Today's blog post author, Luc Blazejewski, started ski instructing at Crystal Mountain at the age of 15 and has continued to instruct at Crystal Mountain for the last 10 years. He is a certified Professional Ski Instructor of America, earning level 2 alpine and level 1 telemark certifications. His favorite aspect of ski instructing is watching students grow in their passion and enthusiasm for skiing over the course of a lesson.
Safety, fun and learning - these are the priorities of every ski instructor. It is our philosophy that the best learning occurs in safe and fun environments.
But try and tell the kids that! When teaching young children, I'm often faced with students eager to ski black diamonds, yet they're still working on making confident turns on tougher greens. My utmost concern is the safety of the group, and riding trails above their level has inherent danger. However, repetitively skiing the same green runs will most likely lead to boredom… or will it?
One of the great aspects of Crystal Mountain is our selection of slopes for beginner skiers. Many of Crystal's green runs are truly playgrounds that can be new and exciting each time they're skied. Emmy, J.T.'s Trail, Tammy's Turn, and Main Street offer a variety of playful features that can also serve as teaching tools. Those slopes offer high walls to ski up and down, small jumps and bumps, plus short tree runs that can be utilized to improve skiing. Trail features like these also address a common problem preventing novices from conquering blue runs – which is how beginners stand or balance over their skis.
Terrain changes, even on the easiest of runs, challenge a skier's balance. By adding features to a lesson, such as a short tree run, I can both challenge and improve my students' balance while making the “boring” green run fun and exciting. And a big plus: kids who enjoy going straight down greens are more likely to turn and control their speed to use these features.
If you're a novice skier searching for a way to make greens more exciting before ramping up to blues, I highly recommend searching out these features. It's also important to note the safety aspects of using these natural terrain features. Smart Style, the safety code of the terrain park, is a good reference:
1. Make a Plan: Know which features you will hit at the start of your run.
2. Look Before You Leap: Inspect any features before using them.
3. Easy Style It: Take new features slow and easy.
4. Respect gets Respect: Be mindful of others, especially when exiting and entering a trail.