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An amazing lesson

post #1 of 7

Good job. Hopefully your supervisor caught on to the disparate group size and a little discussion with the guy from Canada.
post #2 of 7
Yes, and as before--the key is training!

A great example though, Ant, of how the students CAN tell the difference....

Ski school directors/resort management--ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION? Training is expensive--but IT PAYS!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #3 of 7
What a lousy ski lesson.
post #4 of 7
By-the-way--to all the ski school directors who participate here at EpicSki--I hope you realize that my statement above is rhetorical. I know that my preaching here is to the choir. Unfortunately, it's many of the SSD's who do NOT participate at EpicSki who need to hear the message!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

An amazing lesson

This is leading off from my previous topic (rant!) about the teaching of upper/lower body separation as a first resort.

On Monday, I was allocated to teach a large group of level "5" adults, with one of our young Canadian instructors. The idea is that we ski them, and then split the group into 2, we usually do this and it works well.

On this day, we had 10 people. They were doing various versions of wobbly/jerky parallels and wedges on blue terrain, with the usual upper-body led turns, shaky balance, you know the picture. They weren't really 5's, in the true sense of the level.

Canadian threw to me for the first exercise, after we'd skiied a run as warm up. It was filthy weather, gales and a blizzard going, and quite a bit of fresh laying around (cold day, less talking!). I gave a quick overview of how you ski this stuff, and explained how balance was the key to skiing and that we'd work on that to start with. Asked them to focus on feeling certain things while we did some turns, and then we'd go into some exercises. Off we went.

When we stopped, Canadian boy bustled up and took over, annoucing that we were going to work on our pole plants! I'm sure most of you know the effect this had on the group.

So we did that. Then, he got them to put the uphill pole across and balanced on the other wrist, while tapping the downhill pole while skiing along. They were confused by this (and getting quite cold). Next, they were to ski with both poles balanced on their wrists. Next, Canadian drew a line down the hill, and wanted them to do short turns across it. 4 of them fell, one of them fell twice.

Then, he told them how you ski fresh snow: you ski with your legs together. to facilitate this, he got them to take off one glove, clamp it between their upper thighs, and ski down the run. I went last, collecting gloves from the snow.

Last, he took them down a steepish run that was shin-deep in wet, fresh snow. Most of them fell. I had to talk one lady down who was proposing to remove her skis.

What did I think was wrong with his approach? First, he didn't ask the group what they wanted to do, or work on, he just launched straight into it. Then, he assumed they were Level 5s, and even after seeing them ski, he didn't match the lesson to their actual ability.

He seemed quite nonplussed by my attempting to start with balance, from the feet up, and teaching pole plants on the first day in a blizzard seemed to me like trying to walk on nails.
He imparted a lot of amazingly wrong info, the clamped legs being just one instance.
And finally, he gave them tasks and terrain way beyond their ability, and scared several of them. He's probably never felt fear when skiing, and didn't seem to pick up on it in members of the group.

We get our groups for the whole week here, and by day 2 many were getting very restive. They wanted 2 smaller groups, rather than our big one, and when I said that we'd probably have a gung-ho group, and a more technical, careful group, and that I'd probably be teaching the latter, they seized on that and became quite assertive!
On day 3, they bailed Canadian up early, and demanded a split. So he announced it....and 7 people determindly moved to where I was. Of the 3 left near the Canadian, 2 of them were most annoyed as they'd plied me with beer the night before and had intended to join my group.

I later inherited some extras, as various spouses decided to join the group. It looked a bit odd, me with a huge group and he with a tiny one.

But you know, lessons like the above are proably being given all over the world, every day.
it's depressing to think of it sometimes, but the cure is to get out there and teach some more people to love skiing more!
post #6 of 7
Ant: My hats off to you,for the incredible patience you showed in a very awkward situation. As I read your post I sat here laughing,not believing that a seasoned instructor(from Canada),could be so far off the mark on his assessment of the students.Then to make it worse,to have them attempt high level skiing tasks in difficult conditions is totally unacceptable. He lucky he's skiing with you and not me. I would pull rank and sideline him for such a blatant mistake.

PS: What ever happened to just having fun when conditions get tough? Maybe his students would have come back and asked for him!!!! GO Figure???

Can you tell me if he has a Canadian Certification, and if so what it is? Good Luck.

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Chuckle, yep, while i was observing this debacle, I was thinking that I had to share it with you lot...and then it would get even better. I've left a lot out. The quantity and quality of mis-information imparted was astonishing. He's apparently Canadian level 1. But like I mentioned previously, all of them (from the same resort) teach as a primary thing upper body facing down the hill and legs turning below it, from level 3 upwards. They regard upper body and arms/hands as the key to skiing, it seems.

But now for the bad news. The boss loves anything Canadian. That I ended up with 9 people (when the spouses came along), and this chap 3, seemed to go unremarked as the new week's schedule has gone up on the board, and this chap is teaching the adult level 6's. Meanwhile, I have 2 kids groups and a teens group.

Some people on this forum work at the US resort where the boss is also a semi-boss. Eldora is starting to look even more attractive. I'm not joking. Evidently, I suck!
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