One Small Step

Roddy Willis is a Verbier based ski instructor and holds the Swiss Patente he is also a qualified Sports Mental Performance Coach

As a ski instructor one commonly notices a pattern between couples who ski together, the overriding image is of the ‘man’ teaching the woman to ski, when she clearly has a better technique than him. Pair this with the corporate weekend, where male bravado outshines talent and being scared at the top of a steep slope is as socially acceptable as ordering a glass of water at the bar.

These two male stereotypes both exaggerate their skiing abilities.

Compare this to my chairlift conversation today with my female client, as per my normal first lift ride we were discussing her skiing level and what she’d like to achieve. She massively undersold her skiing ability and I got the impression that she undersells all her talents. It turned out this mother of three runs a successful business and was also a very accomplished skier.

Why, in general, do men over exaggerate their skiing abilities while women do the opposite? Now, I refer you back to ‘happy’ couple on the piste, what is it, that leads the man to believe he should be teaching his wife?

To help my clients achieve goals, whatever that goal maybe, I often apply my rule for estimating their ability, which is: Add several levels to the ladies ability and deduct several levels for male clients.

Perhaps it would be much easier for both the client and the ski instructor, if when booking a ski lesson to be realistic and truthful to yourself and clearly explain your level and possibly exactly how many hours, day, weeks, of skiing you have actually done. By over or under exaggerating your level, especially if you instructor isn’t wizened through extensive ski teaching experience, you will ultimately slow your progression and enjoyment of skiing.

Roddy is a Verbier based ski instructor and sports performance coach.
He can be contacted on +41 (0)764 642 521
or by email