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Parental Expectations

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, I know I'm preaching to the choir here. I'm not really looking so much for a solution or advice, I just want to get this off my chest before I kick someone's ass!!!

I teach a children's group every weekend and all of last week (except Xmas day). Kids range in age from 6 to 10 or so. I think we only have one six year old, and most of them are 7 or 8. Anyway, they're pretty decent skiers, but they are kids. A large part of every day is safety. Stopping in safe places, looking before starting and when crossing trails, safe lift riding, you name it. They have to be reminded all day every day. We also like to do some skiing.... a lot of skiing if we can, and I figure it might be nice if the kids learn a thing or two. I have planty to share. My pod has 18 kids and another coach who is a newbie this year. Depending on how many kids show up, we may or may not have a split each day.

These kids have been skiing in most cases for 3 or 4 seasons, and they are reasonably good, but they have a LOT of room to improve. At best, I'd say most of them are level 5 or so. The problem is the parents. A lot of these kids parents insist that thier kids can ski Goat or Starr or even some of the woods trails. : I'm sure that with Mom and Dad right there, and a lot of time on thier hands, it is possible.... but for me to bring 6 or 7 of them down a trail like that. I don't think so.

So pretty much everyday, I have parents asking me where we are going to ski, and at the end of the day asking the kids what trails did they ski. They don't seem to get that thier kids aren't all that good, or that we can only do what the weakest member of the class can do. Or that conditions can change from day to day. On a good day, we will do some "black diamonds" (even though many of the kids say that they ski "triple blacks").

So this Sunday, we split the group. I took the kids that seemed to be lacking in edging skills and went over to a green lift where we could work on that. My partner took the group that skis slow and brought them to the race course to see if she could speed them up. I skiied all morning with my kids working on RR tracks and so on. Trying to get them to use thier edges more instead of just flying down the hill and slamming on the brakes at the bottom.

At lunch, a lot of kids were leaving early, so we reassimilated the group, and my partner who was not feeling too well, and had to waitress that night, went home. I had six kids left. Next thing I know, I'm being interrogated by parents who want to know why thier kids were skiing greens all morning. Are they in the wrong group? Are the other kids holding them back? They ski black diamonds all the time. You have to challenge them. One father said to me "If you can't handle double diamonds, maybe we should get an instructor who can". : : :

So, off we went on our merry way....

We did a run on a blue bump trail and the kids did OK, but as usual, they were leaning way back with thier hands under thier butts, lifting one ski to turn, wedging here and there, but they made it in one piece. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

So, next lift ride, I am looking down at Liftline and National. Things are looking good down there. Not too many rocks, not much dirt, bumps look manageable. Snow looks firm, but not toooo icy. "So," I say, "Who wants to ski a double diamond?" Everybody raises thier hand. No suprise there. "We can do this only if everybody promises to ski safe and do exactly what I say. No screwing around" Heads nod. Ok then, off we go.

I start off toward Liftline, and just to be contrary, a couple of kids ask if we can ski Upper National instead. I look down at the yellow ice and exposed ledge, and say, "It doesn't look to good". So we keep going. At last, the class is standing at the top of it's first double diamond. "Everybody ready", I ask, as I give them a landmark where we will regroup. I am sure I will need to "bat cleanup", so will go last. Three of them look like they'd rather be somewhere else, but I send them off one at a time with plenty of space so that one won't take out the rest of them. The first pitch is an off-camber sheet of hard scraped off manmade. The kind you can get a good edge in, but can't stick your pole into.

The first kid takes off with a reasonable amount of confidence. She's not looking stellar, but I don't foresee any problems. I send off the only boy. He is roughly the same. I'm thinking about the ACL video as I see them ski. Off-balance to rear, hips below knees... how many of these elements are present? How flexible is a kid's ACL? Oh well... NEXT. My 6 y.o. goes next. She is a great skier for a six year old, and takes off in her powerwedge. No problems there. Now for the double diamond queen. The one who tells me everyday that Starr is easy, and that she is an Expert skier. Right now, she looks like she is going to cry. There's no way out though, so she gingerly starts side-slipping the ice. The next girl is nice enough, she makes nice turns, but she is soooo slow. She starts sideslipping too, but doesn't want to be too far away from the hill. She leans in, her skis slide out, and off she goes sliding into some bumps and stopping. Finally, the "class clown" a large part of showing off for her is having "the best crashes". She's the one I was looking at when I said "No screwing around", and is part of the reason the class gets so many safety lectures. She takes off straight down the hill, flashes across the ice and into the bumps where she LAUNCHES landing on her chest. She then lifts her ski up in the air and starts sliding toward a bunch of snow making gear, and the trees. : She's really moving, and screaming. Not a scream of terror, she just wants everyone to see her. I'm hoping there's not too many instructors riding the chair above me at that moment. My jaw is agape (does that make me a gaper?), but I am already moving. I go zooming down there and grab one of her skis to stop her before she hits. When we all regroup, she asks "did you see me" of the rest of the group. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. That was the last double diamond for a while.

Well, long story. Not much of an ending, but I had to tell someone.

By the way, I love these kids, and am very happy with my group. Most of the parents are fine too, as always, though, and I'll quote DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, some "Parents Just Don't Understand".
post #2 of 27

You know, I wonder, how about include in this kind of kids program an optional "ski with your kid's instructor(s)" time. Just a couple of runs at the beginning or end of a day when they can ski with you, get to know you a little bit, and understand that you aren't there to "hold their little angles back".

I'm just daydreaming as I sit here in the cube on a warm Boulder afternoon...
post #3 of 27
Epic - [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img] As a parent of two skiers, and by will of circumstances their primary ski teacher, I must say it was a very educational story.

But honestly, I don't think I will ever understand the parents who insist (!) that the instructor take their 6-y.o. kids to double black diamonds. : I guess every kid learning to play violin has at least one family member who thinks he or she is the next Paganini. :

Safety is the most improtant thing a kid has to learn on the mountain, just like you said. If it were in my powers, I wouldn't even allow recklessly skiing kids to advance to the next level until they demonstrate that they can ski safely.

Kids love to go down any terrain, no matter how steep, - and simply lack the mileage to enable them to identify dangerous situations they can handle vs. situations they can't... And yes, some parents don't realize that - I was such parent too [img]redface.gif[/img] until I took my older daughter to her first black diamond run, and she started showing off and tumbled half the run head over heels... Now (5 years later) she does double-blacks with confidence and never shows off. I learned my lesson. Some parents never do.

I would let the parents and only parents take their kids to double black runs. This way they would accept the full responsibility for their decision [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img] , and would be one on one with their own kid. At least take a private lesson for the kid to go on DBD runs, but not in a group setting of 6+ kids per instructor!

[ December 30, 2003, 03:54 PM: Message edited by: AlexG ]
post #4 of 27
BTW, I'm a father of three (aged 9, 7, and 2), so I've seen this in other parents, as well. My kids don't ski much (yet?), but participate in other pasttimes (horse riding and ballet). I wouldn't dream of pushing them or their teachers! After all, I'm paying the teachers for their expertise!

I remember during my high school years in southern Michigan at Mt. Holly all the school kids arrived in buses and had to take lessons (sounds a lot like Ott's and Pierre's environment!). The rule was that you had to get a certain patch in order to ride the lifts serving the more difficult terrain. In my case, it drove me nuts at the time--I had learned to ski in northern Michigan and had put in 100+ days for my first 2-3 years and was as good or better than the instructors. But, looking back, it was pretty smart.

Somehow, I doubt if areas are doing much of that any more. Are they?
post #5 of 27

I'm kinda new to the board, but have been teaching in a similar program at Alta (Alta Youth Club) for 2 years now. It's a really great program, and I love doing it. It seems like my entire class this year is a bunch of cut's ups (minus my youngest, a 7 y.o. that's new to the group). I haven't taught kids too much (80% adults/20% kids (including A.Y.C.)). All of these guys are solid level 7 skiers and a few are low level 8's. Most of the can easily ski Alta's backside/ballroom etc. A few still revert back to the wedge when "the going get's tough", but for the most part they are all parallel skiers. With this being said, I still spend a fair amount of time with these guys on groomed green terrain. Why? I don't want them skiing defensively. This sets up bracing, blocking etc that takes forever to get rid of. All of my parents are awesome and have the attitude that so long as the kids are having fun, it's all good. I push them when they need to be pushed, but we still have fun flying around on the greens too. Alta is blessed with some awesome "bear trails" or easy tree runs. My kids would stay there all day if I'd let them.

In our discussions at lunch and in clinics, Scott Matthers (former Demo team member) really stresses the need for gliding at the early stages of our skiing career. This goes double for kids. We don't want them pushing their feet, leaning back, bracing or any of the other stuff that comes with skiing terrain that is too steep for our ability level. In fact, I think Scott told me that ALOT of World Cup race training takes place on relatively flat terrain to teach the ability to glide. If you ask my kids, one of the things I stress to them is to "turn your feet to make the turn" (i.e. don't push them!) I really saw great progress last winter with them mainly working on that (I don't want to make it too complicated....)

I guess my point is things you can present to parents to make them realize that time on the greens is often time well spent and causes faster progression, not slower progression. Ask your parents what their goals are for their students. I'm sure most of them would say "I want them to ski parallel." If they do, follow up with "Well the quickest way to get there is to ski the greens and blues, where the students feel comfortable." If they are in the "Yikes Zone", they just don't/won't make the proper moves to ski parallel. When we've got the skills we'll ski that stuff. Many skiers equate where we ski to how good we ski. We know this simply isn't the case. Being able to navigate a black in a wedge doesn't make us an expert. Make sure your parents know this.

With that being said, I would NEVER let a parent pressure me in to choosing terrain that's above the ability of my student(s). Here's a fictional (but very realistic) situation. Parent A wants their kid (Kid A) and therefore the Group to ski "X" Double Black trail. The rest of the group says OK, but is somewhat hesitant (peer pressure). Kid B falls and gets injured. After the accident, Kid B tells their parents "I didn't want to ski that one, it was too hard." Now we have a sticky situation. Put yourself in the position of the questioning attorney "Do you take your adult level 5's down Double Black Diamonds???" Most of us would have to say no. I always say that anyone in my group has the "veto" power when it comes to where/what we ski (but they have to speak up and use it, I can't read minds). It simply protects me from ugly situations....

These are just a few quick thoughts. Good luck. I've found that dealing with parents is quite often the hardest part of teaching kids.....

post #6 of 27
I agree with Lonnie. Parents can be their kids' own worst enemies in learning to ski (and learning in general). I think Scott Mathers' thoughts about gliding are right on and that parents will appreciate being exposed to those thoughts by their kid's instructor. The learning partnership should include the parents as buyers of the lesson, but it must include the child as consumer of the lesson. Pleasing the whole group of stakeholders in a child's lesson can be a daunting task unless everyone agrees that the well being (best interest) of the child comes first.
post #7 of 27

Noise story. I can relate.

#1 thing I focus on is ensuring (to the best of my ability) that the kids smile as a group and want to return. The parents can push all they like BUT at the end of the day if the kid wants to ski with you they will let their parents know in the same terms that the parents let you know what they WANT!!!!!

There are lots of skills learnt through drills and terrain play that make the kids smile and learn. Some of my best days have been had just playing on cat tracks and using all the little bumps and jumps and rollovers around to teach independent legs and fluid balance. Maybe point out that double blacks are actually regressive if skied too early in a ski career. Maybe outline that confident parallel skiing is the goal not a scorecard of badly skied black runs. Maybe emphasise that a stylish centred skier will achieve more in the long run than a scared defensive one. If you have the respect of the kids then enlist them in helping you to get the message across to the parents. Regular groups are perfect for this tactic as you build a team of like skiers instead of a lesson of individuals.

Remember that the projection of the parents wants is quite often a manifestation of their own weakness in skiing. This is something to remember when selling the parent a private or two.

I sometimes watch what my kids are doing with an instructor (if I am unsure, on introduction, of the instructors experience\bag of tricks level) BUT the biggest sign of a good kids lesson, for me, is the enthusiasm of the kids at the END of a long day on the hill. I suppose as an instructor I do know that mileage on greens means confidence of blues and correct skill utilisation on blacks though.

Parents : oh, oh I am one. [img]smile.gif[/img] One that watches
post #8 of 27
Hmm too many stories like that one out there I'm sure.

It's nice when parents let teachers and coaches do their jobs. Tough when they don't.

I generally toe the line of "working for the kid, not the parent." I even find (diplomatic) ways of telling parents (when necessary) they are the worst judges of their childrens' sporting development needs (because parents and kids both have expectations of each other while instructors and kids develop those as they get to know each other). I'm always surprised when it goes over well though.

I sure agree with the defensive/vs. gliding issues concerning terrain selection. My six-year old son skis pretty good. Carves, does short, medium and long radius turns, check turns sideslips, jumps. He likes to find really difficult (kid sized) ways down the hill for himself. But put him on something over his head and sit back and wedge he will right away. I've pretty much gotten over pushing him into terrain he doesn't want to try yet. I'd much rather see him spontaneously developing body angles and upper/lower body separation on easy blue runs than stuck in a pelvis-splitting wedge and crying; scared to death because I think he should be able to ski "run X."

He may demonstrate a pretty decent skiing ability, but cognitively etc, he isn't aware of technique, and certainly does not understand how technique relates to slopes and conditions for the most part. It took me a couple experiences to figure out that ski technique really doesn't mean a whole lot in regards to terrain when it comes to kids. Some 4 year old power-wedgers will do a steep icy run no problem when a 7 or 8 year old parallel skier might freeze and cry on the same run even though he/she has ample skill to handle it with aplomb. Or the opposite could be true.

And then it took me a couple MORE experiences to figure it out in regards to my boy.

Now I don't know what Double-Diamonds are like where you ski, but I wouldn't even begin to consider the ones we have out here for 97% of the six year olds I've skied with no matter what a parent said. Double D here sometimes generates more than one uncontrollable fall resulting in a broken femur in a single day.
post #9 of 27
It amazes me when I see parents take their young kids on very hard terrain and allow them to wedge down in the middle of the trail.

It doesn't take much for even a good skier to catch an edge and slide right into them.

I know we all need to learn and I am sure I pissed alot of people off doing windshield wiper turns my first year.

A few weeks ago at Okemo during the big snowstorm conditions were OK and visibilty was horrendous.

They were blowing snow, it was snowing, and there was fog. It was probably the most blind I had ever skied.

My wife and I were taking it slow because I could hear people sideslipping in front of us. We came to a steeper part of a blue run and saw a little girl off to the side on the ground.
I always stop and ask if people are OK especially a child

I ask if she is OK and she says yes. I ask again and she says yes.

Then I say you can't get up can you?

I help her up and my wife leads her down the run and I sidelip in back of her to block anyone coming down. She is wedging very poorly the whole way.

Eventually we see a woman a few hundred yards off to the side so we stop and it is her mother. Her mother does not say thank you or ask what happened. I later saw her father alittle furhter down and told him the deal. He thanked us and we skied off.

Why the hell would parents ski ahead of their kid who wedges on an icy blue run with no visibility?

It amazes me what I see on the slopes.

The best was one time at Sugarloaf two parents were videotaping their very young child in the middle of a run with fog.

I don't have kids but I would never put my child in a situation like that.

I feel for you Epic.

If I go to Stowe will you take me down some double blacks?

post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by man from Oz:
#1 thing I focus on is ensuring (to the best of my ability) that the kids smile as a group and want to return.
Well, I was smiling at the end of the day as the kids were begging thier parents to let them have private lessons with me this week. It was like a throng of wild dogs. Of course that may be because I finally let them ski a double D....

I have told the parents most of the things you guys have said. One thing that seemed to work is saying that there are a lot of kids out there who are "Really good at skiing really bad", and that I don't want thier kids to be those people. Part of the problem is that a lot of the parents don't know what good skiing is. Part is that the ski school levels are terrain as well as skill based (Comfortable on easy blacks, skis whole mountain, etc.), and then there's the whole competition with siblings and parents for that matter, "My dad has never skiied Goat. If I ski it, I am better than him". I say that the kids are level 5, and skill wise, I think they probably are. As far as terrain goes, some of them are "comfortable" on blacks, but ski them like crap. Does that make them a 7? I always write 5 on my lesson sheet.
post #11 of 27
Questions: Epic, did you take the kids down the DD in reaction to the parents? If the parents had not mentioned it, would you have done that anyway?
post #12 of 27

You just destroyed Liftline and National's reputation with your post. How tough can they be with kids snowploughing down?

Seriously, like others here, I am amazed that parents would be so insensitive to this situation. Do they really believe that you avoid DD because you (the instructor) cannot ski them? Unbelievable!

Yesterday I was skiing in Tremblant and after 2 days of rain the snow was heavy and most runs were ungroomed (to preserve the snow during the warm weather). Visibility was minimal. Twice I came upon instructors with kids who injured themselves. Both times I was asked to go down to report to patrol that they need to evacuate someone. Both times it was on the same black run and on the same pitch where bumps and visibility made it more challenging (the run is called Grand Prix for those who know Tremblant).

Skiing in such terrain with 8-9 kids who are marginal skiers is like asking for injuries. If I was a parent I would have probably asked "What were you thinking?".
post #13 of 27
Letting the monkeys run the zoo?
post #14 of 27
I used to teach kids, especially during vacation weeks when we full timers were often delegated to the children's ski school. I was frequently amazed at how little parents understand about their children's learning process or about their actual skills. I would invent games and playful maneuvers to teach them in the context of play while the parents didn't seem to think their kids were learning unless lined up alongside the trail doing "drills". Usually the regulars in the kids program (who were mainly level 6's and 7's themselves)would keep the upper level kids lessons to themselves but I can recall one week when I guess some corporate snoops were around that I was given a group of the so-called upper level kids to teach. "These kids can ski anywhere on the mountain" I was told by their regular teacher. Of course they kept pestering me to take them down the toughest mogul run on the hill. Some intuition spoke to me as we cruised by the top of this run and I took them down one of the easier "black diamonds". As it turned out one of the girls was so frightened on this run she had been clamoring for that she wet her pants. Another kid ended up taking his skis off and sliding down on his seat. Pretty much of a horror show! Who was there also? One of the corporate observers, of course. Naturally the parents were pleased and impressed to hear where their kids had been skiing!
post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by oboe:
Questions: Epic, did you take the kids down the DD in reaction to the parents? If the parents had not mentioned it, would you have done that anyway?
With the right kids on the right day, yes. The trail was pretty tame on Sunday, and the weakest students were already gone.
post #16 of 27
hey epic...

isn't it fun.

you're smarter than the kids and the parents... rather than getting POed about them, outsmart them and put them in their place with a big, fat smile on your face.

"your child's safety is always my #1 priority. after that, I do know they you will free ski together as a family at the end of everyday - and your kids will be able to show you all of their new skills. I'm trying to teach them the skills they need to effectively ski the more challenging terrain that you'd like to be on with them. the most effective way to work on challenging skills is on less challenging terrain - this really gives the kids the confidence they need when they go ski the double blacks with you!"

you say that all with a huge smile and then what can they say???

admit that they don't ever free ski with their kids? admit that they can't or don't want to ski that kind of terrain with their kids? tell you that their kid's safety is not the most important thing?


post #17 of 27
It always amazes me to see kids on black and double black trails in a flying wedge and their proud parents thinking how wonderful they are doing. You are right when you say that parent's expectations and evaluation of their child's current skills are not always reasonable nor realistic.

In addition to being a ski instructor at a very small central MA area, I am a special needs teacher and have taught clarinet lessons. I run into this all of the time, parents that think their child is more skilled than they are.

Because of the lack of challenging terrain I rarely see this attitude at my ski area. When I do it is usually the parent of a first timer who questions why they are not able to ride the t-bar and are still on the rope tow (after a whole hour long group lesson). When this happens I suggest their child practice the skills we covered on the less difficult terrain so they are solid when we do go up the t-bar. On ocassion, I do get a couple that are able to go up the t-bar at the end of the first lesson and we do. If the lesson is over and I am not scheduled for another group I will take them up a couple times. If I have another lesson I suggest that they practice more where we were and tell them that we will go up at their next lesson. I've actually had a few people go in and schedule a private lesson with me to get their child riding the T-bar, particularly if they are planning to ski at another area.

All of our terrain is green and (lower level) blue (even the trail that is marked black) and most are all wide open. The trail imediately accessible from the t-bar is a wide open green slope. Skiing this trail will prepare them to ski the greens at Wachusett and even Ralph's Run (a circle in a square). I do make sure to tell them that our trail markings are NOT the same as at a bigger area and that just because they skied a blue at PR doesn't mean that they can ski blues anywhere. I suggest they start with a green.
post #18 of 27
What do you think of parents who comment on their kids technique? This past weekend, I noticed that Mark's daughter uses a good deal of upper body rotation to iniate a turn, as well as a couple of other issues. Should a parent or step parent comment, or should they wait till an instructor picks up on the problem?
post #19 of 27
Replying to SSH's post about halfway up the page, we in Wisconsin also have a program which requires kids in ski clubs and ski schools to pass a short skiing test and recieve a pass correspontrials appropriate to their ability. being in high school myself and being a school ski club (believe or not, the only times i actually get to free ski are with the ski club), I do find it slightly annoying to have to go and take the lame test which really only requires a lower level open parallel to recieve a black diamond pass (I mentioned we're in wisconsin, right?). I do, however, appreciate the fact that it not only keeps those of a lower level on terrain they can handle, but it keeps those of a lower level out of my way.

I would very much like to see this put into effect at the hill where I instruct, but I doubt it would be possible because of how small it is.
post #20 of 27
Let's not be knocking our "little" hills. We get to do it over until we get it right.
post #21 of 27
My favorite is when you have worked all day on good skiing and the perents drag the children to way to steep of a run cuasing that stiff leg and all steering goes right away. The next morning the parents inform you that there child skied a blue or black but struggled a bit and couldn’t get there skis parallel. Such is life and that’s what private lessons are for. One thing I have found is too much work on tipping the edges creates a kid leaning across there skis to achieve the edge angles. This does almost nothing for speed control and dooms them as the terrain increases. I observe instructors making very long turns on steeper bits without thinking about the length of a child’s legs. Kids need a shorter turn as turning movements will solidify speed control and help to get them more comfortable with out having to stack there bones to deal with pressure. Mom and dad can see the difference and usually the kid is then better than the parents. I also warn the parents of undoing all the good learning we have done by over terraining there children. Tell them right up front what will happen to the kids parallel if they get in to steep of a situation. In the end it doesn’t matter, one day after preaching all day not to ski tree's as stumps were right below the suffice of the snow dad instructs the children to " U-all get your buts in the forest where the animals are so we can see which one we want to hunt next fall" Needless to say I watched one of his kids go down in a basket.
post #22 of 27
danged yuppie parents, overachievers themselves, teaching their kids to be likewise... aggressive, braggartlike kids... not your fault, epic, for wanting the kids to stay safe. your choice is to be their teacher or their sucker, sounds like. I would choose teacher every time, and make no excuses for your position. the parents put their kids in YOUR class, and you get to tell them how it's done. end of story.
post #23 of 27
My favorite are the parents who tell me that their kid was a level 4 last week so they're ready for the level 5 lesson. Nine lessons to go from beginner to expert, not bad.

When we vacationed with other families, I wanted my kid in a lower class so she could ski with friends. The ski schools were geared to parents demanding the kids be pushed and they never seemed to hear the word "lower" and thought I wanted her in a higher level class. She was real young & hanging with her friends was the most important part of the trip. The friends were at a high enough level that she had fun even if she wasn't fully challenged.
post #24 of 27
I do JR. Ski nearly every day which is mostly 7-10 year olds. I We get the exact same problems you do.

I've had a few parent's upset because I didn't have their kid(s) skiing expert terrain even though they insist that they as a family always ski it. I've had to simply tell the parents that from 10-3 *I'M* responsible for the kids and they are not capable of safely (key word here) skiing that terrain. Power wedging down a diamond is not skiing, nor will the child ever learn anything that way. Meanwhile I did get them to start skiing parallel on some easier blues today so progress was made.

We've had parents demand their money back because their kid was "held back" and didn't ski black terrain all day. Meanwhile, the kid had fun, never missed skiing the blacks and actually learned something that day.

Most days the parents can be a bigger PITA than even the worst kid! [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]
post #25 of 27
Originally posted by Lisamarie:
What do you think of parents who comment on their kids technique? This past weekend, I noticed that Mark's daughter uses a good deal of upper body rotation to iniate a turn, as well as a couple of other issues. Should a parent or step parent comment, or should they wait till an instructor picks up on the problem?
Lisa, isn't your step-daughter a boarder too (like, she started snowboarding first and then skiing)?
Do I recall correctly?
If so, then the "good deal of upper body rotation" could come from that. In this case, the more she'll progress, at both (boarding and skiing) the less the rotation should become evident...
Anyway, it all depends how your relationship with her is...
A good instructor can teach his/her children, but I think he/she
must be even more subtle (delicate I'd say) in the way he/she teaches, I try to avoid to comment on my son's technique, and
let them have fun (they're 8 and 9 y.o., can snowplow everywhere, even on the easy "red" that we have at our nearest resort, and tend to parallel as soon and as much as possible, i.e. when they feel it is "safe" to do so).
Never force things on your own children, never let them even think that you're doing such a thing, they could close up and stop listening. I speak out of experience...even if I'm not an instructor. We started things like swimming, jumping, skiing and playing tennis, and the one I think I miserably failed at was skiing. It was so important for me,to be able to do something with them that I lost sight of the purpouse, which was to let them have enormous fun. It took me some time to re-calibrate, but the damage had been done.
post #26 of 27
I think a lot of it is plain parent ego and bragging rights. I was riding up a lift yesterday with an instructor who was appalled at what she had seen the day before: a 3 year old being coached thru a double black mogul run by his parents. Apparently the family are big property owners at this particular resort and no-one had the guts to say anything. Since the topic came up during the discussion of kids not wearing helmets I am under the impression that the 3 year old was not wearing one at the time. What were these parents thinking of? This was a dangerous run and no 3 year old should have been allowed any where near it. Where were the ski patrol? Shouldn’t they have pulled the kid off the run for safety’s sake?
post #27 of 27
Last Saturday, I had a really pleasurable experience with some parents and their children. I was asked to teach a 2 person private with a 7 year old daughter and a 3 1/2 year old son. The son had never skied before, but the daughter had. The father explained to me that at a large resort this year, the daughter was in a large group, and did not do well in large group situations. He also said she felt left behind. He emphasized that he wanted the children to have fun in the snow first and foremost, to make the lesson a pleasurable experience for his children, and secondarily to help his kids ski better. Imagine that! Would it not be great if all parents were like this? Now I really had my work cut out for me. I realized that my actions that day would be directly responsible for whether or not we would have two enthusiastic, returning skiers.

So off we went. I paid particular attention to the looks on their faces throughout the lesson. When I noticed that they seemed to be getting a little tired, we laid on our backs and made snow angels, or made snow balls, and "let" them "get" me the instructor, or "get" their parents or several other games that I thought up as the lesson progressed. However, throughout all of the "games" that we played, I was incorporating into the game some aspect of skiing. At the end of the lesson, even though they progressed at different levels, they both improved; they were both laughing and giggling; they both wanted to return; both of the parents were happy; and I got a requested private this weekend.

It would be enjoyable if things always went this easy. One piece of advise for instructors and parents alike is not to forget to have fun with your kids during a lesson. If they are not having fun, what is the likelihood that they will return? If they do not return, then where is the future of our sport?

Thanks to the parents I described above for having realistic expectations, and for truly caring about their children.
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