The snow has decided to start to fall here in the Wasatch Front.. not as much as we had hoped for, but enough to get up on the snow and try some turns. As a trainer at Brighton, I get to teach the new instructors occasionally. This year again, I was asked to be a trainer for the apprentice group. I always love to see the new crop of instructors. So full of energy, so enthused, so deer-in-the-head-lights….

One of our first tasks was to evaluate them teaching a non-skiing task to the group. My little group of 6 had a mixed martial arts lesson, yoga lesson, dance lesson, stretching lesson and a pat-your-head-rub-your-stomach-while-jogging-in-place lesson… that one was mine. The object is to drill them on certain steps to have a successful lesson, regardless of the subject. My lesson was to challenge them to pat their head, rub their stomach and jog in place.. all at the same time, then switch hands on command. My challenge to the group was to have everyone doing it within 6 minutes…. The trick is to touch your hand on your stomach first, then pat your head with the other hand to “remind” your hand what it’s about to do.


Try it..

— Pat your head with your right hand

— Rub your stomach with your left hand

— Switch hands… touch your right hand on your stomach as you start to rub

— Pat your head with your left hand

— Switch

— Switch

— Stop..

— Now start jogging in place

— Start from the top now without hesitating or stopping..

See? You’re doing it!!


The next day it had snowed overnight, so we got about 8 inches of fresh snow!! I had another group with a new task.. their sliding skills needed to be evaluated. This always separates the groups fast. We do everything from wedge turns, parallel turns with pole plants, side-slips, safety-stops and gliding wedges-to-stopping wedges. These little tasks break down the most confident instructor in seconds. They’re harder than we all think, so the pressure is on to be able to demonstrate the maneuver as an example of how it is supposed to look. I was lucky enough to have another instructor/trainer along to help with the demos. It was fun… later that day we taught them the first lesson.. assuming they were a class of new, never-skied-before skiers…

This is always a great experience to see the frustration and fear in their faces get replaced with satisfaction and happiness.. Seeing the fear is fun too. It brings back so many memories of my training. I was not a very good skier back then. I was self-taught and not very balanced. BUT.. I could pat my head, rub my stomach and jog in place!!!

At Brighton, we believe that “skills” can be taught, good attitude and friendly demeanor can’t. So we’ll hire an “ok” skier with great attitude over a skilled great skier with a bad attitude everyday. That is our job as trainers, to find the potentially great instructors that have both, or at least can learn the skills to match the good attitude. Thank goodness, or I would never have been hired 16 years ago.

After spending 2 days on the snow doing demos and skiing fast.. my calves are a little sore today. That seems to happen every year.. oh and my feet reminded me to that my boots don’t fit great.. I need to get those adjusted too.

Skiing has always “grounded” me. It’s funny how this one sport has helped me manage stress, enjoy the outdoors and become a better skier… I never thought I’d actually do it full-time.. but here I am. Can’t complain though, the views are incredible and the people are amazing! A family really… a funky, dysfunctional family. Is there any other kind??

Skiing makes me want to do better at a lot of things. First of all.. skiing.. duh!?.. staying balanced (in life), remembering to listen to the influences around me (other people I mean and work with), loving the moments (soaking in the daily experiences) and enjoying homemade soup and warm bread at the end of a cold long day of skiing. It really is the simple things that bring the most joy. I’ve always known this, but skiing reminds of it every year. Maybe this is one of the reasons I look forward to it so much. The skiing part is fun, but it still is a demon for me to dance with… it still scares me.

This time of year is always exciting for me. The weather change, the temperature change… the transition to Winter sports… Love it all. Truthfully, I don’t dislike any season change.. hmmm, I just realized that I have always embraced change.. at least when it comes to seasons.. new beginnings, new challenges and new obstacles to face.

Being without a “real” full-time job has been an interesting ride these past 12 months. With no end in sight, I have come to the place that I need to embrace the moments of this transition.. just like the seasons and skiing. This new challenge of getting my career back on track has kicked me in the ass pretty hard. I’m not sure I’ve learned all the lessons I need to learn from this yet.. let me explain..

I had an interview the other day for a radio job. I met with a bunch of people all at the same time in a conference room. They asked standard questions.. what is your story/background? Why would you be a good fit for us? blah, blah, blah.. they were actually following a worksheet with pre-set questions. They were all writing down my answers.. I’ve seen this before, but it was a bit un-nerving. Then they asked me what I thought of the station as it is now, the sound, the image? Now one of my character traits is to answer questions very honestly… I need to think about my answers sometimes before I speak.. but I have always felt like first thinks and impressions are the best… So I answered them clearly and bluntly. I told them I could tell what their image was based on how it was presented and that the DJ’s sounded lost and/or stoned.. This got their attention.. I guess. At that moment I heard a voice deep in my head yell out.. “hey dumb-ass.. stop talking, you just called their baby ugly” They looked up at me and stared. A couple of heads were agreeing with me and the others looked as if I had just farted really loud with a grin on my face. Oh well.. at the end of the interview, I had a clear conscience for answering their questions so honestly and they probably couldn’t wait to get rid of me and call in the next candidate. Well at least that’s what it felt like… reading the room and “playing the game” has never been my strong point. Not really expecting a call back for round two… I’ll keep you posted.

I have to laugh.. this has happened so many times in my career. In fact one GM asked me to get on a conference call once with a client that was giving him some trouble. As he put the call on speaker phone, the client asked one of those direct, hard-to-answer questions… the GM said “go ahead Dain, tell him what you think..” I did.. and the GM damn near broke his arm scrambling to pick-up the handset and whisk me out of the room. Needless to say, the account was saved and the GM reminded me that there was a reason why I was on the air and a programmer…. diplomacy is an area I could do better in. If you know me, you already know this.

I really do need to find a full-time job soon.. one that will allow me to stay balanced and earn a living at the same time… So the search goes on!

I do feel rich today though… I get to ski, eat soup, do a TV show and on occasion…. watch the Jerry Springer show and count my blessings that my life hasn’t reached that level….. YET!!

Ski ya later..