With two weeks of intense training under their belts the trainee instructors are now ready for the Level 1 ski and snowboard exams. As well as having a lot of fun on the mountain they’ve also learned a lot. Everything from the snowplough to the carved turn has been practiced, corrected and then fine-tuned.
In addition to their own skiing and snowboarding the trainee instructors have also learnt to teach beginners which can sometimes prove a surprising difficult task, especially for individuals where skiing or snowboarding has become second nature. After early sessions where the trainees were taught to teach they’ve all practiced instructing each other – even stooping so low as pretending to be beginners again. In the pictures below Cesare is explaining to ‘beginner’ snowboarder Will what the different parts of the snowboard are and Laura is explaining to her group how skis work.
For the initial part of the course the ski trainees have really benefited from being taught by senior instructor Jimbo, who is also an NZSIA examiner (but sadly, for reasons of impartiality Jimbo will not be the examiner that our trainees will face). With over ten years of training experience Jimbo is really putting the ski trainees through their paces with a lot of one-on-one analysis and feedback.
On the snowboard front, the trainee instructors are being taught by Mark, a veteran of 40+ winters, the last thirty-eight of which have been back to back winters! Being a top-level snowboard instructor and examiner, both in New Zealand and the States, means he’s sharing a lot of wisdom with our wannabe instructors.
As well as all the on-snow work, there’s also plenty of video analysis. Not everyone likes seeing themselves on video but it’s undeniably a powerful tool for improving skiers and snowboarders alike.
This week has been pretty full-on for the trainees, whose skiing and snowboarding has come on ‘leaps and bounds’. The shot below shows the closest that they’ve been able to get to the ice bar at the top of Coronet Peak.
Nevertheless, even when you’re learning there’s still time for having fun. A firm base topped up with plenty of man-made snow (Coronet Peak has the greatest density of snow cannons in New Zealand, and amongst the highest in the world), meant that both skiers and snowboarders have had plenty of opportunity to let loose.
The Level 1 exam is five days long; the first four are a mix of training and continual assessment, as the examiner does his best to ensure that all skiers/snowboarders are up to the required level. Level 1 starts on Saturday – good luck everyone!