|Originally posted by arcadie:
I just have to respond to this thread, especially if new instructors are following it.
Take some time to think over the advice being offered here.
Think about what you are teaching and ask yourself if you are really launching these students on a path that will lead to their skiing the way you do or will you be giving them bad habits that will make it difficult for them to progress.
Teaching level one lessons well is not particularly easy but learning to do it well can teach you a lot about teaching and about skiing. Don't beleive for a minute the person who tells you that its just a matter of picking up a set of exercises that you crank out to whoever comes along. That's a formula for a really bad lesson and you will be doing your students a major disservice.
arcadie, you are so right!
I never sought certification, or wanted to be a professional instructor. But I have taught all of my friends and their kids. I never even allowed them to think of a wedge until they graduated from green runs, and they are fine. Some of them are now skiing better than me; some are teaching their friends along the same lines as I had taught them. None of them decided to quit skiing. None of them has been stuck in the green runs for longer than a couple of days - even in the times of straight skis. A typical grownup is strong enough to make a hockey stop on groomed snow, and keeping toes pointing in the same direction is easier than having the ski tips near crossing. They just do not go to a hill where they are afraid, and that eliminates the need for a braking wedge.
The first thing I teach them is making the stairs up and sideslipping down, controlling the countered position of the body and hands.
Then we gradually start pointing the tips down, each run a little further, but still staying in control, at the same time increasing the steepness of the hill and maybe alternating ice vs. packed powder.
This way, by the time they are ready for a turn, they already know how to dose their edging.
Then comes the point of truth, and it's best to go back to a gentle shallow hill with a hardpack. We make our first pivoted parallel turn and sideslip to a stop. This is where I try to introduce pole plant as an up-unloading mechanism.
Then we make 2 linked (Parallel) turns, and after that I take them to the next level in steepness (make sure it's packed powder, no ice). Two runs down the green runs making parallel turns and playing with the edges. After that they are on their own. It takes a full beginner approximately 3-5 hours to get to that point.
If my student is not a beginner, then we learn wedge turns, and weight distribution, and edge rolling - as one part of skiing, but not as the entire purpose of it,- and start from there. I try to avoid stem turns unless we are going to a place that is too steep for them with the technique they have. Then I teach them stem turns, but before we go there.
Maybe I am old-fashioned, but at least they will rely on their skills and not on technology in their skiing.[ February 14, 2003, 06:20 PM: Message edited by: AlexG ]