Here is an excerpt from a post you wrote last year;
"Just in the past week since returning home from the Academy, I have seen more truly POOR examples of both teaching AND skiing by instrs wearing gold pins. I was so shocked, I did have a conversation regarding this with our training supervisor. And at the risk of sounding egotistical- I made the same statement about some of our Instr Trainers! He acknowledges the issue, but is at a loss as to how to correct it! We discussed various causes and solutions, but it still came back to the fact that , after gaining Level 3, there was no "motivation" to continue improving.
As for those instrs who took offense to your comments- "If the boot fits, wear it!". Usually those who protest are the culprits, or at least feel somewhat guilty. Tell them to grow up and deal with it. Each instr is responsible for their own improvement. Isn't there an old saying- "If your aren't part of the solution- you are part of the problem"? Hiding (from) the issue isn't going to improve it!
The Vail/ BC SS has 1500 instrs. About 400-450 are snowboarders, so we won't go there. Of the remaining 1100+/-, maybe 150 are true expert skiers. Any snow, any hill, any speed, any turn. With panache' ! Of that group, maybe 100 are gifted teachers. So, you show up, ask for an instr. What are your chances of getting one of these good ones? Slim and none, and Slim left town a week ago! Those few gifted pros are usually spoken for. They are booked by regular clients, and rarely will the walk-in customer ever get to experience what they can offer. Instead, that customer will (unknowingly) have to settle for the next several tiers of competency.
By the way- don't ask the Ski School office staff who is a great instr- they really don't know. They might know who's popular, but that's not the same thing. Want to find the best instrs at your area? Ask the pro's themselves. Ask who has what credentials and experience. Ask who the pro's believe are the best skiers on the staff. Collate these names, and you'll find a very short list, indeed. But you will have found the best your area has to offer.
As for the assertion that PSIA has dropped the ball by certifying instrs whose skills are suspect, again I agree! The standard of skiing at the Level 3 has diminished so severely, PSIA cert is now a joke among the international community. As a matter of fact, several (internationals included) of us had this very conversation at lunch today. I had spent the morning training a couple of staff, and during the course of discussion, the topic of poor skiing/ teaching instrs came up. Year after year, the idea of raising the standards is brought forward, but it results in more lip service than results. This season that was brought up again at our fall examiner training. Though it was agreed that the standard needed to be tightened, we'll have to see what happens, and judge the results.
So- you want a great instr? Do your homework! You have the right to expect great things from your instr!
And if you don't get it, there is always the Academy next season..."
Juxtapose what you wrote last year with the quote coming out of the mouth of the ski instructor in question;
"this isn't PSIA or anything, but I have been doing this for too many years to worry about that!". I had an INNER GIGGLE."
I guess my primary concerns were as follows;
1. I was thinking about what Bob Barnes had written in response to Fastman referring to PSIA "gospel". Apparantly the guy teaching this lesson thought there was some sort of dogma and he sure wasn't going to follow it. I for one don't think there is dogma or gospel, however, I do question anyone who would predicate any instruction by starting it in this manner. Would you start a flight lesson by saying, "this isn't approved by the FAA or anything but I have been doing it for too many years to worry about that". I just don't think the comment does a whole hell of a lot to advance the cause of ski instructors.
2. I was particularly concerned that it caused the "inner giggle".
Do I resort to rotation, up-unweighting, retraction, or anything else in powder. You bet. Am I an average powder/crud skier? Nope. I'm lousy.
Do I rotate while making turns? About three fourths of the time. If you search the archives I have repeatedly stated I am a very average skier and average teacher.
You wrote, "As for the assertion that PSIA has dropped the ball by certifying instrs whose skills are suspect, again I agree! The standard of skiing at the Level 3 has diminished so severely, PSIA cert is now a joke among the international community."
I have no concerns with the instructor teaching something that worked in unusual conditions. I applaud the idea. I have concerns about the manner it was couched and believe he is the very instructor you reference as perhaps having suspect skills.
It simply seems like an inane thing to say.
Lastly, you wrote;
"On another point-
I'm not sure if you think you are being funny, satirical, or what. But in many of your responses to people over the past several weeks, you have been extremely condescending, myopic, and in many cases, downright viscious (sic)!
Satire is loosely defined as sarcasm deriding folly. I had no intent to be vicious and am man enough to apologize to you and anyone else I offended. Please accept my personal apology to you and to anyone else who was offended. In the words of the student vernacular....my bad bro. I really hate that expression.
There are times I think really suspect advice is put forth here and yes I am a sarcastic s.o.b. I want to stress I participate to gain insight from folks such as you and other examiners. I also think at times the discussions have become rather esoteric and I have been frustrated by that. Perhaps that has lead to me being so ascerbic.
I have never attempted to hide behind a surname and applaud the fact that you don't. I would like to remind you this is a forum and as such there will be folks like me. In that same vain you have every right to say what you had to say, I'll take it to heart, again say I did not mean to tick you or others off and will look forward to further discussion.
[ December 09, 2003, 09:40 PM: Message edited by: Rusty Guy ]