Student patch lessons


1- No patch- stance, gliding wedge, stops, turns video

2- Yellow- stance, big and small turns, turn or push on big toes, five turns to a stop

3- Brown- stance, matching, and five turns to a stop 

4- Blue- stance, matching earlier

5- Red- stance, parallel turns with pole touch

6- Orange- park safety, etiquette, pop, ollie, switch, straight jump, grab, box, slide box  

7- White- stance, larger and smoother parallel turns

8- Black- stance, small turns in moguls and wall 


Students often make parallel turns almost immediately after their first wedge turns when they are; on a gentle slope, not leaning back, in a small wedge, have speed, and not turning very far (the big 5).


Stance is very important students often over flex knees and waist with no ankle flex. Or they move back at the waist when they start moving. Use verbal cues: stand up, on toes, chest over feet, hands up, forward, shins to boots, less knee more ankle.  


After the lesson they usually ski with friends or family and go to runs that are too steep and ski too fast so they end up stuck back on their skis in a wide wedge. Much of brown, blue, and red lessons is getting them more centered and using a smaller wedge. Then adding early weight transfer, and down and up motion with speed on a gentle slope will recreate the parallel turns.

                                                     When and how        

Student lessons are taught at 5 and 6:00 pm (6:30 at pine Knob) weekday evenings. Students earn a patch to control what runs they can use, they must be at least seven years old. Team teaching is used at Pine Knob for the first lesson.

Smile, speak loud, be friendly and confident when you introduce yourself, this is fun! Some of your students may be afraid. Collect lesson tickets and know how many are in your group. Safety first, especially with chairlifts. Keep moving, give a lot of feedback. Finish on time, students may have to leave.  


Act professional with discipline problems. Imagine the parent is always there, anything you say will get back to them. This program is for kids who ski only a few times each season, it is mostly about skiing in control so don't be too critical when grading.

These are lessons, and it may take many lessons over the course of several seasons to earn a patch. It can be weeks since the last time they skied, they can be on different gear, and the conditions may be different. Even if students were able to perform properly for the last patch, they will go back to making natural moves many times before they can execute ski moves with a degree of consistency.


Always tell students to start in a skiing stance before every run and provide feedback to correct problems with it (less knee flex, more ankle, hips and chest over feet.) Watch for students flexing too far forward at the waist, bending too much at the knees with little bend at the ankles. Tell these students to stand up more on their toes.

Go back as far as necessary to review, or take weak students to a lower group. The format is: ski warm up runs for the students in lessons beyond the yellow class and then: review, teach new content, and grade.  Some will be afraid and others will be over confident. Pay close attention to your students and progress at a pace that is safe but not boring.


In case of an accident; shelter the injured student, send and call for help Ski patrol 248 625-0800  ext. 6 , don't move the student, look for any witnesses, talk about the details only with ski patrol and the ski school director.

                                                                      1- Green Patch New Grading

                                                                        Stopping and turns


1)- Smile, some may be afraid, imagine they are your friends, speak loud. Check clothing and boots. Walk to the wonder carpet.

Ask if the students have taken a green lesson. If they have and can now use the rope, make turns , and stop they can go to yellow.

Static exercises: stance, ankle flex, step in circle, different size wedges.


If necessary: slide feet back and forth, run in place, bounce, hop skis off ground. If coordinated, side step, straight run, then make wedge. Watch for quiet kids who may be afraid or embarrassed and don't want to tell you. 


2)- Load carpet with proper spacing and keep students looping as soon as they exit on top. There is not a lot of time before the next student so get them going quickly and be aware of where the next student is. Stand perpendicular to them in a skiing position as you verbally coach them: hands up, look ahead, chest over toes and stand up on toes. Shape their behavior with positive reinforcement as soon as they get it: "good that is it!" Point toes together and push heels apart. Be sure they are not flexed too much at the knees or waist, if so have them stand taller.


If it is fast and icy make sure they start in a wedge and you slow them down with a T bar in the front of their ankles or behind their boots. You can hold the tips of their skis and position them in a wedge if necessary, or support their hips and use your feet to make a wedge for them. It is easier to be in snow boots rather than ski boots. If it is slow students may need a push behind their hips or with a T bar behind their feet. 

Make at least 5 runs of wedges: bouncing in a small wedge, moving down to touch their knees then up, 3 or more wedges in a row (called wedge change ups), straight run to wedge stop half way down, then wedge stop at the bottom stay centered, a small gliding wedge.


If team teaching, the person on bottom can gather the group to keep them together on busy days, but the waiting will be boring for some of the kids.

Correct problems by having them: keep knees apart, forward, equal weight on both skis. Position students if necessary. Compare good to incorrect move. If snow is slow provide a push for some speed, check for ice on the bottom of skis if they can't slide.

3)- If they are ready, use the rope. Start with wedge stops, team teach the rope at Pine Knob -Video   Pay close attention with your skis off on top and bottom, support them and the rope if necessary. The bottom person loads the rope with proper spacing,  and organizes the group when busy. Support students between the middle of their hips from behind or on their side, don't reach and grab their arms. 


Ski straight down the hill in gliding wedge for 3 seconds to build speed; think go straight at first before turning, very slightly turn both feet (or have them point their toes) one way, then go straight for three seconds and turn the other way. If necessary and there is time, try flexing an ankle to turn  (or have them push on one big toe then the other).



To earn a green patch, students must be able to: 

1- Use the rope tow

2- Link a least four turns

3- Make a wedge stop

End the lesson with a review of stance, wedge, turning, how to take off the skis to get up and put them across the hill and reset the heel of the binding to put on, tell them where they can ski, and that they must be in control so they can stop and turn around skiers below them. Tell them where to get their patch. The ones who did not get their green can still take yellow next time if they practice and can turn before taking the yellow. If they are excited, congratulations you may have just created a lifelong skier!

                                                                2- Yellow patch

                                                             Turns; 2 sizes, 2 ways, link to a stop       


1)- Ask if everyone have used the rope, if they can stop and turn, and if they skied this season. If not then they may be better in the green class. Static exercises: stance, ankle flex, wedge. Then review making wedge stops. If they say they can make turns, ask them to turn and see how they do. At Pine Knob keep students looping on the rope with you in boots to help them exit. Give different assignments to different level students and some may need to be moved up or down to a different class. At Holly the rope run is more gentle, so the students can go higher. If you line them up when they exit, keep the explanation short and have them go one after another to keep them moving.   

2)- Ski straight downhill in a skiing stance using a narrow gliding wedge for three seconds to build speed, slightly turn both feet one way, next point the feet downhill to go straight for 3 seconds, then make a slight turn in the other direction. Be sure they do not try to turn as soon as they start moving, they need speed.  Give them a specific number of turns to make, such as 2, 4, or 6. Then make half as many turns, so 3 turns if they are making 6. Make 3 small turns followed by 3 large turns. Then reverse, 3 large then 3 small. Some will start making parallel turns. 

You have to really be watching your kids close and giving them specific feedback such as: get forward, stand up, smaller wedge, use more speed before turning, don't turn so far, turn both your feet not your shoulders, make 6 turns, great now make 3. Keep them moving with specific feedback, and they will have fun. 


If the kids can all turn their feet or if they need a different method have them try flexing the ankles like they are kneeling down to turn (or tell them to push on one big toe then the other). Face the same direction as the student and have them practice flexing their downhill ankle. Check to be sure they are doing it. The ankle is flexing forward; make sure they are not moving their knee inside and edging the ski, or flexing their knee rather than ankle.


Starting in a gliding wedge straight down the hill for 3 seconds, flex the ankle you practiced statically to make a slight turn, return to wedge to go straight for three seconds, then flex the other ankle to make a slight turn.


Exercises: touch hand to the knee as ankle is flexed, ankle flex bouncers, flex ankles quickly for small turns. 


Students can use either method to turn, or do a combination of both. Turn the feet then flex the ankle, or flex the ankle then turn the feet. Explain that they control their speed by how far they turn, and have them link turns to a stop.


3)- Use the chair only if all are ready, otherwise grade from the rope. Students should be able to stand on the slope and side step. Make a set of 5 turns and stop by turning across the hillIf they can not stop in either direction then they need to practice more. Students should be more successful this season if they can stop, turn, and use the rope to earn their green patch. Review what you worked on, make sure they know how to get up reset their heels and put their skis on across the hill, give them something to practice. Tell ones who pass where to get a patch and where they can ski, not beyond the beginner chairs, and to ski in control.

                                                                         3- Brown

                                                                      Matching in 2nd half

1)- Ask who has been on a chair and if they have skied this season. Start on the rope at Pine Knob, many will not have been on a chair and may be very weak only having skied a few times. This can be mostly a yellow patch lesson. Statically practice stance and ankle flex. Make sure they can turn. Practice run of wedge turns, watch for some naturally matching. They should be able to line up and stand with their skis across the hill.  

2)- On a gentle slope, ski straight downhill in a skiing stance(chest over toes and stand on toes), using a small wedge, with speed, and make slight turns (the big 5). Skis may start to spontaneously match. Be sure they are in a skiing stance with hips over feet and chest over toes (stand up if on the heels and in a sitting on a chair position). If hips are behind the heels in a wide wedge, matching will be hard. To encourage matching: turn both feet especially the inside ski to produce matching, focus on an early weight transfer, or add smooth down to turn and up to start.


Exercises: touch hand to the outside knee as the ankle is flexed. Bounce on the outside ski.


If necessary statically practice active matching. Stand with skis across the hill in a small wedge and transfer weight with ankle flex to the downhill ski and match. Exercises: touch hand to knee as they transfer the weight, steer the uphill ski to match, push down on the small toe of the uphill ski. Do an uphill christie in each direction, and then link turns.

3)-Go to chair two at Pine Knob only if they are ready. Test on the more gentle parts of the runs they can ski, just ski in control on the steeper sections. To pass make five turns with matching in the second part of the turn and turn to a stop. Tell them: to ski in control, what to practice (usually get forward, smaller wedge,) where to ski, up to Woodward at Holly or PK chairs 1,2,5,6 Quicksilver and cedar bowl. Make sure they know how to get back to the lodge at Pine Knob if you make it to Quicksilver. 

                                                                        4- Blue

                                                                     Matching in 1st half


1)- Ask if they have ever skied on Quick silver at Pine Knob, and when they last skied. Static exercises: stance and ankle flex. Make a run with you leading to see if they can turn and so they can practice. If there is a strong student have them lead run 2 and you watch from behind. They need a small wedge and a skiing stance over the center on the skis.

2)- Use the Big 5: On a gentle slope, in a centered stance, ski straight downhill in a narrow wedge, with some speed, and make slight turns. Then focus on transferring weight sooner at the start of each new turn, next add smooth down motion to finish and up to start, touch the outside hand to the knee. Turn both feet to encourage matching. 


If necessary, statically practice active matching, with skis across the hill in a small wedge, both poles below body for support. Then step on the uphill ski and match as they project their body downhill onto their poles. Start in a steep traverse (mostly downhill) and do the top part of the turn first. Statically practice pole swing and touch.

3)- Test on wider and flatter parts of slope. Five turns with earlier matching and turn to a stop. Tell them to ski in control, what to practice: forward, smaller wedge, quick weight transfer, down and up. They ski same slopes as brown at PK, and all but lightning and Thunderbolt at Holly. Make sure they know how to get back to the lodge at Pine Knob.  


                                                                         5- Red

                                                                     Parallel with pole touch


1)- Ask when they last skied. Static exercise: stance, and ankle flex. Spend time getting them centered if they are way in the back and stuck in a wedge. Make a couple runs on gentle terrain to evaluate them and let them warm up.


2)- On a gentle slope ski straight downhill and have them focus on very early weight transfer. Then add down motion to finish and up to start. Introduce poles with static practice; up, swing, and touch.


If necessary practice active weight transfer statically as in the blue patch but with the skis parallel. Do uphill christies working on inside lead, then ankle flex and angulation (flex and tip) before heading to steeper slopes. See exercises for inside lead and tipping which include; holding the poles horizontally as inside half is advanced, and pushing down on the downhill knee with the hand.

3)- Watch out for high school ski racers it can be very dangerous if they are warming up on white lightning or phase one. Make five parallel turns with a pole touch and turn to a stop. Problems will be leaning back, rotating and banking. Tell them what to practice, where to ski: all but Thunderbolt at Holly and the wall at PK. Tell them to ski in control. 


                                                                      6- Orange 

                                                           Beginner park can be taken any time after red 

1)- Static exercises: stance, jumps (pop), tail down (ollie), tips down (nollie), jump and turn feet perpendicular to land, jump and turn 180 to switch.


2)- Do the static exercises in motion while skiing straight on a gentle slope

3)- Straight jump, add a grab


4)- Straight box, slide box  


Students must perform all maneuvers to pass. They can ski all slopes at Holly and all but the wall at Pine Knob 



                                                        7- White

                                                                          Bigger parallel


1)- Static exercises: stance and ankle flex. Do a couple runs so they can practice. Most will still be leaning back, rotating, and banking. Watch out for high school racers.

2)- Make some larger parallel turns by slowing down the moves and working on good timing with the pole touch. Change the speed by changing how completed the turns are made. Make 3 slow turns then 3 fast turns. Do a uphill christies to work on inside lead, angulation, or ankle flexing. See exercises. Link turns and focus on stepping on the new outside ski and then: flexing the ankle, or tipping, or turning both feet. 

3)- Make five larger smoother parallel turns. Tell them to ski in control, what to practice. They can ski everything at Holly and all but the wall at PK.


                                                                      8- Black

                                                                Smaller turns, moguls/wall


1)- Static exercises: stance and ankle flex. Do a warm up run, watch out for high school racers.

2)- Side slips: facing both ways with slow and then quick edge sets, next add the pole touch. Do pivot slip, crab walk, hop turns, static hoping with soft verse hard landings, straight run in a wedge and then quickly push on the ball of one foot then the other; the skis will match.


Moguls: start near the bottom of the moguls and ski straight over the moguls to practice absorbing with the legs verse the waist. Low in mogul field work on line, edging on the downhill side of the bump. Wall: uphill christie to a stop, then link turns.


3)- Make linked small turns with pole touch, ski one line in the moguls, ski a smooth part of the wall with good snow. Tell them to ski in control, what to work on and where to ski. They can ski everything.



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