Just wanted to post a "my first lesson" report.
I admit it: I've never taught a ski lesson before. I spent four years doing corporate training, and already have my CSIA level 2 and CASI level 1. But I've never taught a ski class! Until today. Here's how it went:
My class was a group of six never-ever family members. Our lesson went from about 10:30-3:00PM (including lunch). I helped them through boot fitting all the way to turning down the bunny hill. They were quite nice and upbeat through the whole time.
Some ski-related things I learned:
Learners can get bored with repetition before they've owned an exercise. Specifically we were doing braking wedges (which I don't like from a skills perspective due to this "brushing out" action--but the exercise still gives positive indicators in stance and balance). I'm still not really sure how to handle this "boredom in repetition" issue. Beyond explaining how this is helping their development... if the learners want more instant gratification... maybe I can give them a challenge on it, like "your challenge is to drag your poles without twisting your shoulders while wedging", that may hold the interest a tiny bit longer. And I suppose if they're safely able to progress to a slightly steeper pitch, even if their skills haven't developed as much as you (the instructor) would like, then so be it...
Try not to forget any steps in the teaching progression. I forgot sliding down on one ski and braking on it. I think that would have improved their ability to make a braking wedge. Or at least to engage the edge. (Though there are other edge engagement things we worked on... but next time I'll catch this.)
Giving a good guest experience, like establishing some kind of connection, helping them figure out their vacation plans, giving them info on the mountains, taking pictures for them, giving gear suggestions, etc., goes a long way, I think, to the guests' enjoyment of their day.
Some Whistler-y things I learned:
The Steeps at Whistler serves a good lunch. But be prepared to lose a lot of time to it.
Americans seem to be generous at tipping! Good for them--I tip in lessons, but I noticed a lot of other Canadians don't. This family also paid for my lunch. They were really wonderful.
And some other stuff:
It seems hard for learners to get into and maintain an athletic stance. Particularly girls. (cue the "you should have done xyz" comments) Our memories are always biased, but I remember my early lesson groups having an easier time flexing and extending. I'm having a hard time verbally putting people into the right position ("flex more in your ankle. ok, now more in your knee. Less in your hip. more in your knee now. oops, now there's not enough in your hip. ...") I just want to bend them into the right position... I dunno.
The learners really wanted to do more than we could accomplish in our session... lots of questions about when they'd be ready to ski greens all over the mountain (not til day 3 probably). Next time I may ask about what they want to accomplish. On the other hand, when you're asking never-evers what they want to accomplish, you may end up more likely just resetting their hopes ("I want to ski the double-blacks/do a race course/go to the terrain park/etc") rather than finding out something achievable that they want to do (eg they don't know that they want to work on balancing over the outside ski, or improve their short radius turn, or manage speed, etc). Gotta think about this one a bit more.
Anyway, I'd call it a mixed success. The family was happy at the end of the day with tons of smiles all around; we were able to end on a really high note by skiing all the way down the hill doing somewhat linked wedge turns. So from their perspective it was great (aside from not being able to handle all the other green terrain--which was not the most realistic of expectations in a mixed group).
From my perspective, I really wanted to get them making solid wedge turns by the end of the day, with a stable upper body, decent balance over the outside ski, and no rotation, so I felt a bit deflated that there was some funky pole balancing action and rotation happening. I mean, I had all my "trainees" in my level 1+2 courses making wedge turns by the end of our 15 minute lessons (they were other level 1+2 participants... ha ha) Though relatively speaking, my group was at the average compared to the other on-hill beginner groups.
So day 1 was a qualified success; hopefully it just keeps getting better.