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Help Needed: What Kinds of Women's Programs Would You Like To See?

Mary Tee

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
As @Olesya Chornoguz related in her 2017 TR about a Taos Ski Week, after the ski off she was put in the same group as my ski buddy Bill. Since she'd skied with him on a few trips out west, she knew that she shouldn't be in a lesson group with him. However, the group she was with the first day was not right either. After talking to the supervisor the next morning, she was moved to a group that was perfect.

The moral is that it's helpful for a student to come up with a short self-introduction that can help the supervisor who is creating groups, whether or not there is a ski-off. Ideally, someone would ask enough questions early on. But if not, it pays to speak up.

From the stand point of organizing a multi-day program, if there could be an opportunity for people to meet and chat off snow before the first lesson, that could be helpful. Pretty sure that happens for the Alta multi-day clinics by having the instructor(s) at dinner the day the students arrive. For the first Gold Clinic at Massanutten, the students gathered in the lodge the first morning for introductions. Most already knew the instructor, but I think he did pop in to say hello before going off to get ready for the day. I think the instructors met with the Divas in the lodge for the NASTC 3-morning clinic during the 2010 Diva Week in north Tahoe.
The Okemo week did not include a ski off, but there was a questionair concerning skiing ability, and I must say the group I was in was perfect. I think it was a group of 6 or 7 and there was one person slightly better than the rest and one slightly worse than the rest, but whoever did the grouping hit ours perfectly.

Mary Tee

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
At Elk, there was supposed to be video analysis. Spent time filming my group of four individually. But it turned out that the camera was not working. Definitely a waste of time that day.
Ha...had the same experience at Elk twice...15+ years ago...think they have the same camera???


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
....Has anyone done a clinic or lesson that involved video analysis? .... I imagine that not everyone would want to have their form dissected in front of a group.
Had video several times.... Review of video was done as a group. Less stressful when I knew the other students better....
At Elk, there was supposed to be video analysis. Spent time filming my group of four individually. But it turned out that the camera was not working. Definitely a waste of time that day.
Video is great -- because it shows us what the body is doing. Most skiers can't really tell what their body parts are doing because there aren't mirrors on the side of the trail, and most people haven't built up the proprioception to monitor everything they are moving. Video can help with that.

But skiers need to feel what the skis are doing on the snow. Learning to feel the ski-snow interaction can be done without the camera. Pairing video of body movements with feeling what's going on at the level of the snow is the best of both worlds.

I once took a two-day PSIA camp that was supposed to have extensive video. The leader was unfamiliar with how the new software on his camera worked, and he did not have a good plan for video review. Not good! Much time was wasted - hours even.

The best use of video I've experienced happened at a one-week ski camp I attended some time ago, but it had its problems too. At the end of each morning session, video of everyone in the group was taken on the last run as they repeated what they had been working on all morning. This process happened again at the end of the afternoon.

Each person's morning video was privately reviewed at a table at lunch where the teacher was stationed. The same happened in the afternoon as people de-booted in the lodge. So in five days, I had ten videos taken of me, and ten video reviews. All that video review put an inordinate amount of focus on body mechanics with very little focus on feeling the ski-snow interaction that resulted. I found this problematic. We were told not to trust our sensations, only trust the video. This made camp participants dependent on the videos. And on returning for camp next year (good business decision but not so good for campers IMO).

Ten videos was also too frequent and too much. Two reviews each day made the video the primary "judge" of each person's progress. It takes time to change what one does on skis, and I didn't see progress between a morning and an afternoon so those videos revealed failure day after day. It was disheartening. At least no on-snow time was wasted.

If I were leading a once-a-week morning seasonal program (which I hope to do some day soon), I'd definitely do video of each person on a single run at the end of the morning. I'd call down one skier at a time for this. Then participants would be invited to meet me at a table in the lodge afterwards if they wanted to review their run privately, just as at that camp I took, since this part of the process worked well. On snow I'd focus on getting students to feel how the skis performed on the snow and coordinate that with whatever the morning's body mechanics focus was. The video review would focus on both body mechanics and the sensations of ski-snow interaction.
I get more out of seeing short clips during a semi-private lesson with my instructor at Alta.
In a private or semi-private lesson, the review should happen on the chair immediately afterwards for maximum coordination of movements and ski-snow sensations, as marzNC points out.
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In a private or semi-private lesson, the review should happen on the chair immediately afterwards for maximum coordination of movements and ski-snow sensations, as marzNC points out.
To be clear, the review of the video clips with my instructor at Alta did not happen on the chairlift.

Arthur uses his iPhone. On a cloudy day, it's possible to see the screen at the side of the trail immediately afterwards. He has software that makes is easy to view in slow motion or look at a still shot. Sometime he will draw lines showing how lower legs or body are oriented in a side view. More often we would stop in a building soon afterwards and review indoors.

I still don't really like video, but the way Arthur uses it can be helpful. I know it helps me to see what he points out for my friend who does a lesson with me. Occurs to me that it's been another way that I've learned more about movement analysis. I can watch from Arthur's viewpoint as he takes the video. Then listen to his analysis while looking at the video. As well listen to the questions and comments by the friend. For my own skiing, at this point I usually have a sense of what I didn't do correctly as soon as he mentions an issue even before I see the video.

Learning from comments about others in the lesson group can help when it's reviewed together. But more intimidating. The concept worked for the Gold Clinic because the participants got to know each other outside the actual group lesson or were regulars who already knew each other before the 8-week clinic started. Ideally, Walter took video of everyone individually on the first day and then again 5-6 weeks later. He would analyze the video in between sessions, so knew what he wanted to talk about with the group. The review happened indoors, on a big screen, and usually the hour before going out for a lesson or right after the morning lesson.
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There was a feature of the Taos video that was helpful. The video for the group included the instructor too. We did three different sections. So could see what she did on the same terrain. Ski Week participants are given a link to the group video to view online and get download as well.
IIRC the video also included the level 2 instructor that joined our group halfway through... BTW I had a CD mailed to me .


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
From another instructor's point of view:

I had my first opportunity to teach in our locals' program last season. 2 days/week for 5 weeks + weekly off snow clinics (boot fitting, tuning, etc) and apres events. It was SO fun! And SO wonderful from a teaching standpoint to be able to work on a whole skills progression and move toward achieving the goals of the group and the various individuals. It made my regular lessons feel so compressed by comparison. We could drill down more. We could practice skills in different terrain types and we were SURE to encounter a variety of conditions over the 5 week period.

Anyway - I would think that as a student, you should encounter some happy, highly motivated instructors if you can sign up for any kind of a multiple lesson series. It's a totally different teaching experience for the instructor.

As is luckily often the case at Big Sky, the groups were also small. I had one group of 5 women and a mixed gender group of 6.

I'm planning to do it again and since a number of the folks want to ski with me again, there is the added advantage for them of having an instructor who already knows how they ski!
While not a women's specific program, in fact it's mostly men (shocking!), I like that my race clinic is 6 consecutive weeks. It also helps that we've had the same coach for years so he knows me, and he knows my skiing, where I've been and where I'm headed. I find that to be invaluable in itself.


Staff member
The WB camps do not use video that I know of. WE did video once during a week long Ladies Edge Camp, run by the CSIA and only for women instructors. We did the video, skied down to the lift, came back up to a small lodge that the ski school uses and has been set up for the video. But everyone watched everyone else. We were a small group and it didn't much time, but I would have preferred for it to be one on one.

I was at a CSIA event years ago when the course conductor pulled out his phone and did some video. With my contacts, I can see close up, so that was a waste of time for me. By the time I'd pulled out my cheaters, he was on to something else. We just looked at it on the side of the trail.

Personally I like video, but it must be shown, right after the run. That way your remember how you felt and can see what it looked like.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I’ve only had video-assisted lessons twice. Both times were helpful. Partly because I never seen myself skiing otherwise.

I had a very different image of how I ski. So when instructors said I should do this and not that, I thought “but I AM doing this already!” Seeing myself on video makes it obvious what I was or wasn’t doing!!!

As for the public dissecting, I have no issue with that. My “classmates” had been watching how I ski the whole time. They’ve probably been dissecting my skiing unconsciously all that time anyway. It’s better the instructor “correct” their view!

*I* was the only one who’s shocked at the image. The rest of the group? That’s how *I* look to them in real, and on screen again!


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I ski with a coach who uses video regularly. Many people feel that they look better than they imagine and others not so much. For instructors who are attempting to pass exams, video is critical. Watching others and listening to the coach describe others skiing and suggesting changes can be very helpful to improving your own skiing. I have learned so much by the video sessions. It can feel personal but it is an avenue to learning.

My husband taught a group of women a few years ago. One woman had hot pink pants (the only one in the group). When they watched the video, she insisted that it was not her and she did not ski like that. The other women in the group pointed to her pants and proclaimed that the camera does not lie. Awkward moment.


Staff member
When they watched the video, she insisted that it was not her and she did not ski like that. The other women in the group pointed to her pants and proclaimed that the camera does not lie. Awkward moment.
Perhaps it's too easy for skiers who reach the "solid intermediate" plateau to get complacent?
If you're serious about improving, I think you really have to be open to seeing at least images of yourself if not video. But boy, it's discouraging at first.


Angel Diva
As instructors, important. For activities like learning to tune skis, boot fitting, etc, less important.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
So, one more question: How important is it that a women's clinic have female instructors?
It honestly doesn't bother me. At Gore, when I did their women's clinic, they had some guy assisting with our group. He was very nice. He even tried to help me out with angulation when I expressed my interest in racing (this was before I had started the race clinics at Blue). Although, he didn't give me much advice other than "show the bottom of my skis." Which was a little less than helpful. lol But I appreciate the attempt.

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