Teaching Strategies Vs. Ski Technique

In 32 Degrees, Ron LeMaster wrote an article, Don't Confuse Ski Technique with Teaching Methodology. At PSIA-RM Fall Training, the education staff spent a great deal of time discussing this topic.?

What is the difference between ski technique and teaching methodology?

Ski technique is the actual "how" your body moves and the physics behind how your skis and the snow interact to produce a desired outcome or achievable result. ?

Teaching methodology is the teaching cue, coaching cue, or verbal description that helps a student achieve that result. ?

For example, you often hear ski instructors tell students that they need to keep his or her hips over their feet. It would be more accurate for a ski instructor to say keep your center of mass over your base of support. ?However, the "hips over the feet" concept people can grasp easier.

But there are situations, like moguls, where you need your hips to be behind your feet when you absorb a mogul. Sure the hips come back up and over your feet in this mogul example, but if a student took your coaching cue literally, they are going to have a tough time in the moguls if they try to keep their hips constantly over their feet.?

In a learning partnership between instructor and student, the student needs to ask for clarification if something does not make sense and instructors need to understand the difference between ski technique and teaching methodology. By understanding the difference, an instructor can switch between the two tactics and confusion is minimized while understanding is maximized.

Many ski areas and resorts are now open for the season, get out there and rip it up!


Denver Ski Instruction Examiner Kevin Jordan is a Diamond Pro and Ski Trainer for the Ski and Snowboard Schools of Aspen.

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