SMJ

The Journey of a New Ski Instructor archive part 1

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These are my posts from a 4 year long thread on another ski forum about my experiences starting teaching skiing. It was very well received and might be of interest to others, so I am copying it here. I plan on blogging here to continue this as the years go on.


1/1/07
Day One


I am a noobie Instructor. After years of hanging out with Instructors at my home hill, and being on a 5 year mission to improve my skiing I finally decided to join up. I may have been successful at many things in my long life so far, but at this I am a humble beginner. I "know" a lot about skiing - but have a strong intent to listen to those with experience and follow their lead. I welcome any mentoring I can receive in my skiing mission, and hope to share my passion for the sport - and in particular for learning it as an adult - with others.


Yesterday after lineup my favorite trainer at the mountain took a few of us out on the hill and we did Movement Analysis together. What a great experience, and how different then reading it on epic, and having it done from low res video clips.


He pointed out a skier and asked us each to explain what movements they were using to make their skis turn. Not what they were doing wrong, but what movement was creating the turn.


Upper Body rotation was one of the big ones mentioned, so he had us all ski down a short ways trying to use that movement to turn. I think most of us found it easy to ski wrong and it was an interesting experience.


He asked then what drill or technique we might use to help this skier. I of course mentioned something a bit too advanced, but wasn't shot down for it, just told that it was a good idea but might be too advanced for this skier.


Any the ways, all in all it was a great experience which I am so grateful for and hope to be asked to join as many clinics as I can. I may be spending my time teaching little kids wedge turns as a new instructor (for which I was in fact pulled out of the clinic to help another instructor do,) but it will be worth it (if my aging back can handle the skiing backwards while bending over holding the tips together of a child!)


I'm glad I took the plunge.

1/13/07


Day 2 (on January 13th! Ugh what a season!)


Taught a group of four 9-11 year olds with another instructor today. Not never-evers, but beginners. One little girl who kept saying "I can't" - but she could. Worked with her on saying "I can" mostly. Lesson went well and I really enjoyed it.


On the lift going up for a free run by myself afterwards I have to admit i got a little emotional - it was VERY fulfilling, very satisfying and the words that came to my mind were that it really warmed my heart.


I think I'm going to really like this!

1/23/07


So I had my first lesson on Sunday. First that I wasn't shadowing that is. 7 year old boy, not a first timer but very much a beginner.


Didn't go so well honestly. First off he was very uncoordinated, could not hold a wedge and thus couldn't control his speed. Secondly his father was watching the entire time.


I tried everything I could think of: skiing in front of him backwards, skiing behind him holding him back, next to him. He just didn't get it. His attitude was fine and he could get on and off the lift (very small slope with it's own small lift.) I tried going 15 feet below him and having him ski to me, he would just crash into me at a high speed.


So... a combination of his being a hard student and me feeling as if I didn't have enough training, tricks, techniques to handle someone at that level.


Talked to a number of instructors afterwards about it and they all told me not to worry, that it happens sometimes.


Oh well, onwards and upwards. Did get some awesome help with my own skiing from a LIII who is happy to share his time and knowledge with any of us who want some clinicing/coaching. One of the best perks of being on the school that's for sure.

1/29/07


Well I've taught a few lessons on my own now, as well as shadowed a number more.


This is fantastic, I love it. The comradarie of being a part of the school, the free skiing with other instructors and the LIII's who are generous with their help and so inspiring. And, and most of all the joy of sharing my passion with people and watching them improve!


Little kid yesterday, crying, didn't want to go, head down practically between his knees with dad saying "come on give it a try."


An hour later watching a smiling kid sliding down the small slope. Him telling me "you're a fun instructor" (Totally made my day) and then the dad not showing up at the meeting place afterwards. I had to spend 25 minutes hanging out with the kid (a young 9 year old) looking, paging, waiting. Other instructors thinking "Steve is going to be in a bad mood now" but I wasn't. Would I rather be at work with my clients hassling me?


Dad showed up, said thanks and I'm sorry.


An hour later at lineup the woman from the ski school desk comes out and gives me two $5 bills he brought to the desk for me. My first tip! I was thrilled. But the "You're a fun instructor" was better.


And my own skiing is improving vastly. I do wish there was more training, but asking to shadow more and more (and not get paid for it) is doing the job, all the instructors are different and I learn from them all.

Oh and driving out of the lot, passing a couple of friends who are instructors, stopping, opening my window and saying....


"Hey you know what? I .................... am a SKI INSTRUCTOR!"


(who'd-of-thunk-it?)


(CONTINUED)

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