or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Making turns - Page 2

post #31 of 88
Wacko, I respectfully submit that while your goal of increasing customer loyalty is a correct one, I don't think your idea of free lessons would a)bring the masses or b)that you could sell enought cokes, burgers, etc to even come close to breaking even. The smaller areas know that they have to compete for customer loyalty and that the repeat business is what will keep them around. ABasin does it by appealing to their core customer group - the young expert skier/boarder that wants to rip the steeps and tailgate with the crew at the beach. If ABasin went PTMS and followed your advice with the huddled masses yearning to be free of PSIA tyranny, they'd be out of business half way through the season. Why? Not because of PTMS, but because they will alienate their core consumer. You seem to think that the "product" the ski industry is selling is instruction. The state of instruction in skiing may not be the greatest right now, but it is NOT the cause of flat skier growth and an aging skier population. I don't care if you are a golf pro, tennis pro, or even if you teach bowling for a living, instruction is down because the general population doesn't want to take the time or put in the effort to become an expert ______ (fill in your sport of choice). The other main reason that skiing is declining is pure economics. Skiing is too damn expensive and way too time consuming. Look at the numbers for the last year. Last year saw some of the most aggresive price cutting on lift tickets in a long time. You could get your daily rate ticket at $20 or less if you bought at the right time. And people did - they sold like the proverbial hotcakes. However, the time constraint is out of the industry's control, and despite all the increased sales, it didn't translate into increased skier days (or at least, that's what I've heard from friends in the business - I don't have hard numbers to back this up). Free lessons aren't going solve that problem either.

Enought ranting - it's late and I need some sleep.
post #32 of 88
Thread Starter 
Well Tag, I'm not going to solve ski areas woes. Well, at least not for free, anyway.

But I'm convinced I know how, and if I could find the right area to be the pilot, I'm sure I could develop a model that every other small area in the country could implement and see gains from.

Thanks for the feedback, but my plan is much deeper than what you think. I'll keep it close to my vest though.
post #33 of 88
Yes, I am the same Robin...Yes, we still teach skiing, although we did 570k skier days, approx 50,000 students....and 78% were snowboarders!
No Pierre, I don't shudder at the thought of moe money, I believe this industry is facing a crisis recruiting, maintaining and inspiring pros....moe money is indicated. I am from North Van BC, Whistler FIS training thru the mid-late 70's, worked at the Toni Sailer, Nancy Greene Summer Camps as a very young cousellor to float the boat. I don't live there anymore but since Mum and Dad live in Victoria.....
From an outside looking in perspective, Wacko has identified perhaps the weak link in this industry...compensation. (Don't puff up SCSA....ya throw enough Sh*t against the wall, some is bound to stick)
I won't bore you with circumstances you all understand to well, but sooner rather than later someone will break down the corporate culture which produces these myopic visionaries in SAM.
An old Director told me "take care of the things that count...and the money will take care of itself" I have always had success and broken records by being instructor centered. Happy instructor, happy guest, happy owner...in that order.
We love what we do, problem is SAM knows it!
post #34 of 88
The mantra of the 90's was "Crosstrain". Crosstrain results in being a jack of all trades, and expert at none. You see the SUV ads today, with someone mountain biking, kayaking, skiing, mountain climbing, windsurfing, etc., etc. Reality is, that if they actually participated in every sport out there, there would be no time to become truly expert in any of them.

Back to the subject matter: Ask Tiger Woods how to hit a golf ball like an expert ("hit the ball in the hole"). Ask Pete Sampras how to play tennis like an expert ("hit the ball at 120mph, 2" over the net, with a nasty spin"). Ask a ski instructor how to make a turn. You want a 4 step method? Here you go:

1) Perpare
2) Initiate
3) Control
4) Complete

How much detail do you want for each of those steps? An entire book could be written on each.

I'll counter your "people want a product" theory (although, for many things, it is valid, just not here). You say dedicated skier numbers are down? I'll bet that no dedicated skier wants a ski-by-the-numbers approach. Only the beginners want it, so that they can "become an instant expert". Anybody who is dedicated to wants to become a true expert wants the detail and the long answer. They want to know (and figure out) why you do things, when you do things, how you do things.

I pretty much gave up wind surfing because I couldn't give it the time and attention it needed, for me to become really good at it (want to buy a rig?). I don't have time to learn tele because it takes away from my time on alpine gear. I hardly have time for snowboardning anymore. I'd much rather be a true expert at one or two sports, than a poser at 12.

The people that are led into skiing through the promise of "instant expert" by PMTS, will NOT become the bread and butter of the ski industry. They will not become addicted, life long participants, who seek to become true experts. They are people looking for instant gratification. The whole idea of "instant" is counter to the idea of "expert". We had a nice long tread, a while back, about "what is an expert". There is nothing instant about it. This is not HTML or C++, that you can read a few books and become an expert (and make $100k/yr). Skiing is an activity, an art and a passion.

**Due to the power shortage, the light at the end of the tunnel will be turned off indefinitely.
post #35 of 88

HI! Welcome to where we can see you. Nice to have your input.
post #36 of 88
I like this guy named DChan! First of all, he frequently compliments my so-called humor. But secondly, he often makes a whole lot of sense! Up above, he posted a couple of comments that I believe are right on target:

 "I will make parallel turns, stem turns, swing turns, short swing turns, hop turns, step turns, scarvy turns, pivot slips, one ski outside edge turns, wedge turns - whatever makes it FUN to get down the hill." (Not to sound like a broken record, but you left out the ubiquitous 'Mambo'!)

 "Most of the time when I'm freeskiing - and I'm sure a lot of other 'experts' are the same - I don't even think about how to turn. It has become 'instinctive' or second nature for most. I see I want to turn there and I do … I turn or adjust - no thinking about it. To say this is the way you have to do it means very little freedom in creating your own style."

By the way, the thing I dislike the most about SCSA, is that he's still skiing at A-Basin while I'm stuck here mowing my lawn!

BE the skis!
post #37 of 88
Well stated, however tele is not really that difficult. I would just add that the vast majority of skiers who would need to see skiing in a more product presentation, will never take the sport to the advanced expert reaches. They will be the same folks with the TaeBo videos gathering dust on top of their TV's.
post #38 of 88
Thanks. I left out mambo because I'm too young (ha) to remember or have had learned that one. Maybe someday.
Right now I'm working on "reaching short turns" as Scott Mathers calls them. GS type turns in a SL type radius would be my description.

Now we need to have a meeting of the minds and merge 2 ski systems. PFIA and XSCHUSS
Now that might be funny <FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited May 31, 2001).]</FONT>
post #39 of 88
Thanks John.
I'll forego bemoaning the state of the industry, and return to the thread. What I chose to do for a living is a self-inflicted life style choice, but as Pierre eluded to, many SSD share lives of quiet desperation...we are never that far removed from "the line-up".
I appreciate your previous post, it is too easy to look for that Madison Ave. panacea! It would help to add a little "sizzle" to the product's perception however. For the most part, regardless of your niche in the market, as a never ever assembly line or private boutique, the product is there in high quality, and all school have bullpens of great mastery.
But there are no shortcuts, magic bullets or fast food solutions to expertise...the road to enlightenment is guided mileage with a master and seasons of singular (as you stated) dedication.
Consumers attracted by shiny packaging are easily distracted by the next pursuit. They flirt, a little slap and tickle...but they never fall in love.
post #40 of 88
"They flirt...but they never fall in love". As Molly Bloom would say "YES to Say YES to Say YES"!!!
As we see in the fitness industry, packaged fads come and go, but what ultimately keeps people motivated is the continual interaction with a master teacher.
D-chan posted a thread about ASC's Perfect Turn program, which I am pretty much a product of. However, many of the instructors bemoan the fact that very few people who go through this program take lessons beyond level 3, because somehow they get the idea that they are experts at that level. And indeed, if I go into a level 4/5 class at most ASC resorts, I will usually end up with a private or semi private lesson.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #41 of 88
From some of the internal and external tracking I have done vis a vis "3-Pak" type, guaranteed "new skier" packages and attrition. Attrition is 20% at the second lesson, 30% for the third...usually passing up the free full mountain tix at the end. Just teach me enough to be dangerous to myself and everyone else. Setting the bar at expert is a stretch...mere semi-spontaneous competence is to low...ergo the appeal of the quick fix direct parallel trend.
post #42 of 88
OK, my $.02...
To quote SCSA..."The best businesses are built entirely around customer loyalty."

They have free lessons for intermediates and above at NorthStar at Tahoe, which is not really any farther than any of the other North Tahoe resorts from where my ski house is. As I see it (and I could be wrong, but anyway), they offer the free lessons since it is predominantly a beginner/intermediate mountain and they want to offer something for the better skiers to keep them coming back...customer loyalty. I love taking lessons to improve my skills, but am I going to go to NorthStar because the lessons are free?
If I am at Northstar it's because it's a crappy day and it's a better place to ski than the more difficult area mountains on a windy or heavy snow day, because it is more protected from the elements (not a wide open bowl). So would I be loyal to a mountain because they offered me something for free? No. It's a nice treat that they have the lessons (and they are a couple hours long) but it's not what is going to make me loyal to a mountain. Interestingly enough, the level 6 and 7 lessons were filled to capacity, level 8 was half full (or half empty) and the level 9 was me and one other woman. A free semi-private as many times as you want...still not enough to make me call NorthStar my home mountain. What is going to make me loyal (and this of course is only one woman's opinion) is great, challenging terrain, quality conditions, nice friendly staffers, and an all-around good atmosphere (although a good apres skis bar/restaurant is always a nice addition). That's why I can't make up my mind and regularly go between Alpine and SugarBowl. Thus, no true loyalty. The only loyalty I have is to the sport and I am of the group that could be loyal to one mountain since there are so many good ones, but for the same reason, I am not.

Back on the topic of turning, how do I turn? I hop in my skis and let the fall line pull me down. If I get going too fast or come to an obstacle, I turn. If I actually thought about it, I would probably fall. It's instinct at this point.

Also, Robin, welcome and thanks for coming out of the shadows!

Deep yogic breaths...
post #43 of 88
Paul, customer loyalty does not apply here, because most smaller resorts cannot provide an advanced skier with suitably challenging terrain. If they have any steep terrain, they generally mow down the moguls every day!And actually, most areas are FAR smaller than A- basin and Loveland. Advanced skiers care mostly about great snow and terrain at low prices, because they ski ALOT more often than a beginner or intermediate. Any customer loyalty at this skier level is to the mountain's physical attributes. If these skiers had to pay a higher price ( for subsidising the lessons )or look at ads all day, they would go to one of the larger resorts. Where they wouldn't have to put up with muddy parking lots, unreliable slow lifts and "strange" employees.
Take Robin's hill, for example. Tens of thousand's of Southern Californians have learned to ski/snowboard there. I have not taken a lesson there in 8 years, but I was very impressed by the quality of instruction.
However, ask any advanced skier/boarder in LA about Mtn. High and they will tell you "it sucks, go to Baldy or Waterman or Mammoth!"*
They don't call them feeder areas for nothing!

* Gotta say, though, Mtn. High really came through with the snowmaking this season. We are all glad to have Mtn. High around in December and January.
<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by milesb (edited May 31, 2001).]</FONT>
post #44 of 88
I'll have to disagree with your 4 step method.

JohnH's 4 step method
"You want a 4 step method? Here you go:

1) Perpare
2) Initiate
3) Control
4) Complete"

Preparation phase is the same as completion. So in my mind 3 steps. Some actions are ending the turn some things are preparation for the next turn, some are both.

Next disagreement.

JohnH says
"How much detail do you want for each of those steps? An entire book could be written on each."

Yeah, you could write an entire book on each step. It would be the most boring useless book ever. It is imperative for us as ski instructors/coaches to be able to explain simply how to turn, how a ski works, how to do a start, the proper line etc. If you cannot do that how can you teach?
post #45 of 88
...I hop in my skis and let the fall line pull me down. If I get going too fast or come to an obstacle, I turn. If I actually thought about it, I would probably fall. It's instinct at this point.
I know what you mean SkiMinker and I don't mean to single you out, but a novice skier will cringe with frustration when reading this whole thread. As far as novices are concerned, SCSA made his case really well. I don't agree with much of what SCSA says, but this thread supports the "product theory" for those novices who just want to learn basic skiing to keep up with their kids. Forget the "anybody can be an expert skier" hype for a second and think about who will be attracted to a lesson. As SkiMinker said, even free lessons are not that attractive at a certain advanced level.

Let's face it, the general mechanics of turning are not all that fuzzy. There is a generally right way to turn, as long as you allow for minor variations to suit style, body type, terrain and movement emphasis. I am sure that a decent instructor can tell the difference between a good and a bad turn, just as he/she can analyze it, decompose it, and suggest ways to improve it. Don't forget that long before skiing becomes an art or an expression of style there is basic instruction. Novices have to know what are the basic moves and they have to practice them and think about them until it becomes instinct.
post #46 of 88
Thread Starter 
Just make sure I get an invitation to the Bears Party. You guys wouldn't shut your pal Wacko out, would ya?

My skills got so much better today - I mean, I was great before, wait till you see me now. I'm making "Harald like" turns. Yummeee. I'm just going down the mountain with no effort at all. It's pretty, soooo pretty. I mean, they're still talking about me.

How'd I do it? Today, I mastered flattening and flexing the stance leg to start the turn. I'm making the sweetest, roundest turns...And I'm flexing my stance leg - Oooh ooh ooh. And I'm gliding through the goo, I mean gliding through it. Everybody else I saw, their skis were wobbling. Not mine - smooth as silk.

BTW, from what I can see, "we" turn much different than "you".
post #47 of 88
Congrats, now you can ski like Harb. Now that you can ski at his level, what's next? Now you're at the Master's level it's time to seek a new Master. I think that's what they do in Kung FU movies. You've snatched the pebble.
post #48 of 88
Thread Starter 
Thanks man, it really feels good.

That's why I'm coming to check out the Bears - looking for some new tricks. I mean, c'mon, what are we talking about here. 3000 years of experience or something like that?<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by SCSA (edited May 31, 2001).]</FONT>
post #49 of 88
Guess I ain't going.
post #50 of 88
Now the big challenge lies ahead of you. You must pick a new master not a instructor but a coach. Perhaps there is a Masters race team near you or a freestyle coach who need some additional students. Or you could take up Gelande.

or furniture racing

Or Inflatable elephant racing
post #51 of 88
Paul, a little quiz. Why does this action make it easier to ski the mashed potatoes? I want you to think about it, I'm sure you can figure it out. Then you will have really learned something valuable.
post #52 of 88
Thread Starter 
Let's just put it this way.

I'm looking forward to skiing with this crew here.
post #53 of 88
Thread Starter 

When you flex and flatten the stance ski to start the turn, this move automatically tilts your body over your skis (skis are under the hips) and down the fall line.

Along the way, the old free foot rolls over on to its big toe edge -- you're in balance, and the skis turn themselves, as I like to say.

So I'm not sure what the lesson is, other than I'm thrilled that I've learned it. This concept has been more important to my skiing than anything. I don't lift and tip anymore. I lighten, which is a cue for expert skiing, as Harb defines it.

Maybe we should move this over to a different thread?
post #54 of 88
Guess its gonna be an all guys trip. Better invite him though, else you get threats.
post #55 of 88
Thread Starter 
Fine, don't invite me, whatever. But if you really want to see some great turns...

Damn! And I was sure that LisaM and SkiMinker would show me their.......

post #56 of 88
Paul, keep thinking. Why does it make the mashed potatoes, in particular, easier to ski?
Pierre, when he said flex, he was talking about his stance leg, not the ski.
post #57 of 88
Please explain the ski choice comment in regards to going turn for turn???
post #58 of 88
Thread Starter 

Are you into PMTS? It kinda looks like you are.

I give up. What's the answer?
post #59 of 88
Thread Starter 

You ever come out to Colorado? If so, make sure you let me know. I'd love to rip a few with you.

And that goes for anyone else here too. Let me know in advance and I'll get you cheapo lift tickets. <FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by SCSA (edited June 01, 2001).]</FONT>
post #60 of 88
Paul, let's start with some school figures, real slow and round on the flats! Jocanadian...since you are in the region...any word on Dave Irwin?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching