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Time to level

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

I was wondering how long it takes the average Joe or Jane to learn to ski.  Yes, I know there is no such thing as the average Joe or Jane, but just to get a rough idea, give me, from your experience median, mean or mode, or whatever insight you can give.  I was wondering how long it would take to become an upper level intermediate skier and how long to become an advanced skier.

 

I also recently learned what an intermediate skier is according to PSIA (levels 4 to six), I had thought Intermediate would start at level 6, and take between 3 and 10 on-snow days to reach (based on limited experience).

How long to level 6 (not counting days to learn to time your turns with pole plants; I don't need no schtinking pole plants! wink.gif) ? 7? 8? 9?

 

 

Just so we are on the same page, I shamelessly copied these ability levels

from http://skiing.about.com/od/downhillskiing/a/abilitylevels.htm

 

Level One: "Never-Ever"
Level One skiers are first time skiers who have never skied before.

Level Two
Level Two skiers are cautious novices who are able to do a " snow plow" (wedge) turn both ways and are able to stop, but linking turns smoothly may be difficult. Level Two skiers may have skied once or twice before.

Level Three
Level Three skiers are confident novices who are able to stop and make round snow plow turns on easy beginner trails.

Level Four
Level Four skiers are cautious intermediate skiers who can link turns but still moderate speed. Level Four skiers ski in a small wedge and their skis may even be parallel at the end of the turn on green or easy blue trails. Level Four is a transition level in which skiers will begin to ski more blue intermediate runs.

Level Five
Level Five skiers are intermediates who are confident on easy blue runs and ski mostly parallel but may at times use the wedge to begin a turn or to stop. Level Five skiers may be cautious on intermediate trails that are slightly steep or icy.

Level Six
Level Six skiers confidently make parallel turns on blue runs but do not ski many advanced trails. Level Six skiers use their poles to time turns. A Level Six skier is interested in learning to ski better on more challenging terrain.

Level Seven
Level Seven skiers ski controlled parallel turns and can ski very well on blue trails. Level Seven skiers can control their speed and rhythm on black diamond trails, but they are looking to ski on challenging trails with better style. Level Seven skiers can adjust the size and length of their turns and are learning to ski on a variety of different types of snow and terrain.

Level Eight
Level Eight skiers ski with good technique on all terrain and snow conditions. Level Eight skiers can ski moguls and are able to ski black diamond trails with confidence using carved turns.

Level Nine
Level Nine skiers enjoy the challenge of difficult ski trails and ski moguls, steeps, and other black diamond terrain.

post #2 of 34

You know of course that there is no average, to wit:

 

  • I once had a world-class rock climber skiing open stance parallel turns in about 4 hours on blue terrain and exploring easy blacks the second day.
  • I've been able to teach a non-skiing snowboard instructor how to parallel turn in about three hours.
  • I'd had adult 40-somethings never get past the Level 4 described above.

 

On the other hand, I've taught enough lessons over the past that if you put a gun to my head and forced me to answer, I would suggest that with the right combination of desire, reasonable athleticism, equipment, terrain, and practice, I could get an adult "average Joe or Jane" could get to the Level 6 as defined above in three or four half-day lessons.

 

Sound reasonable?

 

Mike

post #3 of 34
Quote:

Originally Posted by mmckimson View Post

 

On the other hand, I've taught enough lessons over the past that if you put a gun to my head and forced me to answer, I would suggest that with the right combination of desire, reasonable athleticism, equipment, terrain, and practice, I could get an adult "average Joe or Jane" could get to the Level 6 as defined above in three or four half-day lessons.

 

Sound reasonable?

 

Mike

 

As reasonable as it could be.  So many things have to be assumed; is the person capable of achieving level 6, is it a 1 hour once a week group lesson or a you don't leave the mountain till I let you go lesson.  Is the person going to ski on their own in between lessons, is it a kid or an adult?  Mike described about 16 hours of training.  For some folks it will take 3 or four years to get that much training.

 

Ghost,

I think the intent of your question is to figure out what it takes to get to level 6 and we should assume we have an athletic male adult that desires to be a very good skier and we have that person everyday for at least half day private lessons.

 

The flip side of this is I've been organizing the after school program for 4 years now and have kids that have been doing this for 6 years and still aren't level 6.  Why? because the only time they ski is the 5 lessons a year and might have a couple of hours of free skiing after that.  Once the 5 lessons are done (on rental equipment) they don't ski again until the following year.  They are stuck at the middle of level 5 and probably won't advance until there is a change to their per year mileage on snow.  If they do free ski, who is mentoring them (dad on straight skis in rear entry boots - yes have one of them).

 

Another scenario is if the ski once a week and take a one hour group lessons once a week, they should be able to be level six by the end of the season.  You do have to account for a loss of learning in between each lesson (you get a lot of "Oh yeah. I forgot").

 

I know I might not have answered your question but it is difficult to contain it into a scenario.  It's sort of like asking "What's the best tasting food in the world?"  To who? Me? The guy that hasn't eaten in four days? Someone in China?  My oldest would tell you it was the Sonic cheeseburger she had after she graduated from Marine Corps basic training after eating Marine Corps slop for 90 days.

 

Maybe if you paint a scenario it would be easier to answer.

 

Ken
 

post #4 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

I was wondering how long it takes the average Joe or Jane to learn to ski.  Yes, I know there is no such thing as the average Joe or Jane, but just to get a rough idea, give me, from your experience median, mean or mode, or whatever insight you can give.  I was wondering how long it would take to become an upper level intermediate skier and how long to become an advanced skier.

 

I also recently learned what an intermediate skier is according to PSIA (levels 4 to six), I had thought Intermediate would start at level 6, and take between 3 and 10 on-snow days to reach (based on limited experience).

How long to level 6 (not counting days to learn to time your turns with pole plants; I don't need no schtinking pole plants! wink.gif) ? 7? 8? 9?

 

 

Just so we are on the same page, I shamelessly copied these ability levels

from http://skiing.about.com/od/downhillskiing/a/abilitylevels.htm

 

Level One: "Never-Ever"
Level One skiers are first time skiers who have never skied before.

Level Two
Level Two skiers are cautious novices who are able to do a " snow plow" (wedge) turn both ways and are able to stop, but linking turns smoothly may be difficult. Level Two skiers may have skied once or twice before.

Level Three
Level Three skiers are confident novices who are able to stop and make round snow plow turns on easy beginner trails.

Level Four
Level Four skiers are cautious intermediate skiers who can link turns but still moderate speed. Level Four skiers ski in a small wedge and their skis may even be parallel at the end of the turn on green or easy blue trails. Level Four is a transition level in which skiers will begin to ski more blue intermediate runs.

Level Five
Level Five skiers are intermediates who are confident on easy blue runs and ski mostly parallel but may at times use the wedge to begin a turn or to stop. Level Five skiers may be cautious on intermediate trails that are slightly steep or icy.

Level Six
Level Six skiers confidently make parallel turns on blue runs but do not ski many advanced trails. Level Six skiers use their poles to time turns. A Level Six skier is interested in learning to ski better on more challenging terrain.

Level Seven
Level Seven skiers ski controlled parallel turns and can ski very well on blue trails. Level Seven skiers can control their speed and rhythm on black diamond trails, but they are looking to ski on challenging trails with better style. Level Seven skiers can adjust the size and length of their turns and are learning to ski on a variety of different types of snow and terrain.

Level Eight
Level Eight skiers ski with good technique on all terrain and snow conditions. Level Eight skiers can ski moguls and are able to ski black diamond trails with confidence using carved turns.

Level Nine
Level Nine skiers enjoy the challenge of difficult ski trails and ski moguls, steeps, and other black diamond terrain.



L2 = 30 mins to an hour

L3 = 45 min to an hour half

L4 = hour to 2 half hours

L5 = a half day to a week

L6 = 3 days to a month

L7 = a week to couple months

L8 = a couple months to a couple years

L9 = a couple years to decades

 

these all guide lines and off course some people may never get to L9 or heck L5 and you may have some freak who is L7 in a couple days.


Edited by BushwackerinPA - 11/25/10 at 7:16am
post #5 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post


L7 = a week to month

L8 = a couple months to a couple years

L9 = a couple years to decades

 

I agree with your timeframes except for the above... I think that these are too optimistic, and that many, if not most, "average Joes or Janes" never get beyond L6 and still enjoy the heck out of the sport.

 

Mike
 

post #6 of 34

Took me years to get from Level 7 to Level 8 and that was skiing a lot.  On groomers maybe I was there sooner, but Level 8 means crud, bumps and powder too.

post #7 of 34


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmckimson View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post


L7 = a week to month

L8 = a couple months to a couple years

L9 = a couple years to decades

 

I agree with your timeframes except for the above... I think that these are too optimistic, and that many, if not most, "average Joes or Janes" never get beyond L6 and still enjoy the heck out of the sport.

 

Mike
 



my time frame was for people who are trying to get better and actually skiing. At that point you have moved from average Joe to skier Joe and you made that choice. Only by making that choice will you get any better.

 

Some people like I said will plateau and never get any better.

post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz View Post

Took me years to get from Level 7 to Level 8 and that was skiing a lot.  On groomers maybe I was there sooner, but Level 8 means crud, bumps and powder too.


Nov 25, 2010

 

Hi SMJ:

 

I agree with you.  I'm still trying to get to a "solid" Level 8 irrespective of the mountain.  Not just at little old 600 vertical feet Ski Liberty here in South-Central Pa.

 

A Happy Thanksgiving to All,

 

Think snow,

 

CP

post #9 of 34

I teach people to ski in 90 minutes, but I agree with Bush's ranges.

 

A rule of thumb that is overly simple is that one should plan on the same number of lessons as the level you're on to get to the next level. That rule may be broken way more often than not, but it helps to set expectations.

post #10 of 34

I can appreciate the discussion of progress measurements but I wonder if we can, or should use a class splitting tool as a measurement of a student's progress? Is it a grading system?  I would like to offer an alternate opinion because learning isn't always measured on a linear scale. It's about developing more confidence, developing ownership of fundamental skills, and a student's willingness to make changes in their movements and thinking. Experience (snow time) mean nothing without motivation and a conscious investment in self improvement. Even that's not a constant during the learning process. Deep seated habits aren't alway easy to break and in my experience an epiphany is usually preceeded by a plateau and even some frustration about not breaking those old habits. So even though I've had several students go from newbie to easy black terrain skiers in three days and a majority of students reach at least easy blue terrain before the last half of their second day, it's their openess to learning that allows them to progress at that pace. Even then without more experience they often lack enough experience to make good tactical descisions on their own.

post #11 of 34

Any day now...

 

snowfalling.gif

post #12 of 34

Ha, ha, HeluvaSkier gets it.

 

BWPA:

L2 = 30 mins to an hour

L3 = 45 min to an hour half

L4 = hour to 2 half hours

L5 = a half day to a week

L6 = 3 days to a month

L7 = a week to couple months

L8 = a couple months to a couple years

L9 = a couple years to decades

 

I think, the above timeframes reflect skier comfort relative to terrain difficulty, not skier ability. I consider L7 to be minimum entry to Level I instructor and even then, most Level I instructors absolutely suck when it comes to technique. But yes, they can deal with a variety of terrain that makes us think they at are Level 7. I was in several clinics last year with Level II and III instructors and I was shocked at what passed as Level II.

 

Personally I would quadruple the time frames above for the average Joe/Jane and I would probably still come short if we look at reality out there.

post #13 of 34

Ghost - a few years ago, I had the fortune to teach PirateDiver to ski. I say fortunate because she came to me as someone who wanted to become a skier. She also had never skied before. Over a season we did roughly 15 1/2 day private lessons. I don't think she ever skied independently during that time, so everything she did came from my lessons (God help her). By the end of the season she was skiing at a level that would have to be a 7 on your scale. Since she does occasionally post here, let's say that she was the above-average Jane though. She was certainly above-average in her commitment to get good at skiing. She purchased her own boots before day two and was willing to make return trips to the fitter for alignment work and that really helped a lot.

post #14 of 34
Thread Starter 

Thanks Guys.

Prior to reading Epic ski I sort of, roughly, based on some very old experience, and recent but exceptional experience, thought the following:

Beginner = never ever to parallel = 2 days to 10 days (which for the average Joe or Jane might take a year to get in)

Intermediate = good parallel on blues to parallel on some blacks and ski easy moguls,. = 7 to 20 days (which means their second year on the hill for the average Joe)

Advanced =  Ski most blacks comfortably as well as blues (i.e. with good form, no need to go extra slow, stem turns, loose form, almost fall, get scared out of their wits, etc),

= about 15 to 60 on snow days (probably third or 4th year for average Joe or Jane).

 

Somehow reading the forms, I got the impression, that modern teaching technique had folks were skiing around in a wedge, unable to make a parallel turn for years.  Maybe it has to do with PSIA  calling level 4 -6 intermediate).

 

Thanks for correcting that impression.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post

I teach people to ski in 90 minutes, but I agree with Bush's ranges.

 

A rule of thumb that is overly simple is that one should plan on the same number of lessons as the level you're on to get to the next level. That rule may be broken way more often than not, but it helps to set expectations.

You wouldn't be a ski instructor, would you?  Who said anything about lessons?wink.gifbiggrin.gif
 

post #15 of 34

Of course I'm an instructor. For the time being, being a mod over writes my instructor badge, but I have not been shy about admitting that I teach. That said, lessons are never a requirement for improvement. They simply speed up the learning process for most people. And yes I accept that there are some folks will claim the opposite. C'est la ski!

post #16 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB View Post

Ha, ha, HeluvaSkier gets it.

 

BWPA:

L2 = 30 mins to an hour

L3 = 45 min to an hour half

L4 = hour to 2 half hours

L5 = a half day to a week

L6 = 3 days to a month

L7 = a week to couple months

L8 = a couple months to a couple years

L9 = a couple years to decades

 

I think, the above timeframes reflect skier comfort relative to terrain difficulty, not skier ability. I consider L7 to be minimum entry to Level I instructor and even then, most Level I instructors absolutely suck when it comes to technique. But yes, they can deal with a variety of terrain that makes us think they at are Level 7. I was in several clinics last year with Level II and III instructors and I was shocked at what passed as Level II.

 

Personally I would quadruple the time frames above for the average Joe/Jane and I would probably still come short if we look at reality out there.


actually those time lines were skill level of people in lesson that actually come back and keep skiing. I chronically under terrain people so they get better faster. I have actually seen people who blow those guidelines out of the water from a terrain stand point.

 

Also by PSIA skill, not terrain standards I did quite well.  went from never ever to L3 in 5 years....... was skiing L9 terrain poorly in 2 years.

 

 

Like most things its all about commitment, Id also contend that once someone was L5 or above they are no longer 'average" and even their friends would view them as a skier. Even though some people who ski 100 days a year would view them otherwise.

 

 

post #17 of 34


BWP,

Just to help the folks reading this that aren't familiar with all the terms or how much you achieved:
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post

actually those time lines were skill level of people in lesson that actually come back and keep skiing. I chronically under terrain people so they get better faster. I have actually seen people who blow those guidelines out of the water from a terrain stand point.

 

Also by PSIA skill, not terrain standards I did quite well.  went from never ever (recreational skier level) to L3 (Instructor level) in 5 years....... was skiing L9 (recreational skier level) terrain poorly in 2 years.

 

 

Like most things its all about commitment, Id also contend that once someone was L5 or above they are no longer 'average" and even their friends would view them as a skier. Even though some people who ski 100 days a year would view them otherwise.

 

 


It sounded like it took you 5 years to go from never ever to L3 student level.
 

post #18 of 34
Thread Starter 

L3 instructor level, in terms of skill = L8?  (L9 doesn't require much skill, just attitude).

Also how many on snow days in that 5 years?

post #19 of 34

Ghost the whole time-line idea is a bit off target. The 9 level chart really isn't anything more than a class splitting tool. Using it as a framework for a grading system ignores the fact that it's non specific when it comes to the skills. In other words a level four skier may be a level four skier for a variety of reasons. Getting them into a group of like minded and like ability level doesn't mean each student is working on the same skill deficiency. Pace, terrain, attitude, and individual goals are all factors in the class split but that's as far as the scale goes. They do describe milestone outcomes like mostly parallel turns but I cannot stress this enough, the fundamental skills and any individual bias is absent from that scale. Addressing that skill bias and offering a specific plan for improvement is up to the individual coach after the initial class split occurs.

 

So how can we measure progress and offer reasonable averages? It's done on a global level by the SAM and SSD's all the time but here at Epic I wonder how many of us actually track the progress of our students at a level that would be statistically significant. I also question why we would want to offer standards.  

post #20 of 34

I've noticed some discrepancy in standards in different PSIA divisions.  How did L3 go for you in the inter-mountain?  I already know the answer.wink.gif

post #21 of 34

It's pretty hard to think about averages, most of my classes in the early levels progress 1 level per lesson, then it starts to slow down around 3a/b (US level 4) then slow down dramatically the higher you go. Obviously you get some people who progress slower, and some who progress faster.

 

I'd say it was a lot easier to measure instructor progress though, as those levels are much more closely defined. How long has it taken people to progress to whatever level you are on?

 

Personally I took my level 1+2 in 2005 in an instructor course, started teaching in 07, got my park coaching qual the next season, level 1 snowboard that season too (took about a week to get to that level) then got my level 3 this year.

post #22 of 34

I believe the question came up because I suggested that the technical focus of intermediate skiers is achieving a parallel turn, and Ghost (and some others) believe that parallel skiing is something we teach to beginners. That brings up another topic entirely, which may be worth debating, but in my opinion is a best case scenario. If you think that's the norm, then the majority of your students must be a terrible disappointment to you. I guess it doesn't really matter what we call the student learning a parallel turn, but let's not confuse the motivation of a beginning skier and one who's been at it long enough to know there's more to it than his or her technique is going to get them. The teacher's focus may be more holistic as JASP points out, but my point is that the chief reason students at this stage in their progress return to ski school is for help achieving a reliable parallel turn.

 

Ski teachers have two big opportunities with students, and that's 1) with beginners and 2) with intermediates (if you succeed at 2, oftentimes the student will continue to seek your instruction all the way to expert). The motivation for beginners coming to ski school is survival. The motivation for intermediates coming to ski school is likely to be higher up the hierarchy -- could be belonging, could be esteem, could be self-actualization.

 

Why is it so easy to get beginners to dramatically change their skiing in a short period of time, and so difficult to get an intermediate (or higher) student to show any appreciable change? 

post #23 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

I believe the question came up because I suggested that the technical focus of intermediate skiers is achieving a parallel turn, and Ghost (and some others) believe that parallel skiing is something we teach to beginners. That brings up another topic entirely, which may be worth debating, but in my opinion is a best case scenario. If you think that's the norm, then the majority of your students must be a terrible disappointment to you. I guess it doesn't really matter what we call the student learning a parallel turn, but let's not confuse the motivation of a beginning skier and one who's been at it long enough to know there's more to it than his or her technique is going to get them. The teacher's focus may be more holistic as JASP points out, but my point is that the chief reason students at this stage in their progress return to ski school is for help achieving a reliable parallel turn.

 

Ski teachers have two big opportunities with students, and that's 1) with beginners and 2) with intermediates (if you succeed at 2, oftentimes the student will continue to seek your instruction all the way to expert). The motivation for beginners coming to ski school is survival. The motivation for intermediates coming to ski school is likely to be higher up the hierarchy -- could be belonging, could be esteem, could be self-actualization.

 

Why is it so easy to get beginners to dramatically change their skiing in a short period of time, and so difficult to get an intermediate (or higher) student to show any appreciable change? 


Actually I had been wondering for some time.  Your reference to intermediates who still had learning to parallel ski ahead of them just reminded me of it.  Looking at myself, my brother, my daughter, my wife, and  our friends.  It seemed that we progressed faster than what it seemed, from reading forums, was the current rate of progression.  However, my reference skiers all progressed using an ancient teaching method that called beginners those people who couldn't ski parallel, and the progression, which took us a few days on snow was snow-plow, stem-cristie, parallel (as opposed to the currently more common gliding wedge, steering, parallel).  Once we could ski parallel and didn't need to stem our turns and could comfortably ski blue terrain we considered ourselves "intermediate" skiers.  Don't know what the ski schools considered intermediate, but that's what we thought.  As it turns out that was just an impression and it seems that parallel skiing or what I would consider intermediate skiing isn't any different in terms of time on snow to achieve (allowing for individual variations explained by prior sporting activities, athletic abilities etc).

 

I think it is harder to get an intermediate skier to show appreciable change, because that skier has "learned" a movement pattern that he needs to replace; it's harder to unlearn something than it is to learn something.

 

 

 

 

 

post #24 of 34


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

I believe the question came up because I suggested that the technical focus of intermediate skiers is achieving a parallel turn, and Ghost (and some others) believe that parallel skiing is something we teach to beginners. That brings up another topic entirely, which may be worth debating, but in my opinion is a best case scenario. If you think that's the norm, then the majority of your students must be a terrible disappointment to you. I guess it doesn't really matter what we call the student learning a parallel turn, but let's not confuse the motivation of a beginning skier and one who's been at it long enough to know there's more to it than his or her technique is going to get them. The teacher's focus may be more holistic as JASP points out, but my point is that the chief reason students at this stage in their progress return to ski school is for help achieving a reliable parallel turn.

 

Ski teachers have two big opportunities with students, and that's 1) with beginners and 2) with intermediates (if you succeed at 2, oftentimes the student will continue to seek your instruction all the way to expert). The motivation for beginners coming to ski school is survival. The motivation for intermediates coming to ski school is likely to be higher up the hierarchy -- could be belonging, could be esteem, could be self-actualization.

 

Why is it so easy to get beginners to dramatically change their skiing in a short period of time, and so difficult to get an intermediate (or higher) student to show any appreciable change? 


Actually I had been wondering for some time.  Your reference to intermediates who still had learning to parallel ski ahead of them just reminded me of it.  Looking at myself, my brother, my daughter, my wife, and  our friends.  It seemed that we progressed faster than what it seemed, from reading forums, was the current rate of progression.  However, my reference skiers all progressed using an ancient teaching method that called beginners those people who couldn't ski parallel, and the progression, which took us a few days on snow was snow-plow, stem-cristie, parallel (as opposed to the currently more common gliding wedge, steering, parallel).  Once we could ski parallel and didn't need to stem our turns and could comfortably ski blue terrain we considered ourselves "intermediate" skiers.  Don't know what the ski schools considered intermediate, but that's what we thought.  As it turns out that was just an impression and it seems that parallel skiing or what I would consider intermediate skiing isn't any different in terms of time on snow to achieve (allowing for individual variations explained by prior sporting activities, athletic abilities etc).

 

I think it is harder to get an intermediate skier to show appreciable change, because that skier has "learned" a movement pattern that he needs to replace; it's harder to unlearn something than it is to learn something.

 

 

 

 

 


If the student has learned a movement pattern that they have to replace then the instructor needs to take a hard look at what they art teaching. The movements taught and the movement patterns established in the first two or three lessons/levels should be the same movements/movement patterns needed to progress through parallel and all upper level type skiing be it carving groomers, skiing bumps or skiing crud/powder.

 

Unfortunately, I get way too many students who have been taught some variety of dead end movement patterns. Fortunately, I don't have to ask them to unlearn the unproductive pattern just replace it with a more effective one. By the way, I don't tell them that they have to drop the old moves I just give them the new one and watch as an efficient pattern displaces an inefficient one.

 

fom

 

post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

Why is it so easy to get beginners to dramatically change their skiing in a short period of time, and so difficult to get an intermediate (or higher) student to show any appreciable change? 


For children there is the "Able To..." threshold. Once the little buggers are 'Able To' get around without help they tend to lose interest in learning anything more. They're very interested in reaching that point but once reached, many of them become more interested in just going new places and exploring the Ski Area rather than trying new movement patterns or working on any specific skill. There are ways to deal with this - but I think it's a major reason children hit a plateau for a good while.

For adults learning on their own I suspect a plateau forms at the point they start pushing themselves into steeper, more challenging terrain without the necessary skills to ski it well. This tends to reinforce undesirable patterns (usually upper-body rotary with hopping to start turns and a variety of braking methods to control speed as they finish turns). Once they ingrain these patterns they're unlikely to let go of them unless they are taught usable replacements. They may progress to steeper terrain but their skills remain largely the same, though perhaps expressed more athletically.

For adults in ski classes who plateau (despite many classes) I would suggest their instructors may contribute to that plateau. In my view, a good instructor is one able to generate real and lasting improvements in a student's ability - regardless what other characteristics may also be desirable in an instructor. Better instruction translates directly into a shorter time to higher levels.

.ma
post #26 of 34

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post


Why is it so easy to get beginners to dramatically change their skiing in a short period of time, and so difficult to get an intermediate (or higher) student to show any appreciable change?

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_curve

 

From Wikipedia -

 

A learning curve is a graphical representation of the changing rate of learning (in the average person) for a given activity or tool. Typically, the increase in retention of information is sharpest after the initial attempts, and then gradually evens out, meaning that less and less new information is retained after each repetition.

The learning curve can also represent at a glance the initial difficulty of learning something and, to an extent, how much there is to learn after initial familiarity. For example, the Windows program Notepad is extremely simple to learn, but offers little after this. On the other extreme is the UNIX terminal editor vi, which is difficult to learn, but offers a wide array of features to master after the user has figured out how to work it. It is possible for something to be easy to learn, but difficult to master or hard to learn with little beyond this.


 

I've always looked at it as you see the most learning where there is the least knowledge.

 

Ken

post #27 of 34

I don't dispute any answer to my question given thus far, but I'd add that it's not hard learning to ski down a shallow slope. It's very hard (and counter-intuitive) to hang upside down by both edges. Tipping from uphill to downhill edges is a leap of faith not every person is willing to do. Also, it's not hard to perform gross movements, but fine motor control takes lots of reps, discernment of minute variances, and dedication -- i.e., dedicated practice (and a commitment to improve).

 

(Btw, I don't know that there's an exact right answer to the question; I only meant to spur some thinking about what being an "intermediate" means.)


Edited by nolo - 11/29/10 at 1:41pm
post #28 of 34

nolo,

 

Seems like such an easy question but the more I think about it the more I have to say about it so this will probably not be my only post on this subject.

 

First, it is much easier to train new movement patterns than it is to replace/modify established movement patterns. Throw in the fact that we are dealing with security issues and this fact becomes amplified. Beginners are desperate to have some level of control over their movement over the snow. Be it controlling speed going straight down the hill or having the ability to 'go over there'  we have Maslow (sp?) on our side. Later when the student already has a set of movements that is providing them with security Maslow works against us. Its very hard to get rid of a heel push finish to a turn and introduce a flowing transition when that heel push has been what is giving the skier there speed control/secure feeling out on the hill.

 

Add in that most students don't want to step down in terrain and the problem is even tougher. They have the mind set that because it is on the steeper stuff or in the bumps that they have a problem that it is there that the solution has to take place. Its very hard to convince them that only by stepping back to easier runs can they make the changes that will then carry over to their skiing in more difficult terrain.

 

Finally, many students expect that the lesson is all that is needed. Take the lesson, learn the new thing and then go skiing and the new thing will make you a different skier. The reality is take the lesson, learn the new thing and then go skiing and ski how you ski. How many of us have given a lesson and ended it feeling like we really lead a student to a big breakthrough only to see that student skiing the next day just like they did when we first saw them at the start of the lesson.

 

fom

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by nolo View Post

Why is it so easy to get beginners to dramatically change their skiing in a short period of time, and so difficult to get an intermediate (or higher) student to show any appreciable change?

post #29 of 34

Darwin might offer insight. Successful species aren't necessarily the strongest or the smartest. They're the ones that can adapt quickest to changes in their world.

What do we sell? Change.

 

Who thrives best in that environment? There's no one key performance indicator (KPI) that I know of but my top five would be

  • past experience performing similar tasks (hockey players, etc) gives those folks a head start
  • a genuine desire to make long term changes (belief and trust that the changes are an improvement)
  • opportunity (time to learn and practice)
  • income (it takes money to ski and hire a coach)
  • Physical and mental aptitude (not everyone can be a good athlete, or can work out enough to be capable of skiing at level 9 and beyond)

 

Take any one of those five away and that skier's learning ability and potential peak performance level are severely affected.

 

So how long should it take to improve to say mostly parallel linked turns on an average blue run? If all five KPI's are in place I say no more than a week.

How long from there to advanced? We're talking about handling such a wide variety of situations and conditions. IMO that suggests a much longer timeframe. Again with all the KPI's in place we're talking a season or two. If for no other reason than it would take a while to encounter all of those different situations and conditions. This is why I said earlier that just because some of my students skis an easy black run in three days I would hesitate to call them advanced at that point. At best we can say for those specific conditions they skied at an advanced level.

post #30 of 34

Darwin is dead. I would have thought that was evident.

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