The I Ski and Ride visual learn to ski and snowboard system was developed by long-time trainer and examiner of ski instructors for the Professional Ski Instructors of America, Suzy Chase-Motzkin, who has also helped to develop PSIA-Eastern Division Master Teacher curriculum in the areas of Service, Communication, Movement Analysis, and Freestyle/Freeride coaching and certification. A racing and freestyle background, coupled with over forty years (mostly full-time) of industry experience teaching, coaching, and supervising at Belleayre, Sun Valley, and Hunter Mountain inspired her to develop effective ways to convey movements to instructors and students. Above all, she discovered that people learn best with good visual representations.
Suzy developed her learn-to methodology in the late 80’s. She, like many, found that after people learned through a "traditional" wedge (pizza) approach, it would take years to change their skiing technique to align with World Cup or contemporary advanced technique. She found a way to teach first-timers the same skills as the pros using natural movements. Sharing her ideas with instructors in clinics throughout the United States, she was convinced her methodology was truly effective and easily transferable when the exercises and coaching cues she created started coming back to her in exams. Even better, not only were students having successful outcomes from their lessons, the instructors improved their own skill set without leaving the learning area. They had reinforced the most basic of World Cup movements. And this was without the use of images. When shown the images Suzy drew, people from different backgrounds, speaking different languages, were more easily able to understand what the instructors were trying to convey. And, there was consistency among the lessons delivered.
This video was taken a number of years ago by a GoPro and is not the best representation, but it shows a first time skier as they try the "lift the toe" methodology. Holly had snowboarded before and had good balance to start. She also saw the picture I had drawn of the foot with the big toe up, which definitely helped her understanding. She did not fall and immediately got on the chairlift to ski two green circle runs. This video is about 10 minutes, but pretty much captures her initial experiences with each addition to the progression. She learned to ski within an hour's time! This is not always the case, as people carry much fear and tension, which needs to be eased through practice and trust. People without any prior physical activity will often lack confidence. Once confidence is built through gentle coaxing, skill is easier to attain.