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Ski Instruction product

post #1 of 79
Thread Starter 
I talked with 3 instructors today at xxxx, here's what they said, verbatim.

"We never do any training".

"There's no direction".

"I did some clinics, but didn't get anything out of it".

"No organization. Each instructor can do whatever they want".

I then chimed in. They all agreed that my famous line, "The worst product you can buy at a ski area is a ski lesson" -- is true.

They also agreed that skiers everywhere should be taught the same thing, based on the primary movements of skiing. And, they all agreed that skiing really is about a few primary movements.

They also think that clients are getting cheated. Too may pin shiners, too many instructors that really don't know what they're doing, too many bad lessons.

They also agreed with my observations about the gang.

How much longer can people out there stand by with a straight face and defend the product of ski instruction?

If the product is so good, how come there's so many skiers with no skills?
post #2 of 79
Funny, I get a lot out of clinics and usually carry what I learn into the lessons.

Why don't you start instructing and become part of the solution to the problem?
post #3 of 79

Why don't you talk to HH about getting some training. Take some of the training and then see if you want to teach. HH is hosting a "college" in early April. Many topics over four days. I know that I am going.
post #4 of 79
How many times are you going to beat on this poor dead horse?
I don't think That every lession I have ever taken has been a Great lession, but for the most part I have had some excellent training by some vary fine dedicated teachers.PSIA is not perfect No system that covers almost ever ski area in the Country could be perfect.If Harald Harbs system were as large as PSIA is, Then That system would also have a % of slcker teachers and unsatisfied students!Think about it How many people a year take a clinic from him? Ok How many people a year go to thier local mountain and take a lession? You do the math!If you were under 18 Your parents could do an intervention and Have you De-programed. Ok I am off the soap box
post #5 of 79

At my little dinky area here in Ohio I have to Clinic at least Seven times or I risk not being rehired or getting my bonus. I look forward to the Clinics and always get something out of them. but maybe that is because I admit that I need to learn more but that is me I am a self professed "don't know enough." However, our problem is not that there is not enough instructor clinics but that there is a lack of time to take them. I am almost always teaching when I am at the hill.

These guys sound like a bunch of malcontents or worse show offs. They need to be run out and will probably fall off on their own.. While I would agree with you that these guys are trouble for their SS, you should indict all instructors and SS because of your run in with these guys.

Well my .02

post #6 of 79
>>"We never do any training".<<

We have 5 trainers, who keep busy. My full time job is doing training. Instructors who do not do "any" training don't get rehired. Instructors who do not actively seek out lots of training don't progress up the food chain.

>>"There's no direction".<<

There's plenty of direction. The requirements for internal certification and progression are extremely clearly layed out.

>>"I did some clinics, but didn't get anything out of it".<<

We are always trying to refine the process by taking anonymous opinion surveys about the process. Instructors are ruthlessly honest, we change and move fowards based on these questionares as well as happens in any industry.

>>"No organization. Each instructor can do whatever they want".<<

Again, very organized. Being human beings, of course every instructor can do whatever they want . . . until they get fired.

This is all pretty much the way it is in most ski schools. Of course, if you go fishing for specific answers -- you'll usually find what you want!
post #7 of 79

May I remind you of the effect Skiminkers helpful guidance had on your kids skiing...

And I quote :

"So there's Minker and junior, ripping it up down a black run -- twice! .......My kid is following her, carving turns down Rosies face at the end of the day, having his best day ever!

Proof that there really are some great ski instructors and that women really are in charge. And, that black and white really isn't black and white. "


Its amazing what some instructing can do for peoples skiing ability. Minxs ability to instruct kids is obviously very valuable and I am sure you would have her take your gorgeous kid out for a day anytime! why and even pay her bar bill at the end of the day !!
post #8 of 79
Ahhhh, what the hell? Here goes...

Here in the frozen north, the monopoly is alive and well. We do not have much debate over whose "system" is the best, as we essentially only have one system - the CSIA way. Either that, or you learn from your buddies or from the pages of SKI magazine.

Our doctrine is based on the development of 5 core skills, stance and balance, pivoting, edging, pressure control and timing and coordination. I am not intimate with the PSIA terminology, but I suspect it is a similar line-up. Which begs the question: What is the difference between teaching primary SKILLS and teaching primary MOVEMENTS?

I would agree that a ski lesson is not always of the quality that it's price tag should warrant.

In another thread "Why don't they tip here?" I wrote that a career in ski teaching is attainable by anyone who brings a passion to the work and an acceptance that you will not be weighed down by gobs of money. I continue to maintain that those who are so motivated can and do make a modest living in this job.

But... my own situation has come about largely due to good luck. The reality is this: many quality instructors are discouraged from exploring further certification because it just doesn't pay. See the thread about "little snow, little work".

Do you think this situation will change if there is another ski teaching body in the house? Has this PMS group tackled the question of fair and reasonable wages for ski teachers? Can Harald Harb make it snow?

I think you're barking up the wrong tree. The problem is not with the doctrine, it is with the lack of sustainability in a career as a ski instructor. I have been a member of the CSIA for more than 10 years and have always found that they are a progressive organization representing the cutting edge of ski teaching doctrine. My admittedly limited knowledge of the PSIA suggests the same is true of our American sister organization. Both are "right there" when it comes to skiing technique.

Maybe PMS is too... but that's just not where the problem is. You get shitty lessons because it's just not practical for many potential instructors to go and pay the money to upgrade their certification. I fail to see how nitpicking on matters of technique will address this situation.

When PMS swoops in and revolutionizes ski teaching, will they be prepared to source out and purchase the necessary insurance for it's members to deliver this amazing product? Will they be prepared to produce a quality manual for it's 10's of thousands of members? Will they be prepared to employ professional trainers to deliver it's certification courses? Will they be able to establish a national headquarters and staff that office appropriately? Develop and administer regional offices to address member's needs locally? Establish technical committees to ensure it remains on the cutting edge?

From my admittedly under-informed viewpoint, it seems that PMS is currently a "cult" that has not yet addressed these and other bigger questions that require answers in order to become a powerful, effective and respected international force.

The ski teaching industry is in the midst of sweeping change. Change on a national scale requires foresight and patience. Here in Canada, our mothership CSIA is already searching out new and better career opportunities for it's members. For example, a prominent heli-skiing operator has expressed his desire to employ only CSIA Level IV instructors as guides. He quite obviously believes in our doctrine. There is a definite pot of gold at the end of this rainbow, and our organization is very busy exploring other rainbows. Only an organization with a solid existing infrastructure is equipped to pursue such opportunities. Is PMS there?

Attaining Level IV certification will gobble up at least 5 to 7 years of your life... 10 years may be a more realistic figure. And that doesn't even begin to look at the financial committment. So, there is still the question of how do I support myself on this fantastic journey? I would be suitably impressed if PMS could answer this question.

I am confident that the CSIA and PSIA, through the evolution of our industry and pressure from their members, will soon begin to examine establishing more active relationships and exchanges with resort operators to illustrate the benefits of having a professionally trained ski and snowboard school staff. What's the buzz around the PMS camp about this?

Even if the PMS way is "better" (and I'm not convinced of that) do they have the wherewithal to effect the kind of change that is really needed?
post #9 of 79
I spent an hour with a customer today and was given a $100.00 tip. He seemed fairly satisfied and booked another hour tomorrow.

In the event you would like to chat with the guy about his lousy lesson I'll be glad to give you his phone number. He runs a little business in Black Hawk.
post #10 of 79
>>>. He runs a little business in Black Hawk.<<<

I know where THAT money comes from, part of it is mine!

post #11 of 79
Just as different students will find that certain techniques will "speak" to, instructors will lean towards methods that they can feel enthusiastic about.

If you were to read Rick H.'s posts about how he got into teaching PMTS, his reasoning is quite genuine.

iht said:
"Attaining Level IV certification will gobble up at least 5 to 7 years of your life... 10 years may be a more realistic figure. And that doesn't even begin to look at the financial committment. So, there is still the question of how do I support myself on this fantastic journey? I would be suitably impressed if PMS could answer this question."

Its been my own experience that going with my instincts about what I want to learn to teach and teach to learn always works out for the best in the end. Sometimes you say, "My God, I'm spending to much!", but it always pays off in the end.

IMHO, teachers who have extensive talent and experience usually end up with a muti faceted approach, blending the best of varous techniques, while remaining uninfluenced by cultism.

Or perhaps I am prejudiced, since this is what I do.

And, BTW, take it from a woman, "PMS" is NEVER the best way!
post #12 of 79
Thread Starter 
It's a lousy product. I don't care what any of you say.

It's so easy to prove. Somebody else can do that.

Sure, there's some (comparitively) great ski instructors. Who the hell ever said I said there wasn't any?

But the whole thing, the whole model, trash it.
post #13 of 79
My 2 cents worth:

1. My Mum made me take lessons from the very first time I set ski on snow at age 7, until about age 15. Now age 32, and a strong, technically proficient skier, I count my blessings every day I ski that I had that instruction. Best money Mum ever spent!

2. I instructed for 1 season in 1989/90 and really didn't like it much. Ski instruction is hard work, and on the whole they do a great job.

And at the end of the day, if you don't want lessons, don't take them.
post #14 of 79
I agree with what has been said. As well as that, I have noticed a couple of other problems:
1. The person who had lessons years ago, and says they don't need any more
2. The mental attitude of "I am the best, no one can tell me I'm wrong, or can be improved"

I've been skiing for several years, OK, only a few weeks each year, but I would always take lessons at the start of the season, and at other times as well, but I sometimes find myself thinking I don't need to learn (that's normally when I really need a lesson!)

post #15 of 79
SCSA, the reason there are so few skills demonstrated on the hill by the general skiing public is that the general skiing public lacks the enthusiasm YOU have for the sport and don't bother taking lessons. Ever go to a public golf course and watch the folks shooting rounds of 150? On the Front Nine?
post #16 of 79
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Kneale Brownson:
Ever go to a public golf course and watch the folks shooting rounds of 150? On the Front Nine?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yeah, I've seen that!
Any tips on how I could get my score down to 150?

post #17 of 79
Hole all your 4th putts!

Speaking of putts!!!!!
post #18 of 79
Fox Hat, you might be onto something. Indeed right in this thread the quote "I don't care what any of you say." does seem to fit "I am the best, no one can tell me I'm wrong" doesn't it?
post #19 of 79
Thread Starter 
Who said anything about PMTS? You guys sure are quick to draw your guns.

Alternative ski instruction? Yes.

I'm doing my own little study. So I ride up the lift and I talk to skiers. Once I figure out that they've either taken lots of lessons or are proud of their turns, I follow them. I don't follow the ones who don't care about their skiing - they're just out there for the fun of it, just getting down the hill. God bless 'em.

I factor in that they probably only ski 15 days a year and that skiing to them is recreation, not a sport. Then I factor in that anybody is great on the chair and that they probably never imagined that I'd follow them or ask them to follow me.

Nobody ever goes where I go, but I do end up following them until they go their way and I go mine.

Even on groomers, 9 out of 10 are making turns with their heals. Fewer than that demonstrate any kind of balance. Fewer still let their bodies fall down hill.

If these people are taking lessons, how come they have no skills? Why all the bad habits? What. They don't practice? They paid for all these lessons and didn't listen or watch?

I did listen in on an instructor who was trying to get this lady to lean downhill, that was good I thought. But he had her in the middle of a black, with powder chop. She was so freaked out, she wasn't listening to a word this guy was saying.

So what do you make of all this?
post #20 of 79
hey SCSI drive,

If the product is so good, how come there's so many skiers with no skills?

Do I need to AGAIN explain the difference between manufacture and service provision?

(1) A "product" is the result of manufacture.

(2) A service is not a "product."

(3) Therefore, providing a service is not "creating a product."

(4) Also, the plural of "product" is products. Please note the terminal "s".

You may have become successful in business for a number of reasons, but I assure you that you didn't do so by incorrectly seeing a professional service as a "product." If you treat professional services as a "product," you don't get professional services. You get an assembly line result that lacks the essence of professionalism -- training, advanced knowledge & skill, and the ability to impart what one knows in a comprehensible fashion.

Sheesh. I can see I've got to do a lot of lecturing when we get to Fernie!
post #21 of 79
I have not come across or been involved in a sport where the onus of responsibility is put so squarely on the shoulders of the instructors. I might be way off here but it seems to me skiers are pretty quick to cite lack of good instruction as a reason, even THE reason, for their lack of progress.
I get the feeling there are tons of skiers who take a lesson and expect some sort of instant, irreversible success. I talk to skiers, too, and what I'm left with is that there are plenty of skiers who really WILL take the time and make the effort to advance, to do the work and experience trial-and-error. But I think most are just plain lazy and expect results by osmosis, as if by just showing up and paying attention it is supposed to all come together. Of course I'm amplifying to make a point.
If you want to become a better skier, it's on you, not the instructor. The teaching is a catalyst, not the be- and end-all.
At some point, you have to leave the teacher and teach yourself.
post #22 of 79
Mmm Gonzo lecturing :

Nearly makes me glad that I can't make it.

BTW, a service can be a product...
e.g. the resultant PRODUCT of tossing a tennis ball up in the air, followed by good wrist action, is a good SERVICE.

post #23 of 79
SCSA, I would have to say you are leading the witness when you ask your questions. You are leading them to what you want as a conclusion. I think your studies are a bit flawed. If you were entirely correct SAM surveys would instantly pick up and confirm what you are saying, then SAM would surely correct it. The facts are that 97% of all skiers don't really give the north end of a southbound rat. I am sure the skiers that you talked to on the lift forgot everything that you discussed within 30 feet of shoving off down the slopes, maybe even glad to be rid of your company.
The facts are that defensive skiing is intuitive. One must be taught to ski offensively. 97% of all skiers are largely self taught defensive skiers.
I will agree with you on one point. Tradtional teching needs drastic overhaul. Tradition means "the norm or the bulk of the flow". Since 97% of all skiers are self taught that is by definition, the traditional teaching method.
post #24 of 79
SCSA, I know where you skied on the 31st. XXXX gets a lot of SS students/guests who's main goal in a lesson is to cut lines with the instructor and be taken to the "better snow".

I know this for a fact. I have 3 friends who have gone over to the dark side from Copper to work at XXXX SS. 90% of their "lessons" entail this type of service as opposed to the more traditional "I want to learn to..." type of lesson.

Interesting that most of the XXXX SS guests prefer the guide service over a lesson. That lends some credence to what you claim. However, I would continue the interrogation if I were you at different areas. There are a lot of dedicated PSIA people out there that I know of personally. If you're dedicated, then you are going to make break-throughs with some of your students no matter the methodology.

HH can only expect to make break-throughs with some of his PMTS students. Consider yourself fortunate to be one of those students.

SCSA, Copper had just as much fresh and more base than Vail (Ooops, I said it.) I had a good time bumping all day.

BTW, did you lose my glass?
post #25 of 79
Pierre eh! is correct: most people are like Rett Butler: "Frankly madam, I don't give a damm". They don't give a damm about learning how to ski well (several have told me that), they don't give a damm about maintaining their equipment, they don't give a damm about much of anything. There are as he says, self-taught defensive skiers.

SCCA: I suggest you don't give a damm about them. In a market system, if you don't like a product or service you don't buy it.
post #26 of 79
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Wear the fox hat ?:
BTW, a service can be a product...
e.g. the resultant PRODUCT of tossing a tennis ball up in the air, followed by good wrist action, is a good SERVICE.


That's excellent! Is that your own PRODUCT?
In fact, it's so good I'd be willing to pay the 15% SERVICE charge.
post #27 of 79
You guys have any thoughts on deregulation?
What do you think of being able to hire an instructor privately, instead of through the mountain's ski school?

I think it might make things much less expensive for the customer and better service.
post #28 of 79
I do think that competition makes for better products and cheaper prices (in general) - and I would love to see a more European style competition of differents schools of thought for the students dollar.

It would be tough to pull off currently in the U.S. though.

Calling it "deregulation" is double-speak, ski areas are private companies - of course they don't need to allow other businesses to work against them on their turf. Thats like expecting Walmart to let you sell competiting products within their store, or a Chevy truck sales-house needing to let somebody sell Fords on the same property. Yes, most of the land is National Forest land - but the lifts are payed for, owned and operated by private companies. The snowmaking and grooming is done by same, and etc.
post #29 of 79
Pierre eh said: The facts are that defensive skiing is intuitive. One must be taught to ski offensively. 97% of all skiers are largely self taught defensive skiers.

Heh, heh, I confess to be one of those self-taught skiers, who never took a lesson, never skied in deep powder and never skied in the Rockies. But I am willing and able, and I am so excited to go out West that I cannot stop talking about it. SOMEBODY SHUT ME UP !!!.

SCSA, at Fernie, you are welcomed to ski behind me and pick my skiing apart. It is going to be sooooo much fun, you'll see. [img]tongue.gif[/img]

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ February 01, 2002 10:21 AM: Message edited 1 time, by TomB ]</font>
post #30 of 79
Recently I was discussing the general trend of level 5 thru 9 ski lessons. The comments from my peers was that there has been a general trend by the skiing public to not "care" so much about their technique.

During the 70s, 80s people wanted to ski like a pro and acquire a real and tangible skill level. From the early 90s onwards the trend is more towards having fun and not looking good with technique but rather looking good by "fashion". (believing the publicity)

Look at snow boarding, it is easy to reach a level that gets you out with your mates and being cool. With skiing, groomed runs and short easy turn skis the same is applicable. The environment is getting safer, the tools easier and the accessibility dead simple. Just pay and go. Alpine skiing has become a take out holiday not an adventure holiday.

Are these the real reasons that good technique has gone by the wayside?

A simple world requires simple skills. Is that what we are seeing on the hill?

The skiing public is getting what they want and doing what they want with it. Not withstanding there is room for improvement in the ski instruction model.

Is the improvement demanded by the general take out holiday public actually improvements towards "comfort" to the detriment of "technique"?

Is this a soft world USA trend?

Is skiing about straight lining an Alaskan peak. If it is then you dont need ski school to learn the skills required to participate?

Have a look at all the safety posts in the forum. What is the general theme? IMHO the public has gone soft and comfortable and that is what we are seeing reflected on the hill.

If the XXXX in the original post is indeed Vail then the "we never receive training" & "there is no direction" lines are complete bullshit!

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ February 01, 2002 10:46 AM: Message edited 4 times, by man from oz ]</font>
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