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So, you want to be a ski instructor

Compiled by Allen R. Smith

Any professional ski instructor will tell you that teaching skiing is not necessarily an easy profession to pursue.In addition to becoming an expert skier, there are countless hours spent in the classroom and on the slopes in pursuit of professional training and certification. But, it wasn’t always the case.In 1965, my twin sister and I packed the car, said good-bye to our beloved New England and headed west to Vail. We dreamed of endless days of untracked powder under blue, cloudless skies.The first jobs that we found were waitressing at the Lodge at Vail for breakfast and dinner. Our unique schedules left every day free to ski.That spring, the ski school was extremely short of instructors. So, one day Roger Staub, the ski school director, skied up to me and said, “I’ve seen you ski all winter and we need you to teach. Be at the bell tomorrow morning and we’ll get you started.”This was a dream come true. Not only was I now skiing in Vail, I was going to become an instructor.The next morning, I showed up at the ski school, was given a uniform and then promptly hauled in front of my first class. No introduction, no training, no anything.I looked at the class and said, “Well everyone, follow me…”At the end of the season, the ski school director encouraged me to pursue my first level of professional instructor certification. Having very little teaching experience, I naturally failed the exam.At the end of the day, the examiner said to me, “You know, you can ski pretty good. You don’t know much about teaching, though.”- Jinny Loeffler, VailBeauties cause breakdown in protocolOne fine spring day, I was assigned to teach a class of eight ladies in their early 20s. All were incredibly attractive and since it was so warm, each wore form-fitting sweaters and tight stretch pants that revealed their athletic figures.I wasn’t out 30 minutes before a continuous stream of ski school supervisors started stopping by to see how my class was doing:”Hello, Phil. How is class going? Oh, hi, ladies. Is there anything that you need?” Apparently the word had gone out on the ski school radio system about this bevy of beauties and which trail I was using.By lunchtime, the formalities had completely broken down. One of the supervisors requested an itinerary of the runs I was going to ski that afternoon, in what order and at what times.Oh, and if he could borrow my camera.- Phil Krichbaum, VailVail, Colorado


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