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Evolution of Knowledge - Is It Simply Time and Chance?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
A previous thread that mentioned "pecking order" and many of the technical debates have led me to a thought. I was admonished at one point for challenging a thought process without knowing the years of experience of the writer. Did their experience change the notion of what they were trying to expound?

This may be a factor to some degree in every area of life. But I have really seen and battled this ugly menace more in the ski profession than anywhere. When I started teaching 11 years ago, although I had already been skiing for over 10 years, I did as I do with most things, I dove right in head first. I bought every book on skiing I could find, and I never missed a Tuesday Clinic. I went to camps out west and here, and I attacked the exams. I also was teaching almost 80 lessons a year. At one point, over 50% of my lessons were repeat or referral. I say this simply to lay some groundwork.

All through this and even somewhat to this day, I still get the "young whippersnapper" routine. Those who had 10 years of teaching now have 21. Those with 20 have 31. And in their minds, they will always know more and have more to offer than anyone with less. In their minds it's the time that determines the knowledge. Knowledge is fed by a single size spoon that everyone eats and digests at the same pace.

Hence the "pecking order" in our industry.

Rather than creating hostility, let's assume to speak of this as an industry problem and we're commissioned to look at it. I assume a greater amount of passion and knowledge from people who spend their off snow time reading these pages than the general populace of the ski instructing ranks.

I believe it was Nolo that mentioned a difficulty in intermediate teaching because of having to undo or fix problems that were developed in earlier lessons. I find the immediate reaction is to envision some "newby" teaching some disjointed, ignorant meandering of a lesson which serves only to provide the student with basic survival skills and a whole lot of skill deficiencies. This usually sparks a jump to the topic of Retention or Systems. Is this always the case?

While I don't deny retention is an issue at many ski schools, I also recognize another factor. Most of our "candidate" instructors will spend more hours on training and study in their first year than most of the experienced instructors will spend on their training. I watch most of our newer instructors do a fairly adequate job on teaching the "A" lesson. They usually take the progression they were taught and recycle it through the students with most outcomes being well within the acceptable range set by our industry. They also are typically most open to critique and self improvement. Many of these instructors will cash out after the first or second year, but some will stay and become part of the "cycle of experience".

What do I view as a key missing ingredient in our industry, and maybe a cause in the retention battle. Passion. I also believe it is one of the key ingredients to attaining true knowledge about something. Sit a hungry man down at the buffet and he is going to do a lot more damage than the man who is content with the apple he had earlier that day? How many of the "veterans" who make up the middle ranks of our industry, are happy with the apple they had a few years ago? How many are still talking about that same apple in clinics they are leading or classes they are teaching? Sure, over the years they have changed the way they talk about that apple, how they describe it, but it still is just one apple out of a barrel of hundreds.

Let's be honest, there are some instructors (many of you), who have chosen to take the accelerated course. Your passion dictates the volume and intensity of learning. You've soaked up, retained, and applied more in the last couple of years than many in the industry have in the last 20. You don't bind yourself to assumptions, systems, or ideologies. Your only ideology is that you love what you do and want to know more. Many times (include me in this one) you have selfish motives like being a better skier. Funny thing though, you find you are also becoming a better instructor to.

Don't get me wrong, experience is a critical factor in the development of knowledge. But there has to be information for that experience to develop. I had a job cleaning toilets for a few years when I was a kid. I was around toilets all the time. I knew every contour of the bowl but I couldn't begin to tell you how the darn thing worked! Because I never knew in the first place. Is the oldest man in the world an expert on lungs just because he has been breathing the longest?

So that brings us back home. Are the inexperienced instructors the problem or the unknowledgeable ones? If the majority of the regular skiing public (and instructors), get stuck in the intermediate rut and stay there, who is to blame?
post #2 of 28
I do not think, without an engine to pull the train, that you will increase the number of repeat or higher level skier visits per year. By "engine", I mean an external force that moves the folks to get on the hill and want/need to become better.

We (instructors and die-hards), are to close to see the forest for the trees.

Only a certain percentage of any population will take up any sport with a passion and want to go beyond "the norm".

Golf is around the corner or a short ride, so is tennis or bowling (OK I wouldn't even have a clue where the nearest bowling alley is, but you get the point). The hills are where the people are NOT ... for the most part.

In Europe, long tradition dictates snow habits (but come to think of it, how come none of wife's Norsk relatives actually SKI?). Or, you need an external engine ... like the old James Bond movies of the 60's, to bring it to the masses and make you want to go to the hill.
post #3 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by MC Extreme:
.... They usually take the progression they were taught and recycle it through the students ...
Is this PART of your problem?

You mentioned testosterone in another thread.... is this another part?

Maybe the "progressions" that are chosen by the young passionate athletic males(mostly) are less than suitable for the middle aged out of shape blobs that can AFFORD & will take lessons .... while the young athletic passionate types are mostly SELF TAUGHT (we all know they are ski gods don't we - cause they sure do)

Maybe considering the mindset of the nervous middle aged females(often the mums that choose the family holiday) would gain you some of the retention you want....
post #4 of 28
MC Extreme said:
Quote:
So that brings us back home. Are the inexperienced instructors the problem or the unknowledgeable ones? If the majority of the regular skiing public (and instructors), get stuck in the intermediate rut and stay there, who is to blame?
I love you're recent posts, keep up the good work.

I am no longer sure that anyone is to blame in fact, right now, I am not certain about much of anything in skiing. Blame for instruction is as old as skiing and the arguments have changed little over the years. Mother nature is probably more to blame than anyone. I haven't met a ski instructor that said he was satisfied and didn't want to get any better. I haven't met any students that didn't want to get any better. The fact is that we teach ourselves most of the time and the human body has certain built in natural movements that are not conducive to efficient skiing. Those natural movements were perfected long before any of us put on a pair of skis.

I watch ski instructors daily go out and make run after run concentrating on getting better while perfecting and smoothing out inefficient movement patterns. The facts are that 99.98% of all skiers, including trainers, don't know what they are missing and don't know where to look.

Right now that would include me. When I hit the level III I thought that I had hit nervana. I walked the walk and talked the talk but since achieving the level III I have continued to make major breakthroughs and keep on making new discoveries at an extemely fast pace. So much so that those discoveries have shaken me all the way to the core. My question is " How much more is out there that I don't know about and who on this forum has that knowledge" I feel dumber now than when I got my level III. I am feeling more unqualifed to give concrete answers than ever before.

I do know this. The dumber I feel and the more humble and simple I become, the more I am able to inspire others including those dead end intructors in ways that I do quite understand. So, I guess I will keep up the dumb work eh. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #5 of 28
disski said:
Quote:
Maybe the "progressions" that are chosen by the young passionate athletic males(mostly) are less than suitable for the middle aged out of shape blobs that can AFFORD & will take lessons
disski has a business head on her shoulders. She had indeed indentified where the money is. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #6 of 28
disski spends too much time in shops trying to work out if the patient can indeed afford ANY treatment.... or if they are the sort that will fork out for EVERYTHING you can find that may help....

stupidly enough I am smart enough to realise I am WAY to soft to own a shop on my own .... I'd give freebies to all the strugglers... I need someone to keep me in line....

Hospitals have way to many politics to be a nice place to work these days (I used to run a dept)
post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by disski:
Quote:
Maybe the "progressions" that are chosen by the young passionate athletic males(mostly) are less than suitable for the middle aged out of shape blobs that can AFFORD & will take lessons .... while the young athletic passionate types are mostly SELF TAUGHT (we all know they are ski gods don't we - cause they sure do)

Maybe considering the mindset of the nervous middle aged females(often the mums that choose the family holiday) would gain you some of the retention you want....
Do I sense some feminist crapola?

It must be a global conspiracy to oppress middle aged woman.

I don't think I would describe most beginner to intermediate skill development as exactly exclusionary or World Cup level. I also believe the retention was referring to Instructor retention.

Since half of my privates are Moms (or Mums) I do have an opinion. That is, Student Centered instruction is gender neutral. I prefer not to preconceive any of my students as dottering nervous nellies that I will simply babysit. Sometimes they actually want to ski.

Pierre, dead on. Most of our students do want to ski better.
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
Sorry Pierre, I forgot I was going to play nice.

Sorry disski, I re read your post and am not sure if you were really kicking me or not. Maybe it was the testosterone thing.

Group Hug!

[ November 22, 2003, 11:03 PM: Message edited by: MC Extreme ]
post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by MC Extreme:
Do I sense some feminist crapola?.
If you knew me you would probably laugh at that question.... or perhaps you just would not even ask it... [img]smile.gif[/img]

Quote:
Originally posted by MC Extreme:
I don't think I would describe most beginner to intermediate skill development as exactly exclusionary or World Cup level. .
Maybe you would not... but I can tell you what most of the females around here that don't ski tell me about their ONE trip to the snow & why they are NEVER going again.... funny how different the perspective is that you get when you confess to being a useless gumby that got towed around the bunny hill a screaming mess for weeks....
oh btw - I live about 2hours drive from the snow - in Oz that is VERY close...

Quote:
Originally posted by MC Extreme:
I also believe the retention was referring to Instructor retention..
Quote:
Originally posted by yuki:
I do not think, without an engine to pull the train, that you will increase the number of repeat or higher level skier visits per year. By "engine", I mean an external force that moves the folks to get on the hill and want/need to become better.

.
Quote:
Originally posted by MC Extreme:
Since half of my privates are Moms (or Mums) I do have an opinion. That is, Student Centered instruction is gender neutral. I prefer not to preconceive any of my students as dottering nervous nellies that I will simply babysit. Sometimes they actually want to ski.

.
If you read my profile you would see I am a disabled skier.... if you want to know about nervous nellies - I'm your gal! ....
Oddly enough due to some EXCELLENT intsruction I am now quite a decent skier....
the thing is my lessons were not really like the ones you normally see around the hill.... & most of my friends comment after they tag along in my lessons on how they have skied & taken lessons for YEARS & never been told (had explained) THAT!!!

I have a propensity for collecting instructors that can teach "outside the norm" (funny that [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img] ) & I can tell you that the middle aged females LOVE 'EM.... trouble is the ski school is full of young "ski gods" & "chicky babes" the few older instructors that remain in ski schools seem to be mainly those looking to find the fountain of youth... or the ones unsuited to other occupations.... or the ones in management that no longer teach (& haven't for 10 years or more) .... or the ones that have disposed of the passion in search of the "dollar" by hunting for the "cream clientele" ie those that will tip A LOT (US $1000 is not unheard of)

I seem to know quite a few good instructors though that just don't teach any more... why?
post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by MC Extreme:
Sorry Pierre, I forgot I was going to play nice.

Sorry disski, I re read your post and am not sure if you were really kicking me or not. Maybe it was the testosterone thing.

Group Hug!
Not kicking....

simply jumping up & down (as per usual) trying to make the point that ski school management seem to have their sights set all wrong & arse about....

You need to keep the students who NEED & will take lessons - that means the 'gumby' ones.... - so you need to teach them to ski.... if I can be taught pretty much all those able bodied blobs can be...
If you want to keep them you need to retain the older more experienced instructors who know how to TEACH - really teach - like the guys I had - notr those who can do "watch & do" ... or "run throuugh a progression" but those who can stick their thinking caps on & devise schemes to teach those who "just don't get it"
post #11 of 28
Aaaahhhh, a breath of fresh air. Good stuff everyone. I was struck last week by a statement that was in the book "t'ai chi as a path of wisdom" by Linda Myoki Lehrhaupt. Bring your mind, but leave your opinions at the door.

I think all too often the time and chance of the evolution of ski instruction simply means that entrenched opinions reign suppreme. This translates in some ways to ski instruction thinking it's a science all on it's own. That ski bio-mechanics is somehow different than bio-mechanics. Pierre saying that our natural body movements aren't conducive to efficient skiing. Maybe our opinions of what constitutes efficient skiing should be built around our natural body movements. Maybe we're coming at it from the wrong direction. Pierre I do understand what you are saying about the state of current mainstream instruction. It seems determined to find the foundation of it's knowledge base within it's own ski specific world, all alone in it's own little world of thought, dismissing as irrelevant things which don't come from within itself. Pierre, it too leaves me with more questions than answers. That's the one true disapointment I find in ski instruction. Our students sense this. Our reputation in the real world leaves no doubt about this. What Disski says is so true. Want to find good instruction, look for instructors willing to go outside of the box, independant thinkers, people who bring their minds and leave their opinions at the door.

To beginers. I spent a day in a "Beginers Magic" clinic with Shonzenbaker (dteam from aspen). It was good, there are good thngs going on there, but it was too ski gear specific for it to be fully applicable with many students. Instruction that happens in the feeder areas, away from the destination resorts with specific beginer gear, need more of a smorgasbord to choose from. We need more foundation in natural body movements, a deeper understanding of how learning takes place, and a willingness to look at everything in a fresh, mindfull way. And we should question everything presented to us in thoughtfull ways that lead to better understnding. There should be no sacred cows.

As Dr. Horner our local renowned dinosaur expert says, science is only good science if it's falsifiable. everthing is fair game, t obe scrutinized, chewed on, kicked around, and questioned.

I'm better cut this off now. I see everyone rolling their eyes.

Thanks for a good thread.
post #12 of 28
MC Extreme: If the majority of the regular skiing public (and instructors), get stuck in the intermediate rut and stay there, who is to blame?

Nobody is to blame. The old bell curve will ensure that the large majority of skiers will always be mediocre intermediates.

But I agree with you that knowledge has no "seniority" associated with it. However, regardless of the amount of knowledge accumulated, experience, is also very important. That is why it takes time to get up there. Nevertheless, 10 years of passionate teaching should earn you plenty of respect.

Great post, by the way! [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

disski,

I don't think instruction progression should be targetted towards the "gumby" skiers (as you put it). I would expect instructors to have the experience and knowledge to be versatile enough to teach ANYONE. That way we don't penalize anyone for the way they are.
post #13 of 28
Ric B said:
Quote:
Pierre saying that our natural body movements aren't conducive to efficient skiing. Maybe our opinions of what constitutes efficient skiing should be built around our natural body movements. Maybe we're coming at it from the wrong direction.
You may be missunderstanding me Ric. 97% of all skiing movements are natrual physical movements that we make every day but its not those natural movements that restrict advancement in skiing. Its the last 3% of movement patterns that are not natural that stop the masses from progressing. Most skiers are never aware of the 3% of non-natural movements and may never encounter and instructor that knows either.

You have seen this Ric, The Phantom move is designed to incorporate one of these unatural movements while suppressing more natural movements. That un-natural movement is to extend while keeping you're shin on the front of the boot. How many people do you know who have performed the Phantom move wrong and say it is worthless or to difficult for lower level skiers to perform because they did not understand the Phantom move and keep their shins in contact with the boot tongue. On one foot, the feedback is instantaneous. The Phantom move is almost impossible to perform without incorporating that un-natural movement. That is what makes the Phantom move very useful.

Taken you're comments one step further the Japanese are not starting to favor teaching rotation as a means of teaching never evers because it works right away and gets them skiing. They figure that they can correct anything later. Sounds like the SS full employment act to me.
post #14 of 28
Let's see. I went to a PSIA-sponsored "out of the box" biomechanics clinic a couple of weeks ago and who was there, the young hungry whippersnappers or the old war-horses? You should have heard the snap-crackle-pop as we were attempting some of the exercises and demonstrations.

True passion does not diminish with time, but only burns stronger with the excitement of new information and ideas. If management can establish a "learning environment or ethic" in the school, excellence will follow--the customer ultimately benefits from the learning environment of the mountain sports school.
post #15 of 28
Hosanna, Nolo! As someone who trains instructors in "outside the box" techniques, I am usually hard pressed to find any instructor under the age of 40 taking my workshops!

They will watch me do my own workouts, and express envy at the fact that I can do things at age "I'm not telling" that they can't do at age 21! But rather than actually the learn the progressions necessary to actually do these things effectively, they prefer to present a poor copy of what they've seen me do to their students.

The sad fact is that they know that they can get by on charm and charisma. Management supports this, and reprimands instructors who give out too much information in their classes.

I think that this is a problem that exists for all sport and activity instructors.
post #16 of 28
[/quote]
.... trouble is the ski school is full of young "ski gods" & "chicky babes" the few older instructors that remain in ski schools seem to be mainly those looking to find the fountain of youth... or the ones unsuited to other occupations.... or the ones in management that no longer teach (& haven't for 10 years or more) .... or the ones that have disposed of the passion in search of the "dollar" by hunting for the "cream clientele" ie those that will tip A LOT (US $1000 is not unheard of)

[/QB][/quote]

Diss... here in the Eastern US we don't have that problem. I'm a youngster at 38 yo. Most of the instructor staff are people older than myself who have the time and money to afford to teach. The majority are part timer too. Many of my collegues have been at it for years.
post #17 of 28
I was recently invited as a visitor (thanks Lou) to a local ski hill (200 foot bump) preseason instructor (classroom) clinic. While I am well aware of the pragmatics of local ski hills - numbers, equipment, attitude, open terrain, etc. - this first hand experience got me thinking. Trying to build on what Ric B was saying, it seems to me that unification in ski instruction would be a very good thing. By unification, I do not mean that the same things are taught to all people. What I'm saying is that it would be to everyone's advantage to develop an approach to ski instruction for the local hills, with all their issues (especially rental fleets of straight skis and worthless boots), that more smoothly transitions and integrates with approaches and technique for skiers with the best equipment and best conditions. Basically a "PMTS varient" or "Beginners Magic varient" (to name as only a couple of examples) for the situations that Ott likes to frequently remind us about.

I am sure that some will say it already exists (perhaps within the often referred to "Stepping Stones") but from my point of view I haven't heard or seen of any restructuring of approach for these kinds of situations based on the existence of dramatically better equipment that responds to simpler more efficient technique and movements. If there have been such changes I'd be very interested to hear about them.

[ November 23, 2003, 11:58 AM: Message edited by: Si ]
post #18 of 28
Si - your post gave me this springboard...

I WISH that clinicians would make the following distinction:

in order to teach skiing you will use exercises... the exercises are not THE teaching, merely a tool to convey an idea or feeling

Movement Analysis.

IMHO an instructor who cannot do movement analysis is not a "professional instructor" yet.

AND, I think this is a HUGE reason for why learners and instructors remain quagmired. Ultimately we are all learners. Clinicians teach instructors and instructors teach the general public.

To instructors: How much movement analysis training and/or feedback have you received in your clinics?

To learners: How much movement analysis feedback have you received in your lessons?

kiersten
post #19 of 28
Yes Nolo, that recent clinic was psia sponsored with only 10 participants, half from Bridger, and not a single clinitian or examiner, and all but one pushing the age of 40 or over. ?????? Kinda what you said LM.

Pierre, I don't know about 97 -3. Howa bout 100% I think many of the moves we say are natural are really learned responses as a result of some physical disfuntion (I don't mean disability) or conditioning left over from everyday life and lack of understanding on how to apply our natural movements and use our body power. That's where we come in isn't it. I don't have all the answers, but I think that's the point of moving outside the box. I think we're searching for the same thing.

Si, I agree with you. The stepping stones is a great concept but it's a general concept, not a detailed stepping path of stones a new instructor can take their students on. Beginers magic relies on 130 and 140 cm skis. Pmts is too incomplete and rigid from what I've read. Anyone interested in this should take Arcmeister up on his invitation to recieve his pathways2parallel. It's excelent.

Kieli, as an instructor, never enough, and as a learner never enough.

I would say this is a weak spot in most ski schools and in psia also. Something we all need to learn and something very hard to teach. Seems so subjective yet at the same time it seems it should be so scientific. Do any two people ever see exatly the same thing or see the same cause?
post #20 of 28
Yes Nolo, that recent clinic was psia sponsored with only 10 participants, half from Bridger, and not a single clinitian or examiner, and all but one pushing the age of 40 or over. ?????? Kinda what you said LM.

Pierre, I don't know about 97 -3. Howa bout 100% I think many of the moves we say are natural are really learned responses as a result of some physical disfuntion (I don't mean disability) or conditioning left over from everyday life and lack of understanding on how to apply our natural movements and use our body power. That's where we come in isn't it. I don't have all the answers, but I think that's the point of moving outside the box. I think we're searching for the same thing.

Si, I agree with you. The stepping stones is a great concept but it's a general concept, not a detailed stepping path of stones a new instructor can take their students on. Beginers magic relies on 130 and 140 cm skis. Pmts is too incomplete and rigid from what I've read. Anyone interested in this should take Arcmeister up on his invitation to recieve his pathways2parallel. It's excelent.

Kieli, as an instructor, never enough, and as a learner never enough.

I would say this is a weak spot in most ski schools and in psia also. Something we all need to learn and something very hard to teach. Seems so subjective yet at the same time it seems it should be so scientific. Do any two people ever see exatly the same thing or see the same cause?
post #21 of 28
Ric B said:
Quote:
Pierre, I don't know about 97 -3. Howa bout 100% I think many of the moves we say are natural are really learned responses as a result of some physical disfuntion (I don't mean disability) or conditioning left over from everyday life and lack of understanding on how to apply our natural movements and use our body power
Ric, I am not sure I have a clue what you are saying here.

I guess all the un-natural moves I am refering to are really learned natural movement patterns that are fairly unique to offensive efficient skiing and not found in walking/running jumping or other daily activities. In that sense its 100% natural. We cannot move in un-natural ways but there are movement patterns unique to efficient skiing. You KNOW where the 97% comes from.

I have to tell you that I am now starting to lean more away from alignment as major player and more towards technique than I have in the past. That's part of the changes going on in my mind. I starting to think good offensive movement patterns somewhat cancel out many miss alignment problems. :
post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by Pierre:
I have to tell you that I am now starting to lean more away from alignment as major player and more towards technique than I have in the past. That's part of the changes going on in my mind. I starting to think good offensive movement patterns somewhat cancel out many miss alignment problems. :
I would agree that there are some efficient movements that can be used as the most effective compenstating movements for some alignment issues. But it seems pretty much common sence that when alignment issues are present, compensating movements are going to be needed, and when compensating movements are accepted, optimal learning and performance potential inhibited.

Ski and motorsports racing are possibly the two top sports venuse that have dedicated the most resources to solution their dependance on optimal suspension set-up to achieve optimal performance.

In that this research trickled down into daily commuter cars and trucks having their suspensions optimized for their application and function, wouldn't the general skier population benifit from optimization, to some degree, as well?

I support a focus on efficient and effective movemets. But to ignore alignment issues can result in a M/A process based on less than all the avaliable information. Possibility of garbage-in, garbage-out. Learning to recognise and factor in alignment issues takes motivation and some effort, but it should make the M/A based decision process a better one.

[ November 23, 2003, 04:03 PM: Message edited by: Arcmeister ]
post #23 of 28
Gezz Arc, you were one of the people I had in mind when I wrote that I am leaning more towards technique. Let me rephrase what I said for the benefit of you.

"I am not as rabid on alignment issues as I was last year. In other words, I don't blame as much on equipment as I use to. I still think optimal alignment is very beneficial Eh." :
post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by kieli:
To learners: How much movement analysis feedback have you received in your lessons?

kiersten
Heeeeeaaaaaaaaaappppppppsssssss....

but then my instructors are both racers....

I is a canadian provincial race coach in your season...

the other one won the race in the Canadian level 4 exam by about a second....(over the pacesetter)

[ November 24, 2003, 04:20 AM: Message edited by: disski ]
post #25 of 28
I thought so.......
Just didn't want a mis-implication to be running loose out there...
Eh? [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by MC Extreme:
Are the inexperienced instructors the problem or the unknowledgeable ones? If the majority of the regular skiing public (and instructors), get stuck in the intermediate rut and stay there, who is to blame?
MC, I'm enjoying your posts immensely. I think you're touching on something larger - the crux of what I think is our industry's challenge - how to create and sustain a unilaterally pervasive culture of committed educators who are lifelong learners. Ultimately IMHO this will be the key to our success or failure as an industry. Most people in a rut eventually quit, or at least lose impetus for passion and participation at the level they once did.
Folks who read this forum regularly might know I work at a very large ski school, which has a hugely endowed training program compared to the mountain from which I relocated two years ago (which, interestingly, had a more pervasive training culture).
Attendance especially among some of our most senior instructors has been sparse, so that "mandatory" requirements (for which our instructors are paid to attend) have been instituted in an effort to at least expose our more recalcitrant members to current developments in equipment, movement blends, methodology, product developments, etc. Our compensation system that once based itself purely on return/request numbers to establish instructor work priority now is including training and current equipment as rating categories.
How surprising it was for me in my small town naivete to realize that being a lifelong learner is not necessarily an attribute of more than a few of the employees of my current company. What are the ethics (or lack thereof) implicated for a ski instructor who fails to offer their guests at least an option to explore some of the opportunities mentioned above? How far should a company go toward ensuring instructor accountability, particularly if that employee is at least minimally productive? We're taking steps toward that, but I hope they're enough and in time.
A friend of mine who is a trainer and examiner said recently that instructors come in two variations: those who are so hungry for knowledge that learning is as essential as breathing; and "the lunchbox set" who are essential to daily operations and are valuable in that they do what needs to be done, cranking out the numbers. What's interesting is that some of the "trainiacs" to co-opt nolo's word aren't always lunchbox types as for some there is more ego-investment and reward in working toward personal goals and recognition; while the stolid and solid faithful may need a little external impetus and nurturing to keep on moving and growing. Supervisors probably wish they could clone those with both attributes.
Many smaller areas lack management vision and/or financial resources for training. There is also the separate issue discussed in many previous threads around creating a sustainable, respected profession by truly remunerating the hungry and productive ones so they'll stick around (my current mountain is probably one of the closer in achieving this).
Being a lifelong learner is one of the essential core values in responsive, innovative, and economically viable organizations. At some point it may be the crux of our success or failure as an industry to progress and profit in accommodating more than one marketing segment of our guests.
Moving a huge organization forward sorta reminds me of steering an ocean liner, you have to have foresight, resources and also calculate miles in advance in order to achieve a direction change.

[ November 24, 2003, 04:45 AM: Message edited by: vera ]
post #27 of 28
Well MC

Your posts seem to reveal a competent and passionate instructor. Probably even teacher.

"With a chip on... " you know the rest. So do I.

I have always been passionate about my competence. It took me awhile to see that it didn't really serve anyone a purpose except myself. I have found the brotherhood, or familyhood, of the industry to be of great value. I have often needed the support of others as some have needed mine. Alienating anyone has never really helped much.

Not a one of us has made it to where we are on our own.

I understand your frustration at people who do this for many years and assume that it equals automatic effectiveness, precision and efficiency, which it doesn't (It's why I don't like unions)....you know, old people with chips on their shoulders.... heh heh... Don't let it stay there too long huh?

I have noticed that all of my elders in the industry have some experience or knowledge that is superior to mine, even if it isn't about ski technique, movement analysis or even teaching. The "technical guru" stage is great, but it' shouldn't last too long, just like the "best skier on the mountain" stage.

People who attack this field of work as voraciously, hungrily and committedly as you will alway be among the few. It just doesn't pay enough. If it paid more, people would stick it out and pay the dues. Society would back up those dues. But our whole industry is (nolo's) lost leader (loss leader?)

for what it's worth I don't really think we have a retention problem, skier, snowboarder or instructor-wise. Or a passion problem. what we have is a recognition problem. Our industry is a non-industry in a societal sense. It is merely the land of young-people-in-the transient-stages-of-life-when-they-don't-need-much-money and older-folks-who-have-enough-coming-in-or-put-away that they can take the inconsistent income. There are a few people in the country who make a decent living at it. A few areas where it's easier than others, but overall it's at best a hopeless career choice.

But I have hope(suckaaaa). It's changing. Resort operators are taking a different look at our role. There is going to be a lot more money made through ski-snowboard schools in the not-near-enough future.
post #28 of 28
Pierre, I might have an imbalance between the agonist and the antagonist muscles that control a joint, or it might be that both muscles have not been used in fuul range of motion for many years. This can result in an alignment out of balance or an imbalance in joint movement. I may try to move something and it no longer wants to move the natural way it was born to move or in it's full range of motion, and this results in some dysfuntion and usually compensatory move in another part of he body. If I can identify and correct the root cause and eliminate the compensating movement, then I'm one step closer to 100% natural movement. Hope this makes it clearer. I will also say I don't think technique is an effective replacement for good healthy alignment, and natural movements. But I didn't think that that was what you were saying.

I guess for me the most efficient and best technique relies the most on "minimum of effort and a maximum of natural alignment and optimal use of body power" I like that phrase.
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