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March 21, 2007

The PSIA and Teaching Part Time

Alpengluhen has a great article on the challenges of improving as a part time instructor:

The part that isn't easy to realize is just how large of a gap there is between levels 1 and 2. The testing changes from general skiing ability to a realm entirely different. Book knowledge, teaching abilities, and general skiing all need to increased by several fold. Wherein lies the problem.


Working at a smaller resort has it's advantages until you reach the concept of advancing, where you run into the unspoken barriers within the organization. Working with beginners is about 90-95% of any instructors' job regardless of location. Typically busy from open to close with a minor break for lunch. With a larger resort though, it's possible to pass off a class to another instructor giving you time to practice what's needed for your exam certs. The sad truth is that working regularly with beginners degrades your own skiing abilities as an instructor (mainly you become sloppy in your form).

The advancing tests aren't about the ability to make it down run XYZ in one piece at Level 2 (or 3), they're more focused on the ability to get down a run gracefully while fully utilizing the standards of balance. Did you engage those edges? Actively pressure the fore and aft of the ski? Maintain a balanced stance? Were you able to "dance with gravity"?

If you're a weekend warrior or part-time instructor time becomes your enemy here. When downtime arrives, it's typically at your second job, which has nothing to do with riding. In short, you've now encountered the ugly side of the professional organizations; the unspoken desire to keep the ranks to an exclusive group of full-time professionals. There are part-time and weekend warriors who have made it to the level of DCL, it's taken them years to achieve this rank. I've met two and both of them are amazing instructors and people. While talking with my DCL this weekend over my leveling exam he expressed the difficulties many of his own instructors were having with this very issue.

Go check out the site. It is one of my favorites. Always good info from a part time instructor who has a day job Mon-Fri. Lots of good info and fun reading.

Posted by Justin at March 21, 2007 12:28 AM