A Guide To Learning by Babs
Understandably quite a few folk in the French ski industry have something to say about the new ruling on unqualified guides in the French Alps.
When I gave up teaching in 2006, several friends who ran chalets offered me the opportunity to host & guide their clients on piste. I was grateful for and flattered by their offers of work but declined all of them.
This was partly because I knew I was a familiar face to many of the other ski schools and I didn’t want anyone jumping to conclusions and assuming I was now working on the black, which I never have and never will do.
But there was also another reason. Hosts/Guides are not permitted to teach their clients and I knew that I would find it impossible to watch a client struggling down a hill and not say ‘next time try….’ Or ‘watch how I …. And try to copy’
‘Oh but that isn’t really ski teaching’ I hear you say. Oh but yes it is my friends!!!
Many folk still have a very dated and inaccurate idea of what a ski lesson consists of. Years ago it was easy to spot the billy bunters in their lessons – all lined up in regimental fashion, while the instructor showed you awkward manoeuvres to try with little or no explanation beyond ‘bend zee knees’. OK, maybe not that dated, but there’s still this idea that it is all about repeating bizarre exercises ad nauseum or earnestly asking ‘what am I doing wrong?’
Modern day ski instruction is so sophisticated by contrast, the client can learn without even realising it. Using VAK (Visual, Audio or Kinaesthetic feedback) an instructor can improve your technique just by taking you on the right gradient slope for the task and giving you a good example to copy. Yes they still use exercises, or drills, to bring home a point but this is only one tool in a tool box crammed full of user friendly options which can be tailored to the individual learner.
I am sure many intermediate skiers stop taking lessons, not because they think there is nothing more to learn but because they think they have reached the limit of what they are capable of learning, that achieving high end skiing is down to good genes or starting at about the same time you start to walk. Undoubtedly both these factors will give an individual a head start but just as there are many ways to skin a cat, a talented teacher can find a way to help you along your individual learning curve. And it doesn’t have to mean wasting your valuable ski time standing in line! Learning isn’t always easy but it can be simple. And fun!!
Don’t take my word for it book a lesson with Ed or Joe this winter.