|Originally posted by epic:
I think people just don't feel that ski schools have much to offer them. ...
The people that I've talked to about this seem to fall into three categories:
a) The first is the typical walk-in customer. He/she knows that professional instruction is useful and occasionally takes a lesson, or makes his/her children occasionally take a lesson, but for whatever reason(s) doesn't do it all that often. I'll call these the "normal" folks. Sure, they probably should have more lessons, but at least they manage to have an occasional interaction with the ski school every season or two.
b) The second category thinks that ski school is almost entirely unnecessary for them or their family because they can "do it on their own". This group puts learning to ski into the same category as learning to ride a bike, and you don't see very many bike schools around, even for rank beginners. IMHO, this is where a big change in perception by the public would be most profitable.
c) The third category of people think much like the second category. They think that pro ski instruction is pretty much wasted on beginners, but might be appropriate and valuable to kids (and others) that want to ski competitively. The model of ski instruction in their minds is more like that of high school and college athletics coaching.
Category (b) bothers me the most. In particular, I am flabbergasted by the number of parents that I have run into who can barely ski, but yet have attempted to teach their kids to ski either entirely on their own, or with at most one or two professional lessons. When I gently suggest to these types that their kids might do better with a pro lesson, they look at me like I just suggested something completely absurd. This is how deep the problem of perceiving the utility of ski instruction goes.
I have had numerous encounters with type (b) people, but one that stands out and perhaps best illustrates the problem was watching a middle aged woman (maybe an ATM 3 or 4 at best) trying to help her 6 y.o. son down a green slope that had gotten a bit fast after the sun went down. She was in an ineffective snow plow, barely able to stop herself, bent forward at the waist, holding her poles cross-wise in front of her and her kid. Unfortunately, they were exactly neck-high on the kid, pressing on his neck and choking him! The more he complained and cried, the louder she hollered at him.
Fortunately, I was skiing with my daughter and a buddy who is an L-I instructor. They took her kid down, and I talked her down.
At the bottom, when I tried to diplomatically suggest that a lesson or two "is often the quickest and best way to get people past this awkward stage in skiing", she said something like, "he doesn't need a lesson, he just needs to work harder and stop complaining." Whoa! Not being on the staff, I could be my usual direct self and told her, "Lady, you were choking him. You both could use some lessons." She waddled off in a huff. I have no idea if the concept of lessons penetrated.
There are a lot of people like her around, and they are of all ages, gender, etc.. This is what PSIA is up against.
Tom / PM