We have been running ski schools in the top resorts in the Alps for quite a while now, and in our view, a successful instructor is one who clients want to ski with. Pretty simple when you think about it. After all, it is not up to me or anyone else to tell you how to enjoy your time on the snow. Our job is to match you with the perfect person to help you explore what you want and then get it!
This is not a generic product like a bag of flour: a ski lesson is precious time that you can choose to spend with your instructor to get more out of your holiday. So here are the 5 key factors that we believe make a successful instructor:
1. Personable: your instructor needs to be someone that you want to spend time with. Not a dour, jaded, fellow in a jacket who wants to show off, but someone who is genuinely interested in people, learning, and their sport. You will find that skiing down also involves taking the lift up and this is time to explore your motivation, goals, and learn more about the amazing mountains and resort you have chosen to visit. The best instructor doesn’t just give you a few tips about your parallel turns, but helps you to understand why and how you learn, and why you are doing it in the best resort in the world (we are all very loyal to our resorts).
2. Prepared: different slopes are better at different times of day and in different conditions. Different slopes are also appropriate to different levels. Your ski instructor should know the resort extremely well, and will have checked the open lifts, weather report and also know of any regular or special events that are on while you are in resort. In addition to knowing all the pistes, they should also know the restaurants, cafes, specialities, and how to avoid the crowded slopes and lift lines if you are travelling at a busy time.
3. Punctual and polite: no one wants to waste a second of their holiday time so your instructor should be there before you are in the morning, kitted up and ready to go. They should be sensitive to your needs and design the lesson around what you want to achieve. They should step back when you want them to, and step forward when needed. This sounds simple but in fact if takes years of teaching experience to achieve the right balance between too much and too little, so that you won’t even notice their perfect manners.
4. Passionate: why do we spend winter after winter in the mountains? It isn’t because of the career progression or the pension plan, but because we love it! The best instructors can share that love so that you feel it too, from introducing you to their favourite views, coffee stops, and tree runs, and bringing you into the life of the resort so that you feel like a local when you are with them.
5. Perceptive: are you a listener or a talker? Do you learn by doing or watching? Are you intuitive or analytical? Do you have other skills that can help your skills on the snow? The right instructor will be aware of all of these elements and more and use them to help you understand and progress. The best instructor will tailor your learning experience to how you learn, and will have a range of exercises, explanations and experiences to help you get there.
At ES we pick our instructors because of their ski teaching qualifications and experience. We also look beyond that to life experience and the person themselves. We choose people with interesting stories to share, and who have become ski instructors not just because they love to ski, but because they love to teach. If you would like to book a private lesson with one of our carefully chosen instructors get in touch with us here.