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  Topic Review (Newest First)
11-21-2012 11:46 AM
Originally Posted by IdahoFreshies View Post
Me and thugit both got accepted into Snowboard School Instructor positions at Bogus Basin (provided we can pass the riding portion of the hiring clinic). I was wondering, and im sure he is too, from people who have taken both private and/or group lessons, which mainly are new riders their first couple of times, what were some complaints and compliments about the lesson. Things the instructor did well, things that you left complaining about, if they explained something really well, if you were lost the whole time, if your kid had fun in the lesson and what the instructor did to make it fun, how much did you learn, what did you find was the best way for you to learn this sport...stuff like that. So lets hear the stories
Ahhhh so much to answer to such a simple question! There are so many people with different learning styles. When I teach a lesson, I usually try my best to adapt my teaching style to folks who are trying to learn. It usually takes a little bit of trial and error, but you'll get there eventually. A few other things I've picked up on over the years is to try to keep explanations sweet and simple, and to keep the students moving. Students are usually warmer from constant movement, and it allows you to keep an eye on the person so you can correct their form.

From time to time, you'll get the odd person who WANTS that metaphor, and that's ok. But again, keep the metaphor sweet and simple.

As gjsnowboarder mentioned as well, go to morning sessions!!! There is usually a lot of insight to gain by talking with higher level evaluators in terms of how to make your lessons more efficient with how you can analyze movement and how you can learn various ways to teach students certain things. Even after taking the level 2 training course and teaching for eight seasons, I feel like I can never get enough insight in how to be better at what I do. For myself, one thing I've noticed with these sessions is that my form is always getting critiqued and poked and prodded and this has helped me be able to look at another rider and say, "Ok, this is what you're doing, and this is how you can improve this" and a lot of students appreciate that.

I hope this helps!
11-21-2012 11:46 AM
Whoracle The first time I went snowboarding, I bought a package that included 3 group lessons. I had a blast in the two that I did attend, and funnily enough for the reasons that were already mentioned in this thread.

The First lesson we had (group of about 7, 4 of which were my friends and I) was very good. This lesson was marked as "first time snowboarding." He took us to the "kid" slope (not the bunny slope, but the kid area where the "lift" is like a conveyor belt) and showed us how to make toeside and heelside turns/carves. He first described it, showed us, then had us do it one at a time and gave us feedback immediately. After a few times down we went to the bunny hill and worked on linking them. By the end of this lesson I had absolutely no fear of going down a green run. Its not that i didnt fall when i went down the run, just i wasnt like "oh shit im gonna die" mode. Our instructor for this lesson was a younger guy, about 19, and he looked like he was having fun instructing us, so it made it more enjoyable for the group.

The second lesson (marked as "comfortable on greens" difficulty), it was obvious after 10m into it that my friend and I were better than the rest of the group. This instructor (probably about late 20's female) took us to the bunny hill and tried to teach us "falling leaf" and "garlands" when we had been practicing linking turns by the end of the last lesson. After about 15m she got another instructor to take us up by ourselves on a blue run, which was a pretty long run. We spent the rest of the time going down the run twice, but each time we would go about 100-200ft, stop, talk about what we were working on/ what we need to do different, then he would he go ahead and wait for us to come down, or tell us to ride to a certain point so he could see us from behind.

Don't get me wrong either, the woman from beginning of the second lesson was a great person and instructor, she just had to teach to the level of the "weakest" link. As far as what i would say made the lessons good, was that they were attentive to the group, seemed like they were having fun teaching us, gave good feedback, showed you what to do as much as told you, and made the overall experience enjoyable.
11-21-2012 10:54 AM
gjsnowboarder Excellent feedback here. I'm going to tackle it from the opposite view of someone who teaches and clinics other instructors. I've noticed over the years with assisting in the hiring clinics and on going training at my mountain several things.

Smile and have a good time. You get to do your job on a snowboard. When the guest see you relaxing and having fun, they can relax and have fun.

When you intially meet them and at the end of the lesson take the goggles/sunglasses of so they can see your eyes. It helps to personalize the lesson.

For little kids get down to their eye level and don't talk down to them. Unless there under five don't kiddie talk them either. Use simple terms they can understand but throw the baby talk out.

Be Patient and understanding

For younger students make the lesson and exercise a game.

Fall down every once in a while for fun. This helps students understand its alright. Plus how else are you going to check the snow conditions?

Do through in little ground tricks. It can inspire students. Don't over do it though or it will have the opposite effect.

ATTEND your mountains training. The new hire process is only the tip of the iceberg. Also look into getting certified with AASI.

For training, it can be dry sometimes, but learn MA(movement Analysis). It will give you the foundation you need to keep your students meaningful feedback that address their movement needs and wants. I can't even begin to stress this enough.

Use your resources, more experienced instructors can help provide tips and tricks that can make your job easier.

Remember that learning snowboarding isn't a sprint. It's a marathon. People will learn at different paces. Set realistic goals and be willing to adapt to the changing needs of your students.

Cheerleading is good, but don't over do it.

Don't be afraid to get hands on. One caveat, make sure you are not evading a person personal space. Ask permission. Monkey-see monkey do or simon-says can work for those people that don't like to be touched.

Learn a new discipline. It is amazing the insight that one can get from a different sport. Plus it can help relate for example ski movements to snowboard movements. Makes you look good in the director's eye if you can teach different discplines as well. Being on the director's good side can pay divdends in pay and on powderdays.

Don't take the Code for granted. Its all good to have fun, but remember getting hurt is never fun.

Oh, and when you have the opportunity to go "Shred the GNAR". DO IT!! Even if the snow, or weather is crappy, or you have had a bad day teaching. Remember what snowboarding is about.

Your enthusiasm to teach is contagious. Your students of all ages will feel it. I'm still doing this after over a decade because of the every time a student gets it gives me a feeling of accomplishment and allows me to share my love of snowboarding with someone else.

congrats on getting this far in the process and slay it on your ride day.
11-21-2012 07:31 AM
Originally Posted by IdahoFreshies View Post
Being hands on and showing directly and doing instead of explaining in depth and using metaphors was a good point as well.
Since I was the one who first railed about imagery/metaphors I think I should comment further. I didn't mean to imply all imagery BAD. I just meant try to gauge the audience a bit more than some instructors have done with me.

My (older) son is six and has been on skis the past two seasons. He's had lots of lessons, so he's heard plenty about pizza slices and french fries. But he calls them "number 7" and "number 11" turns. So you'll hear me say "Let's see if we can do this whole run using 'number 11' turns."

This season he's trying snowboarding. (He'll have lessons.) I've done a little dry land prep with him. The "cereal box" image does nothing for him -- he doesn't get that at all. But we've come up with "scared to go down the hill" and "happy to go down the hill" as descriptions to coax out good body position. So we've played around standing sideways on the hill in our yard and on the sliding board at the playground, trying to get comfortable in "happy to go down the hill" position (athletic ready stance, perpendicular to the fall line, weight centered or forward) instead of "scared to go down the hill" (weight on back leg, front leg extended, and funny cringing-in-fear facial expressions). Should this have been the first thing to work on with him? I don 't know -- probably not. But you will be hearing me yell "Whee! Happy to go down the hill!" out on the slopes this season.

(There's a nice bit in one of those Snowprofessor videos where the guy adjusts the girl into the "happy to go down the hill" stance (only they don't call it that, of course). I'll show that to the kid one of these days just to prove that I'm not some wacko making this shit up.)
11-21-2012 03:38 AM
IdahoFreshies Awesome! Thanks for all of the replies and responses!

First off, it seems like the biggest negative is just douche bag kids only teaching to log hours or get a free pass to ride, and neither of those are even in my realm of personality. First off, luckily I am not looking at this as my ticket to ride, I have had a season pass for this year since last year, so weather or not I am a coach I still am going to be riding, this is more a way to substitute some income by doing something I love, so if i do a shit job at it I would be failing myself. It is just not in me personally to be a lazy and useless slob texting on the lift while doing a job like this that I love so much. I want to help and see the clients progress as much as they do.

Scott, please continue to ramble ill be sure to literally take notes on your points and take them to the training days and figure out how to incorporate my new found insider knowledge to what they are teaching. My biggest priority will be learning fundamental teaching skills that work for different personality types, and also how to notice slight skill bad habits and how to show and give examples on how to fix. Being hands on and showing directly and doing instead of explaining in depth and using metaphors was a good point as well. The idea of having the fastest progressing people helping the slower ones is an awesome idea! Does it work for most age groups? Does it work better for some vs others?

thanks again everyone for the input! Now i just need some dam snow so my hill can open and I can get to work.
11-20-2012 10:25 PM
snowklinger As always, but more than usual I really enjoyed this TLDidR from the man.

Right here in the middle, I just lost it LOLLING...

Originally Posted by Snowolf View Post
Loosing a kid on the hill is a HUGE deal with most resorts.
fucken brats.

Seriously though most of the thread will probably be opinions to weigh while Snowolf's contributions can probably be taken as textbook-better-than-textbook. Learn it.
11-20-2012 08:26 PM
MeanJoe I've never been an instructor although it is something I'd like to try some day. I have taken a few private lessons and I can give you my good and bad experiences.

Good - My instructor for the session looked very young, like 16 years old young. I'm 43 and wanted to learn some basics on how to successfully ride a box. My first impression was negative, a young kid - probably a self-entitled little park rat with an attitude doing lessons he didn't care about to ride for free. I could not have been more wrong. Turns out he was actually 20 (still young!) but just looked like a teenage kid. He was incredibly polite and a professional maturity well beyond his years. What he did right...

He listened to me, what my goals were and what my anxiety was. He quite literally coached me. We discussed on the lift what step(s) we were going to work on on the next run, talking me through the steps. He demonstrated those steps on the hill with me observing. Then he observed me and provided immediate constructive criticism and feedback before moving on to the next progressive step.

Not only did I sincerely thank him but I did tip him out very well. I also spoke with the head of the ski/snowboard school and gave him a glowing review and the next day wrote an email to the resorts GM letting him know that he had a very talented young man on staff and they should encourage him to further pursue instruction.

Bad - I decided I needed another refresher on park features. I've become more risk adverse and figured another lesson was a great way to force myself for at least that one hour to spend it on features. I also wanted a check-point, how was I doing now that it had been about a month since my original lesson described above. I had a different instructor, also somewhat young but seemed to be in his early 20's. Completely opposite experience this time. For this lesson, I was just another number. There was little interest in working with me, it was like he was just punching the clock so he could log another hour of instruction. During the session, he would give a couple words of advice like "just go man, you can do it!" and "Uhhhh yea, just like... ride up and over it you know?" and I basically would ride the run top to bottom without further interaction. I'd occasionally see him off to the side of the trail in the trees. At the bottom, he'd meet back up and ride the lift back to the top. The only constructive piece of feedback he gave me was related to my general riding stance and tendency to over-rotate my upper body downhill. I've always done this, for 20+ years of riding to where it is my default natural riding position to me. Not the most efficient body position but I've always rode this way. That being said, I was open to his feedback and knew it was a life-long bad habit of mine and I figured I could at least get SOMETHING out of this lesson so I asked his advice on how to correct it... he had no idea, just that it was "not the right form". Thus ended the lesson for me that day as I told him I was good the rest of the hour and to take off. I spent the rest of the hour just cruising.

So I guess my take-away for you is this - do it if you love it and enjoy teaching. If this is just a way to get a free lift ticket for you, it will show to your clients/customers. Don't waste our time and money, make room for someone who actually cares about what they're doing.

11-20-2012 07:10 PM
JeffreyCH Gee wizz Wolfie, almost sounds like you know what your talkin about

I've never had a lesson, I might take one on my spring trip or next year when I hit that wall between intermediate/advanced.Last year I got my GF's 11 y/o son 2 lessons, one private, and one semi private( with one of his friends) The first guy was outstanding, the second one was..okay.
Here's the differences I saw, keep in mind this is a speed bump in Iowa. The first guy met us in the rental area and helped finishing up the gear fitting/instruction part of things (basically took over for me so I could get the hell out of the there and go ride :P) One of the first things he asked him was if there was any heel lift in his boots, and went on to explain what heel lift was. I dipped while he was showing him how to get in/out of the bindings. Very respectful young man, I could tell he was stoked on his job, gave me a "I got this, you can dip" Look.

The second guy showed up 5-10 minutes late to the meeting area and acted like he didn't even want to be there. At the end of the day my GF's son hadn't improved and his friend almost seemed traumatized.

I watched both from the lift, the first guy would talk to the boy for a few, then ride down 20' or so, stop, turn around, and wave for him to come on, then when the boy caught up to him, would talk for a few and repeat the process. On the first chair up I could see by the instructors body movements he was explaining how to get off the lift.

The second guy was texting on the lift, rode about a 1/4 of the way down the hill, texted while the boys were catching up, then took off after less then a minute spent "instructing" .... Nice enough kid, but acted more like he was babysitting, then teaching snowboarding.

The moral of the story is, do your job to the best of your abilities, you are a teacher not a babysitter. Oh yeah..and ya might wanna heed Snowolfs advice, sounds perfectly logical to me.
11-20-2012 05:31 PM
Grizz Wolfie had some great nuggets up there.

The main thing to remember about your new profession is it's student centered. You're not the important one... they are.

Empathy is a common trait I see in many talented instructors. Try to gather enough information to put yourself in their boots. It's the difference between teaching to them VS at them.

In another area, I think Bones really hits on something important here. Many first year instructors struggle with this concept.

Originally Posted by Bones View Post
2) For me personally, be physical. Don't keep saying "get lower" over and over, I heard you the first time. Problem is: I think my stance is low. Next chance you get, put your hands on my shoulders, push me down and say "that's what I mean by low".
"Get Lower", is quite vague. Tell and show your student what specific body part they need to move, how much movement is required, when to do it and for how long, to achieve the desired board/snow interaction. If they struggle give them smaller pieces of the movement pattern to focus on.

Good Luck
11-20-2012 04:56 PM
Bones As an aging adult who still takes lessons one night a week (one night of guaranteed riding and no cat-herding of friends), I'll echo a few of the above comments:

1) less talk, more rock. If you can't explain a drill in less than a minute, then work on your explanation on the next lift up but move on to another drill. I want to do, not have doing described to me.

2) For me personally, be physical. Don't keep saying "get lower" over and over, I heard you the first time. Problem is: I think my stance is low. Next chance you get, put your hands on my shoulders, push me down and say "that's what I mean by low".

3) Don't be annoyingly positive. People can tell what is false praise. Yes, you want to keep their spirits up during a rough stretch, but clapping and high fiveing after every run whether they fell 20x or not at all annoys me.

4) Give me some tip or drill that I can use to self-assess when you're not around. For example, I know I have a tendency to not shift my balance fore and aft well when carving. It just creeps in turn after turn and I don't notice until I start washing out a lot more frequently late in the day. I used to think it was a starting sign of my old legs getting tired later in the day. My instructor gave me one stupid little drill that I can do to check up on myself and now I can tell that it's not me getting tired, it's me getting lazy. Best $20 lesson I ever had.
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