Archive | Tip Of The Week

Tip of the Week. Each week during the Northern Winter I’m going to be posting a small tip to enhance your business of being a Snow Sports Pro.

Tip: Become a Funcaster, Create Memorable and Fun Experiences

This tip comes from the Winter 2013 Issue of the 32 Degrees Magazine from PSIA. In the Article “Instructors Teach, Funcasters Create Experiences” by Eric Rolls.

Eric talks about the importance creating experiences for your guests that they find fun and truly memorable. We are encouraged to get background information from our guests to enable transference of skills from other activities into their skiing and riding. Eric suggests taking this same approach to fun by finding out what your guests enjoy doing. Then find ways to deliver experiences that reflect the same fun factors on the hill.

Bowling Fun

As an example, suppose your guest really enjoys bowling. Bowling involves a set of movements and positioning of the body to get the ball to a specific target. There is also a bit of a thrill of the anticipation once the ball leaves your hand until it reaches the pins. Sliding a box has many of these same fun factors. Setting yourself up for success with the approach and takeoff and then the anticipation of the ride until you exit.


Dig a little bit to discover what your guests enjoy about their favorite sports and activities. Use this information not only for skill transference, but finding common themes to build truly memorable and enjoyable experience for your guest.

Tips From the SnoCoach Twitter Feed

@SnoCoach 1-update yr profile 2-contact old guests 3-get in shape, 4-write season goals down #ski#snowboard. From: @ShredBetter

@SnoCoach Make the initial connection personal & be a resource. Clients don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. From: @rchinatti

@SnoCoach – less talk more action; show by doing; keep moving; vocalize with positive tips & encouragement; communicate the joy of skiing… From: @gaburke

@SnoCoach wear old gloves with holes in on a Friday to get extra tips from your guests! #SIA #Lifehack. From: @SIAkaprun

@SnoCoach Get your story on the site and hand out lots of cards! 😉 From: @tcstix

@SnoCoach Follow your passion, listen to your heart and inner wisdom. All answers are found within. Namaste. From: @snowga

@SnoCoach There’s no better reward than positively influencing your students on or off the snow. Glad you are having fun! From: Snowboard_Coach


Communicate your passion to your students in all you do, the rewards will come.

Tip: Ask Better Questions

This tip comes from Daniel Pink from his book “To Sell is Human”. I read this highly recommended book to help with growing my consulting practice. Several places in the book Daniel points out the benefits of an interrogative approach, simple questions. The right question gets your client, student, prospect or even yourself to dust off the cobwebs and engage with the problem at hand with a fresh look.

In one example, Daniel presents how cajoling a reluctant teen to study more for an up coming exam or asking the simple question “why?” can set the teen’s mind to justifying their current behavior. Asking these two, seemingly irrational question can bring a new outlook: Question 1) Rate your preparation for the exam from 1 to 10. Question 2) Why didn’t you rate yourself lower? These questions actually gets the teen to start to think about how much work they have already put into the exam, and they will come up with their own reasons to study more. More details at Move People With Two Irrational Questions by Daniel Pink.

I recently had the opportunity to ask a bump challenged student to rate themselves in the bumps; they said they were a 3, I then asked why not lower? This led to a great discussion on their understanding of proper balance and tactical choices. We started the lesson by building on past accomplishments and a list of their skills to bring to the lesson instead of a more negative list of past failures and fears.

Find Better Questions

The first question often asked when meeting someone new is “What do you do?”. Which might work ok for a business networking event, but it sometimes gets a cold response on the ski hill. The client may not like their work or want to get away from their job while on holiday. Ask around find out what your fellow instructors use as opening get to know you type questions. One I like is “What keeps you busy?” This allows the client to respond with a work or recreational answer.

There are lots of sources for questions. Daniel presents the Question Formulation Technique (QFT) from the folks at It is their belief that teaching educators and students to ask better questions can improve our educational system and build a stronger democracy. Our ambitions might not be so high, but taking the time to develop better questions will improve your student’s engagement, leading to more returns and private requests.


Just as with any other tool in your teaching quiver, take time to improve the questions you ask. Then listen to your student’s answers.

Tip: Stay Close to The Family Decision Maker

I had the opportunity to attend a clinic of the top ski instructors at my resort reflect on building a private practice. One of the tips that came out of the meeting was “Stay close to the Wallet”. On a crass level that is where the tips come from. But as we talked about it, the deeper meaning is it is important to understand who makes the decisions in the family on how vacation time is spent.

With families, more often than not it’s the mother is the key decision maker. The Father and kids may express enthusiasm for your lesson, however, make sure Mom sees your value. If Mom is in your lesson make sure, she is getting the most out of it and facilitate her understanding the benefits other members of the family are receiving from your lesson or those of other instructors. If she is not in your lesson, find time to talk directly to her about the progress of other family members.

Ask and Listen

A major theme of the clinic was to listen to your guests and respond to their requirements and desires. With this in mind ask questions and find out who the family decider on vacations is. Ask leading questions and listen and act on the answers. Talk with her about the goals of the lesson, even if the lesson isn’t for her. After the lesson make sure, you demonstrate to her how her goals were met. For best results make sure you are direct your invitation to return to the family decider.


Find out who the family decision maker is, highlight how you responded to her (because it usually is the Mom) goals and needs, even if she is not in your lesson.

Tip: Experience the Power of Gratitude

This tip comes from Tina Mackintosh, a Ski Instructor at Boyne Mountain Resort.

In my 40 years of teaching, I have never failed to show appreciation towards a student, no matter what their age or ability. They are as beneficial to my growth as I am to theirs.

Gratitude is my attitude

The Power of Gratitude

According to Robert Emmons, a pioneering researcher on gratitude, gratitude includes two components. It’s a fundamentally positive mindset, where we recognize that there’s some good in the world. Because it’s always directed at something outside ourselves, it’s also a recognition that we’re dependent on others.

There are two types of gratitude: a momentary feeling we experience when someone benefits us, and a more long-term mindset, where we see everything in life as a gift.

In contrast, ungrateful people see life as a burden. They focus on the negative and see everything they don’t have, instead of what they do.


Use the power of gratitude for your student and the opportunities they provide to strengthen your engagement with them and enrich the experience.

Tip: Deliver on your Brand

We have discussed that your brand is more then a color scheme on your website or a logo , a brand is a promise between you and your clients and prospective clients.

A successful brand will have depth. It is more than knowing a few progressions that will give your typical clients a quick win, but will involve knowledge about a whole sub-culture of the sport and the resources of that community. Work on delivering on the complete package that your brand implies, be an expert. If you find yourself teaching families. Being a source of knowledge on what the family can do after the lesson has real value. Know what great activities are available for the non-skiing members of the family. Knowing that there is a dog-sled tour is one thing, knowing all about the adventure, where they go, what you’ll learn, whom to contact to book a spot, can be that Wow difference.


Create a Wow experience for your students by delivering on the promise of your brand.

Tip: Create a Larger Story with Your Client

To move the business of being a ski instructor up a level, you need to deliver an extraordinary experience for your guest. Bringing them to a place when they look back they say Wow that was great! One way, you can give more than is expected and deliver that Wow is to understand and help your guests reach their larger goals. Goals like Health and Happiness.

Help Build a Lifestyle Not Just A Change In Movement Patterns

Michael Shenkel, a successful ski pro shared with me that snow sports instructors are about a lot more than just changing movement patterns, we are enabling a new lifestyle, a mountain lifestyle as a skier or rider. Make the effort to connect for your client how making the change in their skiing today will advance them forward in their own adventure. This involves taking the time to learn what that larger journey is for your client, well beyond taking that new run. It can be as simple as moving beyond techniques on just how to turn the skis, to model eating and hydration patterns that allow them to feel their best.


Help your client connect what you are teaching today into that larger story where they imagine skiing will take them.

Tip: Arrange a Special Meeting Place

This tip comes from the Winter 2015 32 Degrees Magazine from PSIA in the article “Go The Extra Mile: 5 Tips For Great Guest Service” by Peter Kray.

It is important to build rapport quickly with your guest. One effective way to do this is to meet your guests early and help them negotiate the challenges of getting equipment and the issues of navigating your resort.

Anne Francis Mattack, states in the article. “I meet them in the rental building before the lesson. Gain their trust before you ask them to follow your lead.” Other examples are to meet them at their slope side lodging, at the bottom of the access Gondola or at the resort bus stop. With your knowledge, you can insure your guest transition to the snow goes smoothly, put them at ease and you can use the time explore their needs and goals for the day.

Meeting them early will show extra effort on your part and can ensure the lesson starts on a positive note. This effort changes a difficult logistical situation into an opportunity to create a bit of magic for your guest.


Meet your guest early and help them smoothly transition to the snow.

Tip: Let the Pro’s Take Your Social Media Photo

The visual presentation often communicates so much more than the limited amount of text your client or potential client is going to read. Like it or not, they are going to gleam a lot more from that photo of you than anything else on your page or in the email you send. Getting an image that not only puts you in the best light but communicates a bit of your own emotion and story is important.

Team With the On-Mountain Photographers

This tip is from Kevin Foote a ski instructor at Vail and a Digital Marketing Expert.

Headshots are easy…. I let semi-professionals take them (the on mountain photo staff). I subscribe to get all the pictures that are taken for a flat rate; then I send the ones with my clients to them as gifts/souvenirs.

Spend the time to get to know members of the on-mountain photography team. Learn a bit about how the are rewarded and the challenges they face. Think of them as part of your professional network at the resort. Use that knowledge to help the photographer get the best photos of you and your guests. These photos are a great way to memorialize your clients accomplishments one step towards converting them to raving fans. Check out the great photos at Kevin’s web site


Team up with the on mountain photo staff to get the best photos for your social media marketing efforts and mementoes for your guests.

Tip: Be Genuine

This tip is from Kevin Eddy a Ski Instructor at Breckenridge Colorado,

People can tell when you are being genuine, and when you’re not. If your love for the sport comes through EVERY day. If every tip, trick, task and tactic you put out there has care behind it. If your success or failure is tied directly to those of your students/clients… You’ve got a built-in brand that people will talk about and want to enjoy for their entire skiing career.


Be genuine in everything you do as you tie your success to the success of your students.