What does ski teaching have to do with Aerosmith?

Home » What does ski teaching have to do with Aerosmith?

Aerosmith?  Ski Teaching?  What’s the connection?

Really it’s quite simple.  You know the song Walk This Way? Nope, we’re not talking about Areosmith’s Stephen Tyler’s deeper meaning…let’s keep it simple.

If you’re meeting an instructor you’ve never skied with your lesson starts before you get on the chair or climb into the gondola.

A skilled instructor can tell a lot simply by watching you walk to the lift. We start to assess your skill level simply by looking at how you stand in your boots.  Yep, we also get an idea based on how you carry your gear.

In ski teaching our skill model is 1 – 9.  A first timer is a 1 and someone who skis well anywhere on the mountain would be a level 9.  While I might not be able to pick your exact level, it’s easy for a good ski pro to tell if you’re a novice, intermediate or advanced.

Skiing is about forces, that is physics.

What most skiers don’t understand is how important your ankle is to skiing.  Novice skiers put what they see as those heavy, stiff, cumbersome boots on and their ankle stiffly locks.  A level 8-9 skier who has groomed their skills with professional lessons knows their boots are precision designed to allow your leg and ankle to be used to tip the ski on edge and apply pressure…force. So, the ability to “open”, meaning the leg and foot form something close to a 90 degree angle when “open”, and “close” your ankle,  a much smaller angle, is really an important skill in becoming a better skier.

So next time you take a lesson and think your coach / instructor is just engaging you in casual conversation as you walk together to the lift, the reality is the good pros (Typically a PSIA Level 2 or Level 3 instructor) is getting an idea of how you ski, what your skills are and he / she is starting to put together a lesson plan.

Once we’re safely settled on the lift a pro will comfortably and casually inquire about a variety of things in order to continue to get further insights for planning the day or half-day of your private lesson.  You might be asked: How many times have you skied this year?  How many times in a season do you typically ski?  What type of terrain do you like best?  What are you hoping to get out of the time together?  Is this your first trip to this mountain?  Where do you typically ski?  Why did you sign up for a lesson?  Do you want to be aggressive in your learning, more looking to just get a few pointers and cut the lift lines? Are you in the lesson because you want to be there? Or did someone else sign you up? (Yep it’s amazing how often this is the case)

So while you may think your coaching session only takes place while you’re gliding on the snow: it should be good to know the best instructors will take advantage of all your time together.

Next time you take a lesson, start thinking Aerosmith and sing “Walk this way”!! 😉

doug lifton
Note how relaxed they look!

Here’s a link to the Steamboat website page which describes the 1-9 skier skill levels: