Here’s a sound track while you read!
Get yourself some Building Blocks
I’ve said it before. It doesn’t matter if lessons on the snow are better than DIY Instruction.
Millions of senior skiers try to learn from books and video and phone apps.
For the good of our sport and our own wallets, we had better find ways to both support and leverage alternate means of delivering proficient skiing and riding to a much larger audience.
There are only enough instructors to hit about 10% of the participants out there every season. Technology can be a “force multiplier” AND you can use it to make a lot more money….you DO like money don’t you?
For many seniors’ skiing techniques are habits ingrained over decades. Breaking those habits is tough so you need a plan. To read more about plans go to – Your Skiing Sucks?
If you don’t really know how to create a learning plan for senior ski lessons I found this six DVD set that has the plan and all the drills presented in the proper order. For a lousy $175.00 you can put a professional coach in your pocket. So, why wouldn’t you?
The problem with trying to teach your old-dog-self some new tricks using videos is that you tend to adopt “positions” when mimicking the skiing on the video.
Just because you wound up in a similar position doesn’t mean you moved things in the right order to get there. Remember, all good skiing starts with the feet. If you move them first, you will always be on the right track.
If the video you are using doesn’t explain the bio-mechanical details, STOP..and find a video that does. A great source of reading on mechanics is the PSIA Alpine Technical Manual available at, http://www.thesnowpros.org/
Senior Ski lessons can be like a religious event. You either believe the instructor is a demigod or you don’t. If you don’t want to ski exactly the way they do, you are a fool…Enter our hero de jure, Rick Schnellmann, and his “Building Blocks” DVD set.
The fun part, the relaxing part, is that it is entirely secular. No matter what you believe constitutes “good skiing”, Building Blocks will make you better at it. You can go to his store here
Building Blocks comes in the box with the learning plan built-in. It takes you from Basic Balance to Basic Edging, on to Advanced Balance to Advanced Edging then, to Transitions and Angulation.
If you follow the progression and really give it a shot, I guarantee that you that you will become a better skier.
Too many times I have seen people trying to go straight from the wedge to carved turns, completely skipping over steered turns.
Ever since the parabolic ski came out, we have been promised that all you have to do is tip the ski on edge and it will turn. Of course, you can produce a turn by tipping the ski and putting some pressure on it but, that type of turn is not appropriate for all combinations of terrain & conditions.
Carving turns is a go-fast method! If it wasn’t, racers wouldn’t do it.
If you want to slow down you had better learn to back off those edges and steer your turns.The first four DVDs on Balance and Edging focus on just that, building a high level of finesse at blending edge angles with pressure and steering movements to shape turns and control speed…like this
The Transitions DVD is especially good. Sometimes ski school lessons can be a little too dogmatic about pushing one kind of turn. On this DVD he tells you about 3 types of turn initiations and 9 types of transitions. You learn a matrix of 27 different turn-types!
There are dozens of different ways to turn on skis and each is appropriate for a certain combination of terrain & conditions. The more you combinations you know the more effectively you will ski, on more of the mountain. Who can’t love THAT?!
If you are having issues, help is only a couple clicks away.
I hadn’t been able to ski much in the previous decade and wanted to learn more about new technique. What I found at Skier Village was a lot of non-ego-driven help in sorting out my game and getting on a fast track to better skiing.
If you log into online forums about ski instruction, you will quickly get the impression that if that dude hadn’t shot the Arch Duke, WW One would have been started between ski instructors in the Alps.
Everyone wants to be THE ONE who figured all out and made skiing easier. Truth to tell, if you really want to improve, it is time to learn some of the details about the bio-mechanics of skiing for yourself and learn HOW to be your own coach.
Rick breaks it down into some simple steps. If you engage in exercises that improve the basic skills of balance, edging, pressure management and transitions, you get better and you don’t have to even KNOW you have a First Metatarsal let alone worry about it while you ski. These aren’t just a bunch of quick tips. It is a complete system of education.
If you are a ski instructor just starting out, there really aren’t many manuals available that tell you exactly what to teach people or how to put a client on a lesson plan so they will come back to you. You pick it up as you go along from clinics and in-house training staff.
In this DVD set, the lesson plan is all laid out along with all the drills. If you turn your clients on to this, they will REMEMBER you and sing your praises every time they use it.
If you have their contact information, you can email them once in a while (don’t over do this) to check on their progress and if need be invite them back for another session on the snow, without having to reassess what kind of skier they are. They just tell you where they got stuck in the DVDs and you go to work helping them.
You have just gone from being just another lowly L1 “instructor” to being a Senior Skiing Improvement CONSULTANT, a collaborator, a partner in a conspiracy with your customer. You are no longer a pimple-faced french fry cook.
You just became Le Chef Cordon Bleu du Ski!
Rick Schnellmann is a former FIS racer and has been coaching racers for 30 years.