Heidi Says to Focus on the Stories Families Will Share When Teaching

PSIA Alpine Team member Heidi Ettlinger Shares Her Top 4 Tips for Teaching Family Lessons:

  1. Balance the big picture of a day with the essential nitty-gritties to help families craft a story that captures the spirit of their snowsport experience. Use the timeframe you have with your guests to help them build memories (and skills) in the context of a story. Who were the characters (you can use nicknames)? What was the setting (why did you rename a run Rollercoaster Ridge)? What was the plot (describe the adventure so people are yearning to hear the end)? This story will live on long after the lesson is over.
  2. Mentoring the Mamas and the Papas starts with supportive advice instead of explicit instructions. Think of yourself as the family’s copilot. They’ve invited you to help guide the team. Although there may be times when you need to allow everyone to be a passenger, their long-term commitment to snowsports will be in their personal sense of empowerment. Help them build a quiver of resort know-how where they can find all the answers.
  3. Transforming the terrain for super power seekers is one way to make sure no one feels like the ‘underdog.’ More often than not, some family members prefer easy fun while others are looking for the next thrilling sensation. When the family prefers to stay together this is where we become terrain transformers to help some ride the walls of the run like catching a wave in the ocean, and others the opportunity to stay on the main runway for smooth consistency without interruptions in flow. Knowing your home turf well enough to multi-purpose a few different trails always comes in handy!
  4. Camaraderie through challenge courses can be an easy way to develop activities for beginning or advanced families, while accommodating a variety of pacing levels. These approaches allow for building camaraderie by sharing the same challenge course with the objective that everyone gets to move at their own pace. For beginners this might look like learning aids set in a course for repetition with frequent modifications. More advanced families might session a family fun banked turn course that culminates later in a well-traveled route through the trees.