I’m half French-Canadian — mom’s side of the family — and often heard the phrase "Vive la difference" while growing up. It’s a wonderful expression, both acknowledging and celebrating the differences between women and men. But does that apply to ski lessons?
As a longtime soccer and hockey coach, I’ve come to learn that there can be a big difference between coaching boys and girls, men and women. But even in those situations, and same-sex situations, I’ve also realized that there’s no "one size fits all" approach to coaching (my daughter Brynne, a hockey player, recently admitted that the "compliment sandwich" approach to coaching girls — making sure any negative comment is couched between several positive affirmations — was a bunch of baloney, in her opinion).
Naturally, I began to wonder if that idea held true with regards to skiing and snowboarding instruction. Never having taught skiing (unless you count a few disastrous outings with a former girlfriend in my 20s), I wanted to get some advice from the experts. So I reached out to a number of the instructors with the Ski and Ride School at Okemo Mountain in Vermont. Their comments surprised and enlightened me.