Pro File: Walter Luke III
Welcome to the Vail Ski & Snowboard School Pro File! This is a new web feature where Vail instructors step into the spotlight to tell you a little bit about themselves, share some of their experience, and provide tricks, tips, and advice on advancing your career and teaching better lessons.
Enjoy getting to know your colleagues, and fill out this questionnaire to share YOUR story in a future Pro File.
Name: Walter Luke III
Certifications: Snowboard Examiner, PSIA Level 2, Tele Level 1, FS1 Ski & Snowboard, CS 2, Adaptive Level 1 Snowboard
Your Skiing & Snowboarding Background
How long have you been sliding on snow? I have been enjoying the winter board sports for 18 years
How long have you been instructing? I have been instructor for 16 years and 18 seasons
Where did you learn to ski/snowboard? I was self taught (horribly) at BMBW in Cleveland OH.
Describe your first ski or snowboard setup: My first setup was purchased after one time out for about 2 hours where I crushed myself and fell in love. it was a burton Bullet step in setup
What equipment are your skiing/riding on now? Never Summer Deck(16 YRS) never been disappointed never had a problem
What’s the one ski or snowboard accessory you can’t live without? Helmet, way too many saves with it. Would not consider rolling out without one.
What is your best skiing/snowboarding memory:
So many fun ones. most recent was administering a level 2 exam at Taos and they got so much snow they couldn’t even open the mountain till noon. Only half of it opened and we did not get electricity till about 11 that evening. Great people great snow great food great time!
Favorite Run at Vail: That one in that spot with those trees and sick terrain. Don’t really have one. Just love ripping the trees all over
Favorite place to ski/ride other than Vail? Anywhere there is good snow and good people
What’s your favorite ski or snowboard movie? Love the classics but have to go with Aspen extreme. Makes me think of my first seasons out here with my boy Francis (now my boss).
What do you do in the off-season? Carpentry, Construction, Travel.
Your Advice to Others
What would you say to someone to encourage them to try skiing or snowboarding? The experience is really like nothing else being outside enjoying nature trying something new and challenging it is really an experience to always cherish
Why do you love working at Vail? The people are really the biggest reason. both our guest and our fellow employees. though the mountain is pretty solid as well
What inspired you to become an instructor? I love helping others and I loved snowboarding. so it seemed like an easy fit
What is your best advice to someone just starting their career as an instructor? Always be looking to learn more. Even the best instructors are continuing to look for new ideas new ways new tricks.
Describe a scenario where you had to teach a difficult lesson and how you accomplished it:
I had the pleasure of working with the wounded warriors and I had a student who could not fall on his left shoulder. He was about 240lbs so I spent 3 days teaching him all the basics and holding his hands the entire time, giving him that extra bit of balance and security. He had a great time and was super appreciative and thankful for all the attention and patience.
What advice do you have for someone going for a new certification?
Don’t take anything for granted. put in the time and be over prepared. It will make you more at ease and comfortable and it will make the whole process go smoother
Describe a favorite learning moment (as the trainer, coach, instructor, or as the student):
My all time favorite was when I first went through new hire training and just finished our on snow portion the trainer ask me if i wanted the job. I of course said yes but did not feel I was a good enough rider. He told me they could help me be a better rider but that my attitude and energy was what was most important
What is it about your teaching style that stands out? My patience and caring attitude.
What tricks do you use for teaching beginners that you wished other instructors knew and used? Maximum positive reinforcement. Compliment every thing you can as often as possible
What are your skiing/riding, teaching, or training goals for the season? I want to Ride Big Sky. Teach 85 days and exam another 20. Simple goals. I also want to dial some 540’s this year.
Sound off… Anything else you want to share with your peers?
There are always tough days. Remember you have one of the best jobs on earth!