Discover Michigan


Discover Michigan is a one-hour group lesson. These can be large, diverse groups of children and adults with a wide range of abilities, experience, and expectations, so they are very difficult to teach well. Some can barely walk and others have skied before.


Students arrive at different times, so they may have to catch up once the program starts. Many will not have their boots on properly or have the proper gloves. Some will be very stress trying to get their kids ready and not knowing what to do. Help them get dressed properly, especially to use one pair of socks and not to put anything in the top of their boots. Poles can help them walk; you can take them away if they are in the way.

Some have skied before and used the voucher because it is a cheap way to ski, or they brought a friend who has not skied. They are excited and are here to have fun. The idea of being in a big group waiting for people who are struggling to walk is not fun. Many are really not here for the lesson, at least not a slow one. Some are do-it-yourself adventure seekers and can be very athletic. They may like a few tips but really just want to do it. So at the beginning tell them where they can ski, to ski in control, give them a quick tip on stopping, turning, and staying forward because they will leave the lesson in many cases.

At Mt. Holly, a very large number of Discover lessons may be taught in a conventional manner. At Pine Knob, team teaching is used.


 Before skiing


1- Welcome them and thank them for coming. Tell them where you will be skiing.

2- Ask who has skied before and tell them where they can ski in case they leave the lesson. At Pine Knob, tell them to avoid the second wonder carpet and go to the rope if they leave the wonder carpet. Let them know they should go just a short way up until they can turn. They can only use the first chair when they can turn and are in control. As a self test, they should be able to make 5 turns and stop by turning. 


3- Ask if their boots hurt or if they have any questions. Make sure your group is dressed properly.

4- They may leave early, so tell them that they must ski in control which means they have to be able to stop and turn to avoid anyone below them.

5- Tell them you will be working on a athletic stance, stopping, and turning for the hour.

These people often don't know each other, so be sure to make them all feel welcome, keep it fun, and be very positive and supportive with the feedback. 


A quick introduction to the athletic stance and the wedge is made statically; make sure all can do it. Be sure hands are forward and hips and chest are over their feet.

Team teaching   

One instructor will be in boots without skis. 



One instructor will load the carpet keeping a larger than normal spacing so the instructor on top has time to help the people exit and start skiing. Assist people with a hand behind their hips or on the side of their hips if they need help walking.


If they can't make a wedge, support them on the sides of their hips and use your feet to position them in a wedge. If the snow is fast, walk them down a bit until they can glide to a stop. If it is slow, you may have to smoothly push to get them going.


Tell them: hands up, look where they are going, stand up, point their big toes at each other, and push the heels out. Shape their behavior by saying, "Yes, that is it" as soon as they get it. You have to work fast; there are more students coming. 


Know where the stop button is and use it if you get behind or if someone falls. When the people can maintain spacing, the instructor on the bottom can provide feedback. Be much faster than when teaching a private lesson; this is quick assembly line work, and you have to keep up and know what is happening around you. Discover has a special lift ticket to identify them.


It can be very crowded, especially if Superstars and the Blizzards are using the hill, so both instructors needs to know their job and execute it well. This is the age of video and social media, so mistakes will not just create one bad experience, but they will be shared. We need to have a high quality product for marketing and liability reasons. 

If they are ready, move to the rope. Here the person loading has to be very good at setting them up and keeping them from falling. Students need to be next to the rope, both skis point up hill, slowly squeeze the rope with both hands; they may need a push or you may have to catch them if they grab too fast. This takes a lot of attention and concentration. Once they are going, you may have to hold the rope up or to the side if they try to sit down or lean on the rope. 

                                                            Wrap up


At the end of the lesson explain:

1- Where they should practice , and only go higher when they can link turns and turn to a stop


2- Where they can ski with their ticket


3- How to take off their skis if they can't get up, reset their heels and put the skis across the hill to put them back on


4- How to do the gate position if they are having trouble turning their skis downhill


5- Provide some things to work on, like the number of turns they can try to make from a specific starting point, and tell them what they do in the next lesson.


Make sure they know where the cafeteria is and ask them again if their feet still feel good or if they have any other questions.


Tell them they need to be in control so they can stop or turn around anyone below them on the hill. Ask them if they like skiing, and thank them for coming, and invite them back. If done well, it should be a fun and positive experience for the instructors and the group.

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