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instructor wipe-outs

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
The wipe-out. Innocent snow-covered fun for you civilian skiers. But for the professional skier and teachers of skiing, the wipe-out is indeed a very serious matter.

I was checking in the manual, but the answers are hazy at best. Are we actually ALLOWED to wipe-out?

I heard of an instructor at a mountain that shall remain nameless who got fired because he wiped out. He was skiing down under the chair and he caught his ski on a protruding stump, causing him to tumble headfirst in the adjacent mogul. Just a harmless little tumble. Anyway, the AREA MANAGER was on the chair at the time, and saw this little tumble from his lofty perch. He skied right down and marched into the ski school director Fritz von Hubergruber's office and demanded that the instructor be fired and removed from his mountain immediately.

Upon invesigation, it was determined that the instructor in question was none other than Arkin Carvinshred, the head trainer and national demo team member. Nice guy, too.

Dismayed, Fritz ran to the AREA MANAGER'S office. "Klaus", he implored, "I can't fire Arkin, he's my best man! There's got to be a way around this. It was just a harmless tumble!"

Klaus the AREA MANAGER motioned for Fritz to sit down. "Fritzy", he said, "we've been friends for a long time. Hell, we came over from Austria together, chased the same girls... dammit, we built this place!" He wandered over to his window, unsure and unsteady. "Ever since Orwellcorp came in here and took over, they've been trying to mold us into another one of their goddam franchise resorts". We all have to serve the same food, have the same color walls in the bathrooms..." he trailed off as he handed Fritz the latest memo from HEAD OFFICE. "Read it."

Fritz began: It has come to our attention that instructors have been wiping out with some regularity at a number of our facilities. This unseemly practice must be ceased immediately, as it portrays our ski schools in an unfavorable light in the public eye. EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, ANY INSTRUCTOR WHO WIPES OUT WHILE IN ORWELLCORP UNIFORM ISSUE WILL HAVE THEIR EMPLOYMENT TERMINATED

Fritz looked up and read out loud the last line of the memo. "Thank you for your attention in this matter."

So that was the end of Arkin Carvinshred. And a lot of other top-notch instructors. Skeeter when down a week later, pre-released a ski in the bumps on Lucy's Leap. Scooter got caught inside in some powder the very next day. Luscious Linda, Grins, Smitty, Keester, the Tominator... they all went down. In less than 2 weeks, Fritz's regular full time staff of 60 instructors was down to just 7. And a long weekend coming up!

Well, the weather turned pretty cold, so the holiday traffic was down a little. With some creative scheduling, Fritz tried to accomodate as much business as he could with only 7 instructors on crew. It meant he would have to go out and teach regular lessons just like the other guys.

Fritz drew a private with a Mrs. Stemma Christie from nearby Upper Snoot Village Resort. At 10 O'clock, they proceeded to the S & Q Bolts and Fasteners RocketQuad and headed for mid-mountain, where Mrs. Christie expressed a desire to work on her pole plants. Fritz proposed a warm up run on Happy Hollow, to which Mrs. Christie agreed.

Upon reaching the crest of the first pitch, Mrs. Christie lost control of her skis and slipped onto her side, henceforth sliding some 30 metres down the slope in an ungainly fashion.

Fritz skied up quickly, with all the lost ski equipment in tow and expressed concern at Mrs. Christie's condition. She was alright, she said, and so they moved on.

A few runs later, Fritz was demonstrating the pole plant on Bluebird while Stemma watched from below. Turn after turn Fritz did arc, skis slicing the corduroy like a hot knife through butter. Suddenly, Fritz's ski tip encountered a ridge in the groomer's track, just a little bump that jutted up about 6 inches. His skis became crossed and he wobbled and teetered. He tilted to the inside as he battled desperately to get his skis uncrossed. His butt made contact with the snow and he slid in an assly fashion for some 2 or 3 metres. Then his ski popped off and suddenly, it looked a lot like we had a wipeout on our hands.

Quickly Fritz got up and snapped his ski back on. He stole a few furtive glances around and it became apparent that no one was around to witness this event. Phew... Except Stemma. "Gotta think of something quick", thought Fritz.

He skied down to Stemma and said "Did you notice that I intentionally did not plant my pole on the third turn to the left, thus causing a wipe-out? I did this on purpose to highlight the importance of a good pole plant."

"Interesting" replies Stemma.

So the lesson continues with out incident and Fritz retires to his office to end the day. He wiped out, but no one saw him do it. And the story he told Stemma Christie... pure brilliance.

The next morning, Fritz arrived at work and found Klaus already sitting in his office. "Klaus! What are you doing here so early?" Klaus looked up wearily, sadly. "Old friend", he said, I have some bad news. This letter was handed to me last night as I was heading home." He read:


I am writing to relate my experiences today with one of your ski instructors, Fritz, I believe his name was.

At the beginning of the lesson, as we headed toward your Happy Hollow run, my skis slid out from under me, with the result being a wipe-out in which I slid down the slope some 75 metres. Why my instructor allowed me to fall like this I do not know. Perhaps I should have been more wary of this instructor's competence but after some discussion, I reluctantly agreed to carry on with the lesson.

One hour later, the instructor and I were skiing down Bluebird. The instructor stopped and asked me to head down a little ways so I could observe his prowess with the pole plant from below. I agreed and slid to a stop a short distance down the hill. The instructor began his demonstration, but 5 or 6 turns in, he lost control and wiped out. Not only did he allow me to wipe-out, but now he had wiped out himself!

He came down and said something about doing this on purpose, which I pretended to buy. Really, my main objective was to get safely to the bottom and as far away from this maniac as possible.

I could not write this letter fast enough. I am shocked and appalled that your ski school would employ such an incompetent instructor. I would suggest it is in your best interest to have this person removed from your payroll right now, if not sooner!

I trust you will advise me as to your actions in this matter.


Mrs. Stemma Christie
post #2 of 32
Great post!

I hope nobody on this forum works for Orwellcorp. It's hard to get better without the occasional crash.
post #3 of 32
Jonathan Swift is saluting you from the other side, IHTS.
post #4 of 32
I have read and studied this post carefully, and I have one important question which may bring the matter to a head.

Do you have Lucious Linda's address? We may have an opening.
post #5 of 32
That is awesome.

In my last year's clinic at Jay the video review at the end of the day was just a riot. People skiing trees in 2 feet of powder, face plants everywhere, some unbelievable saves by instructors and one wipe out. One of them went over the bars right in front of the camera. Can you say crowd went wild.
post #6 of 32
Hilarious! You should send it in to SkI magazine!
post #7 of 32
Whatta great story!

At Breck, we have a bunch of on mountain photographers. They delight in snapping pictures of instructors falling when they get off the chairlift, etc.

There's a special "wall of shame" in the locker room for those pictures!

I fell in uniform yesterday, trying to do an old fashioned "slow dog noodle" on a big bump face. Wacked my pole... PLOP! : Went right over! It was sooo funny!
post #8 of 32
Funny! I've eliminated the insidiuos "Beer Fall" from my instructor's traditions. It's my belief that this sort of pressure on a skier's "vertical attitude" causes him/her to try as hard as possible to recover whenever the occasional lapse in balance occurs. This situation is prime feeding grounds for ACL tears. I've told instructors that if you are going to fall, just fall in accordance with our "ACL TRAINING". Hands forward, feet together, hands over skis. Vermont Safety Reasearch has put together an ACL Awareness Video and Package that is very educational and eye-opening. those of you who haven't checked it out probably should, for your own safety on the snow if nothing else.

I also tell my instructors that if they fall, it better have been worth it!! (wink) I pancaked into the bottom of our half-pipe in my jacket just two days ago... but I did it from about 20 feet in the air and boning out a HUGE Indy, so I feel the fall was worth it!!! (OK it really wasn't because my kidneys still hurt)

Anyway, that's my take.
Spag :
post #9 of 32
Oh that explains it. Now I know why instructors ski like sphincters - uptight and afraid to let it go...


<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 22, 2002 06:40 AM: Message edited 1 time, by VK ]</font>
post #10 of 32

Nice job!
post #11 of 32
I guess Perrie, eh couldn't work there! Didn't he say in a post last season that he goes down at least twice a day? Or was that twice a week, month, season?????? [img]smile.gif[/img]----Wigs :
post #12 of 32
My Instructors jacket is reversiable.
post #13 of 32
I've never"seen" Pierre eh fall but I have heard rumors. Dirt little rumors.

post #14 of 32
My moment of "glory" came a couple of weeks ago at Schuss in Michigan. Saturday morning, first run, most of the education staff and about half the membership on the quad chair overhead. I go down in a "hip check" kind of move and pop right back up, but the damage was done. The news seemed to spread like wild fire. I couldn't stop anywhere at the area without people skiing up to "rub it in" and demand a beer later. The day before we were skiing with a D teamer who, after a very near miss, gave us his definition off a fall. He claimed it was not a fall unless your butt was on the ground and both feet off of it. Well, since both my feet had NOT left the ground I tried this excuse, but to no avail. Needless to say I ended up buying a very large round that night in Ivan's and people are still asking for drinks.

post #15 of 32
I think that I only fell a few times this season. I had a few boot out situations that left me skidding in the hip.
post #16 of 32
So I stopped briefly on the on-ramp of a built-up jump in the terrain park. Then I realized it was a stupid place to stand, so I headed off the side of the ramp thinking the downslope would be tapered. It wasn't! It was a straight-down 3-foot drop. I hit it at about 2 mph and landed on my tips. Both heel pieces sprung loose - first time my Xentrix 310's have released since I got them 2 years ago. Landed softly on my face. Felt like a jerk! Looked around - nobody saw. Whew! Popped back in and skied down to my son waiting at the lift (an increasingly common occurrence these days).

We used to say, "If you don't fall at least once in a day, you're not trying hard enough!" These days, I don't fall very often. But now it's not the falling that's the hard part - it's getting up again!
post #17 of 32

At least you now know the bindings are working. Two years without a release probably had you wondering.

post #18 of 32
Wiping out is one thing, but wiping out in front of a class is another! Have any of you ever done that? I have! I was just adjusting to the shaped skis after skiing on straight boards for 30 years or so and caught an edge. I was fortunate, it was a beginners class and I played it off as a demonstration to show how to get up if they fell.

On another note, I witnessed an instructor fall during a more advanced class, he got carted away by the ski patrol. I am not sure if he was really hurt or just too embarrassed to get up and continue.
post #19 of 32

I know what you mean about adjusting to new skis. [img]smile.gif[/img] Not that there new, but I have to do that every other week when switching between my 140cm that I teach our Beginner's Magic program on and my longer skis that I use in the intermediate and advanced ski classes. When I get on my longer skis, I have to really pay attention for a run or two or I will find myself on the snow because I'm expecting the ski to come around quicker. But Perrie, eh! it hasn't happened yet this season. [img]tongue.gif[/img] ----------Wigs :
post #20 of 32
That's interesting, Wigs. When they teach snowblades at Okemo, they teach it at the end of the day, because apparently, people tend to fall when they get back onto their regular skis. But I heard through the grapevine that it was actually instructors who were falling, which was why they changed the format!
post #21 of 32
When I go down in front of a class, it is a) a stupid lift line bobble, or b) for a darn good reason. The class loves it when I can it up.

Everyone deserves a spanking from time to time.

I agree that instructor fall funds are a demotivator. VK, who speaks what others may only allow themselves to think, has accurately diagnosed the problem as sphincter-related.

The instructors who only cruise the groomed, who sip coffee in the lodge or locker room between assignments, who never test their mettle are not engaged in professional development but facade maintenance.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 23, 2002 09:04 AM: Message edited 1 time, by nolobolono ]</font>
post #22 of 32
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> VK, who speaks what others may only allow themselves to think, <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

WOW! Do alot of people hate the rest of the human race that much? My dad once wiped out when teaching a bunch of teenage punks. For the rest of the class, they were singing "I GET KNOCKED DOWN, BUT I GET UP AGAIN..."
post #23 of 32
Whew, at first I thought it was seriuos...
post #24 of 32
Ihavethesecret, great story, but I wish you had chosen Fred and Kevin instead of Fritz and Klaus. Austrians don't fall down

post #25 of 32
"You're not learning anything new if you never fall!!!!!"

A great skier once told me that! If you think about it, his statement is very true. If you are skiing so perfectly that you do not fall (ever), then you are not pushing yourself to the next level or you are skiing terrain that is too easy for you. Have you ever heard the saying, "We learn from our mistakes." Ski Instructors are not gods, though some may want you to think they are. Ski instructors do not know everything, and frequently, they learn new things too, that's why they have clinics and refreshers.

I am a ski instructor, so I can say that!!!!!
post #26 of 32
>>> then you are not pushing yourself to the next level or you are skiing terrain that is too easy for you.<<<

Well, it sounds nice (for an excuse) but that's about it. You don't learn to drive better by having accidents, you don't swim out farther into the lake than you think that you can make it back, and I'm sure you don't jump off a wall higher than you think you can survive without a crash or jump a creek wider than you think you can jump.

Why not push yourself a little and learn how wide or high a jump you can do and then go a little higher? So what if you fall, at least you have learned your limits.

It is because any fall is potentially dangerous, and as many cases every skiing day prove, very dangerous.

And as an instructor you know that practicing on easier terrain before venturing into the challenge is what you teach your students and that is what every skier, instructor or not, should practice.

This season I have told a friend who has been wanting to ski the trees for years that he wasn't ready, but he did the hardwood trees in Vermont and he told me he did allright for a number of turns before he lost it and hit one. He bailed out on purpose before hitting the tree when he knew he couldn't make the turn but slid into it with his shins and broke both tibias.

So why not be dead sure (poor choice of words) that you are able to make each and every turn before venturing into those trees?

Poor judgement has done in many a skier. Personally, I think that just skiing a lot will make the skier more comfortable in steeper and narrower terrain, once he can make his skis go precisely wherever he wants he can gain the confidence to push it WITHOUT FALLING, BECAUSE IN A FALL HE IS OUT OF CONTROL AND BAD THINGS CAN HAPPEN.

My two cents worth.. ....Ott
post #27 of 32
Well there has to be some sort of balance. Its not pretty to see someone ski like they have a pole up their butt, but if you use the same analogy, some people are so out of control that you want to give them an immodium, or something.
post #28 of 32
Does VK hate the human race? Hmmm. No doubt his commentary is a bit caustic, but I would hesitate to call him a sociopath.

A critic, perhaps, whose prose cuts to the bone like razor wire.

I like dissidents. Without 'em the world would be a deadly bore.
post #29 of 32
Did I miss a post by VK that was removed? If the post on March 22 at 6:39AM is his only post I would think the number of grins would be a dead give-away to being meant as a humorous satirical post. :
post #30 of 32
As much as I try to listen with an open mind to everybody about this topic, in my heart of hearts, Ott, I'm with you 100% on this one.

Although never falling can be a sign that one is not "pushing" one's self enough, that might not be the reason at all. Some people have developed better balance, agility and reflexes from other activities, and are better at bailing themselves out.
Also, the word "pushing". I thought this was supposed to be fun.

I do admit there is a difference between how much risk I'll take on ice and on anything resembling powder. Unless you are EXTREMELY well padded, falls on New england ice hurt! Falls out west are sort of fun, though.

When I see an instructor fall, I do not think badly of him, since I am well aware of what strss and burnout can do. On the other hand, if his CLASS is CONSTANTLY wiping out and crashing in to each other, than I may question his teaching abilities.
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