Monday, March 3, 2014

Ski Season to Date

This has been an odd ski season in many, many ways.  First of all, I lost three weekends after my surgery.  Those 6 days easily exceed the total number of days I've missed in my previous 12 seasons as an instructor.

(I just typed a whole lot of stuff about goings-on at the mountain, but on the off-chance that anyone in management would see what I'd written, I deleted it all.)

We haven't had a good snow year at all.  This might be the worst snow year I've ever seen at our mountain.  With one exception, every major storm has gone to our south.  A week ago, it looked like today would bring us lots of snow.  Instead, that snow seems to be targeting Baltimore, a city that probably doesn't want the snow at all.

For the first time in 12 years, I have a brand new group of students - not a single hold-over from the previous season.  For the most part, I like the children in the group, but they are the most challenging group that I've had.  I've had one girl behave so poorly that she went home for the remainder of a day.  I've had a student ask to borrow my phone to make an emergency call to her mother, and then change my pass-code without telling me, effectively locking me out of my own phone.  Yesterday, I had to hike uphill a long way when the group decided to play a prank on me, and then a student slipped on some ice and claimed she was hurt.  In reality, she wasn't hurt at all, but I was furious that they had done what they'd done.

And, they don't even want to ski.  They just want to sit in the cafeteria and eat junk food and drink sugared water of one form or another.  Or they want to play outside.  Or, if they want to ski, they want to ski terrain that isn't appropriate for the conditions or their skill levels.  As an instructor, I'm supposed to improve their skill levels, but they won't listen when I try to teach things to them.  On more than one occasion, the group has defied my directions and skied terrain that I did not believe was safe.  They simply took off on their own despite what I'd told them.

So, we have three weeks left in the teaching part of the season.  I'm really hoping we get some snow soon, because the time when I can actually ski on my own starts at the end of this month.  And, if we don't get more snow soon, a couple warm spells could quickly reduce our open trail count and limit my skiing options for late March and into April.

It's not over yet, but at this point in time, I'd have to call this my most difficult season as an instructor, in just about every aspect of the job and skiing in general.  It's been the kind of season where I've told my boss many times that I've been ready to just quit.  It's a job that costs me more to perform than I earn, and when it's a net negative cost, it should at least be fun.  This year has failed in that respect quite a bit.

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