Instructor Training

Great teaching will create a better experience for your students, generate positive social media, reduce liability with all the video people are taking, and it is more fun.                                                             




We require three clinics each season. They will be organized around the kinds of lessons we teach. Privates for beginners, intermediates, advanced, and young kids. Group lessons for students, Superstars, Kindersparks, and Discover Michigan. In addition there clinics to improve your skiing or riding. Demonstrations and exercises will be practiced. Instructors should take clinics for the type of lessons you plan to teach. They are about 60-90 minutes long. Most clinics are offered in December before the Christmas holidays.


                                                   Online reviews

There are reviews at the end of ten sections of this website. They help to highlight and reinforce some key points. We recommend doing all the reviews.   

                                           Qualities to develop

Strong evaluation skills are needed to teach good lessons. You need to evaluate how your students are doing, are they having fun or are they bored because you are going too slow? Are you going too fast and creating fear? If you can't tell ask them, and encourage them to let you know what they want.


Are they in an athletic stance? Are they moving to slow to easily start a turn? Are they turning too far that they lose their momentum and slow down?   

Great teaching can convert students into returning customers. It takes a combination of: self awareness, awareness of your students needs, personality, energy, a fun attitude, physical ability, confidence, and knowledge to respond to the unique physical and emotional needs of each student. You may also have to shape their expectations by helping them understand that improving is a process that will take time and practice.

Always seek to improve your teaching and review every lesson for what went well or could have been done better. When you get returning customers, keep a log of what you did and what you want to work on for the next time.

We have a strong emphasis on teaching beginners because it takes a lot of knowledge and skill to teach a great beginner lesson. You can have a big impact on someone giving them a lifetime of fun and adventure.


                                                Pine Knob Ski Instructors

                                                                                                   New instructors


After the hiring clinic, first year instructors will begin a process of teaching each other and providing feedback as was done in the hiring clinic.


1- In your first week you will team teach green lessons to other new instructors who will be providing feedback. Then you switch roles and give feedback to other new instructors. 


2- The second week you will teach private lessons to other new instructors who are providing feedback. One of these lessons will be simulating a lesson with a four year old. When you feel ready we will review your progress and decide if you are ready to teach actual students. 


                                                                                    Experienced instructors 


There is a more detailed training program for ski instructors who have been teaching for at least a year. Here are the three parts to the program for ski instructors. 

1- Ski instructors will be sent a series of 10 emails starting November 10. There are reviews for each email that need be completed correctly.


2- In addition to this, the three private lesson clinics must be completed for beginners, intermediates, and advanced lessons. You can substitute the young children private lesson for the advanced if you do not teach advanced privates.


3- Finally, when you are ready you will request an evaluation of your teaching a beginner lesson using the assessment form below. An evaluation will be done at the end of the lesson.   


Student lesson clinics will be schedule when the instructors assigned to teach them are available.                                              

Ski instructor evaluation form


Scoring  1- needs work  2- acceptable   3- excellent




People skills


1- Appearance- clean school jacket, name tag and helmet

2- Speaks loud, makes eye contact, smiles, pleasant, confident, fun


3- Checks clothes and equipment, asks cold or if feet hurt

4- Asks questions of parents and/or student about goals and athletic background, encourages them to ask questions

5- At the end tells them what is next, thanks them, invites them back, and schedules their next lesson if they would like to do it right away. Tells them where the restrooms and cafeteria is at. 


Teaching skills


All levels

1- Pays attention to students and sets the pace based on their performance, not too fast or slow, asks if unsure, not a set plan, different tasks for each student if needed in semi private

2- Provides a clear explanation and then specific feedback during or after performance especially for athletic stance, physically assisting when necessary, makes good demos. Always tells them to start in an athletic stance before every run, knows "Ski Moves" verse natural moves

3- End lessons by telling them to ski in control not hit anyone, reviews what to practice, where to ski and to gradually go higher when they can link turns and turn to a stop.



1- Before using the lift- walking, athletic stance, static exercises, side step, straight run, assistance using lift support at hips, proper spacing, support on and off rope and setting up to ski 

2- Gliding wedge in athletic stance, bouncing on toes, touching knees, wedge change up, wedge stop, controls speed with T bar if icy or pushes if snow is slow, has students ski down next to carpet as soon as exiting, works in boots when necessary, uses other tools like wedge maker if necessary


3- Gliding wedge turns: in athletic stance, narrow wedge, with speed, slight turn, straight, then turn other way. Turn feet or push on big toes or combine. Specific number of big and small turns, turn to a stop at the end. Can see when knee is moved inside verse flexing the ankle, or if the hip move outside and flattens the ski, or if the knee is flexed rather than the ankle. Not doing: just one turn to a stop, starting in a traverse, skiing too slow, turning too far across the hill, or rushing from one turn to the next. Makes sure they know how to take off skis off, reset binding, and put on    



1- Warm up run, evaluate, review athletic stance and wedge turns, explain chair use if needed, work on matching and pole use

2- Use the "Big 5" gentle slope, athletic stance, small wedge, speed, slight turns. Turns often become parallel. Outside hand to knee. If needed, do deliberate matching statically and fan exercise for the bottom part of the turn first. Or static step on outside ski and match the skis, then starting in a steep traverse link turns to work on matching in the first half of the turn.

3- Add early weight transfer, down and up motion, pole swing and touch



1- Warm up, evaluate, review athletic stance, review pole use if necessary

2-  Exercises for SWIFT, progressions, opposite/extremes. Uphill christie for progressive ankle flex and tip( angulation) drills. Turning both feet for skidded turns for most students

3- Adding variety, size, shape, speed, steepness, conditions, moguls, and park for those interested

Smooth (continuous) flow over the feet while loading and unloading the skis, keep Big MO going downhill. Knows the "visual skiing position" when angulation ends to look for well timed ski moves.




                                         Review for this section

                                                   2 of 10 reviews

                                              5 true or false questions






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 Great teaching lasts a lifetime!