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What do you do when someone refuses to get a lesson?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
This has happened to me twice so far this season-

First of all in January, a group of us went skiing, including one chap who had skied two weeks before, never had a lesson, and wanted to ski with us. On the transfer coach when his girlfriend was booking into ski school, I suggested that it might be a good thing for him to do, or perhaps get a private lesson like the rest of us were planning to. He refused point blank, and suggested that I might be able to give him a few pointers. I wasn't keen on this idea, and tried to explain the importance of getting lessons from a qualified intructor, but he was having none of it. On our first day, after the first blue run down, at the bottom he asked me what I thought of his skiing. I told him that although I felt that he was very good for his level of experience, he had a lot of bad habits, and that he would run into trouble on more challenging terrain. When he pressed me, I specifically told him that he was leaning back, he was turning his upper body across the mountain, he wasn't bending ze knees enough, and that his arm position was wrong. I then repeated my suggestion that he get a lesson.

To cut a long story short he got quite stroppy about this, and although we managed to persuade him to have a private lesson in the end, he never really forgave me, and it caused a few problems for the rest of the holiday.

The second problem came later in the season with one of my skiing companions who was in her third week skiing, and had previously had a week of ski school which she had hated. When we went skiing on the first day it immediately became obvious that she was in trouble on the green runs (not dangerous, just petrified), and finding it hard work. She insisted that she still wanted to ski with us for the rest of the week, but refused to even consider getting a private lesson. In the end I got so frustrated watching her struggle that I ended up giving her a few pointers, just to get her down the mountain on a couple of occassions.

Now in both of these cases I feel that the people involved were basically being very selfish, but the problem is that both times they were members of my group that although I didn't know very well, I had to continue to get on with for the rest of the week. In both cases I felt that the outcome was less than satisfactory, and I wonder what I could've done differently?
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Kramer, I'm sure there was a thread about this issue pre-season: but damned if I can find it! - maybe someone else will remember.

I don't think there's an easy solution, but I think I would just leave them explaining that you need to ski something extreme to keep up your skills. Lots of people will dig there heels in if you tell them what's good for them, even if you're clearly in a position to know - you probably get that all the time as a doctor. If your rubbing each other up the wrong way, best just to put some space between you!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
laundryman, in both cases, skiing off and leaving them wasn't an option as we were skiing in a group. I admit that in the first case I probably could have been a bit more diplomatic in my critique, but I didn't really see any other way out. The second time I didn't try and force my companion to do anything, and spent the whole week nursing her down green slopes diplomatically. Is there a third way, leading to a satisfactory resolution for all parties?
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Maybe this should be called 'ski school truancy' !

If people choose to go skiing and not pay for qualified instruction then (as you imply, Kramer) they are really pushing it by requesting tips etc.

A serious commitment to ski instruction dramatically cuts the risk of falling and injury, and significantly cuts the energy and effort needed to turns skis. I guess that's the way to 'sell' it to people.

But if they won't 'buy' that, then you've every right to leave them to their own destiny. As you say, it's very selfish to impose oneself, demand help from a fellow holidaymaker, and then take offence at any criticism!
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Kramer wrote:
Is there a third way, leading to a satisfactory resolution for all parties?

Hmm, better ask that nice Mr Blair - I'm stumped, not being the most patient sort!
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laundryman, my tongue has still got bite marks in it.
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Kramer, I guess there is always the perception that it is too expensive, no value etc. Even though I have been fortunate enough to take loads of lessons , I am sure there others who believe that 'JFDI' will solve all of their problems and that they will just pick it up. Indeed in either of your cases a lack of cash may have been the deterrent - we may think it is stupid but then again easy to say if you believe in the value of lessons.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
It is one of the reasons that a large group holiday broke up for us. There will always be differing levels, for reasons of age, fitness, ability and it is ridiculous to expect a large group to be able to ski together. With the best of intentions, if you start off together someone will get left behind on a lift or something and there is a lot of waiting. Perversely, this can make the fast element of the group race off etc.

Anyway, it spoils the holiday, and the best compromise is to arrange to meet for lunch or in a bar on the 4 o'clock run.
Now, if we get a new 'member' - not that we seek them - we explain what we will be doing and they say they are quite happy to do their own thing if they don't fancy it. If it is a confidence thing we may perservere, after all they have come on holiday with us, but if they can't hack it, it spoils the whole day. But as we book independently mostly and meet people at the hotel it is not so much a group organised holiday and a group leader do not feel so responsible
There is a lot of bull about skiing, what people can do etc, a few runs normally gives people a good idea of what is what.
We now have a hardcore of 6-8 people who can all handle the same sort of thing and you need to be safe and controlled first and foremost.
I wouldn't even take them if they were going to upset the skiing dynamics.

I still like the idea of a large group going on holiday together but in practice it doesn't work out so well. We want to be doing this and doing that and going down there because they can't ski that, is the biggest wrecker of the holiday. It would only happen once.

It you want to cruise blacks then tell the new member that is what you will be doing. And always try and pair up abilities. I understand that you may need numbers and all that, but it sounds like it has almost wrecked two holidays. How fair is that...!!!
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Kramer, That's a really hard one. For the dodgy green skier I think you should have refused to nurse her down. That's well too low in ability to be so didactic about lessons - and why should you have your holiday ruined? For the other one I think you should have refused to give any comment at all. Just say you aren't a qualified ski teacher and leave it at that. The guy was trying to get you to teach him for nothing - cheeky s*d! rolling eyes

I think part of the problem is that there's a long history in the UK of people thinking that all ski teachers are just ski bums who happen to be good skiers and are "dropping out" of real life. It's quite a hard sell - but I usually explain that getting a National qualification is like doing a university degree - just a different subject!

I think JT, 's advice is good for the future. You're evidently too kind!! Shocked
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easiski, I try and explain the difference. "Although to you it looks like I ski perfectly, I don't, and I have bad habits that you will pick up and amplify" but it just doesn't seem to go in.

I think that next time I'll say and do nothing and let them get on with it.
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Kramer, Just point out that you haven't spent around £10,000 learning how to teach people to ski! But seriously, it tends to be terrain selection and the mechanics that catch out amateurs (not that I'm suggesting this in your case). Stick to your resolution. Smile
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I have recently had the opposite experience, and found that, on three separate occasions, people who I pointed towards a private lesson came back grinning all over their faces having had a great afternoon. They were at three very different levels, from almost beginner to "good but old fashioned" and it was noticeable how much the process of learning added to their holiday enjoyment. My naturally bossy nature feels very pleased about this, but I also have a friend who is fairly hopeless, has skied for years without improving, and who did not make noticeable progress in several days of good quality lessons, one year. He took the lessons rather against his natural inclination (to please his wife, who wanted the lessons). I have in the past been content to spend sunny days pottering around enjoying myself with them, as they are friends, and the mountains are beautiful, but I did feel very aggrieved after spending several days waiting patiently for him to do snowplough turns down our local red slopes, to be told that our slopes were "not challenging enough". They aren't very challenging, I do admit, but I also know that I could ski them a lot better than I do, and I felt irritated that someone who had not attempted our three rather tame black slopes - and would have struggled to get down without falling several times - could be so lacking in self awareness. But people have such different approaches, many are not really interested in "improving", they just want to potter around. It can be fun ski-ing with a group of friends, but in a mixed ability group it seems crazy for everyone to want to ski together all the time. If people can't accept that there will be "blue days, red days and black days" and that they might only want to join in some of them, they shouldn't go on holiday together in the first place!. Personally I can't imagine wanting to try to keep up with a group who were stronger and faster than I was - not least because I'd be afraid of injuring myself as well as irritating the hell out of them. This causes so much grief, especially in families. In the past we have had some great chalet holidays, with a guide who would take groups of different abilities on different days, or where people could join up informally to do what they wanted. I ski better than my husband, and one of my sons skis a lot better than I do. We have some fun days together, but we also split up and ski with others. I wouldn't dream of suggesting my son skis at my pace for a week and my husband is quite happy for me to go off and have a bit of a blast (or a private lesson!) now and again. Unless some kind of ground rules are established at the outset, it seems that group holidays are a recipe for frustration. If an unsafe skier refuses to have lessons, the only sensible thing would be to distance oneself, and not take any responsibility at all. But, being naturally bossy, and a mother, and the one who usually organises the holiday, I have great sympathy for Kramer's kind response of "nursing" someone down a slope. I've done that too, usually by doing snowplough turns, taking a careful line, with big curves, and suggesting that they try to follow the same line. I know I shouldn't, but there you go. You can't just ski off and leave them in a heap.
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Of course, it can happen the other way, the newbie can come in and and brings a lot of good things. We recently - last 5 or 6 trips - had a very experienced mountaineer join us on telemark and we have all learned more in the way of mountain awareness. Now we can't catch him on skis in deep snow, the only equaliser being that telemarking is very hard work and he is quite happy to wait for us...Ha..!!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
laundryman, you're quite right - there was a long thread on just this topic with some cunning suggestions (incl. a whip round to pay for the lessons) And these words 'whip' and 'round' were enough for the search engine to find it.
Laughing Laughing http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=3609&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=whip+round&start=0
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
easiski, perhaps what we really need is a compilation of drills suitable for days when one is pottering around/loveskiing? I.e. "Don't just wait around at the bottom of the lift, do the:

- falling leaf?
- 360 carve?
- 1000 steps?
- Waltz?
(selected for having been mentioned on snowHead already)

on you way down."

My reasoning behind this:

I believe that few previously reluctant lesson takers are likely to modify their choice of terrain. They might become more comfortable with speed on the terrain within the comfort zone defined by the lessons. Their loveskiing partners are thereby limited to that terrain before and after. Why not find them and teach them something advanced to do on easy reds and keep amused?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
How about trying snowboarding for a day. If none of you have done it before, then you can all take lessons together. The next day, some of you may want to ski, or some board.

comprex, you left out disco turns!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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comprex, Wear The Fox Hat,
PLEASE tell me what waltz and disco turns are.Sounds like I have been missing out on something here. snowHead
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Knee Deep, the disco turn can be done with or without poles.
Do you remember "Saturday Night Fever"? John Travolta's dancing where he points up with one hand?
Try it on skis. If you want to turn left, raise, and point your left hand up in that style. It will extend your right leg, and help you to carve the turn.
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Wear The Fox Hat,
and you've actually done this in public.Waw . Very Happy Very Happy
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Knee Deep, yeah, you should try it.
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WTFHat, didn't know it by that name: is there a variant of 'disco' where one reaches the (right) hand down? I love that drill on ice.



How common is inside shoulder drop?
How much of a liability? (you know the thread from here: "there are some pictures of Bode doing it the OTHER way . . .")
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Wear The Fox Hat, I spent about five years on a tray, so that wouldn't slow me down much. I have thought about learning to telemark, but this season I probably wasn't fit enough. I'm back at the gym now so maybe next season.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
comprex, How about rhumba and charleston? Kramer, 's novice friends would have serious problems doing those! Might persuade them.... Twisted Evil
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easiski, love to. How do we do those? Stuck on merengue, (uh, sorry, meringue, to stay on-topic) here . . .
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I really think that in big groups, it's best to split up, with people of similar skill level skiing together. Meet up for lunch and at the end of the day. That way it doesn't really matter to you if they take lessons or not - at least you don't have to ski with them.
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Kramer,

That is one of the reasons why me and Mrs Dave J started telemark. We have had a couple of trips now with friends who are learning to ski or snowboard and if we want to ski with them we telemark. If its a big powder day we alpine.
Dont get hung up on the fitness aspect. It's like any new sport - its tiring to start with until you start to get the technique down, and then gets easier.
However, be warned that telemark is strangely addictive!

We do also arrange a couple of meeting points during the day if people want to do their own thing, with a fairly strict 5 min waiting rule so people are not hanging around for ages. Either that or we just do laps of a particular lift and run so everyone can practise at their own speed but still be in the vicinity of others.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Dave J

I have watched telemarkers, with admiration. How long did it take to become competent enough to enjoy it - and is it as hard on the knees as it looks? I have slightly dodgy knees, but good quads, OK skier. I have taken up snowboarding as a beginner, partly to spend days with beginner skiers, which works well as I am hopeless on the board. But would like to try "tous les glisses".
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
pam w,

We had a half day lesson to get us started, and enjoyed it from the start. If you are a reasonably competant alpine skier you should pick up the basics pretty quickly. After about 4/5 days (spread over 2 seasons which did not help) we were pretty happy on nicely groomed blues.

It is not as bad as it looks on the knees. Some say its better than alpine on your knees, and usually my legs give way long before my knees hurt. The only time they have hurt is after 5 long days straight on them.

Have a go, but it is well worth starting with a lesson.



Edited to add that it will probably improve your alpine skiing as well. It certainly did to mine.
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You know it makes sense.
thanks. did you hire the gear? Any bits of alpine gear useable? And can you use the same set up for a bit of gentle ski de randonee, once competent? I have done a couple of weeks of cross country lessons, but still find it wobbly.
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pam w

Quote:

did you hire the gear?


Yes, hired the first 2 times in the US where it was fairly widely available. Then bought our own kit as we were not sure how available it was in Europe.

Quote:

Any bits of alpine gear useable?


Apart from clothing and poles, no. You might want your poles a little shorter than you have them for alpine skiing. You can mount tele bindings on alpine skiis rather than telemark specific skis. I think the only difference is that tele skis tend to be lighter and softer. The boots flex in the sole like a walking boot would (very comfortable-another bonus) and the bindings are different. Generally, everything is lighter. There is a bit of a misconception that you could do tele turns on randonee bindings. You can't. You need that flex in the sole of the boot.

Quote:

And can you use the same set up for a bit of gentle ski de randonee, once competent?


Yes, thats the idea. Very Happy
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
pam w,

How good are you at lungs because that is the action you need for turning?
We a have a very fit mountaineer who telemarks and he sails through deep snow now
and that is after 4 years and about 10 or so weeks. As I said before we can only catch him
when he stops for rest breaks but as he find it kills the legs he has quite a few and by the end
of the week the alpiners are just about on top.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
comprex, Charleston is inside edge to inside edge short swings. Rhumba is ditto but outside edge to outside edge - very hard to do but a great party trick if you practise on the sly! wink You can also add to charleston by dabbing the other ski on the ground as in the dance, but this plays hell with your co-ordination. They're the sort of things we used to do a lot on plastic to keep ourselves amused. We also used to do short swings down, stationary and back up the hill - I couldn't do it now though! Mad
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easiski wrote:
comprex, Charleston is inside edge to inside edge short swings.

Yes! I know this one! No upper body motion, "short swing" almost toe down it's so short! There's a segment of it on one of Warren Miller's recent films, Fifty/Ride/Storm, saw it with a friend also a straight ski Elan fiend and we went out and did it in tandem for giggles. Took us hours to find the proper hats with suitably huge pom-poms.

Quote:
Rhumba is ditto but outside edge to outside edge - very hard to do but a great party trick if you practise on the sly! wink


Shocked
Quote:
You can also add to charleston by dabbing the other ski on the ground as in the dance, but this plays hell with your co-ordination.


Shocked Shocked

That's it. I'm never going on blacks again until I get these right. snowHead Cool snowHead THANK YOU!
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Kramer, I was a dry slope instructor for a few years a long time ago and I still, whenever I go skiing with family or friends, get asked to give pointers.

I'm forever pointing out that I'm a. not qualified and b. not interested in wasting my day watching other people ski.

I always get "did you see me on that run, what did you think?".
My standard answer has become - sorry, I didn't see you. After 3 or 4 times the person gets bored and stops asking.

My boyfriend is currently learning to ski - he hates lessons but to be fair to him he's picking it up quite quick. I don't understand why people hate lessons - I still have lessons whenever I can. I think they're great! I've had to force him into them though but we compromise - if he has a lesson in the morning I'll spend the afternoon skiing with him. If not, he can sit on his own all day - I'm not skiing all day with a learner and wasting my whole holiday.

There is no easy answer I guess. I couldn't have left someone to make they're own way down if they were scared - I've been there and am always grateful to those people who helped me overcome my fears. It's not nice to leave someone in tears on the hill, no matter how easy it looks to you.
The other guy - I;d tell him where to get off! Then again - my Dad used to force me into giving him lessons and the time he broke his cruchet ligaments - he blamed it all on me and my poor teaching!!!! That was the last time I ever taught a friend or family!!!
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This season I took my girlfriend for her first ever day on skis in the mountains near Madrid - she doesn't speak Spanish, and persuaded me to teach her. To be fair to her, she picked it up very fast and was able to "get down" pretty much anything by the end of the day, even looking quite respectable going at a fair lick on a gentle red. The trouble is, unless you know the teaching techniques (as opposed to knowing how to ski), you can't explain some quite fundamental things without just doing it yourself and getting them to watch. As a result, she found it very difficult to stop, and had it not been foul weather and there been virtually no-one around, she would have been a bit of a liability. The couple of wipe-outs she had convinced me (and her!) that, for the first few weeks at least, you have to insist on a properly qualified instructor - they don't go through months and years of training just to look pretty on the slopes.

That said, I really enjoy giving hints and tips to my friends when I go skiing. It's really satisfying seeing them come on and they're very grateful at the end. It also helps me to think about my own technique and make sure it's "do as I do" and not just "do as I say"! And after all, if you are going to ski with them all week, surely it's in your own interests to help them improve as fast as possible?!
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I only ever fall on ski's when others are asking me to watch them. My answer to people who ask for pointers now is, how are you ever going to get better with me teaching you my bad habits. however if they are begginers though i would usually give them an hour in the morn for the first few days then tell them to practise, they are usually very greateful and there is a lot of gratification in knowing that it was you who taught them when you see them flying down the slopes on the last day of their trip.
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One of our group on our recent Banff trip was adamant that he wouldn't benefit from lessons as all he wanted to do was ski as fast as he could and didn't think that in his once a year trip there was any point in "just trying to look good."

The first couple of days saw some great powder conditions, which weren't conduceive to effectively a fast uncontrolled snow plough. I had given up extolling the virtues of lessons and waited for the inevitable to happen, as he fell over, twisted his knee and that was pretty much it for the rest of the trip. He protested that it was the "crappy deep fluffy snow that made me fall, could have happened to anyone!"

Yeah right.

He then spent $ 600.00 on treatment only to get home and find his travel insurance had expired Twisted Evil

Lessons would have been half that.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Hmmmm. 'What do you say to a less good/slower skier on a powder day ?' .............


'Bye'.............



Laughing
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ski, I have no friends on a powder day, simple as that.
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I definitely want to be with my friends on powder day
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