We Don’t Keep Score, Yet Everyone Wins!


By Ron Kubicki, Director of Holiday Valley Snowsports School

From printed and video educational material of Professional Snowsports Instructors of America/


Co-nun-drum n. 1. A riddle. 2. A complicated problem.

Hey, I know! I’m only a ski instructor, but I used the Webster’s New Basic Dictionary so this should be a pretty darn accurate definition.

So, why am I talking about a complicated problem, when I usually try to simplify things for you? Well, this is about a problem that I have – one that I need help with and one that has troubled me for some time. How do I get skilled intermediate and advanced skiers and riders to take lessons?

We teach many beginner lessons, and we do every level of children’s lessons, but we have much fewer high-end adult lessons. Part of me thinks it is the word – lessons. We really don’t offer lessons as much as we offer “skill improvement sessions,” but now that is a mouthful to say and promote.

Lessons to me (and I bet most of you) indicate a “teacher/student” relationship, when it is actually closer to “athlete/coach,” especially as you get to the higher skill levels – you have all read about “balanced and athletic stance” in my articles. Skiing is about moving and using all parts of the body to enhance performance. Well, there are more sophisticated techniques to enhance your skills and a good coach can help you achieve this.

Let’s look at some “coaching clinics” can take. The most common and casual one is in a group situation and typically the most value priced. Holiday Valley offers them for adults at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. daily, and again at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. every night.

The nice part about taking a group session is you get to meet and ski with new people. You will also hear and see corrections and adjustments made to everyone, not just to you. You will see different types of explanations and demonstrations as the instructor addresses each individual. Our pros are trained to teach to the four different learning styles.

Each of us learns in a combination of four particular styles: doers, watchers, feelers and thinkers. We all use parts of all of theses styles, but we are generally strongest in one or two of them.

Briefly, the doer is the first to be on the lift, the first to go when called down to ski, the one who is watching everyone go by as you talk for a moment on the side of the trail. This is the action guy – “let me do it, then fix me.”

The watcher does exactly that – watches the instructor closely. He might be right behind the instructor or he may be the last to go so he can watch everyone else.

The feeler needs feedback. This person needs to feel the front of their boots as they go into a turn, feel their big toes as they tip their boots – lots of tactile information.

The thinkers are probably engineers, draftsman – the techie people who can learn through explanation. They want to know why the ski turns when it is tipped on its side, how pressuring the outside ski determines the size and shape of the turn, etc.

We all will fit into one of these styles more than others, but getting lots of feedback in different ways will give you a very well-rounded understanding of what the focus of this session is. In a group situation, you will get a broad range of feedback and instruction, which may suit your needs perfectly.

The other option you have for “coaching” would be a private session. While these cost a bit more, you get the benefit of a session structured specifically for you. You can come and say you want to work on speed control in the steeps, improve in the bumps or just get an overall tune-up. You set the criteria, and with the entire time focused solely on you, you can ask any question or present any concerns in confidence with your instructor.

We can expand your tools and give you more adaptability to handle more conditions and terrain. Like I said, there is no way to keep score in skiing, but we know you will feel like a winner after an advanced coaching session from one of our pros.

Our staff trains together weekly. We are also required to meet regularly scheduled educational events from PSIA-E/AASI to maintain our status in the association. We realize there is always a way to become more efficient, more adaptable, and better all-around with practice of tasks and techniques.

Take advantage of our PSIA-E/AASI pros’ skills and enjoyment of coaching. Stop and say “Hello” if you see us all together out on the slope. Heck, jump right in for a run and see what it is we do!

Thanks for reading these articles and no matter where your skiing or riding takes you, always …

“Go with a Pro”

From printed and video educational material of Professional Snowsports Instructors of America/

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