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Newly Minted Instructor Looking For Advice as to Ski Selection

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Just got hired as a part-time instructor at Catamount and am in need of new skis. I am 48 years old, been skiing since age three, was on Jr Ski Patrol and raced when I was in high school, am in good shape, weigh 190 lbs and am 5' 10".   At this point I'm looking for a one ski solution and one that I will also enjoy when I go out west for my own personal skiing.  I demo-ed several skis over the past few seasons and am heavily leaning towards Volkl AC50s and was thinking of 170 rather than 177 because of the teaching.    Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance.

post #2 of 5
Shorter skis for teaching beginners and intermediates is a good idea.  

You'll find yourself doing a lot of kick-turns, stepping around, skating, side-stepping and all manner of quick-footed antics to get around your students and help them get around.  Short skis support this more easily than longer skis and they maneuver in tight spaces easier as well.

It's best to select ski-types that mirror what your students are likely to be on.  If you'll be teaching Alpine beginners (likely for a new Alpine instructor) you'll want to avoid fat skis, reverse-camber skis, telemark bindings and such.   It's important that your skis perform similar to the way your student's skis will perform since technique and movement Demos are so very important to students.

Top Sheets are also to be considered.  New skiers (especially kids) will frequently ski right over the top of your skis cutting deep gouges into the top sheet.  It's painful to watch/feel. More-so if you have skis with graphics you really like!

Turned-up tails are great for skiing backward in front of students - but be aware that anyone skiing onto your tails will likely get stuck there (trapped by the upturned tail) and they'll slice their edges back and forth struggling to get disentangled......   ( I find two-part marine epoxy works well to fill in the gouges.)

You might even consider going to a swap meet and picking up a pair of inexpensive used skis for teaching.

post #3 of 5
Welcome to the fold.

I have two pair of skis for teaching so I am on similar skis to the ones I recommend for my students:

  1. Atomic 120s:  There are a number of types of short skis out there.  Get some really short ones with release bindings for your own safety.  These I use with never-evers and kids.  The short length allows me to get close, turn quickly, and are generally more maneuverable in tight spaces.  I always try to get never-evers on as short a ski as possible.  It helps them succeed easier.  Being on the same size ski makes the demos look the same and develops camaraderie.
  2. My Normal Skis:  (Currently Metrons)  I use my regular skis with intermediates on up and older kids who are skiing the mountain.  Again I'm skiing on a similar ski as my client.

Forget about your top sheets.  They are going to get torn up a bit.  If this bothers you, get pairs to designate as teaching skis.  As said before, a slight turn up at the tail is nice, though not a requirement.

Since you are new to the field here's a great book for you to download.  It's the PSIA-C Alpine Level 1 Study Guide.  It covers three progressions for teaching beginners, wedge progression, direct to parallel progression, and hybrid progression.  Its an excellent primer for instructors.

I also recommend you consider joining PSIA and taking some of the clinics.  You will learn a bunch about teaching.

Have fun.
post #4 of 5
Go with the 170s. Eventually, if you keep teaching, you will get a pair of 120s to teach beginners with. The best direct to parallel lessons are done on short skis. Our school has a deal with Elan where we can get the skis and bindings for about $200. We also have a deal with a local ski shop to get the bindings mounted at half price.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input.  I think I'm going to see if I can pick up a pair of used skis for teaching.  I already joined PSIA and have a copy of the manual you recommended.

Take care,

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