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post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I've noticed quite a variety in the way people on this forum have learned to ski. Some appear to like a very structured system while other wouldn't have anything to do with a "system" type of learning. I am curious as to why people align themselves with structured vrs non structured types of learning. Some of the issues I've noticed with people who do not like lessons are:
1. The lessons are not presented in a way that the student likes or feels that he/she can best learn.
2. Some people have received a bad lesson, felt they were burned and don't want to repeat it.
3. Some want to learn on their own, don't like to ask for help. Feel they learn better by observation.
4. Some have had bad experiences in school, didn't like their teachers or the confinement of a system.
5. Some have problems with authority figures.
6. Some people feel klutzy and don't want to show this in front of others.

My own experience was to find school, except for when I went to college, very boring.

I took a modern dance class once (thought it would help my skiing) and became extremely frustrated at trying to follow the teacher's movement patterns and connect many steps in sequence. I am fairly athletic, but I had a very hard time learning this way. I think my frustration at not getting it quickly kept me from making much progress. Some of the early ski school clinics I took were somewhat similar in that we had to perform maneuvers in front of a group that contained skilled skiers and in trying not to look bad we ended up skiing like robots.
I sure don't know the answers just had some thoughts and would appreciate hearing yours.
post #2 of 20
I found that the best schools and instructors will bend to what works best for you, for example, I am the type that works best with a "drill sargeant" type instructor who wouldn't hesitate to KICK my sorry a** back up the mountain if I am doing something wrong..., I just mention this to my pro and they adapt (almost TOO well, in some cases!)to my style. I would assume this would be the case with structured or unstructured methods of learning, the more flexibility and customizing the lesson to what works best for the student, the better experience for the student. Its a matter of the student knowing what works for him/her.
post #3 of 20

Another great topic!

I woudn't say that I am aligned to one structured system. I know people may get that impression from the posts here, but that's more of a defensive posture from being attacked.

Normally, I do, very much, like learning things on my own. I like the challenge of figuring things out and problem solving. The more sturctured environment of learning skiing from others is as much social for me as anything. Once you have been around the same group of folks for a while, the less regimented it gets. (BTW, I hated school, and was never much good in an academic environment). Even when I go to structured events, I go with friends and I spend time at these events with other friends. Bonus, that I get to learn cool stuff.

I'll also add that at higher levels, it's very difficult, and a lot more time consuming to learn on your own. You get to a point where you just don't know where to go next, or what to do. You don't understand that you can get better, because you don't know what it means to be better. You need to see these amazing skiers to make you desire that sort of ability. Another simple analogy to golf (I don't know what my deal is with golf today. Maybe that I was supposed to be playing for the first time this summer, but the weather sucks); If you played every round by yourself, and never knew what a good score was or saw someone really hit a ball well, you don't have the drive to want to do that. I actually fall into that quite a bit because I rarely keep score, and the people that I end up playing with on these cheezy public courses are no better than me. Therefore, I really don't care if I don't get much better. But you can bet, that if I played a few rounds with a top PGA competitor, I'd wish I could play better. So skiing with these amazing skiers is what keeps me coming back for more.
post #4 of 20
I agree, Good topic.
I learned as a kid and have always been a "how does it work" person. But I also was skiing better than all my friends. When I finally got so ski more with my cousin, It piqued my interest enough to start taking lessons again.. Now I can't get enough....
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
dchan, What made you take lessons instead of skiing with your cousin more?
post #6 of 20
1. When we went on the big trips together, everyone wanted to ski with "the Master" so I had to share him. which was fine but that only amounted to a day or 2 per year and it was more chasing after him and admiring the smooth efficient skiing.
2. I also got away more often than him to ski so I had to find some other way to push myself.
3. He also explained that even though he could do all the stuff and tell me what his instructors told him, the trained eye of an instructor would benefit my skiing instead of him trying to explain what he feels.
4. I got tired of asking for tips from him all the time. I would rather we just have fun skiing together than make him feel like he has to teach me. I don't think he minded but I felt like a burden if you know what I mean.. It was like free skiing with JohnH this year. It was a lot of fun and of course knowing he was an instructor you want to ask but I also wanted to respect his wishes to go have fun and free ski..<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited May 18, 2001).]</FONT>
post #7 of 20

great post!

as i've said, i had two lessons, my first two (back-to-back) days. same ski school(aspen), different mountains, different guys. i have more or less discounted the second lesson (and the second guy) and feel pretty damn lucky to have had the first, who LOVED to teach and LISTENED and was NOT caught up in dogma (or EGO) ("Worship me, I know more than you.")
I don't mind at all a firm approach, to which Bandit alluded; all my coaches in high school and college were pretty no-nonsense guys - no B.S., ZERO tolerance for laziness; a couple were right out of USMC - who didn't need you wasting THEIR time BUT if you were sincerely engaged in the process of learning/growing/improving, they were in your corner all the way.
I will happily give the instructor the agreement that he/she is the "expert," not me, but if I feel short-changed, I, like DCHAN, will voice it and be gone. (Hey, instructors, if you have to check your watch, be discreet! Most students are self-conscious enough as it is w/o feeling like we're wasting your day.)

Sorry, I'm rambling. I'll get to it. The main thing, for me, is the sense that the instructor or school really WANTS to be doing it and genuinely CARES and INVESTS in students' progress.

As far as type of student, i am...

I like to take what I've learned and seen and heard and go out and work it on my own, finding the efficacy for myself.
My second-day jerk was all about ego and reigning the class in (hell, maybe he had his reasons and I'm being too hard and unforgiving...) and letting everyone know he was THE TEACHER. (we KNEW that.) the guy i had my first day LET people who were picking things up fairly quickly go on ahead (still within his sight, of course) and Work Things Out. and it wasn't as if he wasn't watching; 'cause at the end of the day, when it was just the two of us, he sat me down and talked in detail about what he'd been watching (that i thought he hadn't seen). and he answered all my questions till i was done asking.

post #8 of 20

Interesting. I never thought of that. I check my watch when I teach. It's not because we think anyone is wasting our time. If we thought that, we wouldn't be teaching. Okay, that's MY philosophy, not necessarily others'. I check my watch to be able to plan the remaining time in the lesson... Do we have enough for one more run? Two runs? Two quick ones? one long one? If we go over to peak 8, will we have time to get back? Why is this lift taking so damn long, I don't want him to forget what we just did at the bottom of the last run? If I run a few minutes long, how much time does that leave me to get to my next lesson so that they aren't waiting around for me? Where the hell is my watch? The hair on my are is growing the wrong way.

It's not an office. We aren't waiting for the 5:00 whistle. Unless of course, we have to pee like a race horse because we ran long on the last lesson and never made to the bathroom. Lunch? Yeah, right!
post #9 of 20
I never thought of it that way either. As a service tech though I had to constantly keep an eye on the time so I can see how a student might feel about it now that you mention it. I think most of my instructors that had to keep checking time also kept us informed as to what was going on so maybe that could be a tactic for the instructors listening here.

.."How many more runs do you think we can get in?"
"Let's make a quick pitstop for a drink/bathroom break.... and we'll extend the lesson one more run"
"do we want to just let them run and we how we do or does anyone want me to look for something specific?. if we do... we can ...(make another run.. end the lesson on the other side of the mountain..etc)

We had Lyle for a week and he would swing by the school sometimes to make sure he didn't have another class booked so he could stay out longer with us.
Scott mentioned in our group that he likes doing the end of day thing because he can ski through the closing run with his students.. Nice....<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited May 18, 2001).]</FONT>
post #10 of 20
My favorite topic! Who can guess my answer?

You know its interesting, my family is very academically oriented, and try as I might, I can't escape it, even in sports and fitness.

When teaching movement, we often speak of visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners. As teachers, we need to appeal to them all. But then an interesting thing happens to our own learning. We become more multi modal. So teachers who have the ability to communicate in all realms hold a special appeal for me.

As you may have gathered from my posts, I like to learn many different teaching sytems of any discipline. Just to illustrate this, my signature class is a Pilates based mat class that uses the Stability Ball. It is constantly, and always will be a work in progress that continues to blossom as I continue to learn.
My favorite ski instructors are not locked into any one method, because in my mind, that would imply that their learning is finite. And if their growth is limited, I do not whave much hope of them being a catylyst for my own.
Just as I am both an eclectic teacher and learner, I enjoy ski mentors who are the same.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #11 of 20
it's me, paranoid. or projecting. something like that.
post #12 of 20
I keep track of the time when I teach too...

I try to really FOCUS on trying to stop for no more that 2-3 minutes of explaining on the hill. I make sure that what I say is spare, to the point, and maybe funny.

Everybody get's a "private within the group" approach from me. I try to do this at least once, on every run.

I like to have beginners do laps on the learning hill, and I'll lap them too. Lotsa movement & encouragement.

One thing that is really fun, is pairing up teams of 2 or more skiers in the group to "watch each other", and focus one something.... Stance issues, tipping the inside foot enough, etc.

I'll do this with the folks that are NOT going up the chair with me. Then alternate on the next run. Mix and Match. Funny, all my favorite clinicians teach this way.

With the new 6 place chairs, I can ride with 5 & yak, the other 6 (or less, hopefully) can ride in one other chair. Yeah, I get pretty big groups, when we are busy.

Also, raising everyone's silliness quotient! Helps get rid of lesson hebbie jeebies...

¯¯¯/__ SnoKarver snokarver@excite.com
post #13 of 20
In the same class as Wacko... gee, thanks!

My parents could only stand dealing with me for a year. They then inflicted me on the professionals for lessons every weekend from age 4-8 and when the teachers had had enough they dumped me on the race coach for another six years.

That's 11 years of structured ski education and I don't know what half the words even mean that most teachers post here. You see, what I got out of the education was engrained movements - physical responses to actions. There weren't any words or concepts that we had to associate with those movements - just... oh yeah! Now I get it!

An effective teacher -- for me -- was one who could both generate enthusiasm and at the same time 'sneak' a movement pattern into our subconscious disguised as just a different way to try a turn. ***A mind not cluttered with the effort of having to concentrate on something, allows the subconscious to more freely take it all in***

An ineffective teacher -- for me -- is someone who follows an established teaching regime in a linear and uncreative manner, "because it's recommended by 4 out of 5 dentists who chew gum". Gosh I love standing around in the cold freezing my butt off and listening to you explain why it is we need to learn to do airplane turns and how it pertains to our overall balance - LETS JUST GO SKIING YOU YUTZ!!!
post #14 of 20
I have to admit to experiences a lot like Ryan, with a little of what Cheap seats said about the yutz. I learned some basics several years back (can’t really remember) and all I remember was feeling like a horrible failure at the wedge, then called snow-plow. As I’ve said in the past, I think the wedge should not be taught as the beginning platform for many reasons. First of all you get dependant on it and, if your fairly big, like me, it seems hard to do it right. When I returned and got serious about skiing, the first thing I did was avoid the wedge. I don’t think everyone is the same and I sure hate to open this can of worms, but for me Harb’s first “expert skier” book was very helpful. I’ve been a little leery of getting in on Wacko’s threads. First because of the way he presented himself. Then, because it takes too much of my time just to keep up with the writing (how do you folks fine the time?). Finally, and I hate to say this but, you folks aren’t giving Harb’s methods even a small chance and you don’t even see it. Okay, blast away.

I am comfortable and have no problem learning from just about any effective method I can find. I’ve taken good and bad lessons. I would pay a lot for a good lesson, just have problems knowing before hand what will be a good lesson. I would really like to find a dependable instructor who would be consistently good. There are several instructors on this board that I wish were in the local area, but they’re not. I end up learning a lot from books and this forum simply because I haven’t found that ideal instructor. I haven’t given up hope yet and am thinking seriously about a camp so I’m taking in all the information I can.

What I end up doing by default is listening to friends and others and then just spending as much time on the hill as I can with an occasional lesson thrown in. Unfortunately, this year that I was hoping would be my best learning year, was filled with injuries and a lack of snow. I glean great information from this board and the many books and magazines I regularly consult.

By the way, I don’t think Harb is the ‘end all’, just one of many good instructors and, though this isn’t the place, will gladly relay some of the applications that helped me, whether my explanations stand up to the ‘well reasoned argument test’ or not. I don’t see that he claims to have invented any of the moves only that this is a good progressive way to learn.

So my reply is that I learned and continue to learn to ski just about any way I can, mostly all by default.
post #15 of 20
good post BobT
on the how do I find the time, My job has me at a computer screen all day long. in between the services requests or waiting for machines to reboot, loading software I just take quick peeks..
On the HH issue some of us do give him a chance. Some more than otheres. (check my review) I agree some people are better off not learning to "wedge" first but a gliding wedge is sure nice when you just want to slow a little and don't have the space..
I looked at HH's book, I have gone through the Breakthrough on skis with great interest and have found them to be very helpful and added a lot of the teachings to my skill set. Then I moved on.

I figure the more I have in my bag of tricks, the better chance I have of handling any condition...

Good luck in finding your ideal instructor. I have found several. too bad they are not local to me either..
I'll have to check out all mountain ski pros since they are in my neck of the woods..
<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited May 18, 2001).]</FONT>
post #16 of 20
I freelance as a fitness instructor, and usually have a few hours between classes. Fortunately, most gyms now have internet access. In between classes, its really helpful for me to spend time focusing on how people learn, since it helps my understand more about how to teach.
And since I don't teach skiing, I can be more objective about the information I take in.
Like d-chan, I think , respectfully, you are incorrect about our reactions to HH. Without sounding like an efete intellectual snob, those who frequent this forum tend to be a tad more educated, and not apt to fall head over heels over every new ski guru who comes on the market. Most of us will take from someones writing what works for them, and disregard the rest. In the case of wacko, it was the way we were approached that was offensive.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #17 of 20
Quote-"Finally,and I hate to say this but, you folks aren’t giving Harb’s methods even a small chance and you don’t even see it. Okay, blast away".

Bob T- I went to see the Wacko and SnoKarver in order to learn more about PMTS. I think the whole reason the debate has been so lively is that most folks here are interested in new methodologies. We may agree to disagree, however, were engaged in discourse.

How do I find the time? Most of the snow is gone around here.

We're not going to blast away. The blasting has stopped. It's a regular love fest now. I like it. Everyone seems pretty darn happy

I'm proud of everyone!!!
post #18 of 20
To all- Wacko has said his apologies. Let's forgive the guy. He got under our skin and I honestly think we should put that behind us.

I met the guy and he is OK. I honestly think everyone here would like him. He made a few mistakes and no one has had more screw-ups in life than I have. We are an electronic community. Let's accept the guy and forget the past.

He's trying to rethink everything he has said and done. We have conversed via e-mail. I hope this doesn't tick you off. That's not my intent. I think we all should think about the words we use, their tone, and tenor.
post #19 of 20
When I started to make a serious effort to improve my skiing, Lito was my mentor through his books and videos. The "Zen and the Art of Skiing" series, as I liked to call it. Despite whatever faults it may have, it managed to put me on a track to improve and truly enjoy skiing well.

I made an honest attempt to use Harb's 1st book to improve my skiing, but it just didn't click with me. I don't have a technical reason for it, something about it didn't seem to resonate. Perhaps if I had his videos and opnline assistance as well... but after the book I just wasn't all that enthused.

At the urging of some of the members of this forum, I sought out a PSIA instructor and began making quantum leaps in my skiing. I think the main reason why was that I had someone watching me skiing and disecting my movements. I also like the exposure to a proper physical model of the exercise being demonstrated. Finally, skiing with someone better than me always inspires me to progress.

To be fair, not every PSIA instructor I've had clicked with me. One instructor in particular had me extremely frustrated after the lesson. Her skiing was fluid and graceful, and it was obvious she was an accomplished instructor (just attained PSIA Lvl 3), but there was some communication block there we couldn't overcome. I could understand the point of each lesson from an intelectual standpoint, but putting them into movement was difficult. A month later, I set up a half-day lesson with her and my wife since there wasn't another Level 2 or better instructor available. I'd never heard my wife so excited about skiing as after that lesson. The same lessons I couldn't fathom were easy for her to grasp, and her skiing and confidence blossomed. Subsequent lessons with that instructor only increased her ability.

The point is, I understand now that it's more the instructor than the method (within reason). I agree with Harb and Lito (and the PSIA Centerline Model) that skiing can be broken down into a few basic concepts that can then be applied to various situations. The instructor that can convey them to a lunkhead like me is the one I want to ski with. It may be an impossibly high standard, but if I have a big, goofy grin and burning legs at the end of the lesson, I consider my money well spent.
post #20 of 20
Well said! Sometimes its the method, sometimes the delivery, sometimes the student, sometimes the teacher. it all has to click. A college math teacher I had was teaching how to use linear equations:
y=mx+b I couldn't get it! She gave me more books to read and study. finally one day we broke into small groups. I joined this one group where one student who knew how to do this was showing the rest of us how. Inside 2 minutes or less I learned 3 ways how to work this equation! Sometimes it's just different words or a different voice.
But we all know our equation here... skis+snow=fun!

Life's a pain... then you nap. Cat philosphy
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