Thoughts on Adapting the Framework of the Children’s Lesson Plan for Adults

While I was studying the Children’s manual, it kept occurring to me that much of the material is applicable and scalable to our adult Guests. So, here are some ideas on application. I was also thinking that if we can articulate an outline of what is contained in our adult programming, it might be useful to marketing.

And as an added benefit is, you will already know a children’s lesson plan on those occasions when you are called upon to help with our younger guests. And… unless you have super secret double exempt status, physical limitations or seniority that is BCE (Before Chairlift Era) you probably will be called upon.

A CAP (Cognitive, Affective, and Physical) assessment is totally appropriate for adults. I am sure most experienced teachers perform this assessment without even thinking about it. How our Guests think, feel and physically interact with the winter environment is critical to our understanding of how to meet their expectations.

Ever hear of PDAS? It stands for PLAY, DRILL, ADVENTURE, and SUMMARY. The concepts in PDAS provide a useful organizer for any learning partnership. I have the tendency to use mnemonics, so I’ve used the first letters in each segment to help me remember the plan. These are some concepts that I use for each part of the plan. For a more comprehensive explanation refer to the Teaching Cycle in the Children’s Instruction Manual. Be creative and plug in your own ideas for each segment. But remember going in, that you have a set amount of time and the quicker you can accomplish goals in PLAY and DRILL, the more time you will have for ADVENTURE. Plan ahead and you can start your SUMMARY activities as you interact while adventuring. Even if time gets short, do touch base with all of the guests to complete your plan.


Preliminaries – Safely organize the group to facilitate Introductions and group identity and make sure everyone is in the right place.

Logistics – W5H (Who, What, When Where, Why and How). Where things are and where we will go. Where are the bathrooms? When do we wrap things up? Where will we be at the conclusion? Etc.

Assessments – This is an initial assessment (it has already started and will continue throughout the coached experience). A risk assessment is crucial and includes all aspects of the encounter that can be evaluated prior to movement analysis, so we are talking equipment, attitude, physical readiness etc. Assessing expectations is key.

Yay! – For being outside! for having fun! for sliding down the mountains! Yay for today!


Direct tasks – For example, let’s do some slow turns on easy terrain.

Reassess – Add dynamics and movement analysis to the ongoing assessment.

Interact – Iterative skill focused tasks provide opportunities to develop strengths and overcome weaknesses.

Listen – Listening to the Guests even if they are quiet is telling you something. Listen to yourself. Are you making sense? Are you talking too much?

Learn – If nobody is learning anything; what fun is that? This partnership provides opportunities for everyone to learn.


Acceleration - Choose terrain and turn shape to allow everyone to experience speeding up to get from point A to Point B.

Deceleration - Choose terrain and turn shape to allow everyone to experience slowing down to get from point A to Point B.

Variation - Do short, medium and long radius turns in diverse terrain.

Elevation - The action or fact of elevating or being elevated: be elevated, you must be up to get down.

Negation – Erase the negative accentuate the positive.

Transmigration - To cause to go from one state of existence or place to another.

Undulation – Strength through length; be long and strong; Compress and extend - it’s the be small and be tall of it.

Revelation – Dazzle with surprising and previously unknown facts, especially one that is made known in a dramatic way e.g. Did you know that skiing and riding was invented on the planet Beta Prime 2 in Alpha Centauri and brought to earth by aliens?

Elation – Be excited and enthusiastic for everyone’s progress; be fun and have fun.


Speak – With everyone.

Understand – Expectations; elucidate a pathway for meeting goals.

Make sure – Everyone knows and can articulate a positive outcome.

Make sure – Everyone knows what to do next.

Ask and answer - Q&A.

Remind - Everyone that we are here to help them.

Yay for today! Can’t wait for tomorrow!

That’s it, hopefully you can use this plan to help meet expectations and keep them coming back for more. Most importantly, don’t memorize a plan and spout it back robotically as this could turn into the dreaded cookie cutter approach and be bad. And if you are confused about the whole good-bad thing try to remember Egon’s definition of bad…

“Imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light”.

-Dr. Egon Spengler, Ghostbusters

Doug C.

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