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Should instructors free ski (rip) in uniform?

post #1 of 101
Thread Starter 
I skied with man from oz the other day.

He's a ski instructor at Vail, so this fits here.

Him, yours truly, and my pal Brian tore it up at Vail big time. Not one great line we missed. Skied the "all-mountain". Bumps, jumps, glades, trees, groomers. Even got some cornice jumping in.

Oz can rip, he skies really well. Lots of fun to talk to about the business too. But, I promised that stuff stays at the bar.

Got to go into the Lionshead locker room. Neato. No really, it was cool.

I think I can mention this though. He had a great idea. Some instructors should be sent free skiing. Skiing under the chair, launching it off of cornices, ripping bumps, the whole dealio. After all, it's good/great advertising, right? But instead, they won't let instructors ski in uniform if they're not working. What a bunch of whooey.

Look at is this way. There we were yesterday, the 3 of us, just nailing it. If we all had instructors uniforms on, wouldn't that be great for business? "Look at those instructors! Man, I wanna ski like them. Better go take a lesson".


<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 07, 2002 08:01 AM: Message edited 3 times, by SCSA ]</font>
post #2 of 101
Sweet. I would second the question. I asked it before and did not really get any comments. If ski school wants to get upper level skiers interested in their product they are going to have to advertize a little and what could be better than freeskiing demo under first chairs in the morning, just in time to have people get down for 10 am lesson.
post #3 of 101
Thread Starter 

Exactly. Everyday there should be instructors ripping.

Flying off of rollers. Jumping off of cornices, skiing the glades, tearing up bumps, carving, ripping up the funky snow. All-mountain skiing with a capital "A".

I guess, there's very few of them who can do it. So, it's a staffing issue.
post #4 of 101
It's a good point, SCSA, and a big issue. Most better-skiing instructors prefer to free-ski out of uniform, because they can let it rip a little more. They can relax a little more, without the suspicious gaze of the speed-patrol "yellow jackets." And if they don't want to talk to someone on the chairlift, they don't have to, and they don't have to worry about how their behavior reflects on their ski school, resort, or profession.

And most ski resorts, for liability reasons, don't want employees skiing in uniform. Or walking around town, drinking in the bars, or anything else in public, for that matter. Since they aren't working, their behavior can't be controlled, so the idea is that they shouldn't be "officially" representing the resort. As Vail and Nathan Hall discovered recently, a collision involving an employee in uniform can have far-reaching consequences....

Finally, as we all know, many intructors would NOT be effectively marketing the product if they were to ski challenging terrain in uniform.

But the result of all this is that instructors who know how to rip are rarely seen by the public, or recognized as instructors when they are out ripping. So the public's perception is that instructors only ski slowly, on groomed snow, making perfect little "golf cart" turns, because that's where most instructors work 90% of the time.

I agree that instructors caught out ripping up the steeps and deeps and bumps--as many are capable of doing--is great marketing for ski schools.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #5 of 101
Thread Starter 

I think eug makes a very good point. Very tough to get an advanced "heel pusher" or "sperm turner" to take lessons - they think they know it all.

But now if 3 instructors came by and dusted those heel pushers and sperm turners, maybe they'd figure out that they don't know it all and sign up for a few lessons.

I know there's great skiers in ski school. I skied with one yesterday.

And, in the capacity we're talking about, they'd be working and representing the area, because, they'd be getting paid to free ski.

Ski schools should be selling/promoting their product. What better way than to ski for the customers!

And yes, some instructors should not be allowed to free ski.
post #6 of 101
Bob, SCSA:
exactly my point. I am not talking about marketing ski school on instructor's free time when they are skiing with their family on their day off.
It should be considered work, the best should be asked to put uniforms on and line up for the first chair and be PAID to tear it up for an hour or so. It should be PAID skiing not free skiing. Then maybe there would be more than 1 or 2 skiers in level 8/9 group lessons.
I still remember my first Xteam clinic sitting on the chair seeing a skier tear up one of the chutes at Squaw (he did not stop at the top, just dropped in, skied the chute that was a few hundred feet long and kept going) and then when he went under our lift sure enough it was one of Egan brothers freeskiing (we did not have enough people, so one of the instructors was always freeskiing).
Granted there are safety concerns but a resort should be able to figure out how to safely have a couple of instructors ski a glade in show-off manner. Have them ski in pairs or threes, one guy is showing off the other two are watching top and bottom of the run or something. Of course this would not be done in the middle of a family skiing zone. Usually the runs that you can see from advanced chairs are not for beginners anyway.
Having taken upper level group lessons, 1/2 the time it ends up being a private, I can vouch that instructors are out there that can teach me something. So it is all about getting the message out.
post #7 of 101
Years ago (early 70s)Vail didn't have a policy against off-duty instructors skiing in uniform. My younger brother was in uniform when he was involved in a collision. He claimed it was the other guy's fault and he stayed to be sure he was alright and everyone skied away. The other guy seemed to still be walking alright the next morning as he walked down the morning lineup and pointed out my brother. He turned in his blue coat and emptied his locker.

I have several friends in the Vail ski school and ski with them out of uniform when off duty (BTW, if I would still say Vail feels like home to me but then I skied there 50-75 days a year from '62 until '95). Most of them would rather not carry the responsibility of being a representative of VA when they are off duty and prefer a little anonimity. And I would question how much new business a bunch of instructors rippin' the mountain in uniform would produce. A certain segment of the population is pre-disposed to taking lessons and others have reached a certain level of proficiancy and will continue to develope on their own.
post #8 of 101
There are liability issues and as Bob also pointed out not all instructors can "rip it up" and would not be great advertisments for the ski school. To be a level 1 the skiing requirement is quite tame. Level 2 maybe a little more demanding. Level 3's would be a good advertisement but again there are liability and image questions that need to be addressed.

I better like the idea that instructors should be allowed out on a rotating basis and "float" around the hill. Assist skiers with very "simple" tips and armed with cards, prices and the ski school information. Stop to help someone put on a ski (tip: put the down hill ski on first, kick off the snow) How do you get up? Maybe someone is struggling with getting a friend down the hill, stop and give a quick tip to make it a little less scary but that's it. Don't push the ski school but maybe a mention "first time out? Have you considered a lesson?" or let them ask. Consider it a customer service. They will see you ski off and the uniform.

Make sure the instructors are aware that the public eye will be on them (the SSD better be screening who he/she is letting out there doing the floating out there).

Also clinics at a high level put the instructors out there in the public view. It gets the instructors skiing better and gives them training and it shows off where the public could be going with their skiing.

A somewhat funny line is in the new technical manual. Instead of Levels, the new Alpine Tech Manual has "skier zones" and "our role as instructors" for each skier zone. In the top zone(beyond black) "For these skiers, your job as a teacher is to ...
1. Try to keep up with them!"
Of course there are more tasks and things to do..
post #9 of 101
It's quite common in the European resorts I've been to for the main ski school to have a 'display' one evening or weekend. More showing off precision skills (formation skiing etc) and less the type of stuff you're describing but still a good ad.
post #10 of 101
I just want to make sure that I am clear - I am not talking about doing this OFF-DUTY. It should be WORK during PAID hours. Ski school director picks out a few guys and PAYS them to ski under lifts in the morning before classes start. He/she would pick the lines that they would be skiing where it would be most effective. Make sure the liftie on the tram says: "Check out our top ski school guys coming down that chute on the right."
You can also evaluate effectiveness of this practice by getting feedback from people that sign up for lessons. If it does not work you can always drop it.
post #11 of 101
It seems that most of the discussion related back to the liability concerns that are more prevalent in the US than in Canada. Here it seems quite normal for instructors to ski in uniform on their own time. On weekends, lifts open an hour earlier for the ski school, and we session and / or synchro-ski down trails that face the lodge. All good exposure for the ski school.
post #12 of 101
Maybe the resorts are thinking people would see the free skiing instructors and think "wow, their ski school must suck. Look at all those instructors just skiing around. They must not have enough people who want lessons from them."
post #13 of 101
Late into my December lesson at a Park City resort that is neither Park City nor The Canyons, my instructor and I were riding up a lift that hangs over a field of bumps. We watched as a skier zipperlined his way down and turned our heads to watch as he skied under us and down the hill. He was an instructor in the mountain's ski school and he was in uniform.

My instructor said "I wish more of our instructors skied like that."
post #14 of 101
At Mount Snow, we were actually encouraged to ski in uniform, I think for that very reason. Also, it gives the hill more official staff to help the guests. Here, at first I was told we weren't meant to ski in uniform, then later on it seemed that it was OK. Haven't worked it out yet, but again it means I'm available to guests anywhere on the hill, they know they can ask me for help, info or advice.
I am reluctant to venture into teh bumps in my jacket, however! Not a pretty sight.
post #15 of 101
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SCSA:

But now if 3 instructors came by and dusted those heel pushers and sperm turners, maybe they'd figure out that they don't know it all and sign up for a few lessons.



Heel pushers?

I guess this brings me to the root cause of many of the problems that I see in society. There are to many folks who are doing every thing they can to be boisterous and to draw attention to themselves.

Would "dusting" someone endear the instructor to the potential customer?

I am permitted to free ski in uniform and I try to tone it down and to slow it down. I let the sperm turners make idiots of themselves.

Cadillac finally decided big fins served no usefull purpose.

I ask you to think about one more thing. Everytime I see someone skiing with their boots locked together making skidded turns I think to myself, "when was he/she last at Solvista or A-Basin for a lesson and when are they going to realize just how disfunctional their stance is"?
post #16 of 101
There are two types of advertising...and only one is good.
In the NM school I directed (talking about zones, dchan)level I's could free ski green in uni...II's blue...III's black...I fought successfully against the workers comp crap, designated travel lanes etc. Some resorts would actually prefer having their staff sit indoors drinking coffee or clock out for the day before free skiing....it is a crazy world.
post #17 of 101
Thread Starter 

This is going to hurt.

First of all, there's really only one person here who really knows what it's like to ski with me for a day - man from oz. X out SnoKarver. He hasn't skied with me this year.

Second, every time you or someone else posts something about my stance or your perceived notions of my skiing, here's what I think.

"Who the hell are these guys anyway? They couldn't follow my line on their best day".

Now I make some pretty bold statements, but I'm willing to back up everything I say. Just ask oz. He knows what it's like.

I'm not talking about a race. Just show up and see if you (or Bob) could stay behind me for a day at either Vail or the Beav.

See, I'm a competitor. Part of skiing is about keeping score. And, I believe that you prove yourself on snow, not on the Internet.

So until you show up and do what I ask, I'd keep your comments to yourself. Because, they don't mean a hill of beans.

You guys think you have all this knowledge.

But from what I can tell, all you really know how to do is ski blue runs with short skis.

You think, just because you know how to make a few railroad tracks that you're an expert and you know it all.

Wrong, short skis breath. You're good when you can ski anywhere on the mountain, and ski it really well.

So like I said. I welcome all comers. I think, after skiing with me for a day, you'll have a whole new appreciation for my training.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 07, 2002 10:37 AM: Message edited 1 time, by SCSA ]</font>
post #18 of 101
As Canuck mentioned, in Canada we see instructors free skiing all the time. At my local hill they show their skills under the chair quite often.

But I don't think it attracts customers all that much.
post #19 of 101
SCSA- You are undoubtedly the best at being you...
post #20 of 101
Ok - its impossible that anybody else is as good as you.

That vein is sticking out again, take it easy buddy!
post #21 of 101
Why does everything have to be a personal attack right away? Don't you have a better argument?

If someone skis around me with ease and control where I am strugguling, I would want to know their secrets. I keep going to Eski and Xteam, I would go back to Snowbird ski school in a second because I know that there is a ton of stuff I can learn from these guys. How do I know that? Because John Egan clears three bumps in a row getting air in the runs where I would be surviving to get down or Eski rips down the glade going faster than I would go on a groomer with similar pitch. They are not affraid to show off during their clinics or freeskiing. Students are too busy picking up their jaws from the snow to be offended. Show-off/ripping whatever you want to call it does not have to be offensive. It should bring the point accross that if you would like to learn how to better ski all mountain help is there and most folks in advanced group would like to see instructors "show-off" before they sign up for a lesson.
A beginner may feel intimidated and offended if someone buzzes them on green trail. If someone skis past me skiing zipper line on bump run, I would be impressed not offended. I know where I want to spend my lesson money, if local ski school wants a piece of that action they would have to sell me on it. If they are happy with beginner market, that is Ok with me.
post #22 of 101
Thread Starter 

I don't know what it is about you. You always want to make some innuendo about me being childish or in this case, a teenager. I guess this goes back to when you said those things about my mother, for which I have never forgotten. Suffice to say that I was really looking forward to competing against you in Fernie. You claim to be pretty good. Well, let's see what you got.

One of the goals I have in skiing is to become great. How one measures greatness is ability and competition. Could Jordan really say he was great if he hadn't have lead the league in scoring for so many years? Would Tiger Woods be great without winning tournaments? No.

I'm not saying that's how you or anyone else here needs to measure their skiing. I'm saying that's how I measure my skiing.

So knock off the innuendo, would ya? You don't agree with me, that's fine. But keep the rest of the garbage to yourself.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 07, 2002 10:49 AM: Message edited 1 time, by SCSA ]</font>
post #23 of 101
There is no innuendo intended, here I'll be more clear.

You have basically said that you are the best, no sublety about it. You seem to honestly feel that you probably outski all these people that you've never skied with. And even more obvious - its clearly very important for you to feel that way.

If this is not what you mean to say, then your delivery is the problem. You also come across as *extremely* angry in general, frighteningly so in fact!

There your go, no innuendo or suggestion about it.
post #24 of 101
Thread Starter 
Why am I the loser here?

All I'm saying is that I love to rip it up with great skiers. Do I compare myself to them? Sure I do. If someone skis a bump run better than I, I want to train with them. I want to learn from them. Do I eventually want to beat them? Well, yes. Will I be unhappy if I don't? No way! Coming in second to someone like Harb or Eski, or any other pro is fine with me. In fact, if I can just keep their pace, I'm thrilled.

There's no way I'm going to be world champion and yes, there's always someone better. But there's nothing wrong with dreaming about being great or striving for it.

Just to fill you all in on a little secret, I purposely set my sights high knowing that I might fall a little short.

I'm thrilled with my skiing. But there's always - always room for improvement. One way I look to improve is skiing with others. Yes. I challenge skiers. I follow skiers, they follow me. But at the bottom, it's all about good sportsmanship, I guarantee you.

It's my fuel. I get off on it and it makes me a stronger skier. It's where I'm at.
post #25 of 101
Yes, I agree. Its not a unique little secret, all dedicated atheletes push themselves by striving for the sky.

And I agree with the good sportsmanship especially . . . which is why after reading the post above (from 10:20am) that I was a bit suprised!
post #26 of 101
Thread Starter 
That's not true!

I don't claim to be the best, no way. If there's one thing I wish I could take back here, it's my infamous 97% thing. I been battling uphill since.

Angry? Well, to a certain degree I've never forgotten how my Dad and I were treated by snobby skiers. I've told the story about how poor we were. And yes, there's some motivation/anger that comes from that. But not much and it's getting less all the time.

But mostly, it's just about skiing that mountain as well as I can.
post #27 of 101
Thread Starter 
Good sportsmanship is always.

I always shake hands and try to chat for a few. Then, we either ride up the next chair and talk about our training or we click poles and say, "Good run mate. See ya around".

I've found that there's others like me. I just have to go looking for them.
post #28 of 101
Sorry you are still angry about the snobby skiers (glad its getting less so). Remember that those of us here who make our living doing this, we are not rich snobby skiers . . . or else we'd just have slopeside mansions and passes.

Perhaps you did not mean to say you are the best, but in that post you said "Who the hell are these guys anyway? They couldn't follow my line on their best day" -- referring to folks you haven't skied with. Now, not having seen you ski either - they shouldn't be judgemental about your skiing, but neither is it rational for you to immediately conclude "they couldn't follow" you.

Striving to be your best, setting your sights higher than you are likely to achieve. Thats commendable. But negatively prejudging other skiers whom you've never watched is simply silly.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 07, 2002 11:58 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Todd M. ]</font>
post #29 of 101
Thread Starter 
I guess what I'm saying is this.

Rusty is basically saying my skiing/training is disfunctional. Well, as a proud competitor, he's now challenging me and I'm responding to the challenge.

If he thinks my skiing or training is disfunctional, then he ought to be able to show up and prove it. Not by doing some drills or something like that. But by all-mountain skiing. Because, that's my training. I've never trained to do pivot slips. I've trained to ski the mountain and he knows that.

So then the challenge becomes all-mountain. If he can't follow my line then he needs to eat his words. And if he can't/won't show up at all, fine. But Rusty, or anyone else here wants to talk trash with me, they better be ready to back it up.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 07, 2002 11:51 AM: Message edited 1 time, by SCSA ]</font>
post #30 of 101
If your goal is to ski better and it's all about for yourself, please stop worrying about how the rest of us ski and challenging everyone while putting them down because they don't have a desire to display their prowness just to do so.

I'm quite comfortable with where in the "pecking order" I am. Yes I push myself to get better and enjoy skiing with those better than myself but I have no real need to know I'm better than .... As long as I'm getting better and having fun.
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