EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Levels for Skiers: What exactly do they mean?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Levels for Skiers: What exactly do they mean? - Page 4

post #91 of 109

Yes. But they are paying for the lessons. The best way for solving this problem is to go out of sight. That is often not possible due to location restrictions.

I think that reducing the levels from 9 to 6 is a good ide. Was it mentioned here already what are the requirements and the goals for each level?

post #92 of 109
Half of the kiddy lesson involves babaysitting while mom and dad ski / board. So even though the kids do learn in most lessons, some parents choose to hover around the lesson area with the expressed purpose of supervising both their kid and the pro teaching their kid.
Edited by justanotherskipro - 4/28/10 at 6:17pm
post #93 of 109
 FWIW,  back in the 80's when PSIA still used the A through F designations for skier levels, we at Mammoth had a level G sign as well because we had alot of visiting instructors and very strong skiers from around the Country that would come to take lessons to get to the good stuff and cut lines on busy days.  Our directive from Gary Berger the asst. directors was to approach the skiers lined up at the G sign and explain to them the difference between level F an G was though both classes would ski the top of the mountain and all the same terrain, if you fell in the F class the instructor would wait for you...  
post #94 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

Half of the kiddy lesson involves babaysitting while mom and dad ski / board. So even though the kids do learn in most lessons, some parents choose to hover around the lesson area with the expressed purpose of supervising both their kid and the pro teaching their kid.

Somewhere I saw a sign that if you want to look at the guy working you pay double. If you want to participate its four times. If you want to supervice and instruct then its ten times.
post #95 of 109
Oh if we could actually use that sign.
It does remind me of a sign a friend of mine has in his auto shop.

Repairs $20 an hour
Fixing your repair's $40 an hour.
post #96 of 109

I am instructor and a student at Breckenridge. I have participated in a variety of PSIA events as well as ESA.  It is not the designation of the levels that cause the problem.  It is the refusal of of some inviduals to be honest about their skills and the unwillingness on the part of the resort or camp to tell people they belong in another group where they could maximize their learning experience.

People get very defensive if you suggest to them they belong in a "lower" level as if it is some sort of insult.  What is sad, is that people would often learn much more if they were in the appropriate level where they weren't busting their ass to keep up. 

I routinely go to lessons when I am not teaching. At Breckenridge, I probably fall into the Level 8 category. However, I often go in a Level 7 class, depending on the instructor, as I find the pace suits me a little better and I can focus on what I am doing.   I look at some the people in the Level 9 class and watch their braking, tail pushing, upper body rotating movements. They would likely be insulted if you told them they might want to a different class to learn some different movement patterns but so be it, that is their choice.  Everyone has a different expecation for a lesson and a different view of their own abilities so it does not matter what classification system you come up with, you will always have the same issues. 

Nancy



   

post #97 of 109
Actually, I don't get a lot of resistance about moving a student to a slower class, especially when it's done right out of the gate. With a little tact I usually can convince them that most skiers share the feeling of not wanting to spend the day waiting for slower skiers, including the rest of the people in the current group. When possible we will add a coach and split the class to facilitate their needs better.
post #98 of 109
JASP, what level are you talking about? I find that in Levels 1-5, it is not as much as a problem.  I see the issues more in Levels 6-8.
post #99 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post

I think that reducing the levels from 9 to 6 is a good ide. Was it mentioned here already what are the requirements and the goals for each level?


Whistler uses a 1-6 scale. I find the top two levels are so broad. One participant in level five could be still doing only wide radius turns, flailing on moguls and falling over every turn in powder; another could be making short radius scarved turns, skiing blue bump runs and glades with timing and coordination, and managing pressure in powder. 

Level 6 is anything from what was just mentioned to dynamic carved short radius on double blacks, zipperline mogul skiing, and ten feet drops from cornices.

I think the CSIA has built a great model in Discovery->Adventure->Performance levels. 
Here is a link: http://www.snowpro.com/documents/E/471_7_01192009_105542.pdf

It's still a nine level system. However, there are some nice changes: 
  • By removing numbers, people hopefully won't feel as "ranked".
  • The lower levels are consolidated, and higher end levels are spread out (the old Step 7 is now split over Adventure Silver and Adventure Gold; the old Step 8 is closer to Performance Bronze and Performance Silver; step 9 is Performance Silver and Performance Gold, and 10 is definitely Performance Gold)
  • Performances are clear and demonstrable. None of this loosey goosey "you must be able to ski blacks" criteria.

Basically most systems seem to break down the low end far too granularly, then lump everyone together at the high end. I imagine this happens because resorts don't get the lesson volume to support a large skill difference at higher ends, but it really is frustrating to be stuck in a powder lesson with peers who can't even make turns without falling. 
post #100 of 109
Well you mentioned the level 9 sign but I see it as a function of attitude verses aptitude. So it can occur at all levels.

I noticed in post 96 you self assessed yourself as "probably a level 8 skier" before stating you are often more comfortable working on things (I assume you mean fundamentals) at a slower pace than would occur in a level 8 lesson. Can you expand on this a bit more. What does that mean?
I would say your post implies that you are a tweener (somewhere in between level 7-8) which means maybe your weaker skills would be closer to the level 7 description while your stonger skills are closer to level 8. So getting you into the right lesson could depend on what you want to do that day, work on your weaker skills, or work on your stronger skills. As a coach I would try to encourage you to work on your weaker skills because that often is the key to improvement in all areas. I also understand that meeting your expectations and working on what you feel is most important can't be ignored either. An example of this might be you wanting to work on moguls but you don't have much range of motion in your legs. Do we work on developing your ability to bend your legs more and increasing your range of motion, or do we work on skiing a low impact line that allows you to ski through the moguls with your current range of movement? Both are possible objectives but would represent two entirely different lesson plans. Tactical (line choices) verses technical (changing the dirt of your movements.)  

So regardless of the system and the level descriptors within that system, it comes down to what you want to do during that lesson. Getting you into a group of like minded skiers of roughly equal ability level sets you up for success and is our main goal. What we label that group is far less important than providing the appropriate coaching to you the student.
Edited by justanotherskipro - 4/30/10 at 1:40pm
post #101 of 109
I'd offer an observation from a lesson taker that taking a level 8 or level 9 lesson evidently does not mean you are skiing at that level or will ski at that level after a week of such lessons. It evidently indicates that whoever looked at your skiing and placed you with the 7-8-9 group thought you would benefit from that instruction.
I think placing the term EXPERT on a level 8 skier is crazy. I can do the things Vail says a level 8 can do, but if I'm an 8, what level are those folks who are flying by me in perfect control down Highline or SunUp Bowl on old Olin Mark IV's?
I like the number system and description but I don't think the tag of Beginner, Intermediate and Expert are very helpful.
post #102 of 109
JASP: It does not matter to me what my class is labeled. I learn something wherever I am.   What I have observed in the Level 7-8 classes, is people who put themselves in the 7-8 class and probably should be in the Level 6 class.  They get upset when they are on terrain they feel is to easy for them when they don't really have the skills to do the harder terrain. They get upset if anyone suggests they should move to a different class.
post #103 of 109
 Remember, skier31, that as an instructor, you are a trained and expert student--you take responsibility for your own learning, you know how to learn in a variety of situations, and unlike many other skiers, you know what you don't know! You recognize that there are things you can learn on any terrain--including green, and that what terrain you can "handle" is actually a very poor indicator of skill. And you know that it's not really that those 7-8 students don't have the skills to "do" the harder terrain, but that when they do it, they only end up reinforcing bad habits. 

I suggest that these things put you in a very rare class indeed! I have often said that, for most skiers, I believe that the extent of their "knowledge" of skiing ability consists of three things:

  • parallel is better than wedge,
  • faster is better than slower,
  • skiing harder terrain means you're better than those who ski easier terrain

and of course, you and I both know that none of these things has any bearing on ability whatsoever! Surely, each of these bullet points represents an exciting new personal milestone for most skiers, but it often takes a very high level of ability and understanding to recognize that green groomed runs and low speeds can be every bit as challenging as double-black-diamonds--and that the fundamentals we can learn there will often help our gnarly-terrain and high-speed performance at least as much as pushing our limits in difficult conditions. In reality, it takes a mix of both--hard work on the fundamentals, and hard play in the "performance zone"--regular excursions into what Mermer Blakslee calls the "yikes zone," interspersed with quality time in the comfort zone. 

If only more people knew that, the hills would be filled with great skiers, instead of, um, what they're filled with now.

Best regards,
Bob
post #104 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier31 View Post

JASP: It does not matter to me what my class is labeled. I learn something wherever I am.   What I have observed in the Level 7-8 classes, is people who put themselves in the 7-8 class and probably should be in the Level 6 class.  They get upset when they are on terrain they feel is to easy for them when they don't really have the skills to do the harder terrain. They get upset if anyone suggests they should move to a different class.
Interesting. 

I'm certainly not a trained ski instructor (and I'm not going to touch the "expert" debate).
I have taken three lessons: one lesson at Forbidden Plateau, one at Jay Peak, one at Mt. St. Louie Moonstone.  I took the first one after skiing for a couple of decades.  It never once occurred to me that the terrain the lesson was given on had anything to do with my ability level.  Maybe that's because there is no steep terrain at any of those resorts and if it's all easy, what's the difference where you are?   However, I think it's because I wasn't taking a lesson to ski on a particular kind of terrain.  When I go free skiing I choose the terrain to suit my pleasure.  When I'm taking a lesson, I will let the instructor decide what terrain is suitable for the purpose of the lesson. 

BTW if you get good at arcing can get going faster than most skiers are comfortable with, even on a green run.  There is a beginner hill on the local speed bump that is worth getting first tracks on; it has a lot of twists and turns and you could hit rollers and blind airs at about 45 mph if you knew there's nobody on it.  If your not sure there isn't someone there, you can still hit the rollers, and go around the blind airs and catch some good air of the side of them where it's not so blind.
post #105 of 109
So your skill level is more about movements than anything thing else. The terrain,conditions,speed and equipment are only factors in where your level of skill resides.
post #106 of 109
Skier31, Bob hit the nail on the head about the difference between students. I was at a seminar recently and heard a phrase and it made me start thinking about how it would relate to ski teaching. It's not a fully formed concept yet but the idea involves a number system, so in a way it's relevent to the thread, if not I appologize in advance for the tangent.

In a lesson we have a student seeking knowledge and a teacher who is sharing knowledge. (Not that the flow of information is ever really a one way street but let's save that discussion for later). For the student it is often their willingness to learn that defines how much they will learn during a lesson. Which isn't new ground but again stay with me for a moment and let's put a number to that willingness. A 10 would be a very willing, cooperative student, a 1 would be an unwilling, uncooperative student.

Now lets create a scale for the teacher. A 10 being a great teacher / communicator / mentor, and a 1 would be a lousy teacher / communicator / mentor.

In a positive learning environment the sum of the two numbers added together needs to be at least a 10. For example, that positive learning environment for a "9" student (very motivated to learn) ,would only require the teacher to be a "1" (not very skilled).  If the student is a 4 (generally receptive), the teacher would need to be at least a "6" teacher (more skilled but not exceptional) to create that same positive learning environment. In my estimation Skier31 you are probably on the high side of that scale (lets say an 8, or higher), so it doesn't take more than a "2" instructor for you to gleen positive results out of a lesson. Although the idea of you working with an "8-10" like Bob intrigues me, have you done that? If so, how would you describe that experience? How effective was that lesson? 

So as I think about the student's you described, I tried to place them on the student scale I just mentioned. In my experience, the skiers who get distracted by terrain and feel it's "too easy" for them are also the same students who will be distracted by more challenging terrain. Here's why, It's because their focus isn't on what they're doing, It's only on where they're skiing. On that scale we just creates, I would say they never move above a 2 or 3 range as a student. So as a coach I have to operate in the 7-8 range. Even then until they lose that mental trash (distractions), they won't invest much mental focus on creating changes in their skiing. 

Having taught more than a few of these types of skiers I can say there is no one way to reach them. I've tried many approaches but here's the thing, until they slow down and focus on how they're skiing (not where, or how well) they won't make much progress.

Knowing that, I usually tell my classes right up front that my class will be working on pretty much the same terrain as the next lower class .At least for a while. We alway start out on Scout (a very easy green) so we can visually confirm that everyone is in the right group and that after that we will spend some time exploring new movements on very easy terrain. I explain that I do this so they can concentrate on feeling the new moves and gaining some ownership of those moves before trying to use them in challenging terrain.  

For a level 7-8 group that might involve learning new movements on a "hard" green, or a very" easy" blue. It's alway surprising how slow turns on easy terrain seem to magnify sensations and errors here will also occur elsewhere. From there we will progressively work our way up to the hardest terrain they can handle while still using their new movement patterns. I've found that we often end up on much harder terrain than they have ever skied and they ski it much better than they thought possible. I know that's a pretty strong statement but before anyone suggests I'm tooting my own horn here, let me point out that I'm not the only coach on our staff seeing these results. If any of you have worked with Bob at Epic events imagine how lucky our staff is to do that on a daily basis. His passion is contageous and it shows up in all of us lucky enough to call the pumkin patch home. It also shows in our ranking as the top VRI school for customer satisfaction. So skier31 come on over and play with us. I hope you like orange kool aid!
Edited by justanotherskipro - 5/1/10 at 1:51pm
post #107 of 109

JASP, I have been fortunate enough to spend several ESAs with Bob Barnes. I have also been lucky to ski with some great instructors at Breck, Randy Brooks, Matt Belleville, Franz, Bob Booker and epicski's own Rusty Guy.  

The numbering system is intriguing and it makes sense to me. I have seen all combinations of the instructor/student ratio. I agree with your comment that there are some students that will not progress until they change their outlook.  It is frustrating to watch and those students usually demand much of the attention in the class and make it even more challenging for the instructor.

I love orange kool-aid as long as it is not a certain Harbl who serves it up!  See you at Keystone.

Nancy

post #108 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

In a positive learning environment the sum of the two numbers added together needs to be at least a 10. For example, that positive learning environment for a "9" student (very motivated to learn) ,would only require the teacher to be a "1" (not very skilled).  If the student is a 4 (generally receptive), the teacher would need to be at least a "6" teacher (more skilled but not exceptional) to create that same positive learning environment. 

Hey JASP, 

Neat idea. In corporate facilitation this is similar to "learners", "prisoners" and "vacationers". The learners want to be there to learn. Prisoners are forced to attend against their will (by their bosses, through corporate mandate, etc). Vacationers see training as a fun no-work time to goof off. The facilitator's job is to turn prisoners and vacationers into learners. Failing that, the facilitator's next best resort is to keep the vacationers in their own little world so as not to break down the learning. 

The "willingness to learn" numeric formula's pretty neat. It kind of ties in with the three types of participant (though you'll generally find fewer prisoners in a voluntary ski lesson versus corporate training). I think there's another factor too: Does the instructor have the goods and are they really adding value? If the instructor has little or nothing of value to add, their facilitation skill is a moot point. I've seen this pretty frequently.
post #109 of 109
Thanks, Maybe it should be moved elsewhere so the discussion about skier assessment and the ability levels can get back on track.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Levels for Skiers: What exactly do they mean?