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Why do you teach skiing?

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
Okay Spagaliscious and you other Ski Gods. She who coined the term "Professional Student" is throwing the question right back at ya'.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #2 of 43
Because skiing and teaching skiing are two things I've always been good at doing. I went to college, worked in "my" field, hated it, went back to skiing. not often a person gets to make a career out of teaching people to play in the snow. Plus it keeps me interested. the more I teach the more I learn the better I get. It's a tough cycle.
post #3 of 43

I work at a place that is fairly quiet on Mondays and a dozen or so show up to clinic with the boss. We learn a great deal and have a good time.
post #4 of 43
It's the best job I have ever had, and still NOT a job. Sharing the joy of wings on the feet! I would teach for free if I was independantly wealthy. Teaching is a great way to be a positive leader, instead of a "leader who is a thug". I enjoy teaching other things as well, like computers.

I get as big a thrill out of watching my student(s) reach that point when it starts working for them. Giggling, laughing, and having fun. Great way for a terminal "class clown" like myself to use the silliness skills. Adults do NOT play enough, it's good for the soul.

The look of joy on a students face gives me a thrill, as good if not better than the joy I get ripping turns for myself. Besides, I get free lessons and training, all the time. Oh, & duuuuuuhhh! Getting paid to ski!

What a way to express "a sense of life"!

"Link" this turn >>>SnoKarver
post #5 of 43
If any of you have seen comedian Jeff Garlin go through the progression of how people go from 200 laughs a day at age 6, down to 8 laughs a day at age 30, you would have a pretty good idea how to answer Lisamarie's question. SnoCarver is right. People have lost the art of having fun. (sniffle)
post #6 of 43
Yes, that is a great routine. I am a continous student of Comedy. It is an ART form, as well as therapy.

Me? A Comedy Channel addict. Chris Farley is curently talking about "living in a van, down by the river".

HEY! thats SnoKarver with a "K" to you, buddy. mooohahahahahaha!

"Link" this turn >>>SnoKarver
post #7 of 43
Thread Starter 
Maybe that's another reason I take ski lessons. So that I can laugh alot and say "Oh Goody" without feeling stupid!

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #8 of 43
It's about freedom and fun. Watching a kids eyes light up. Being around all that energy they have. It cost me money to do it but the rewards are the greatest. It's the best job there is. Skiing and teaching are truely an art, a form of self expression.
post #9 of 43
Any good skier can do just that. It is the laughing, the breakthrough (yours, students, fellows), the lockeroon "family". You know I like most other instructors, am well educated (although you can not tell from my grammar), and most of us base our life's work on the quality of that life and the passion of our advocation. We could certainly stand to make more money and live closer to a car wash....but that is our choice. That is why, I believe, with everything wrong with the business and the extra effort it takes to raise a family in snow country doing this....THAT THE QUALITY OF THE SNOW PROFESSIONAL IN THIS COUNTRY IS AT AN ALL TIME HIGH. It takes commitment, passion and a lapse of reason...but I would never do anything else.
How many high rollers have I sat beside in a chair, that look around then say, "you get to live here, man what I would give..."
post #10 of 43
To give back some of what skiing has given me.

The joy I see on faces when they start to 'get it'. (ok... git yer minds out of the gutter!)

Life's a pain... then you nap. Cat philosphy
post #11 of 43
I get to be on the snow all day every day.

The positive effects the mountain experience has on people I ski with.

It's the first thing I really discovered I am good at. I keep learning more and getting better.

My clients won't let me quit.. (all three of them)

It keeps skiing fresh. I can be on the snow all day, every day and never get bored with doing it.. When it comes time to free-ski I am raring to go and not a bit rusty.

As Robin pointed out.. the lifestyle rocks too.. the people, the places, the health, the energy, the PARTIES! Skiers developed partying into an art form.
post #12 of 43
I tried to stop once. I got sick.

"I thought I had mono for an entire year....."
post #13 of 43
A couple of notes.

I'm biased, but if anyone is coming to Colorado and wants to a great teacher, I can't say enough about SnoKarver.

Ski instructors don't make near enough, but neither do teachers. My little bro is a teacher. That being said, I feel like there's more opportunity now than ever for ski instructors. Shaped skis, all this talk about instruction, it puts the ski instructor in the catbird seat. You have to want to capitalize, but if you do, has there been a better time to do so in the last 20 years?

I've heard some talk about their clients - "big hitters", "rich people", etc. Never ever get money envy. First, people with dough have problems just like everyone else.

I'd be curious to hear some feedback as to your personal opinions of your clients. I know if I made a list of all the wealthy people I know, about half are aholes and about half are really good people.
post #14 of 43
OK I will be honest, I first started teaching because it was the only way I could afford to ski, and SKI INSTRUCTOR sounded cool. but I knew I would like it anyways, I take it as I am helping people have more fun, personally i like sharing things that I know with others. Fun to see a student start out at one level and then after a class or two look at where their at and see a difference.

Wait this is all BS. I do it for the money...
post #15 of 43
Thread Starter 
Hey c'mon, Spyder, what money?
But seriously, a topic we always get back to on this board, is the fact that American culture does not give education much value, and therefore does not value its educators of ANY sort. This is reflected in how we are paid.

That being said, I refuse to fall into the trap of having disdain for people of considerable wealth. I teach many of the so called "Beacon Hill Brahmins", and the fact that they have money does not make them any less the fascinating people that they are.

In terms of instructors commenting on their personal opinions of their students, well, given that my painstakingly slow learning style makes me an instructor's worst teaching nightmare, I'm not sure I want to hear about that!

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #16 of 43
you bring up another point about teaching that is fun, taking all the ideas styles and tricks you can do to show a student something and then finally it clicks and all makes sence to them. You just have to find out HOW and WHY they learn.

Nothing to do on a fri night, I feel like a freak...
post #17 of 43
Thread Starter 
But we are all "here" doing the same thing, so why should you feel like a freak?

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #18 of 43

Do you guys realize that the very fact that your jobs are soooo cool and your enthusiasm for your jobs soooo high, prevents you from being properly compensated? If instructors' salaries were higher (more in line with what you deserve) then the supply of instructors would greatly exeed demand - basic law of economics.

In contrast look at my job. As a director in an IT company, managing a department of software developers and managers, I have a good salary and few complaints. But I could never have your enthusiasm for my job and often my job is stressful and difficult. From having difficulties finding resources 1 year ago to having to let go people recently, to dealing with demanding customers and fragile egos - it can all wear you down. Trust me, it is much less fun than spending a day on the hill. I am not complaining because we can all make choices, but I am only making a point about salaries and supply/demand.

So my question is, would you guys give up being instructors if you had to move to the city, work in an office (with a good salary) and ski only 25 days a year?

Off-topic, but it is some food for thought.
post #19 of 43
Because for 1/2 of each year I get out from in front of my computer and hang out and have fun out in beautiful places, surrounded by other people having fun. It is a 6 month long escape from "reality". <g>
post #20 of 43
TomB, Definitely interesting points. My opinion on why our jobs are not compensated more highly has varied over the years. Our actual hourly pay in many cases is quite good. Getting consistent hours can be a challenge. There are instructors out there who do make a healthy living at it... entrepreneurs who have developed large returning client bases and are usually booked for most of each season.

I did move to the city and played at mid-level management. I still worked at the closest mountain 2 days per week. After 2 years, I went back to my seasonal lifestyle of on the hill full-time.

For me it was a matter of not wasting developed skills, of seeking the environment in which I am most at home. There has always been a tussle between the monetary and psychological income factors for me. Coming back has cost me financially, but I know another good partner-job can be found to carry me through(I used to captain fish-buyers in the summer, but quit that after my son was born).

There is no shortage of stressful situations, of demanding customers and fragile egos in our business. Skiing happens to allow a wonderfully healthy steam vent for it all. Arriving and departing a mountain before and after the crowds offers a zen-like experience.

Many customers are are aware of the 'customer satisfaction' bent of the entire free market these days and push it past the limit wherever they go. We usually accomodate them along with people who have realistic expectations. Instructors are wont to overestimate their skiing and teaching skills. Keeping them aware of their skills and providing motivation for improvement are a touchy business. As in any other business, goal oriented people who can maintain focus in the midst of morale-sapping situations succeed.

In essence, all jobs end up being about relationships with other people at some point.
post #21 of 43
If I actually pondered this and came up with an honest answer.....

I'm at the hill three times a week anyway since my kids became snowrats.
post #22 of 43
Thread Starter 
Tom, the same thing occurs in my industry. Often, managers think that the side benefits that we get: free gym membership, a healthy lifestyle, a job that is actually FUN to do, warrant a lower pay rate.

The difference, of course, between us and ski instructors is that our work is year round, and, unless you work exclusively as a personal trainer, there is no such ting as losing income because of no shows.

Roto said: As in any other business, goal oriented people who can maintain focus in the midst of morale-sapping situations succeed.

In essence, all jobs end up being about relationships with other people at some point.

I could not agree with that more! One of the things that has allowed me to earn a living in my own industry is to diversify and specialize. That has been what has helped me "maintain focus in moral sapping situations". Being goal oriented, I do not have the time to let myself get hung up on pettiness.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #23 of 43
I do it for the cool jacket and pants the resort lets us wear LOL !!! Oh, and all of the above....
post #24 of 43
diversify and specialize..??


>>That has been what has helped me "maintain focus in moral sapping situations".<<

my ability to maintain focus in 'moral sapping' situations quickly leaves me.. heh heh
post #25 of 43
Thread Starter 
LOL!! He he ha ha! I was ALMOST going to edit that, but its just too funny.

Oh, and diversify and specialize. Sounds like a contradiction in terms, eh? Poor wording on my part. What I meant was, breaking out of the mode of just teaching Step Classes, day in and day out, I have a few specialties such as Pilates based mat, PreNatal exercise, and Core Stability Work. Makes me more employable and prevents burn out, because I am always working on something.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #26 of 43
Thread Starter 
Actually, looking back on my "younger years", in "moral sapping situations" I would not have the ability to focus on ANYTHING except the one who was doing the sapping!

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #27 of 43
2001 was my first winter teaching and I can't wait to do it again.I do it because it's fun! Also challenging mentally and physically. And you get to ski with some fantastic skiers from all walks of life.

post #28 of 43
hey Terry,
Welcome to the fun..
post #29 of 43
Thread Starter 
Welcome, Terry! Where do you teach skiing?

I see that in your "other" work, you and I are in the same industry. There are a bunch of "SkiFitness" threads on Epicski. Would love your input!

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #30 of 43
Thread Starter 
OOPS! Just re-read your profile! Okemo is a great mountain and IMHO has the best customer service in New England. One of our members, Tog, also teaches there. <FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Lisamarie (edited July 28, 2001).]</FONT>
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