. And was told by the head of ski school they were "just starting" teaching lessons in parks that very season!


"Uninformed"? Who is being uninformed? 



FWIW, I agree with Oboe on this, at_nyc.  You are painting a broad picture with a narrow brush.

 

I honestly think one of my earlier posts hit the nail on the head...

Most skiers who don't take lessons think they ski better than they actually do.

In their mind(s) they don't need lessons.

 

 

post #442 of 571

There are some broad brushes used here. Doesn't mean that the views expressed are totally invalid, but I will say that for me, I'd guess that at least half of the hours I teach are in bumps, woods and the park. That said, I feel like teaching on the groomers is usually the most valuable thing I can do for my clients.

 

Re: race coaches - I'm being mostly tongue in-cheek, because I know that they can ski. I even race against them on Tuesdays, but I don't think I've ever seen one do a demo. Ever. They are always either carrying gates or a drill or talking on the radio. So as much as people say that they want to learn from a ripping skier to have something to look at, it seems that race coaching does not provide that. (Caveat - J5/J6 coaches ski - but they're not usually the low points people)

post #443 of 571

 The very first post in this long thread notes a "glut" of skiers on the greens and blues. The poster says that they would do better if they had lessons, so why don't they?

 

Again, the unexamined assumptions control the answers. From what I've seen, most guests are at the green/blue level, and they DO take instruction. A significant percentage of those guests have one ski opportunity per year - their wonderfully enjoyable vacation at Smugglers' Notch. They're happy with their lessons and they're happy with their progress. They have no wish to ski blacks, but they take lessons every year they visit because they have no other opportunity to sharpen - or preserve - their ability to ski the greens and blues.

 

There also is a significant number who want to progress to the blacks, and a number who already ski blacks and want to ski them with an instructor good enough to help them improve. First, let me be clear: I am nowhere near that level of instructor. That said, our squad has a broad range of skill. We have instructors who, I swear, walk on water (ok, it's frozen water - but, still). They are amazing, and the guest capable of skiing with them love it.

 

As for kids . . . well, Smugglers' Notch entertains kids at all levels and in all disciplines - easy greens, plus blues and blacks, bumps, trees, and of course the parks. Small numbers of kids in lessons? Not here.

 

Perhaps the reason I haven't seen the kinds of situations some describe here is because I'm lucky enough to work at a great place. That said, I've seen other great places - different, but with great instruction. So I'm thinking that the perception of the situation depends upon the environment in which the perceiving is being done.

post #444 of 571

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by oboe View Post

 . . . and no one gets to be a world class violinist by taking lessons, either. It takes personal desire, miles, and ability. But that world class violinist STILL TOOK LESSONS. And even top professionals seek coaching. My late father was a terrific violinist who taught others - some of them rather pedestrian, and some rather excellent. He himself would travel into New York every few months for coaching from his own violinist "guru".

 ...


Your Dad didn't treck to New Hampshire to take lessons from a very competent high school orchestra conductor, so this is not a good analogy.
 

 

No one is saying that even self-taught skiers don't receive input, of a sort, from others.  The point is that someone who, say, will get 20-30 days in, wants to get better, and is willing to devote both significant on-snow time to improvement and to undertake off-snow activities that yield benefit can on average get a much better deal both cost-wise and technique-wise  away from traditional ski school.   Those other options could include a season-long development program through a good ski school with the right instructor assigned to the group, or say a park program for someone interested in that, or simply cultivating a "crew" of good skiers (or riders) to go out with regularly, or a race program, summer race camps, or camps such as Superstars.  Anecdotally certainly watching people who've done a number of Superstars/Str8line/summer race camps (you don't need to be a great skier to sign up for one) tend to improve, while people who sign up for a lot of "traditional" ski instruction spend more money and plateau very quickly, as do most ski instructors. 

 

Those well-run specialty camps (and Steep & Deep at Jackson and a few other specialty programs run by good ski schools) are thriving, subject to maybe a few recssion blips, and regular higher-level instruction is not. Create a better product, stay open to the broader world of skiing, and people will come. 

 

For someone who's more typical and gets 4-8 actual on-snow days in the answer is even easier, they're reltively happy with where they're at/perceived value of one-off instruction even lower. 

post #445 of 571

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

...

 

Re: race coaches - I'm being mostly tongue in-cheek, because I know that they can ski. I even race against them on Tuesdays, but I don't think I've ever seen one do a demo. Ever. They are always either carrying gates or a drill or talking on the radio. So as much as people say that they want to learn from a ripping skier to have something to look at, it seems that race coaching does not provide that. (Caveat - J5/J6 coaches ski - but they're not usually the low points people)



 

This says a lot more about your being in an insular world than it does about race coaches and race coaching.  The culture of race coaching is centered around producing good skiers and not on the coach having an audience always watching him,. to be sure.  The statement was that fat, out of shape race coaches with 7 years olds on the flats doing basic stuff like learning to ski on one ski can look good doing it.  It's probably happened right in fornt of you a number of times if your area has a race program.  (No offense to any race coaches with a little extra around the middle out there -- I did say you looked good on those skis.)

post #446 of 571

CTKook, I'm not sure I understand your point about my Dad going to New York and the orchestra conductor in New Hampshire. If you mean that people at a certain level of competence don't want to take coaching from someone no better than they - sure. As I've said, those folks like to ski with out super skier coaches.

 

I'm not sure what problem you're purporting to solve. If we get lots of guests taking lessons at all levels, and they're happy - do have a problem with that?

 
The impression I get from your posts is that, no matter what anyone says, you'll come back with some negative remark about ski instruction.
post #447 of 571

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post

 


The point I was trying to get across is that many instructors have some basic balance and fluidity issues among other things.  Some instructors are also ripping skiers.  The ones who are really good skiers look good teaching just about anything, with the possible example of that gliding wedge.  Tough to make the gliding wedge or a pivot slip look good, no matter who you are.  As an example I'd cite the video of the Alta clinic that was circulating maybe a year ago: I might not ever want to spend time working on a lot of what they were working on, but the trainer was clearly an excellent skier and you could see this even while he was demo-ing basic level skills. 
 

 

If the instructor is getting off the lift with a group of level 3 students and the instructor looks backseat, stiff-legged, with the same slight permabend in the knees for the entire run,  and is continually getting bucked by irregularities in grooming, those are not deficiencies that are being intentionally demoed. 

 

In terms of whether there's a viable product there, think in good conscience what you'd recommend to someone who hadn't started skiing yet.  Would a developmental path be regular ski-school heavy at most areas, or heavier relatively speaking on other types of input, assuming they really want to develop athetically as skiers and not just learn new-age consulting speak and cut some liftlines?  Think about your s.o. and tele.  I know some ripping tele instructors that might have done better than what her lesson experience was, but even they will tell you they didn't get to be ripping skiers by taking regular lessons.


Your point is well taken. I was not arguing against it but showing that it is important for an instructor to be able to demonstrate the skills they are teaching. If they can't because they aren't compentent enough that is the fault of the management for letting them teach beyond their skills. If, on the other hand, they are showboating and skiing above the ability they are trying to teach, they are simply not good instructors, no matter how well they can ski.
 

In the case of my S.O. she threw the dice and got a lousy instructor with a closed mind. She could have gotten a great instructor as well. This simply illustrates the point that you don't know what you are going to get when you go for a lesson when you plunk down your money. One of the principal arguments in this thread.

 

MR

post #448 of 571

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post

 



 

This says a lot more about your being in an insular world than it does about race coaches and race coaching. (emphasis added by MR)  The culture of race coaching is centered around producing good skiers and not on the coach having an audience always watching him,. to be sure.  The statement was that fat, out of shape race coaches with 7 years olds on the flats doing basic stuff like learning to ski on one ski can look good doing it.  It's probably happened right in fornt of you a number of times if your area has a race program.  (No offense to any race coaches with a little extra around the middle out there -- I did say you looked good on those skis.)


Thanks CTKook. Being a race coach is all about producing good racers. Many spend their entire year (winter on the hill, summer: dryland training, southern hemisphere, glaciers) helping racers improve. They take pride in their racers successes. They consult with their fellow coaches to understand how to help those that aren't making progress. Race coaches are committed to help those that they teach to improve and measure their success by how their racers perform.
 

 

You don't see upper level coaches 'demoing' much because we generally don't have skis on that are appropriate for running a course or demonstrating a race turn, for that matter. Race skis aren't very good for coaching on. Coaches need to be able to side slip, remove ruts, access b-net, repair courses, etc. which doesn't work well with a ski that is design to arc and nothing else.

 

Additionally, racers typically have the skills beyond that which requires demos. Racers are generally working on the fine points of technique. Coaches tell them what they need to know. That isn't to say that they don't demo. In the early season, when the hill space is limited, coaches do exercises and free ski with their racers. On powder days, when there is too much snow to set a safe course, they rip it up with the racers.

 

Coaches don't have to be better than their racers to help them (as violin instructors don't have to excel beyond their students). They have to be able to tell them what they are doing that is wrong and tell them what they can do to go faster. Additionally, coaches often act as sports psychologists, best friends, mentors, ski tech, etc. Those are virtues that separate the good coach from the great coach.

 

BTW, as oboe points out the coaches for lower level racers are out there skiing and demoing. I'm referring to competitive junior and master racers in my discourse.

 

Race coaches are committed to their job: the improvement of their racers. They don't choose a low paying job with 10+ hour days otherwise. While they are often the best skiers on the hill, coaches don't typically display those skills to get their racers to improve. For visuals we utilize WC skiers as that is what we hope (realistically) our racers will aspire to. If all coaches were as good as the WC skiers they are trying to get racers to be, there wouldn't be any coaches, they'd all be on the WC.

 

People learning to ski need visual aids, too. They need demonstrations, by their instructors, to show them what they can aspire to. These demonstrations should be achievable and in line with the level of the skier. Don't show a level 3 that you can ski at level 8; show them how to ski level 3.

 

And as CTKook points out, don't show a level 3 that you aren't able to ski to the level that you are trying to teach.

 

MR

post #449 of 571

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post

 

BTW, as oboe points out the coaches for lower level racers are out there skiing and demoing. I'm referring to competitive junior and master racers in my discourse.

  

People learning to ski need visual aids, too. They need demonstrations, by their instructors, to show them what they can aspire to. These demonstrations should be achievable and in line with the level of the skier. Don't show a level 3 that you can ski at level 8; show them how to ski level 3.

 

And as CTKook points out, don't show a level 3 that you aren't able to ski to the level that you are trying to teach.

 

MR


um . . . sir, I think it was someone else who pointer that out. I have insufficient knowledge of racing technique  to point out anything related to it except a yard sale.

 

As to doing a demo for the student - most students at level 1 though 6 won't know what you're demonstrating if you don't exaggerate it. Rather than demo a maneuver by doing it "right", I at first explain that I'll exaggerate it as if it were a cartoon - and then I do so. That way, the student knows what you're talking about. Then I ask the students also to exaggerate the maneuver. Of course, they never do. But by TRYING to exaggerate it, they get closer to it than they otherwise would. There are cases of students truly skiing with too much of this or that good thing - and in those cases, they need to be smoothed off. Our late great friend Stu Campbell was a great smoother offer.

post #450 of 571

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CR0SS View Post

When it comes to the older crowd I am not sure their is much you can do.

 

With the kids, I think ski schools need to attract younger more energetic skiers as instructors. The kids want to do something cool, a reason snowboarding exploded onto the scene. What do kids see on tv as skiing, the X-Games or World Cup racing. This is what they percieve as skiing. If they come take a lesson that does not even begin to resemble that you will lose all interest from that student. Once the kids get the hang of a snowplow start exploring the mountain. I know next year I am building a park specifically for kids that are beginners. Large rollers, a large wide box only a few inches off the snow, and a mini skier cross course with minature berms and rollers. These features will all be something a kid with a decent snowplow can handle. While they are learning and getting better with the snowplow they will see themselves as ripping through a park like they saw on tv.

 

As I said in my last post, ski schools need to lose the name "school". School is a bad word when you are on vacation. How many parents just avoid the battle of sending their kids to school during their big vacation? Do kids have Basketball school or Football school? No they have coaches and go to practice or camp. Kids brag for weeks to everyone before they go to basketball camp. You rarely hear a kid telling everyone about his up coming trip to ski school. Ski racing is nothing but coaches and training camps. Why does the beginneer skier need to go to school with instructors? Skiing is a sport and is fun, once you start talking about school and instructors the idea of fun starts to disappear. It would be interesting to see what would happen if ski schools dropped the words school and instrutors and started using coaches and practice.


This is a great idea.

 

Knowing that you are going to do something besides follow in a line behind an instructor would go a long way to creating interest in increasing numbers. For instance, you see the little kids at Breck skiing in the trees and through mock mining towns, not zig zagging down the bunny slope. Take the concept of fun that teaches skills to the older kids and adults. Replace the stigma of 'bend zee knees, 5 dollars pleez' with some skiing fun that instructs as well.

 

MR

 

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