5-year-old to cruise around the mountain might not be serving your 9-year-old well. So it’s important that kids be given new tools to navigate the mountain that reflect their physical and cognitive changes.” Adults, meanwhile, typically have more life experiences, which can both help and hinder progression. Older skiers may be coming to the sport later in life, or are returning to the slopes after time away. Maybe they’re not as fit as they once were, or are recovering from an injury. “Many times we get adults that haven’t taken a lesson in a long time,” said Newton. “They know the basics, but basics from when equipment was very different. We see guests not taking advantage of the new ski gear. With a lesson or two, and a few tweaks, they’re gaining a huge amount of control and enjoyment. “For seniors, again, it’s skiing efficiently and effectively to sustain energy and avoid accidents,” she said. “That’s true for all ages, but especially for seniors. Sometimes it’s learning to enjoy the blues and greens again, when the black diamond runs you loved just aren’t there for you anymore.” That’s not a reason to stop progressing. Again, the key, said Okemo snowboard instructor Adam Ford, is keeping an open mind. “Professional snow sports instructors take clinics every year or two to maintain their certification,” said Ford. “Last year I took a clinic where I learned how to do a high-intensity, fully laid-out, carved turn that I’d never been able to do before. “There are plenty of people who are happy to have achieved a comfortable level of riding and see no need to try anything new,” he said. “After all, attempting new things is ‘work,’ while just riding around the mountain is ‘fun.’ But mastering a new skill, or even just refining your technique, can open up new possibilities on a mountain that you’re comfortable with, and can open up new terrain on steeper, more challenging mountains.” “Patience,” said Brinton, “is a virtue in terms of progression.” “How many people have tried to learn a new language?” said Brinton. “Were you fluent after two or three lessons? Probably not. And even once you could conjugate a few verbs and maybe even speak in a different tense, was there still work to do? Undoubtedly. Skiing is a lot like learning a language,” she said. “You have to master the basics before you can develop advanced skills. And if you want those skills to become second nature, you need to practice, a lot. And even once you are fluent, there are still nuances to master. Because skiing, like language, is constantly evolving.” Speaking of language, Okemo snowboard instructor Todd Ainsworth said the ability to convey teaching points so the “student” understands how the next step fits into the big picture is also critical. “Communication is almost more important than patience,” said Ainsworth. “The instructor isn’t the one learning the skill. They’re the ones who have to effectively communicate how to get the guest there. Being transparent as to the why we’re doing something, and the how it relates to the goals, is key to having an effective progression.” Becoming more self-assured on a variety of slopes is a natural, self-fulfilling aspect of progression. That “can-do” attitude cultivates a positive cycle of improvement. “I’ve often noticed that the sense of accomplishment associated with progression, or the ability to perform a task which previously eluded a student, can lead to a certain confidence in students,” said Lutz. “This confidence typically leads to more progression, as the student starts to realize bigger or more challenging goals or objectives can be accomplished.” - continued on page 61 - Putting the “progress” in progression - continued from page 57 - okemo.com > 802-228-1600 > page 59