Here’s an article that heralds what I hope is the start of a return to sanity when it comes to ski selection. The obsession with width underfoot for the majority of skiers has not resulted in an improvement of the on snow experience for the average skier and definitely not for those whose steady diet of snow is more limited than the steeps and deeps of the PR push to the worship of powder snow at all costs. The athletic sensations and appeal of carving even for the newest skier and the ability to use the  arcing ability of the ski as a tool for varying turn shapes rather than as a snowshoe like platform for flotation in my opinion was getting lost in all the hype of Fat Is Where Its At. All Hail the Return of Carving as a legitimate enjoyment factor and not necessarily  the sole province of racers. We’ll see where this goes.


I re-posted this article in part to help me focus on and in part explain to others what I believe is one of the reasons so many skiers don’t actually significantly improve over their many years in the sport in terms of their execution of movement patterns appropriate or effective  for the outcomes they wish to achieve. Whew, a fancy way of saying that while your sensations on snow or your perceived results may seem to have improved this can often be attributed to other factors such as equipment changes, environmental factors like improved visibility, psychological factors such as confidence or calmness, etc.  Has anything changed physically or cognitively in terms of your skiing or is this primarily perception and not reality? I think you can guess my answer. Though it is possible to have an epiphany your body is a stubborn beast and wants to return quickly to its original state. BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT NORMAL FEELS LIKE!

In part why change doesn’t occur easily or we don’t maintain the progress that we achieved temporarily or once I believe is partly due to  our strange assumption as adults that a brief exposure to a new experience (much like popping a pill to alleviate symptoms without addressing the underlying causes) will set in motion a steadily accumulating series of successes in technique on snow.  As an instructor I found that the expectation of the student was often that a brief exposure to a situation (usually of an hour duration) within a group setting or a quick verbal tip was all that was needed to set in motion a permanent change on snow. While this often seems possible for athletic beginners there is a glass ceiling that is quickly reached in terms of further results. While some of this is clearly equipment restrictions (and there are other blogs more eminently equipped to deliver this content) often it is the lack of further investment in your personal performance that restricts the scope of the experiences that you are capable of.

One of the reasons that I became a kid’s coach was because firstly the expectations were more realistic and secondly if I could keep them engaged in the sport we had many years to work on their results. My goal over many years has been to try to synthesize a method of teaching adults that can bring to my small corner of the skiing world the best of both instruction and coaching in a format that works despite the obvious obstacles to this that I have touched on above. I’m almost there.  However in a world where we often pay our personal trainers with 3 years university or training the equivalent of 2 to 3 times the average hourly wage in Canada to lead us to a glorious new body (we hope) we still think that advice on snow should be cheap or free (just a tip please). Real results take an investment and so this dialogue is an explanation of why I think that almost never works well. No one ever became a millionaire by teaching skiing or coaching the sport or remains passionate in this work without a real love of the sport but it’s still a truism that you often get what you pay for.

So here’s an article in a different field but a well put recognition of the similarity in context. This not only applies to executive coaching situations but to sports as well. Despite a coach or instructor’s sometimes considerable investments in personal development and coaching accreditation you’re often asked for an opinion on or free advice about someone’s technique. While it often feels the same way that another professional might feel when asked for free legal or medical advice its important to keep in mind that this is also your opportunity to promote your service and that a coaching solution will take more than a quick fix to implement and is definitely worth paying for.

Blanchard LeaderChat

Free Advice Chalk IllustrationA friend called me recently to get some help with a work situation that was driving her crazy.  “Do you want advice or do you want me to coach you?” I asked.

“Aren’t they the same thing?” she replied.

No.  They aren’t.

Coaching—or what you might know as Life, Business, Executive, or Leadership Coaching—has been around for about 30 years now.  Although many people understand generally what it is, there are still some misconceptions out there.  So what’s the difference between getting advice and getting coached?

The main difference is this: it’s not a coach’s job to give advice. No coach is smart enough or has the depth and breadth of knowledge to give perfect advice all the time.  Truth is, most people don’t want advice.  Even when the person being coached says “Tell me what you think I should do,” nobody really wants to be told what to do.

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I’ve written a lot in other forums over the years about the sport of alpine skiing. The topics often included how equipment selection and personal perception of primarily adult skiers influence their development on snow and ultimately their enjoyment of the sport. I felt that it was time to collect these thoughts in one place.

Since I started sliding on snow 53 yrs ago my primary sports passion has always been skiing. I loved it so much that I started instructing while in my early teens and for the last 25 years I still spend at least 50 days every winter skiing and working as an accreditted alpine race coach helping athetes of all ages follow their dreams . In 1976 I started in the retail and service side of the sport. I can credit the varied experiences and opportunities to be educated in both the technique and technology of the sport for the focus I bring to bear when it comes to selecting, fitting and tuning equipment for my customers and my appreciation of how important the performance of the product is to the actual experience.
All snowsports share a common bond. I believe that in order to do something for a lifetime its what you want to experience with your equipment and not just what you do now or where you do it that really matters. Helping to match and fit the proper boots and boards to an individual’s needs for the turns, terrain and snow types they’ll encounter so that they’ll be comfortable with what they know how to do now but might experience something totally new keeps me coming to work every day. Newbie or national champion, everyone deserves the chance for their equipment to help them have their dream day on snow.