Nordic Ski Instructor

nice pic!


Equipment: [ viewpoint | waxes | skis | bindings | footwear | poles | clothing | extras | novelties ]

An instructor's viewpoint

Many manuals and books on skiing and ski instruction divide different types of ski equipment into defined categories. As instructors, you may have found that the distinction between these defined categories often blurs to the point of confusion. The purpose of this section is not to reiterate such (written) dogma, but to highlight the need for instructors to have a broad understanding of the 'tools of the trade', and the importance of having a neutral, but well-informed view on these matters.

The choice of ski equipment is a very personal choice, and the decision to opt for one ski over another depends upon the experience of the individual, the intended use of the ski, the intended place of use, potential snow conditions, the colour and feel of the ski, and even the personality of the user. The intended use of the ski, as determined by the manufacturer, may well be completely different from the intended use as determined by the skier! Skating skis have been seen in the strangest places, and many an XCD boot has been spotted in the Paddy Pallin Classic. On this basis no distinction will be made between individual equipment - there are other books in circulation that deal with this at length (see Bibliography).

An issue that is often controversial is the choice of equipment to be used by the instructor. One school of thought is that the instructor should use the same equipment as the group (presuming they are all using the same equipment, of course!), to avoid intimidating them, and to allow a better understanding of the difficulties experienced by members of that group, related to their equipment. Another school of thought is that the instructor should use equipment that students can aspire to - equipment that will encourage and enhance skill development. The equipment should be the best available for demonstration of all skills, in the same way that a master joiner uses the best-quality chisels. This does not necessarily lead to intimidation of the students, especially if it can be shown that the equipment will enhance technique.

Whilst the final choice is up to the individual instructor, few would dispute that the chosen equipment should be clean, neat, tidy, and functional. It should also be most appropriate for the given situation. However, equipment that is esoteric by nature, or by design, is rarely appropriate in most learning situations. Leave the 'Turbo-Telemark SAS' (Self-adjusting and Steering?) boards for lessons that focus on hi-tech equipment lessons.

Respect is gained (partly) on the basis of an Instructor's 'raw' personal skiing skills, not on the ability to procure and use equipment that makes performing those skills a mindless doddle. Esteemed instructors are able to perform well with any given ski/binding/boot/pole combination (even those of the students), but will ultimately chose to use equipment most suitable for the task, in a responsible manner. A very important note: students do imitate instructors!

They will also inform the students of appropriate choices to make when selecting equipment, thereby educating the general skiing public to ski enjoyably and safely. Advising irresponsibly, when it involves matters of safety, is paramount to admitting professional liability and culpability. This is especially important when debating the use (or non-use) of metal-edged skis for touring, or on icy slopes. No matter what one's personal preferences might be, it is wise to consider the enquirer's ability most carefully before suggesting anything at all. If you are placed in the predicament of having inappropriate equipment at the time of a lesson, and absolutely no alternative but to use it, then it would be prudent to make it extremely clear to the group what equipment is most suitable, and safe. However, it is hoped that this would never occur - and it will not if enough preparation is made prior to the lesson.

Equipment: [ viewpoint | waxes | skis | bindings | footwear | poles | clothing | extras | novelties ]

valid code
[ Contents | Preface | Organisation | Teaching | Techniques | Equipment | Resources | Appendices | Glossary | Index ]