Breakthrough Lesson: PSIA-AASI Eastern Division Member Russ Kauff’s Story

(Editor's note: So many PSIA-AASI members shared such great content describing how to achieve a breakthrough moment on the snow with a student, for the 2017 PSIA-AASI Accessories Catalog , thought it would be fun to create a regular feature about breakthrough lessons.)  

Here is PSIA-AASI Eastern Division member Russ Kauff’s story:

Several years ago, I worked with a guest in New Zealand who was a strong off-piste skier but was struggling badly in moguls. He had been watching impressive YouTube videos of hard-charging Austrian instructors hammering bumps at high speed, but while trying to ski bumps like them he invariably ended up blowing out spectacularly every few turns.

His frustration grew steadily worse, and by the time we met he even had started drinking Red Bull to try to improve his performance. The lynchpin for me was that he had begun listening to (German heavy metal band) Rammstein on his way to the mountain in the morning to get into attack mode.

I pleaded with him to try reggae instead, and rather than battling the mountain, I suggested that we show it some love, island style. We smoothed it out, slowed it down, turned our legs and embraced skidding, all to the tempo of a Toots & The Maytals pole-touch backbeat.

It turned out that he loved reggae and had in fact been struggling with the Teutonic speed metal and attitude all along. I guess it was more of an ease-through than a breakthrough (replacing the Red Bull with green tea may have also helped), but it was a lot of fun and was very rewarding ski teaching.

I’ll always recall our time together as “Reggae, Not Rammstein,” bump coaching, and the basis for those lessons still resonates with me. Ya mon.

(If you have a breakthrough lesson you would like to share, send an email to PSIA-AASI Lead Content Officer Peter Kray at

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  • Breakthrough Lesson: PSIA-AASI Eastern Division Member Russ Kauff’s Story


# James
Friday, September 01, 2017 2:04 PM
Good one Russ. Many times I will incorporate music into a lesson. Great when trying smooth turns and get better timing, but really works good when coaching moguls. "Sing or hum your favorite song." I recommend "Satisfaction" as a starter. At a minimum it keeps the client smiling and engaged. Have a great season.⛷😎

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