The Journey of a New Ski Instructor archive part 2

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Great day today, did a two hour private with a 7 year old who could ski, liked to point them down the hill and go fast, not in a wedge either. To turn he was wedging. Parents wanted me to teach him to turn more and to learn how to do a hockey stop. He didn't particularly want to do either of course.

We have a nice medium length green run that's pretty steep for a green, called Exhibition. Maybe 400 verts. The carrot was he could ski the lower half fast and straight if he'd work with me on technique at the top.

I had him make one turn, a traverse across the hill to a single turn up the hill to a stop. Then another the other way. The snow was soft enough that I could point out his tracks and compliment him on when they stayed parallel the whole way. He liked that. Then had him follow behind me making turns. Then let him fly down straight.

Up the lift again for more. Later tried to get him to learn hockey stops, he had no interest, but when he tried it was always in a wedge. What finally got him interested is when I told him how cool it was that you could make a hockey stop and spray people with snow. At one point he fell and I did a hockey stop and sprayed him. He laughed started throwing snow up at me - and THEN he wanted to learn how to do it.

So we worked on it, and on how similar it was to a parallel turn. I skied behind him and called out "turn, turn, turn and STOP." He kept trying - did pretty well, but always fell at the end. I explained why that was happening.

Favorite part was when I showed him a hockey stop and did a little bit of a wedge inadvertently and he called me on it "You pizza'd there!"

Last run down he skied parallel and made turns half way down, then straight and railroad tracked it the rest of the way. I gave him a high 4 1/2 (one finger was bent) he loved that too!

Parents gave me $20 tip! But even better is when the woman at the desk told me later at the bar that they came up to her in the afternoon and said "I don't know what that instructor did, but Jack was skiing much better this afternoon!"

Living the dream I am - and LOVING IT!


Well I'm off on vacation tomorrow, so I thought I'd add a little to the thread.

1. Joined PSIA, taking my Level 1 exam in late March. This allowed me to take a two day development clinic at Mt. Snow. Awesome opportunity. 2 days with an Examiner and a group of good skiers can't be beat.

2. Past weekend experience. They gave me a private with a 5 year old. Claimed he'd skied a few times and could control his speed. False. Spent the hour trying to keep him from killing himself mostly. At one point he started "french frying" towards the edge of the bunny hill and would have ended up in the woods, so I had to skate as fast as I could and dive head first on the ground between him and the woods to protect him.

Later on he insisted on getting off the lift by himself, and did! Didn't fall. I gave him a high five and he started sliding backwards towards the side of the lift house where there's a gully, again I dove, this time to grab him by his coat as he slid off the edge and into a broken ski pole with a jagged aluminum edge.

"Is it bweeding?" He asked. "Yes a little" I said, "But not dripping blood, just a scratch really." We decided the lesson was just about over anyway and should go back to the lodge. "Is it still bweeding?" he asked a couple of minutes later.

Actually he had fun, and I did too, when I wasn't chasing him down to protect him.

5 is a little young. I was whooped at the end of the lesson. Up to mahogany ridge for a drink. Did get a $5 tip anyway.

Later that same day ended up on a lift with Charlie, a developmentally disabled 8 year old who I'd had in a group lesson a couple of weeks prior. It was fun to see him again and talk about how his skiing had been going.

Seeing kids from past lessons is very cool, especially if they're skiing better then they were.


Adding to this thread now. Almost done with my first season, culminating in my Level I exam this Thursday and Friday, something I'm looking forward to. Afterwards I will truly be a Professional Skier, which I'm quite proud of. The last 5 years I've been on a mission to improve and joining the ski school this year when I finally felt I was a good enough skier, made a HUGE difference in my skiing. I've made more progress this year then the last 2 years at least.

Skiing with other top skiers, thinking about how to ski, teaching it, just having the confidence that came with "wearing the coat."

For anyone who loves skiing, and likes to share, teaching is really awesome. It is after all getting paid to have people listen to you talk!

Seriously though, spending your time with other Instructors, clincing and going to PSIA Development events is a great opportunity.

And making someone else happy by helping them to learn and enjoy this incredible sport of ours really rocks!


Closing day, end of season 1.
Last day today, mountain's closed. I'll still be skiing, but teaching is done for the year.

Last lesson yesterday, two first time 5 year old twin girls. Only way I could tell them apart was the color of their glasses frames, one blue, one purple.

They were so into it, had so much fun. I showed them how to put the skis on and take them off, taught them which way was downhill, so that they could know which way WASN'T downhill for when I asked one or both of them to stand still without sliding.

The looks on their faces when I finally got them doing straight runs down to me were totally priceless. Pure joy! The spring snow made it easy for them to not go too fast. Since I couldn't get the two of them up the paddle lift together and didn't want to waste time with one at a time, we would take our skis off and march up the hill together, then do it again.

At the end of the hour they didn't want to stop, so I got their grandparents to come over, taught them how the bindings worked, and what we'd covered and let them work with the girls for a while.

It was a wonderful way to end the season, I think I had as much fun as they did.

And being a certified Level I instructor for the first time I'll get an extra $1 for the lesson (less taxes.) Whoopeee!


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  1. Toby's Avatar
    HI SMJ,

    Thats a really cool story about teaching the 7 year old. Good for you!