1. Power of One. A good ski instructor can quickly identify ONE important issue to fix. It often needs multiple drills and multiple runs to fix a problem, so don’t expect the instructor to work on too many things, which actually could be counter-productive. Within a few seconds, an outstanding instructor could see a fundamental issue which often is related to several others. For example, by lightening inside ski, you may turn more smoothly, keep skis parallel, and create bigger edge angles. There are several good drills for practicing this skill; one of the most important ones is the “outside edge to outside edge” drill:
2. Every Minute Counts. Each learner typically only has 60-90 minutes for each session. If it’s a busy weekend, you might easily spend half of the time on the lift. Lift time therefore is an important moment for the instructor to explain the technical details related to this ONE issue and share his/her skiing experience with you. While all instructors chat a bit about weather, snow conditions, etc., the good ones get to the main point right after the small talk – “Do you have any questions?” Serious learners often have many questions; this is the time to raise them.
3. All Roads Lead to Rome. Skiers have different physicality, skills, and learning styles. Sometimes a useful drill for many skiers may not work for a specific ski learner. A good ski instructor has a toolbox with a number of drills for fixing the same issue. He/she could pick one that fits this particular skier; if it still doesn’t work, he/he would try another one. After a couple of tries, most likely it will work out nicely. For instance, “Javelin turns” is another great drill for practicing lightening the inside ski (note: the demo person is a professional skier; for most ski learners, please ski slowly to grasp it):
Because of the challenge of equally distributing time for every learner, the difficulty of remembering each skier’s form, and the variation of each learner’s skiing skills, it is impossible for group lessons to be as individualized as private ones. But the same characteristics of a good ski instructor can be found in group lessons. If you are lucky enough to get such an instructor, give him/her a thumb up!