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                                              Know your customer


Most skiers learn from friends, family, or try it on their own. People who take lessons have often had a bad experience, or they want to learn right, are fearful, or buy the lesson for their child. Customers often want better control on steeper hills. Many do not have a goal, but they may have an expectation that they will be able to ski bigger runs quickly. Speed is fun so they often want to go faster and higher before they are ready. 

Some kids do not want to take a lesson at all, they want to do it on their own. Others will get frustrated quick if they are not immediately successful. There are kids who are so shy they will not tell you anything, like their feet hurt or they are cold. 


Parents can have unrealistic expectations that one lesson will turn their child into a parallel skier who can ski steeper slopes with them. So it is important to understand what your customer wants, and help them set realistic expectations.


It is common to see beginners head up challenging slopes thinking they will be able to ski down. When friends and family teach they usually go to slopes that are too difficult. The result is often fear, frustration, accidents, and someone who does not want to ski again. The right terrain is critical, 83 percent of first timers never return.



Lessons often involve people who have had difficult experiences, or parents wanting to get their kids more control so they can ski on steeper slopes. Parents often think it is good to "challenge" their kids on steeper slopes because they don't know what to teach them on the right terrain. Kids may have been skiing for a long time reinforcing bad habits, but parents can think one hour with an instructor will make them ski in control on advanced slopes.

Managing expectations and educating customers that improvement is a process which takes time is important. Ask your private lesson customers what they expect from the lesson. Find out what other sports they participate in, do they ice skate, roller blade, or skateboard?

Many kids are put in a lesson but they do not want to be in a lesson, and some may not even want to ski. However they may expect to ski bigger hills quickly once they get going. Others are fearful and lack confidence that they can ski. Most people won't ski frequently or take lessons beyond the beginner level. Some just want to try skiing as a bucket list item with no plans to ever return.


Even when you give customers a plan for where to ski after a lesson, friends will often take them to slopes beyond their ability right after the lesson. This will cause them to lean back and limit their improvement, so tell the parents that they should be linking turns and turning to a stop at the end before going too high. Realistic and achievable goals for most students will be; getting a bit more forward and learning to turn their feet rather than their shoulders as they tip outside the turn.

                                               Understand skiers

The average skier only participates 6 times a season. Participants range from a culture of do it yourself thrill seekers, to those who are risk averse and want detailed instruction.

Only a third of beginners take lessons and only 7.5 percent of all participants take lessons at any level. Twelve 12 percent of them have a negative lesson experience, so it is important to teach a great lesson especially to beginners. 

Some skiers know they could improve but are fine with how they ski. For many people skiing is just a fun activity to do with family and friends. It provides freedom to explore the mountain and challenge their abilities, they are not looking to be top skiers. If they take a lesson, it is just to enjoy more of the mountain.

Many do not know how well they ski or that they could improve, and they think they ski much better than they do. But even if they want to get better, they do not know what to do or if they are actually doing it. Many are surprised to learn that top competitive skiers get regular coaching, they think one lesson would be all it takes. Students are trying to replace natural movements that have been reinforced over time with Ski Moves, they need clear goals and specific feedback. 

                                           Creative expression

Many dedicated skiers aspire to be great, but they don't know what that means or realize the amount of time and effort that is required. For most skiers there is no score to measure performance, so skiing allows for creative personal expression. This is an engaging aspect of the sport, but it can prevent skiers from realizing they could improve, or even wanting to improve if they realize it is possible. They may reject instruction that feels too different from how they normally ski.


Some think they are experts when they can ski fast on expert terrain because that is the only way they know to evaluate their performance. They can become bored, thinking they have mastered skiing, and lose interest long before experiencing their full potential.


                                                          Instant results 


When experienced skiers take a lesson they may think a few tips is all it takes to improve, and they can get discouraged if big changes are not made.


Some find lessons to be expensive, confusing, ineffective, advice that is inconsistent, boring, and do not like standing around or receiving feedback. Great teaching can change this and make improving fun. 


Most skiers don't have the time, money, or desire to rebuild their skiing. So it is important to work on the most productive moves that will give them as much improvement as possible in a limited time. You have to understand their goals and what type of instruction they want, just a few tips and with a lot of time to explore, or more intense drills and feedback. 

                                         Expectations and issues

1- They don't think skiing will be hard

2- Think they can teach their friends and families

3- Think the ones they teach can progress quickly to steeper slopes

4- Can be very fearful

5- Give up and may feel like skiing is beyond them, or feel like a failure
when they struggle

6- Learn very different, and have different abilities

7- Respond to the content and quality of their instruction which makes a huge
difference in their success and the overall experience. Great teaching is important.

8- Do not know what to work on, or how they are doing beyond adding more
speed and terrain

9- Find instruction to be too expensive, complex, ineffective, inconsistent, embarrassing
in a group, don't like feedback, using the rope, snow conditions, crowds,
wild kids, the weather, the boots, all the hassle, or the waiting around.

10 - Don't realize they could use instruction.

People experience skiing through the personal sensations they have, which is part of the reason there can be so much debate about skiing. Skiers love the sensations of speed, feeling the forces of turning, and the flow into the new turn. Powder, park, big mountain lines, racing, and moguls are all different passions.

It is very creative how big mountain skiers will ski lines or the tricks park skiers perform. They get instant feedback just like a racer or mogul skier to see if their experiences match reality. As with many sports, the challenge is the mind body connection, can you actually make your plan happen?    





                                                 Five true and false questions

Home for Mt. Holly and Pine Knob Instructors

 Clear goals and specific feedback

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