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Safety, fun and learning is a phrase I’m sure we’re all familiar with, as it is the mantra of the snowsport instructor; a phrase listed in order of importance as well.
Safety: Obviously keeping our students safe is of the utmost importance and should be our number one concern. Understanding that snowboarding and skiing is an inherently dangerous sport, instructors try to create a safe learning environment so the next two components are achievable.
Fun: The reason most people come to the mountain is to try something they know or believe will be fun and exciting. As long as students are having fun during their lesson there is a good chance they will learn.
Learning: Guests show up to lessons with the intent of learning something new. As instructors we spend a lot of time, effort, and money in the pursuit of knowledge of the sport we teach. Our goal is to present accurate information to the students in ways that are easily understood.
I have noticed recently that of these three important ingredients, fun seems to be the most often forgotten, and fun is the word I want to focus on. It seems sometimes we don’t teach with the same enthusiasm we would have on a day of free-riding. As important as safety and learning are for a good lesson we must not forget why we enjoy snowsports. Because it’s fun!
I cannot speak for everyone but no one forces me to teach snowboarding. I snowboard for the pure joy that sliding sideways down a hill gives me and I teach with the hope I might be able to show and share that same feeling with others. I know I am not unique in this persuasion and realize most instructors feel the same way. What we need to strive for in each and every lesson is making sure this love for the sport we teach is conveyed to our students.
This information is not intended to give you games to play with your students, nor is it meant to inform you of new techniques to captivate your audience. It is merely a reminder as to why we started snowboarding or skiing in the first place.
You remember, that time before you got paid to slide on snow? How you would sacrifice money, food, better judgement and for some, even a place to live, just so you could afford a season pass to the local hill? All in the name of fun!
We all continue to make sacrifices in order to teach and be on the mountain, but the most important thing we can give of ourselves is the enthusiastic, good, old-fashioned fun lesson! Focus on keeping lessons moving and up-beat, with “less talk and more rock.”
This fun approach does not only apply to our interaction with students. We should be sharing our enthusiasm with every one we come in contact with. Every second we are on-and-off the hill. We need to present ourselves as approachable and inviting.
Keep your eyes open for guests with questions and approach them before they even have to ask you. Go out of your way to ask people how their day is going. Offer directions to runs that will be better suited to their abilities. Exude your love for your sport and job, and it will be contagious.
Sometimes even coworkers will have off-days, it’s up to us to help them turn it around. Take some time to talk to them or invite them to take a run with you or something similar.
The point is to remember how much fun snowboarding and skiing was, is and will always be and then pass it on![connections_list id=51 template_name=”div_staff_bio”]