THE JOURNAL OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN PROFESSIONAL SKI AND SNOWBOARD INSTRUCTOR
PSIA-ROCKY MOUNTAIN-AASI Rocky Mountain Ski Instructors Educational Foundation PSIA REPRESENTATIVES Linda Guerrette - President, Member-at-Large Michael Melhauser - Vice President, Front Range Bryan Olson - Secretary, Western Slope Peter Donahue, Southern District Michael Chandler, Southern District Michael Green, Southern District Earl Saline, Member at Large John Buhler, Front Range Joel Munn, Western Slope Kevin Roop, Western Slope Mike Teegen, Front Range Tony Britt, Member at Large COMMITTEE CHAIRS Jonathan Ballou - Alpine Chair Patti Banks - Nordic Chair Tony Macri - Snowboard Chair Shawn McDermott - Childrenâ€™s Chair Ruth DeMuth - Adaptive Chair
Branding and Presentation Linda Guerrette, President
his is a topic on the minds of many companies and organizations these days. In today’s fast paced world we have so many choices at our finger tips. We can travel anywhere we want, we can learn whatever we want virtually, social networking is growing with all generations, and we can even meet our soul mate in the virtual world. The competition is fierce for people’s time, energy and dollars, therefore branding and presentation of what we have to offer becomes very important to our success as snowsports professionals and as an organization. We need to ask ourselves challenging questions. How does PSIA/AASI-RM represent itself as an organization? As members do we represent the same thing? What do we do as an organization? Who are we? What is our direction? What defines our culture? Culture refers to the following Ways of Life, including but not limited to: Language, Arts & Sciences, Thought, Spirituality, Social Activity, and Interaction. “Culture has been defined in a number of ways, but most simply, as the learned and shared behavior of a community of interacting human beings” Useem, J., & Useem, R. (1963). Human Organizations, 22(3). I really like that definition because it addresses what we do and who we are in the purest sense. Our mission states: … supporting our members and the snowsports industry by encouraging each other to: develop personally and professionally and create positive learning experiences. Our vision is inspiring life-long passion for the mountain experience. You may wonder how does this mission and vision fit with branding and presentation. Good question. Both of these items use the word experience. We are in the business of creating experiences for people. Let’s consider for a moment that a brand is a promise, it’s not a product, a property or even a service. It’s a feeling we have when we share snowsports, it’s the experience we create and remember. We are all experts when it comes to service since we experience service all through the day, every day. Does yours stand out? What can we learn from our own service 2
experiences that would assist us in serving others better? Great brands create memories for people. Great brands develop an emotional bond with people. For instance, some people will only go to certain stores, slide on certain equipment, or slide at certain resorts. Great brands drive loyalty beyond reason. How much will people pay for the experience? Brand loyalty means going the extra distance or paying more for that brand. How can PSIA/AASIRM become the brand of excellence in the snowsports industry? How can we entice more people to ski with certified instructors? One of the ways we can answer both of those questions is by focusing on the importance of the emotional connection. Our brand is our highly trained members; the product is memories or experiences created. The following four reasons drive guest loyalty to brand: • Deliver product quality and consistency. • Execute excellence along the entire experience. • Personalize guest service. • Connect emotionally with the guest. • We need to have great guest service not just good guest service to ensure guest loyalty. Each of us can profoundly impact our guest and each other. Speaking of impacting others, Michelle Crosby from Starwood hotels and resorts states it so plainly but effectively when she says “A brand is a promise and we are the keepers of that promise.” Let’s be proud of our brand and presentation. If we have individuals that are committed to excellence and toward building the brand, we are more likely to create the emotional connections with the guest and develop those memories that guests would return for time after time. The emotional connection can be realized when we focus on the following human truths: • To be understood. • To belong. • To feel special. • Be in control. • To reach our potential. Relying on our instinct will be very valuable.
An old Irish proverb says, “Instinct is stronger than upbringing.” How can we be less reactive and make our service more instinctive? Listening to the guests’ needs and truly understanding where they are coming from will make the emotional connection come sooner than later. If we are true to our core values, our mission and vision, communicate honestly and openly we will be true to our brand, and that will become our brand lens. In today’s complex and fast-moving world everything communicates. We need to make sure we deliver “on brand“ behaviors. If we are not consistent with our communication and values we will have “off brand” behaviors. Sonny Perdue, governor of Georgia stated it succinctly and accurately when he said, “My philosophy is to surround myself with people that have ability, judgment, and knowledge, but above all, passion for service. Do you have passion for service? How does your presentation enhance the PSIA/ AASI-RM brand? The division’s educational direction is right in line with demands that the snowsports pro faces these days. We realize the job of being a snowsports pro has evolved from just teaching people how to ski, or snowboard, to managing entire family vacations. We are challenged by working with people of all ages and abilities sliding on different equipment within the same lesson. The diversity we work with on a daily, and sometimes hourly, basis requires a slightly different skill set than even a couple years ago. The new Professional Development Series is designed to equip the snowsports pro’s ever changing needs to continue the brand and be more effective with their presentations. In order to make those vital emotional connections snowsports pros need more tricks in their bag these days and most certainly in the future. The PDS was, and will continue to be, designed with your wants and needs at the forefront because it is important that the organization makes that emotional connection with all of its members.We are very interested in your feedback. Please feel free to email at email@example.com or Dana at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments. Have an incredible season with your guests, sign up for continuing education, and be safe and have tons of fun. A PSIA-RM/AASI Winter 2008
The crazy days of winter… Work to live, don’t live to work Dana Scronek, Executive Director
The official publication of PSIA - Rocky Mountain - AASI P. O. Box 775143 Steamboat Springs, CO 80477 970.879.8335 / fax 970.879.6760 Executive director - email@example.com Office manager - firstname.lastname@example.org Events manager - email@example.com website - psia-rm.org
y the time most of you read this you will have just gotten trough and hopefully survived Christmas week. You’re probably on your 18th day straight at the mountain with no day off (including Christmas); your voice is hoarse from screaming over snow guns, there isn’t a clean ski sock anywhere to be found, and your body is tired, truly tired. You are looking forward to the one day off you might get in a week if your lucky and your pay check is getting fatter each week. But ask yourself this; is the potential day off and a fat pay check enough to get you through till mid April? Not if you want to do this for the rest of your life. For years I have watched the masses dive into this profession head first (or should I say boards first). They nab every lesson they can get their hands on, work sometimes 3- 4 weeks with no break and they break...literally. Just shortly after February break it happens: you get over tired, sick or even worse injured. For those who over do it, not even 6 months off over the summer can bring you back. So how do the real pros do it? The ones who work here then go overseas and teach. How do they stay balanced? I could preach about taking your vitamins and eating your veggies to stay healthy, getting enough rest to avoid injury and singing kumbaya around the living room to stay positive but who are we kidding. The fact is there are twenty four hours in a day. That’s all we get. No amount of wishing, complaining, or creative time manageWinter 2008 PSIA-RM/AASI
ment will ever change that. Each day contains only so many hours, each week just so many days. Yet the amount of work we must try to squeeze into those hours can be mind-boggling. Not to mention the family responsibilities, household maintenance, social commitments, and life in general. So what can I tell you to help protect yourselves from burnout in the midst of what sometimes feels like a life run amok? A friend and mentor once told me to “take at least one run for yourself, everyday”. For years I was the skeptic. While in management, if I didn’t have my ski boots on I’d give the excuse that getting dressed would take too much time out of my day, that getting to the chair from my office was too far and would take too long or that my hat might mess up my hair… (Ok not really the hair thing) but I did have an excuse for everything imaginable. Then it happened one day; I woke up and didn’t want to go to work, I didn’t want to get out of bed. I came to loath skiers and snowboarders. I had hit major burnout. So how did I pull through it? I made time. I committed to that one run a day, no matter what. And it changed me. It brought into perspective why I chose this life. It’s because I love this sport, I love the sound of the snow under my boards, I love the people I meet on the chair, the cute lifty’s that load the chairs and most of all the feeling of gravity pulling me, leaving all the stress behind. So take the time so you never forget the why, and I promise we will all grow old together doing what we love. A
General Information Submissions of articles, photos or other items for publication are invited. PSIARocky Mountain- AASI members submitting articles of an educational nature with a minimum of 500 words will be reimbursed $100 per published article. Type copy should be double spaced and sent to the editor at the above address. A disk may be submitted along with a hard copy in either PC or MAC formats. All the submitted material is subject to editing. Use of all material will be at the discretion of the editorial staff. Articles are accepted on the condition that they may be released for publication in all PSIA/AASI National and Divisional publications. Instructor to Instructor is published four times per year by the PSIA-Rocky Mountain - AASI divsion. Permission is hereby given to PSIA/AASI and all divisions of PSIA/AASI to copy original materials from the newsletter providing credit is given to PSIA - Rocky Mountain - AASI and the author, and the material is not altered. Articles that contain specific copyright notices may not be reprinted without written permission from the author. Subscriptions: Persons who are not members of PSIA - Rocky Mountain AASI can purchase a one-year subscription of Instructor to Instructor for $15. Send your name and address along with payment to the above address. Note: Materials published in Instructor to Instructor which have been provided by persons in other than an official capacity, or for official purposes, are the responsibility of the author, and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of PSIA-Rocky Mountain - AASI. 3
Alpine Update Jonathan Ballou, Alpine Committee Chair
hope you all had a wonderful summer (or winter) and are ready for a great season of skiing and riding. It has been a busy and productive summer and fall for the new Alpine Committee. First off, I would like to introduce the committee members. John Witgen, Aspen, CO Jennifer Metz, Winter Park, CO Gates Lloyde, Breckenridge CO David A. Oliver, Breckenridge, CO Bob Barnes, Keystone, CO Burt Skall, Arapahoe Basin, CO Dave Hartman, Crested Butte, CO Mark Raymand, Vail, CO Last season, we introduced a movement analysis day to both the Level II and III exams coupled with an indoor movement analysis clinic. Development and training of the MA process was adopted as our primary focus for this season thus responding to the requests of our membership and member schools. We have begun to develop new MA training tools such as: the MA Instructor Development Pathway, MA Grid, and the Cause and Effect Chart; all will available soon on the PSIA-RM website. These documents outline the current PSIA-RM process, what is expected of candidates at each certification level and provide tools to help train for exams and stronger teaching skills. I would like to acknowledge John Wiltgen, Jenn Metz, 4
and Gates Lloyd for their exceptional efforts in this area. The division will be stronger for the work they put in this summer. Other projects the committee is currently working on include: • Creating new, online, skiing standards’ video clips. This project will be coming online over the next year and will replace the PSIA-RM Skiing Standards DVD, currently available through the PSIA-RM office. • Rewriting and reformatting the Pocket Summaries for alpine exam maneuvers. • Evaluating the examination and training process for teaching/coaching at all levels, we will begin to move towards this focus next year. • Evaluating our successes and areas for improvements for Regional Team selection, including what it means to be selected to the Regional Team. • Refining the feedback process within the TA Exam.
Dave Hartman Burt Skall Mark Raymand ITC
Gates Lloyd Bob Barnes Jonathan Ballou David A. Oliver Level II Teaching/Skiing
Dave Hartman Burt Skall Jonathan Ballou Level III Teaching/Skiing
Gates Lloyd Mark Raymand John Wiltgen Jonathan Ballou T.A.
Todd Metz Jennifer Metz John Wiltgen E1 Interview
In an effort to maximize our effectiveness in accomplishing these tasks the committee has been divided into sub-committees. They are as follows: Movement Analysis
Jennifer Metz John Wiltgen Gates Lloyd
Todd Metz Jonathan Ballou Please feel free to contact me with suggestions and feed back for the Education Staff. On behalf of the Alpine Committee I hope you all enjoy your early season training and have a great holiday season. A PSIA-RM/AASI Winter 2008
Training & Education Update Jenny MacArthur, Education and Training Manager
all Training for the Ed Staff is behind us. A big thank you to Breckenridge Ski Area and John Buhler for hosting the event. With little natural snow we were fortunate to have the opportunity to get out and slide on some quality man-made snow. The new Professional Development Series (PDS) was presented at Fall Training. The PDS is intended as an educational pathway to provide direction and on-going education opportunities for individuals not pursuing certification. But, also provides a solid platform of knowledge to prepare those individuals pursuing certification by incorporating prerequisites for certification. The curriculum includes courses of interest to round out your professional development, prepare you for certification and/or fulfill your course update requirements. Aside from bringing everyone up to date on new offerings, another purpose of Fall Training is to get everyone on the same page, so that within each discipline similar information and sliding models are being presented. So what was the focus this year for each discipline? Alpine took an in depth look at the top right corner of the Guest Centered Teaching Model – the identification of movement box. Previously, Jim Schanzenbaker (Schanzy), PSIA Alpine Team Member, developed a movement analysis grid to identify what we all do and how to consistantly train and reproduce movement analysis. Building on Schanzy’s work, the Alpine Committee spent countless hours this summer to further break down movement analysis and building it back up again. The outcome was the basis for this year’s fall training and resulted in 3 guides for use with Movement Analysis from Level 1 through Ed Staff. These are: 1. A Movement Analysis Guide – Level 1; 2. A Movement Analysis Guide – through Trainer Accredited; 3. MA Instructor Development Pathway. Building on the Movement Analysis grid developed by the Alpino group, the Nordic crew focused on building consistency in MA both in training and exam processes. Ross Matlock, PSIA Nordic Team Member, presented a model for giving feedback. Ross termed it the 5P’s; Winter 2008 PSIA-RM/AASI
1. Preparation – frame the day; 2. Permission – ask permission, would you like feedback? Respect the response; 3. Public or Private – Would you like feedback in public or private – which setting will make it easier for you to hear? 4. Preference – What’s your preference for receiving feedback? Direct, no fluff, sugarcoated or sandwiched between praise? 5. Paraphrase – Checking for understanding. Freestyle, Fiesta-education, had PSIA Alpine Team Member and Freestyle specialist Dave Oliver share the outline for the new Freestyle Fiesta clinic which features a halfday each focusing on rails, jumps, halfpipe and flatland. Days 2 & 3 were spent working on MA with the Alpine Staff. Snowboard Ed. Staff spent one day riding through the different level maneuvers. The second day was spent working through logistics for events and organization. Adaptive Ed. Staff spent their mornings indoors getting up to speed on what’s new, what’s changed, improving their knowledge on disabilities and developing consistency in exam processes. Their afternoons were spent on snow refreshing skiing skills and giving
and receiving feedback to facilitate change. Kids Ed. Staff spent the first morning on snow working through current course offerings, with the afternoon allotted to hashing out the details of the Rocky Mountain Kids Academy which will be held in Snowmass, February 23 -25. On Days 2 & 3 the Kids Ed Staff joined the Alpine Staff and worked on Movement Analysis. In the Fall issue of I – to – I, I mentioned there are a number of new courses available. By the time you read this, the first new clinic offering for the year, Communication and Relationship Building, will have been run at Loveland. Thanks to Burt Skall for presenting this clinic and working with our members to provide more opportunities and skills that will enable them to build trust and develop long term relationships with their clients. Please feel free to email me at jenny@ psia-rm.org if you have ideas for training or identify a training need within your school that isn’t addressed through a course we, or your in-house training, currently offer. Have you all been doing your snow dance lately? It’s time to get dancing …. A 5
Jim Sanders, Nordic Committee
ll Rise. Then please sit down and read. N-mail, your indispensable source for key divisional Nordic information, insights, and gossip has finally returned. Sorry for the hiatus. I’ll try not to let it happen again. I know that empty feeling, when you’ve received no N-mail for an entire season. It’s not good, it’s not healthy, and it’s not Nordic… But the emptiness will disappear now, and all are invited to read. First of all, some huge recognition is in order. Congratulations to our own Ross Matlock and Charlie McCarthy who were selected as National Nordic Team members last spring. This is truly an accomplishment. The current National Nordic Team is composed of 4 members -- one XC specialist, one Tele specialist, and two “Crossover Nords”. Charlie was selected as the Tele Specialist, and Ross as one of the Crossover Nords. Congratulate them when you see them this winter, and spend some time with these guys whenever you get the chance. It will be well worth your effort. Think of it, half of the National Team is from Rocky Mountain! As you may know, the division has embarked on some new initiatives and philosophical changes in focus and offerings. These include an increased emphasis on education, with more cross discipline clinics available. “Technical Foundations,” a 1-day Cross Discipline Elective, is a great clinic that is now a prerequisite for Telemark Trainer’s Accreditation and highly recommended for Tele Level 3 certification. It will be required for Tele Level 3 and highly recommended for Tele Level 2 next year (2009/10), then ultimately required for Tele Level 2 by the 2010/11 ski season. This is a great course. I even recommend it for XC instructors. Check it out soon. I think you’ll like it, and you will find yourself ahead of the curve for Tele certification too. Alright, I’ve harped on this before, but I am compelled to say it again: Sign up for Nordic Events, and sign up early!! There is some very backward thinking going on in our Nordic membership sometimes. It goes something like this: Someone is interested in taking a clinic or exam. Instead of signing up 6
for the event, they think, “gosh, I don’t know if I should register for this event, because it might get cancelled.” So they wait to see if anyone has signed up. Meanwhile, 7 other folks who are thinking the same backward way are busy not signing up, waiting instead to see if the event is cancelled. So the registration deadline comes and goes, no one is registered, and what do you know, the event gets cancelled. And everybody involved thinks, “I wanted to take that clinic, but it got cancelled.” Do you see the issue here? It doesn’t have to be this way. If you are considering taking a clinic or exam, commit and sign up right away. There is no risk! When you do that, and the 7 other folks who were thinking about it sign up too (because they read this rant), the event takes place and everybody is happy! You are a Nord. Commit, sign up, be accountable, and reap the rewards! Along those lines, go back and look at the Nordic Event schedule right now. There is still a majority of the season left, so sign up for the XC Level 2/3 Prep (Eldora, Jan. 7-8), or the XC Level 2/3 Cert. (Keystone, Feb. 26-27), or the Rocky Mountain Academy Tele Clinic (Steamboat, Jan. 14-15), or a Tele Bumps and Steeps Clinic (Aspen Highlands, Jan. 29-30 or Taos, March 21-22), or a Tele ITC (Highlands, Taos, Beaver Creek, or Vail), or the Skate and Classic Workshop (Telluride, Feb. 6-7). Sign up for these events, attend, learn, and have a great time. Register now, register early! Believe me, it works. Enough “administrative” stuff. Hopefully by the time you read this, winter is in full swing and you have some skiing miles (kilometers!) under your belt. Whether classic, skate, or tele, your skiing should be coming together. And this brings up an important concept about bringing things together – synergy. My friend Mr. Webster defines synergism as “cooperative action of discrete agencies such that the total effect is greater than the sum of the effects taken independently.” Hmm. It sounds like synergism means that if I can get some cooperative action going, I get more than what I put in. This sounds like getting something for free, or at least getting more than I paid for. I’ll focus on skate and classic skiing. Have you ever wondered how some people can ski all day almost effortlessly? The idea of
a 50k or 100k day sounds like a pipe-dream for many skiers, especially this early in the season. But a 50k day is no problem for a skier who uses synergy. When we use all of our propulsive muscle groups and efforts together, cooperatively, we ski more efficiently than when we use them separately. More specifically, if I use my solid, forward body position, leg and pole push off, and core muscles/strength together, synchronized, I ski farther and faster with less effort. I am able to ski all day. The obvious retort is, “Sounds great, but how?” The equally obvious reply is “come to a clinic” (sign up early!). In the mean time, here a couple of ideas that might help you gain synergy in your skiing. Consistent, solid, forward body position is critical. It’s something you must master for both skate and classic. This takes time and focused practice (sorry, you won’t get it from reading). A key piece in maintaining a forward body position is using all of your leg joints in a balanced, complimentary, and harmonious way. You must ski with similar amounts of activity, range of motion, and flexion in your ankles, knees, and hip. When you see a skier whose shins and spine are parallel when his ankles are flexed, you are seeing a skier who is using all of his lower body joints together effectively. This skier can maintain a solid, forward body position. In contrast, when you see a skier with uneven amounts of activity or flexion in the leg joints, you are seeing a skier who has no chance for a solid, forward body position. As an example, skiing with exaggerated knee flex will keep your hips behind your feet, forcing you to over-flex or “break” at the hip to keep your upper body forward enough to stay in balance, and limiting your ankle activity. Another key to synergy in skiing is using your core, legs, and arms/upper body together. The core muscles must be engaged and initiate all push off movements. The poling and leg push off should finish together. This is true for both skate and classic. There are a variety of timing combinations for initiating poling and leg push-off, but for almost every situation they must finish together for the most power and to achieve synergy. I think I’ll leave it at that and go for a ski. Until the next N-mail, ski a lot and share your passion. You can always e-mail n-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. See ya’. A PSIA-RM/AASI Winter 2008
Board Briefs A complete copy of the minutes from the October 18, 2008 meeting may be obtained by requesting one from the office. 1. The office sent postcards to lapsed members offering a reinstatement program. 2. The amount of reimbursement for mileage was presented and may be adjusted as the season progresses. 3. There is a possibility that the areas may begin charging for lift tickets at PSIA/AASI events. 4. Fall training details were discussed in depth. 5. The investments accounts are conservative with a low-risk tolerance so our investment advisor is pleased with our investments in this economy. 6. The new national database is bringing divisions together on business models. The golive date is scheduled for March or April, 2009 to accommodate the dues billing.
Winter 2008 PSIA-RM/AASI
7. PSIA/AASI will have a national “Learn to Ski & Ride” campaign in January, 2009 8. National is watching social networking to see if it is a tool that can be used by the organization. 9. National advised all organizations to study the new 990 form and requirements. 10. National is no longer providing worker’s compensation for national team members. 11. AMGA will be the only certifying body recognized by PSIA for backcountry certification. 12. RM marketing committee will look into “Take it to the next level” as a trademark. 13. The Alpine and Snowboard examiner transfer-in policies were revised. Copy available from the office if requested. 14. There are 3 snowboard committee positions available. 15. The Professional Development Series was approved for introduction in the 2008/09 season. 16. Next meeting will be February 25, 2009 at the Frisco Town Hall, Frisco, Colorado. A
Member Benefits - Cha Ching! Your PSIA-AASI membership means great deals. Regionally we have aligned with some great companies like Smartwool, SKINS, ISIS for Women, Avalance Ski Wear and many more. You can access all of these offering under the Membership tab and then to Member Benefits at www.psia-rm.org. While you’re there checkout the scholarships we offer to members. On the National front Rossignol has fully updated their pro community, which features not only pro purchase opportunities, but also product training, downloads, and forums. Dynastar/Lange’s pro community website has also been revamped with products and news. V.I.O., the leader in wearable video technology, now offers a wide-angle lens standard with their POV.1 camera system, specially priced for PSIA-AASI members. And Subaru continues to provide exceptional discounts to PSIA-AASI. All of these offers, and many more, can be accessed through the Members Only section of www.psia.org or www.aasi.org. A
The Surface Platter Lift (The Poma) By Adam Buechley
here are some who have used one and others may never have seen one. It is one of the older ways to get people to the top of a hill in the winter. In a moment I will explain how to ride the platter lift (aka The Poma), and discuss the benefits of knowing how to ride one, but first let me start by telling a funny story about my snowboard level 3 certification exam at Copper Mountain in Colorado. The exam leaders took three groups of high end snowboarders toward the top of the mountain during the riding section. To access the more difficult terrain at Copper, one must use a Poma lift. There was a lot of discussion about riding this lift as we were moving through the line. Many of these snowboard instructors were confused about how to ride a platter lift. I tried to give some advice to the people closest, and proceeded to watch many in the large group lean over, catch an edge, or just sit down as they attempted to ride up the hill. I was glad to get my turn. I happily took hold of the pole, slid the platter between my legs and rode it to the top easily. I even played around a little bit, hopping a 180 and riding switch one-footed (which I donâ€™t recommend by the way). It took a short while for everyone to make it to the top. We then had a discussion about the lift we had just come up. That is when I told everyone that the task at my hometown mountain is to teach beginners to ride one. Most of you out there are saying â€œWhat?!â€? right now, which is exactly what they said. Well now I want to ask you a question. Does anybody know which was the first ski area developed in New Mexico? Sipapu is a family-owned resort that has steep and narrow terrain, and was also the first developed ski area in New Mexico. It remains a mountain that has had less human impact. I returned to Sipapu to take the snowboard instruction supervisor position after teaching at two bigger resorts. I knew when I took the job that I would have to develop a new teaching progression. I had learned to snowboard at this mountain many years before, and remembered how painful it was trying to get back down after riding our main 8
chairlift to the top of the mountain. To give customers an easier time learning how to snowboard I had to incorporate our beginner terrain, which happened to be accessed only by a Poma lift. I believe it is very beneficial to learn how to use the platter lift early in a riders progression. The rider can learn to balance on the snowboard while it is sliding over a large distance at a slow speed, however, it is a difficult task and there is a lot to learn before attempting to ride the Poma. Prior to attempting to ride any lift, students spend lots of time on flat terrain learning the proper position to ride the board. They learn how to skate and glide in good posture. They then learn one-footed turns to both the toeside and the heel-side. They must be able to do one-footed turns to a stop both directions. Students that spend more time learning onefooted turns to a stop will show more confidence and control when attempting to ride a Poma. Snowboarders who are riding a Poma lift for the first time may forget everything, stop listening, or just lose control of themselves and panic. All of these reactions are negative. I have used platter lifts for close to 20 years, and I have noticed that the more one focuses on the task, the more likely one will
make it to the top. People that pay attention tend to succeed more often. There will be a quiz in a moment, so stay attentive. Remember that the lift will continue to pull up the hill, and one must ride the snowboard while being pulled. It is very important that the rider believes he or she can ride to the top of the hill. The rider must have almost perfect posture as he or she receives the pole. Taking hold of a pole, the rider must make sure the bend in the pole is positioned around the front leg as the rider slides the platter between the legs. The rider will then feel the platter starting to pull against his or her rear end. Taking the back hand off the pole and keeping a strong position of balance will help tremendously at this point. The rider must keep the feet anchored to the board and the legs strong. This will help keep the body over the board to initiate slide. The snowboard will start to slide up the hill as long as the rider does not allow his or her upper body to bend up the hill as the pole starts to pull. The rider must keep the board aimed directly up the hill, in line with the direction the lift is pulling. There is a quick tug as the pole starts to pull and the rider must keep balanced on his or her snowboard to ride up the hill. Now for the quiz: What PSIA-RM/AASI Winter 2008
are you riding up the hill? Those that said, “the snowboard” are ready to attempt riding a Poma. Those that said “the lift” are probably going to rely on the platter (treating it like a stool) and end up sitting down and in the snow. Balance can be the hardest thing about riding a platter lift. A rider must find his or her center of balance and allow it to change with the terrain the board is sliding over. As the board slides, it is very important that the rider drives the board with changes in pressure on the front foot from toe to heel and vice versa, changing with the terrain. One must also keep his or her knees bent, and hold a comfortable position. If this is accomplished, the rider will be moving up the hill easily. (Psychology might be useful if the student does not accomplish this goal.) If a student tries receiving the pole a few times without riding up the hill very far, it is prob-
Winter 2008 PSIA-RM/AASI
ably necessary to go back to the bunny hill. It helps to study the lift and how others use the lift. As long as the rider keeps balanced on the board, the top of the hill appears soon. We now must learn the unloading process. As the rider approaches the top of the hill, he or she should prepare to pull the platter out. Patience is a bonus. Ride all the way to the top of the hill, where there is normally a flat area. This is the time for one to move his or her hands up on the pole and pull down and out. The pole and platter will swing as it is let go, so be aware. It is then very important to clear the unloading area. If we’ve made it this far, going down should be easy. The benefits of knowing how to ride a platter lift are numerous. The feeling riding up the hill is very similar to going down the hill, although there is less speed. One can find his or her center of balance while in movement as the lift pulls up the hill. A rider will
also use similar muscle groups going up the hill as when riding down. I know at least three mountains that have a Poma lift at the top of their mountain, and on powder days, better riders will be stoked to be able to take the extra ride. Some mountains have a platter lift for the extra busy days, and whenever it is open, people will see me catching the fun ride, with less waiting time. If you ever make it to Sipapu, you will be able to access more of the terrain, including the terrain park. It is necessary to stay focused and hold a good posture to use a platter lift. I believe riders that learn to ride a platter lift early in their progression become better riders sooner. There are many reasons to learn how to use one, besides avoiding embarrassment in a level 3 certification exam. I hope that I see more of my fellow instructors riding the Poma lift comfortably in the future. A
Copy Cat Skiing — Why Do You Do That?
NEW THIS YEAR! OFFICIAL BOARD BALLOT ONLINE!! You will be able to place your vote online for the candidate of your choice in your district beginning December 20, 2008. You will need to login using the user name and password you have created. Please follow directions at your personal page to vote online.
ince I’ve always got skiing on my mind, I can’t help but see important lessons from all different kinds of sources, even small business books. In Duct Tape Marketing: The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide, by John Jantsch, he argues that most small businesses’ marketing plans are, “Do what everyone else is doing.” So he coined the term, copy cat marketing. Every winter I get to teach a variety of skiers whose only “plan” for becoming a more efficient and graceful skier is the same as many small businesses’ marketing plans, to copy what everyone else is doing. Don’t be a victim of “Copy Cat Skiing!” Don’t copy what everyone else is doing! You’ll become a beautiful, efficient and fast skier if you do the opposite of what most skier do, and that’s find an instructional technique coach that will work with you and your individual learning style. Every year, for the last ten years, I receive five to six lessons a year. I have received (and I mean as student not as a teacher) well over 60 instructional hours in the last ten years and I plan to keep that pace of learning up for the next ten years! I’m a good skier, heck I even earned a spot on PSIA Nordic Team, but most times it seems like I’m more a student than a teacher. Why would I spend all that time and money on lessons? Because technique lessons have vastly increased my technical understanding of skiing and improved my skiing EXPONENTIALLY! When you develop a technical understanding of the “why’s” of skiing (why you do this, why you do that) your skiing, efficiency and fun skyrocket. 10
Please remember, active members may place one vote only for a candidate in their district. But don’t get me wrong. Getting advice about skiing from friends is a good thing. It gets you thinking about technique and helps to develop your eye for good skiing. But before you swallow anyone else’s advice, even my own, always ask why! Most skiers who give other skiers advice often don’t know why they do what they do, even if they are good skiers. You’ll know if the next tip you get is good if the answer to your question, “Why should I do that,” really makes sense. An hour of private instruction, even for the greatest of PSIA instructors, is equal to 90 kilometers of copy cat skiing. But there is one big difference, you’ll learn the right thing to do in one hour of skiing instead of ingraining a bad habit after 90 kilometers of skiing, and you’ll know why. If you ski school is offering a clinic that you have to pay for, or you’re contemplating attending a winter workshop or PSIA college event, pull the trigger, pay the price and commit to becoming a better student. The greatest instructors are the greatest students. What’s your “skiing plan” to become the best skier on the slopes and trails this year? Don’t just copy what everyone else is doing. Don’t become a “copy cat skier.” Become a better skier by making a plan to become a better student. This winter, attend at least two instructional clinics or lessons. Trust me, they’re worth the cost when everyone starts beating a path to your ski school requesting you as their instructor. David Lawrence PSIA National Nordic Team email@example.com www.xcskiacademy.com
Mailed ballots will also be accepted. Thank you to Jeremy Brooks for getting this set up!
Congratulations to Katie Fry!! Katie Fry was asked to return for a second term as National Teams Manager!! During her time as Team Manager she serves as an Alpine Team Member. She travels and leads clinics in addition to managing all four Teams. She is the direct contact for all of the coaches to the office and she puts together things like Team Training, The National Academy and Interski. Congratulations to you, Katie!! Keep up the good work.
We would like to thank
for the time and effort he has put into proofreading articles in this and the last newsletter.
PSIA-RM/AASI Winter 2008
Thank you to all the members who donated to the Educational Foundation during the 2007-08 season!! Rocky Mountain Ski Instructors Educational Foundation
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DON’T REPLACE YOUR DREAMS WITH YOUR REGRETS By Clark Musgrove
here are those of you who were born on skis, are naturally gifted athletes, raised in a ski area, racing at five years old and passed the Cert III skiing exam on your first try. We’re not you!
Many of us are part time ski instructors who started skiing in our mid-twenties, or later. We live at least an hour away from the slopes. We are thrilled we realized our dream of passing Cert II. For many of us, teaching people to ski isn’t our main job but it is our main passion. I was never much of an athlete. Never lettered in a varsity sport and seldom got picked to play in a sand lot pick-up ball game. Add to that the fact, I was born in South Louisiana and raised in Houston, Texas, and you might not be surprised to discover that I was in my mid-twenties before I set foot on a mountain and in my late twenties before I made my first ski run. With that background, the chances were slim that I’d ever teach skiing much less ever attain full certification… but I did! The very first time on skis created a new passion in me. (If you are reading this article you understand.) As time passed and that passion deepened, I began to dream of sharing it with others by becoming an instructor. For many years full time employment delayed me realizing my dream. My Dream
In the mid 1990’s I heard that Winter Park Ski Area was looking for volunteers to help with the (now called) Adaptive Ski Program. I volunteered and my dream of teaching people to ski began to be realized. In 1995 I passed Alpine Cert I, which to this non-athlete, was a quite an accomplishment. I wore the bronze with pride. The next year I tried out and was the last applicant accepted to teach part time at Breckenridge Ski School. That ski season I was able to ski a whole 30 days - a record for me! That year I also began taking PSIA clinics and began to dream that someday I might pass Cert II. Being the smart guy that I am, I easily passed the written, technical, teaching and 14
movement analysis exams for Cert II (thank you Bob Barnes, The Complete Encyclopedia of Skiing). But, I failed miserably at the skiing exam. After all, I never was much of an athlete! I felt I made such a fool of myself in the skiing exam. I regretted even trying and I attempted to put aside my dream of passing Cert II. I wasn’t able to forget and by the next year my dream returned. I trained hard and a miracle happened, I passed! After passing Cert II, I knew I’d achieved the highest level of certification I could. After all I had just turned 58, was a part time ski instructor, a full time employee and lived more than an hour from the nearest ski area. However…
Most of my body parts still worked most of the time;” muscle-dementia” had not yet set in and I had become a better skier and teacher by training for and going through the Cert II exam process. Yet I still wasn’t satisfied with my skiing or teaching ability (are any of us ever?) and knew if I at least took Cert III clinics my skiing and teaching would likely improve. I realized that while I could sense my own skiing improvements, the only objective analysis would come from going through a Cert III skiing exam and being judged by an examiner, who was paid the big bucks, to tell me how to improve my skiing. In the next three years I took the Cert III skiing exam three times and passed all of the tasks at least two times. But…
That was during the old school scoring system where out of nine points possible for each task the candidate had to average 6 for all tasks on exam day. I never did that. So finally I gave up. After all I had just turned 62 and I wasn’t getting any younger. Then three things happened that resulted in my earning my gold pin. First, Mark Turi, a fellow ski instructor at Breckenridge, convinced me to train with him as he prepared for Cert III. Mark said I was capable of passing Cert III. (In retrospect, I think all Mark really wanted was for me to spend hours freezing my hands off videoing him and more hours helping him analyze his turns.)
The second thing that happened was the new exam system was established: Two examiners observed the tasks, compared notes, scored collectively and were allowed to give suggestions to the candidates for unlimited subsequent tries as time permitted. Once a task was passed it was “ banked” passed forever. I trained with Mark and examined with Mark for the next two years. In the second year, Mark passed all tasks and achieved Cert III. Believe it or not (I couldn’t), I had somehow managed to pass all the tasks but short radius turns, variable terrain and fall line bumps. The third thing that happened was the perfection of the shaped skies that let me turn with a precision that was never possible on the old straight skies. Yet…
I quit again. After all I was now 65 and the legs weren’t getting any younger. Maybe the old legs had finally developed “muscledementia”. For the next two years Mark wouldn’t leave me alone, continually badgering me to try and pass the last three tasks. Finally, I gave in, if for no other reason than to get Mark off my back. I trained another year and twice more failed those last three tasks. Obviously something was wrong. Maybe my legs, maybe my reaction time, maybe the legend that Cert II is considered the Cert III for part time instructors over the age of forty was true. But, what the hell, I decided to give one more shot at passing those last three tasks. Here are my Secrets to finally passing the Ungroomed, Fall Line Bumps, and Short Radius Performance Turns Tasks: Ungroomed
I passed the Ungroomed task on some long, obscure, steep, nasty run on deep, wet snow, at Snowmass. It was right after lunch, I was tired and, honestly, I just wanted to get down the mountain and be done. This run was different from the one we had used for training the day before because the lift to that run had been closed. I was first in line. The Examiners told me just to ski down, that I’d find them at the bottom, and off they went, disappearing over the ridge. I noticed PSIA-RM/AASI Winter 2008
that even the examiners were not skiing the run with the finesse expected. It really was nasty snow. I remembered a suggestion Bob Barnes (the Winter Park Bob Barnes) made at a Winter Academy in Winter Park a few years previously. Bob said in these conditions to ski bow-legged, push the inside knee away from you. I took off thinking of nothing but skiing bowlegged and hopefully finding the examiners – I accomplished both, I skied bowlegged and found the instructors – best of all, I passed! My secret to passing Ungroomed-: Ski relaxed and focus on one thing. Fall Line Bumps
The March 3, 2007 exam was at Copper Mountain. As I lined up for my fall-line bump run, I asked another candidate if she knew who the examiners were. She told me that one was Jerry Berg, “The Bump Devil” himself (according to her). My heart sank, cardiac arrest was avoided by my focusing on all the things I had to do on that run: Choose a good line, stay over my skis, complete the turns, absorb, retract, parallel femurs, look several bumps ahead, ski the banana, keep the hands in front and visible, pole touch past the top of the bump, don’t let the hands drop, keep the pole baskets in front, don’t traverse, don’t drop the hips and RELAX. Did I leave anything out? (That’s a trick question.) I made the run and on the last few turns saw Bergie shaking his head, not up and down but side to side. Bergie didn’t say anything for the longest time and finally said, “Not this time Clark, go practice some more and try again next year.” Well, I had no intention of ever trying again but still wanted to improve my skiing so I asked Bergie if there was just one thing I needed to do to improve my fall line bump skiing, what would that be? Bergie’s answer: “Absorb more! I want to see horizontal femurs”. Bergie agreed to watch me on one more run, not to be graded, but to see if I could improve. As I waited in line for my turn, I thought of only absorbing, since that was the one thing Bergie said I needed to work on. When Bergie flagged me down, I wasn’t worried about being judged, after all, this was just a practice run. I pointed them down hill let my legs go limp so they could absorb. Half-way down I ran out of steam and just stopped to rest. Who cared? I wasn’t being graded on this run. After catching my breath Winter 2008 PSIA-RM/AASI
I finished the run. On the last few turns, I saw a smile on Bergie’ face (a rare event, I’m told). This time he was shaking his head - up and down. When I got to Bergie, he simply said, “That’s what I call Cert III fall line skiing, you passed.” You can be sure I didn’t remind Bergie that this was just a practice run. My secret to passing Fall Line Bumps: Ski relaxed and focus on the one thing. Short Radius Performance Turns
Eight tasks down, one to go. While waiting for my turn, at the April 20, 2007 exam in Breckenridge, I thought of all the things I had to do to pass Short Radius Turns: long leg-short leg, ski dynamically, pretend I’m skiing gates, edge as early as possible, look down the hill and in the direction of the turn, pole touch down the hill. Did I forget anything? I thought of all of these things as I made that first thirty second run. Bob Barnes (the Complete Encyclopedia of Skiing Bob Barnes, not the Winter Park Bob Barnes) was the examiner. Bob asked if I wanted any feedback. Remembering my success with Fall Line Bumps I asked Bob to give me one thing to focus on. His answer: “Quiet the upper body“ As I rode the chair back up for the next run I, once again, began going through the litany of things on which I had to focus - then I remembered that Bob was looking for only one change, quiet the upper body. On the next run I focused only on quieting the upper body. When I got to Bob he said, “Way to go
Clark, you passed!” What beautiful music to my ears. My secret to passing Short Radius Turns: Ski relaxed and focus on one thing. My secret to passing all CERT III skiing tasks is to ski relaxed and focus on one thing! …especially when you’re hearing this “one-thing” as feedback from the Examiner. A year or two back someone wrote an article, in the Instructor to Instructor RM PSIA journal, whose message, (although, hopefully, not intended as such) I took to be: go ahead and replace your dreams with your regrets. I think there was even a statement to the effect, “you might be too old or not athletic enough to hang with the big boys so wear your Silver with Pride”. Sure, wear your silver with pride. It’s true that everyone doesn’t have the time talent or money to pass Cert III. But if you have a dream of attaining the gold and most of your body parts work most of the time don’t let your dreams to be replaced with regrets. I got my gold pin four months after my 68th birthday. A Clark is a full time employee of Adventure Eye Video System, a company that offers a Video Assisted Lesson Program (VAL Program) through ski & ride schools and rents video cameras to resort guests through Specialty Sports Venture rental shops. Clark is also a fully-certified, part-time ski instructor at Breckenridge Ski & Ride School. Contact Clark at Clarkmusgrove@hotmail.com or 303-887-9272.
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NOW HIRING CHILDREN’S SKI & RIDE SUPERVISOR Angel Fire Ski and Snowboard Schools are currently accepting applications for the following positions: PSIA Level 1, 2, and 3 certified Ski Instructors AASI Level 1, 2, and 3 certified Snowboard Instructors New Ski and Snowboard Instructors Angel Fire offers competitive pay, great training opportunities, and limited employee housing. Please fill out an online application at www.angelfireresort.com or mail your resume to: Angel Fire Resort, Attn: Ski and Snowboard School PO Box 130, Angel Fire, NM 87710 505-377-4287
JOIN OUR DYNAMIC TEAM OF SKI/ SNOWBOARD INSTRUCTORS Excellent Training program, incentive based pay system and an exceptional mountain to work and play on. Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation is looking for the following positions for the temporary holiday season only: Certified Ski Instructors Non-Certified Ski Instructors Certified Snowboard Instructors KVC Ski Instructors for pre-school children Visit our website at www.steamboat.com and look under employement or call: Human Resources Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation at 970-871-5132 We Are An Equal Opportunity Employer.
PSIA Certification level 2 or higher Many benefits including Holiday Pay credit, Loveland Ski Area discount passes & complimentary passes for friends and family or a free pass for your entire family. Also Ski & Ride for free at: Arapahoe Basin, Echo Mountain, Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, Monarch Mountain, Steamboat, Winter Park, Copper Mountain, SolVista, Durango, Sunlight, Telluride, Crested Butte, Powderhorn, Eldora, Ski Cooper. Additional discounts for employees in the Retail, Rental, Cafe and onsite Childcare Center. Visit our website to complete the application www.skiloveland.com or email HR@SkiLoveland.com LOVELAND SKI SCHOOL P.O. BOX 899 - GEORGETOWN COLORADO 80444 (303)569-3203 X140 - Local (303)571-5580 X140 – Metro 303-484-2552- Fax EEOC/ADA EMPLOYER
Monarch Ski and Ride School is recruiting a fun loving staff for the winter of 2008-2009. Qualified instructors can build schedules that vary from ten to ninety days of commitment. Our 100% natural snow base and 350+ inches of snowfall provide for memorable guest and instructor experiences. Send resume to: Jack Sciacca Director of Instruction #1 Powder Place Monarch , CO 81227 firstname.lastname@example.org
COME FIND YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE… Live & work in Crested Butte, CO! Crested Butte Ski and Ride School is seeking applications for both Adult Ski & Ride School Manager. Adult Manager will be responsible for developing, organizing, scheduling and maintaining Adult Ski and Ride programs and services, including Alpine, Snowboard, Telemark group and private lessons. Duties for both positions include: Staff scheduling, class assignments, product staging, instructor payroll check outs, human resources information and communication, and delivery of divisional and company news and information. Both positions will work in concert with the Ski and Ride School Management Team to develop the business opportunities of the CB Ski and Ride School. A primary responsibility of the Managers is to develop the business model with the goal of increasing the penetration percentage rate and driving the yield in relation to the resort skier days. For more information, please contact us at 970-349-4055 or to apply online visit www. skicb.com/jobs. EOE
Sipapu Ski Resort, located 25 miles from Taos on Highway 518, is accepting applications for Full Time Ski School Assistant. Needs to be PSIA/AASI Level 1 Certified or better with a minimum of 5 years experience in the ski industry. Management and/ or Supervisor experience required. Business computer expertise highly desirable. To join the Family Friendly, Family Fun area contact Sue Leslie, Ski School Director, at email@example.com or call (575) 5872087. Send resume to Sipapu Ski Resort, Attn: Ski School, HC65 Rt. Box 29, Vadito, NM 87579. Other positions also available including Full weekday instructors. Thanks, Sue Leslie Sipapu Ski School Director PSIA-RM/AASI Winter 2008
INSTRUCTOR TO INSTRUCTOR NEWSLETTER
Sandia Peak Ski Area, located 30 minutes from Albuquerque, is accepting applications for ski and snowboard instructors. Part time and full time seasonal positions begin midDecember through mid-March. An interest to instruct and work with children as well as adults is a plus. Guest-centered attitude a must! If you are interested in joining our team, please contact: Susanne Long Keniley, P.O. Box 670, Sandia Park, NM 87047; 505-980-9090 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Telluride Ski and Snowboard School is now accepting application for Part-time Certified Ski and Snowboard Instructors PSIA & AASI Level 1, 2 and 3 Dates of Employment: November 17 th, 2008 - April 13th, 2008 For more information visit our website at www.TellurideSkiResort.com and look under employment or call 970.728.7507 Or E-mail Fred Rumford Executive Director at email@example.com
SKI & RIDE SCHOOL OPPORTUNITIES! Adult and Youth Snowboard Instructors Adult and Youth Ski Instructors Go to www.coppercolorado.com for details and to apply. Call 970 968 3060 with questions. Winter 2008 PSIA-RM/AASI
The official newsletter of the Rocky Mountain Division is published four times per year with an average circulation of 6000. The schedule for submission of articles and advertisements is listed below: The Ski & Ride School at Winter Park Resort is currently accepting applications for Adult and Kids Ski & Snowboard Instructors for the 2008/2009 winter season. Are you a growth oriented professional looking to join a high quality organization? Be a part of the Ski & Ride School that was the innovator of Guest Centered Teaching! Winter Park is now offering a bonus of up to $500 for PSIA Level 2 or higher instructors. Apply online today at www.skiwinterpark. com/employment or contact the Human Resources Recruiting Office for further information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-726-1536. Winter Park Resort is located in the beautiful and still wild Grand County, Colorado, averages snow totals of 365”, hosts a base area of 9000 feet and is home to the mogul capital of the U.S.A… Mary Jane, Extremely Colorado!
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Freestyle Skiing: The 180
By Kelly Coffey
Oskar Steckel Scholarship
Members of the Loveland Ski Area attending exams or the annual academy may apply. Rudi & Dotti Schnackenberg Scholarship
Full-time, Level 3 (for at least 3 years), Alpine or Nordic members, may use this scholarship to apply for National Academy only. Edwin Terrell Memorial Scholarship
For members who teach in the Southern District. James R. Riley Memorial Scholarship
For current members, (at least 2 years), needing continuing education credit related to teaching. Additional qualifications apply, contact office. 2008/2009 will be the last season this is offered. PSIA-RM Ed Foundation Scholarship
Any member in good standing and their immediate family may apply for this scholarship towards continuing education credit.
Ski Teaching In Spanish Or Portuguese Handbooks with side-by-side translations for children/adults Audio Tapes of CDs with Text www.skiteaching.com Enor Martinez 3508 Virginia Way Salt Lake City, Utah 84109 (801) 466-9039 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 18
First published in the Vail Trail, December 28, 2005.
he 180 is a trick that never goes out of style. It’s a basic move that hones in the proper movements for spins in the air. When done right, it translates not only to bigger spins, but also to air in the halfpipe and getting onto rails. It’s a fundamental maneuver in the freestyle world. The best place to start is with your skis off. Pop and spin 180 degrees while standing still. Pretty easy, but focus on keeping your core and arms strong. You should move as one unit, jumping off two feet, without winding up or flailing your arms. Practice spinning right and left to figure out what is easier for you. Take that direction to the hill. With your skis on, you can try the same thing. With the extra weight, you won’t make it to the full 180 standing still, but it will give you the right sensations. Focus on the proper movements, not making it to 180 degrees. Find a nice round roller where you can do a flatspin-180 (essentially an overzealous hockey stop). Aim straight for it. While you’re going over the roller, do the same movements you’ve been practicing, only in
a less explosive manner. This way you feel the weightless sensations, but your skis stay on the snow. Come off switch and let yourself ride backwards for a few yards. The only difference between this drill and the real thing is that your skis stay on the snow. For the real thing, find a small jump within your comfort zone. Ideally, the landing will be on a flat slope or going across the hill, not heading straight down. The mellow landing will help you commit to the spin. On your first run you can do the flatspin-180 at the lip to get comfortable with the jump. You’ve already honed in the movements through these drills – so go for it. You just need a small amount of air to bag this trick. When you’ve dialed 180s in on small features, head to bigger jumps … and eventually into the terrain park. The bigger the jump, the slower the rotation, and the smoother this trick looks. A Kelly Coffey is a freestyle trainer at the Vail Snowsports School. He is PSIA alpine trainers’ accredited advanced-freestyle-accredited. View past freestyle tips articles by searching “Freestyle Freebies” on vailtrail.com. PSIA-RM/AASI Winter 2008
Three Principles of Communication By Clark Musgrove
t’s been said that for instructors, communication skills are more important than skiing and riding skills. While the truth is that we need both, the ability to communicate well and to ski or ride well to be effective as teachers, the statement serves to remind us of the importance of communication. Most of our knowledge on communication is based on concepts that describe teaching and learning styles, such as the theory of multiple intelligences. These ideas can be useful in helping us to expand our range of communication. But that alone does not ensure that our communication will improve, and it sometimes only serves to complicate matters. If you are going to maintain an awareness of any theory about communication, the following three principles, best described by Donnell King (http://www.pstcc.edu/facstaff/ dking/interpr.htm), should be at the top of the list. These principles supersede all the other ideas in describing communication. There is nothing more fundamental to our awareness of communication than these three things. 1. Communication is unavoidable.
There is no such thing as “not communicating.” We are all communicating all of the time, through either verbal or non-verbal means. Tone of voice, facial expressions, body language, and proximity to others make up the stream of communication in which we are constantly giving and receiving. One form of expression may be louder than another at any time, providing an indication as to what is really going on. For example the student says that they are not tired, but their posture and body language indicate that they are. Or on the other hand, your words are reassuring and encouraging, but frustration is evident in your tone of voice. Making good choices for your students amid the contradictions that they may be presenting requires your complete attention, as does minimizing the contradictions that you yourself present. Communication like this is rare, often takes more time, and is usually fleeting. Nevertheless, it makes good sense that as communication is unavoidable we might as well try to fulfill it’s potential by Winter 2008 PSIA-RM/AASI
complicated. The more words that are used, the more complicated it becomes, and the greater the chance for confusion. So “more skiing, less talking” and “keep it simple” are good rules of thumb. There is really no need to share those big words with our students. So you know what dorsiflexion and centripetal mean. Who cares! The last thing that our students need to be learning from us is vocabulary. Another factor that complicates communication has to do with perspectives. You may see your student quite differently to the way they see themselves. For example, which is more important: The extent to which you think they are athletic, or the extent to which they think they are athletic? Rarely are these competing perspectives in harmony. For instructors, recognizing and resolving the differing perspectives is as much a function of communication as the exchange of ideas. being conscious of the fact that it is happening NOW. 2. Communication is irreversible.
We are best able to avoid miscommunication if we focus most of our time and effort with our students on the correct way to move, rather than focusing on their mistakes. Framing your instructions in the affirmative will establish a more productive and collaborative relationship. Are they more likely to advance when you are focused on what to do, rather than on what not to do? One of the most common mistakes instructors make is to go into the rut with their student by paying too much attention to their mistakes. This approach does not help to establish a frame of mind that is conducive to progression. We are paid to help them to acknowledge what they can do, and what else they are capable of with just a little transfer of those skills from here to there, a little extension of a movement, a little refinement in the timing of an action. 3. Communication is complex.
Meanings are in people’s interpretation of words, not in the words alone. People use the same words in different ways. We exchange words in an effort to get at shared meanings, and the process can get very
Your perspectives include: a. Who you think you are b. Who you think the other person is c. Who you think the other person thinks you are Your student’s perspectives include: a. Who they think they are b. Who they think you are c. Who they think you think they are It is often necessary to be addressing the same thing over and over again, giving it a look from all of these different perspectives. You might think they are ready for the next step in the progression, but they might not think they are and vice versa. If they can be persuaded to set aside who they think they are in order to be who you think they are, progression can follow. Conclusion
There is no step-by-step guide to improving communication skills. Individuals are so diverse and the study of communication is so abstract. Keeping these three principles in mind can help to improve your ability to connect with your students. And just as improving your skiing and riding requires effort, so does improving your communication skills. A 19
PSIA Telemark Trip Enjoy the deep powder of Japan with PSIA February 24 - March 2, 2009 Ross Matlock, PSIA Nordic Team
The PSIA Nordic Team and Matlock Mountain Adventures is excited to offer an international event in Japan this coming February to all PSIA members! Cold Siberian air comes down from the Asian north, sweeping across the Sea of Japan and sucking up moisture like a Shop-Vac on steroids and dumping it on Hokkaido where you’ll ski mountains like you’ve never skied before in the deep powder of the Japanese Alps. Niseko, which sits inside of Hokkaido, receives 16 meters of snow a year and the big powder months are January and February. With five ski resorts in Niseko, you’ll ski the best powder of your life while learning and sharing with PSIA Nordic Team members and
Japan’s greatest Telemark instructors. The Grand Hirafu, the area’s largest resort, is where you’ll ski most of the time. You’ll even enjoy the savory Japanese Alps backcountry through the most incredible lift served backcountry terrain in the world. Your first three days will be spent skiing with members of the JTA and PSIA. You’ll be mixed together in groups lead by the PSIA National Team members. The following two days you’re scheduled to join the Niseko Telemark Festival for their powder workshops. On these two days you will be able to choose your clinic type and clinician, which will include Japan’s top Telemark instructors.
We know that PSIA Nords can’t exist on deep Telemark powder alone. The Kanronomori Hotel is one of the finest Japanese hotels in the region with its own natural hot springs and incredible food, making for a fitting end to each day of powder skiing. The PSIA Nordic Team wants to see you there, but space is limited! So go to http:// www.go-ima.com to sign-up for this once in a lifetime, Japanese powder fest! The trip cost is $2,500 which includes transports, lodging, meals, lift access, instruction but does not include airfare. Remember, sign-up soon before the spaces fill. Go to www.go-ima.com now for more information. A
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