Tricia

The Velvet Hammer
Admin
Pugski Ski Tester
Joined
Nov 1, 2015
Posts
14,089
Location
Tahoe
For the most part I agree & relate to the rest of this post but in my experience the above is just not true. I agree that there is no magic wand but I have personal experience with 100’s of folks who through instruction, example, coaching & monitored practice have become way more than “much better”.
View attachment 75143
I have to agree with you. As you know I've become discerning about who I will ask to teach me. Much of this is based on how the instructor communicates and how it jams with me. The time I spent with you a few weeks ago has resonated in a huge way and broke me out of my plateau, which inspired me to ski multiple laps in Dropout and Wipeout last weekend.
IMG_5563.jpg
IMG_5565.jpg


I couldn't have done so many laps prior to my time with you.
I guess that @4ster is my jam, which is making steep moguls my jam :yeah:
 
Last edited:

4ster

Now with more photos!
Instructor
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
2,525
Location
Sierra & Wasatch
I have to agree with you. As you know I've become discerning about who I will ask to teach me. Much of this is based on how the instructor communicates and how it jams with me. The time I spent with you a few weeks ago has resonated in a huge way and broke me out of my plateau, which inspired me to ski multiple laps in Dropout and Wipeout last weekend.
View attachment 75274 View attachment 75275

I couldn't have done so many laps prior to my time with you.
I guess that @4ster is my jam, which is making steep moguls my jam :yeah:
Thanks! :)
Just from your photos above I can see your stance looks much more in the “go” mode than braced resistance ;) .

Remember...
“it’s a lot easier for you to catch up with your skis, than it is for your skis to catch up with you”
49954067-B106-4B44-BB9D-DE6739ACE31F.gif


Keep on jammin’
 

T-Square

Terry
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
2,148
Location
Enfield, NH
It will be once I get all the moving stuff still crowding our new garage cleared away so I can make the frame. I''d use old ski parts but I had to throw all my supply of old skis into one of three 30-yard dumpsters we filled to overflowing when we sold our house with the three-story barn last summer. I only have about nine pairs from our Breckenridge garage and those all have been used in the last two seasons.
90 CUBIC YARDS!!!! Wow! That’s a lot of stuff.
 

Kneale Brownson

Making fresh tracks
Instructor
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
1,609
90 CUBIC YARDS!!!! Wow! That’s a lot of stuff.
Don't forget the two 40-foot shipping containers we filled, one with my woodworking and metalworking tools and one with household goods we thought we should keep a little longer!!!

The trashed stuff and the containerized stuff represent an accumulation over 48 years, during which we had a dozen rentals and a 45-room motel to look after, as well as my wife's contributions like half a dozen knitting machines.
 

James

Skiing the powder
Instructor
Joined
Dec 2, 2015
Posts
9,207
Don't forget the two 40-foot shipping containers we filled, one with my woodworking and metalworking tools and one with household goods we thought we should keep a little longer!!!

The trashed stuff and the containerized stuff represent an accumulation over 48 years, during which we had a dozen rentals and a 45-room motel to look after, as well as my wife's contributions like half a dozen knitting machines.
The skis though. You put them in a dumpster?? Geez, someone could have at least built a wall or a troll out of them.
What's a "knitting machine"? A loom?
 

Kneale Brownson

Making fresh tracks
Instructor
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
1,609
It was a time thing, James. Had to clear out and had limited other spaces. Actually, I gave several pairs to a guy who came to buy my dozen fuel cans, saving both the cans and those skis from the dumpster.

Knitting machines are what we use to produce our knitted cotton baby blankets: http://www.knitknacks.com/

The machines look like:


image stolen from somebody else.
 

geepers

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
May 12, 2018
Posts
1,070
Location
Australia
I’m not sure that there would be much return on investment by cold-advertising.

But that’s not to say that one cannot market themselves. At our little hill here in NM, all 12K plus thousand feet of it:) we get an international crowd and many, many return guests. One of the best marketing investments is a simple business card, but you can do other things as well, like send the guest a thank you note after they skied with you and then send them another one in the fall, hoping you will visit again then adding a call to action, like bookings are filling up fast they should reserve a spot now (a fact during busy holidays/weekends).

Some of our seasoned staff are booked all day every day for so much of the season they welcome some of the slow days that allow them to free ski, for them there is little need to advertise. The gold standard here is to get private requests which ups your hourly rate at least $10.00/hr before tips.

And how do you do that? By creating an experience that the guest values and wants to repeat again. It’s certainly more art than science, and no doubt some Instructors are just better at it. I’m a huge proponent of the “people-teaching-technical skills,” concepts that the PSIA has embraced. The challenge is getting our part timers/seasonal staff enough exposure to the training and to be honest some experienced staff to buy in.

All ski schools face the challenge of staffing enough for the season peak times by bringing on new staff and getting them trained then keeping them busy in the slower times. So what does all that mean for the public who doesn’t know who might be a good fit? A lot of times you just have to ask around, starting with the ski school booking people. They should be able to guide you. I know when booking private’s we try to ask a lot of questions so that we can find you a good match, harder to do when we are super busy.

The other thing is to book group lessons, they are relatively cheap compared to private’s, and you might happen on an Instructor you click with. I often see some of our newer often uncertified staff pull private requests out of level 1-4 groups because the guest really liked them. Sometimes the newer Instructors, particularly at the beginning levels or especially with children for some reason are more in tune with teaching at that level than many full cert”s.

I think some of the best advice I got starting out was that we teach FUN, skiing just happens. Of course there is a lot that goes into making that happen, but if you provide that positive experience, well that’s the best advertising.
This. Excellent.

I can understand why most instructors don't promote themselves externally. Not trained in marketing. Modesty ("Ski with me - I'm cheaper than an L4"). Rules of the house. Suspect ROI.

However, politely asking for repeat business and/or referrals when students are clearly having a good experience doesn't seem too demanding. Can't recall it ever happening other than a rare, half-hearted "Next week?". So I assume that, at least at the resorts I've visited, ski schools aren't prompting/training their instructors to do this.

Last couple of decades I've coached a multitude of small businesses and having business team members who interact with customers ask for extra/repeat/referral business is a standard action. Cost is low - all it takes it a short script and a little training.

In my own business, at the end of each client session I ask 2 questions: "What was the #1 thing from today's session?" and "Did you get great value from our work together?" An enthusiastic response :yahoo:is a perfect time to ask for more business. (A lukewarm response is cause to reflect on the value being provided to that client and how it may be improved:huh: :doh:)
 

Tricia

The Velvet Hammer
Admin
Pugski Ski Tester
Joined
Nov 1, 2015
Posts
14,089
Location
Tahoe
Thanks! :)
Just from your photos above I can see your stance looks much more in the “go” mode than braced resistance ;) .

Remember...
“it’s a lot easier for you to catch up with your skis, than it is for your skis to catch up with you”
View attachment 75277

Keep on jammin’
Its me who should be thanking you.
The point of my post is, finding the right instructor for the student.
I've had lessons that didn't resonate, and many that did. You are not just an incredible instructor, but you're a good fit for me.

We could create a list of instructors on Pugski with teaching credentials, experience, ski school association, etc, but those are data points, and don't take the 'person' into consideration.
 

4ster

Now with more photos!
Instructor
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
2,525
Location
Sierra & Wasatch
The point of my post is, finding the right instructor for the student.
Absolutely a huge part of the equation!
As a supervisor in charge of assigning lessons, first is understanding enough about your staff to know who fits with what type. Next is having the insight & ability to effectively & succinctly interview the guest & make that proper match.
As a trainer it is providing the tools & developing the skills of the instructor staff to adapt to different types of students.
As a director/manager it is hiring a well rounded versatile staff of different ages, genders & backgrounds. Then supporting their continued education & development by allowing time for the supervisors & trainers to do their jobs. Treat their employees like they want their guests to be treated. For a Snowsports School to be successful it starts at the top.
Area management needs to realize that snowsports education is a guest service that is imperative to the continued health of the industry & more than just a profit center. Sadly, I think much of the industry has lost sight of that
:(
 

markojp

mtn rep for the gear on my feet
Industry Insider
Instructor
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
3,541
Location
PNW aka SEA
The point of this story is this.
There are many incredible instructors out there, but the instructor has to match the personality of the student as much as the skill set.

^^^ This post in spades.^^^
 

Philpug

Notorious P.U.G.
Admin
Pugski Ski Tester
Joined
Nov 1, 2015
Posts
23,227
Location
Reno, eNVy
Area management needs to realize that snowsports education is a guest service that is imperative to the continued health of the industry & more than just a profit center. Sadly, I think much of the industry has lost sight of that
:(
And it is not going to change.
 

Tricia

The Velvet Hammer
Admin
Pugski Ski Tester
Joined
Nov 1, 2015
Posts
14,089
Location
Tahoe
Another factor is that most good instructors in the US don't actually instruct guests, they are typically staff trainers, examiners, supervisors etc,
Now THERE is some serious thread material!
Haha sorry, I meant those who make instructing their sole career, I am sure there are plenty of good instructors working out there. But the majority of 'lifers' I know are not teaching regular ski school very often.
These quotes from page one of this thread.

This has always been in the back of my mind. When someone starts skiing they get the lowest common denominator as an instructor. At best a L1 and more likely the new hire that is working on their L1.
I'm not saying that the new skier isn't going to get a good experience with a beginner instructor, but retention of skiers may depend on getting a seasoned instructor who can give that new skier the best experience.
Meanwhile, we hope that the examiners and trainers are honing the skills of the new hire to give the beginning skier a good experience as @4ster describes in this quote...

As a trainer it is providing the tools & developing the skills of the instructor staff to adapt to different types of students.
As a director/manager it is hiring a well rounded versatile staff of different ages, genders & backgrounds. Then supporting their continued education & development by allowing time for the supervisors & trainers to do their jobs.
Do examiners and trainers actually teach resort guests? Sure, sometimes, but more often than not, they are teaching other instructors and pushing papers.

I recall talking to @Bob Barnes when he was working at Keystone. I can't remember his actual title, but he said that one of the things he missed about having that job was that he didn't get much snow time with resort guests because his job required too much desk time.
 

VickieH

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Nov 13, 2015
Posts
845
Location
Denver area
"Did you get great value from our work together?"
Awkward question. Many will give you a positive response just to get out of what could become an uncomfortable situation. If someone asked me that, I would assume they're just wanting a stroke.

If I had a great lesson experience with someone, the conversation would end better with "The next thing to work on is _____". That would demonstrate they have identified the next weakest link and are setting me up for my next step, whether with them or someone else. It would leave me feeling as if I, the client, was the focus of the lesson.
 

geepers

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
May 12, 2018
Posts
1,070
Location
Australia
Awkward question. Many will give you a positive response just to get out of what could become an uncomfortable situation. If someone asked me that, I would assume they're just wanting a stroke.

If I had a great lesson experience with someone, the conversation would end better with "The next thing to work on is _____". That would demonstrate they have identified the next weakest link and are setting me up for my next step, whether with them or someone else. It would leave me feeling as if I, the client, was the focus of the lesson.
Well, I can imagine it would be awkward depending on how it was framed and how it's asked. Just popped out at the end in the wrong way could be weird.Like one of those waiters who seems to be auto-pilot reciting "was everything alright?" when we know they really don't want to hear otherwise.

Still, I can't help thinking something is seriously amiss if a service provider isn't able to obtain some direct customer feedback. Especially an industry where the customer retention rate is around 18%.

For what it's worth here's more on the way I deal with it in my business:
1. I genuinely want to know what the client thought of the session and I try to communicate that when asking. I'm looking to get honest, meaningful feedback so I can adjust and continue the business relationship, not have it end prematurely.
2. Question is pre-framed - I let the client know at the start I'll be asking those two questions at the end.
3. Gauging the client's reactions throughout the session on how things are being received.
4. It's vital to ask that 1st question "What was the #1 thing...?" before proceeding to the value question. If the answer to the #1 thing is vague/non-committal then I'll inquire some more.

Your suggestion of "next thing to work on.." seems a good one. Although I would guess that in a great many cases, given the shortness of a ski lesson, the next thing would be a heap more practice of the same thing. In any event it should provide an opportunity to politely and casually find out if another lesson is possible.
 

jimtransition

Getting on the lift
Skier
Joined
Nov 15, 2016
Posts
122
Location
Niseko/Portillo
These quotes from page one of this thread.

This has always been in the back of my mind. When someone starts skiing they get the lowest common denominator as an instructor. At best a L1 and more likely the new hire that is working on their L1.
I'm not saying that the new skier isn't going to get a good experience with a beginner instructor, but retention of skiers may depend on getting a seasoned instructor who can give that new skier the best experience.
Meanwhile, we hope that the examiners and trainers are honing the skills of the new hire to give the beginning skier a good experience as @4ster describes in this quote...



Do examiners and trainers actually teach resort guests? Sure, sometimes, but more often than not, they are teaching other instructors and pushing papers.

I recall talking to @Bob Barnes when he was working at Keystone. I can't remember his actual title, but he said that one of the things he missed about having that job was that he didn't get much snow time with resort guests because his job required too much desk time.
It's more usual in some places than others, and obviously depends on the individual instructors desires and the way in which companies motivate them. Personally I have had my L3 for 18 seasons and whilst I do run some training for instructors, I primarily work with private guests. I also know people who as soon as they got their level 3 became supervisors/trainers and haven't taught a guest lesson since. The latter is more common in the US as it's easier to make a living there that way. In our school in Japan the way the school operates is a little different so you do get very high level instructors skiing with regular guests. .
 

Ken_R

Living the Dream
Skier
Joined
Feb 10, 2016
Posts
3,708
Location
Denver, CO
Its 2019. There are apps for that... :D Well, not for ski instruction :huh:

https://www.thumbtack.com

Regarding Ski Instruction. I WANT (Need) Motion Analysis.
 

mister moose

Instigator
Skier
Joined
May 30, 2017
Posts
254
Location
Killington
Terminal intermediate here: I've had terrible experiences with ski instruction and would NEVER choose an instructor based on an advertisement or certification level (oh you're level 3 and can do some weirdly specific PSIA drills, like skiing backwards on one snowblade while juggling three machetes and singing "Modern Major General"? Awesome. Do you think you could, like, show up on time and give me some feedback that's more constructive than "let the skis do the work." ?)

Or my favorite: "You just need more time on snow." Time on snow doing WHAT, EXACTLY? Practicing shite technique just makes you a more experienced shite skier in my experience.

I also don't pay for vacuous encouragement. (You're doing great. blah, blah." No, dude, I am objectively NOT doing great. That's why I gave your ski school a hundred dollars just now.)

I think that unless you specifically request someone by name, most ski schools just take your money and throw any free instructor at you. I'm not paying another dime for ski instruction unless the person was recommended by someone who knows my skiing and knows the instructor. But honestly, I'm so burned at this point and sick of being a shite skier that I'm more likely to give up the sport entirely than to keep trying after four years of no progress.
PM me (yours are blocked), I'd like to talk with you off line about this.
 
Top