If you have been skiing for a while, you may have had people asking if you could teach them how to ski, or felt the need to teach somebody like your family members or friends.
If this is you, I bet you’d probably be wondering how to teach someone skiing.
You are best off not trying to teach someone how to ski unless you are a certified ski instructor, because skiing is such a strenuous physical activity done outdoors in extreme weather conditions and requires mastery of techniques.
But if you have a ton of skiing experience, are patient, and know how to approach teaching, you could probably teach basic beginner level skiing.
In this post, I’ll show you how to teach someone these beginner skiing moves and give you a few tips and tricks.
How To Approach The Teaching Process
Before you start with the actual teaching process, there are a few things you must do to lay the foundation for a safe and enjoyable teaching and learning experience.
Make sure your student has the physical fitness required for such a strenuous activity done outdoors in freezing temperatures. Get them to wear proper clothing to stay safe from the elements.
Insist on them having proper ski helmets, goggles, and gloves, and using sunscreen. Make sure their boots get fitted well. Teach them about trail signs, color cords, and etiquette.
How To Teach Someone Skiing
Now that you have covered the essential basics in preparation, you can begin the instruction process and actually teach someone skiing.
Get Your Beginner To Know Their Skis
Teach your beginner how to put on skis. Make them listen to the click and jump up and down a few times to make sure the skis stay on.
You must also teach them how to get out of the skis as well as how to carry them. Explain why the skis are shaped the way they are, and what the edges are for.
Also read our guide on how to avoid catching an edge skiing
Teach Basic Ski Maneuvers In The Flats
Practice with your student in a flat area before attempting to go up even a bunny hill. Teach them how to position themselves on the skis, keeping the pressure on the shins, and having their center mass right.
Have them do the exercises below them to gain a good sense of edging, balance, pressure, and rotation.
- Scooting on one ski in large figure eights. Should be done on both legs.
- Shuffling and stepping around on two skis, lifting each leg.
- Pinwheel or Daisy turns
- Sidestepping on skis, trying to feel the edges grabbing
As the Professional Ski Instructor Association recommends, let your pupil do a lot of parallel gliding and less snow plowing, and teach them to use the wedge to slow down and initiate a turn. It will be ideal for them to use only the wedge to turn and slow down by turning to face uphill.
Moving On After Practicing In The Flat Area Towards The First Bunny Hill Run
Once you are satisfied that the novice does all the basic moves in the flat terrain well, it is time to move on to a bunny hill, the easiest ski runs for a beginner.
Start with doing short parallel runs and stopping and add turning to the practice later on. Have them do wider turns first and make them sharper gradually.
Once the newbie can do parallel runs down the entire hill with good control and can stop and turn smoothly, teach them to do plow runs downwards, starting with straight runs down and stops, then add turns, wider first and sharper as they progress.
Once your pupil does well on the bunny hill, that’s it. Suppress the urge to take them to harder runs, it is best left to the pros.
Some General Tips For Teaching Skiing
Here are a few tips you might find useful when you teach someone skiing:
- Explain clearly at the beginning that learning to ski is a process, and mistakes and failures are all learning opportunities and not reasons for frustration.
- Learning is more effective when it’s fun. Always try to stay positive, laid back, and cheery. Take plenty of breaks, have a snack, hydrate, and crack some jokes.
- It’s easy to forget how hard it was for you to learn skiing at the beginning. So, be careful not to rush it. Everybody learns things at their own pace. Whenever you feel like saying “just do it”, take a break or call it a day and come back the next day.
- Give lots of encouragement and praise for every little progress.
- Be extra cautious if you are teaching someone you have emotional ties with, like someone you are dating, a spouse, or a family member. Stay calm, objective, understanding, and caring.
- Ask them whether you are teaching them okay. Be open to your pupil’s suggestions.
Also read our guide on learning to ski after 50.
Even though teaching a somewhat extreme sport like skiing is best left to professionals, someone with lots of experience skiing could teach a newbie some beginner-level skiing by taking the right approach.
The teaching process can be started by explaining the implications of winter weather on the mountains, proper clothing, and protective gear, ski run color coding, and etiquette to follow on the runs, followed by getting the newbie oriented to the skis.
Then the basic moves can be practiced on flat terrain and the newbie would be ready to start on the bunny hill. Once the newbie has progressed fully on this beginner run, they might need a certified instructor to teach them more advanced skiing.
If you are passionate about teaching others how to ski, consider becoming a certified ski instructor yourself.