Everyone’s an international athlete now!
A sporting occasion preceded by months, if not years, of anticipation, preparation and perhaps even perspiration. It involved athletes travelling from many different countries to gather at a single destination with only one focus on their minds. Those dedicated athletes willed to succeed by the friends and family they’d left behind, often on the other side of the world. I refer, of course, to the New Zealand Peak Leaders level 1 ski and snowboard instructor exams.
Yes, most of last week was taken up by the ‘gruelling’ five-day Level 1 assessment which tested our trainees on both their technical skills and teaching ability. Here Josh and John test each other on teaching theories before heading into the teaching section of the final day’s exam.
Unlike the real Olympics, on this instructor course it’s possible for everyone to be a winner. Amazingly that’s exactly what happened; the Peak Leaders group had a 100% success rate, with everyone gaining their Level 1 instructor qualification. Here’s a picture of the guys about to head out into to Queenstown to celebrate with TJ temporarily on crutches, after pushing himself too hard in the off-piste….
The guys allowed themselves a well-deserved celebration that night, some of which is best left off camera! Among the photos that survived is this gem, which demonstrates that George is way better at skiing than rodeo.
Apparently it’s not just ‘the wicked’ that get no rest; after just one day off our trainee instructors were back on the mountain ‘changing up a gear’ for their Level 2 ski and snowboard qualifications. Although it’s hard to put my finger on exactly what was being learned at this point……
As well as producing top quality instructors, Peak Leaders also aim to give the trainees an increased chance of staying safe on the mountain. One integral part of this is the avalanche course, which really opens the trainees’ eyes to the dangers associated with skiing or snowboarding in the backcountry. Although the course only touches the tip of the iceberg, with regards to surviving in the backcountry, it definitely helps our trainees to make sensible decisions about going off-piste in the future. Fortunately for the trainees, the avalanche course isn’t just theory; trainees also have the opportunity for a few hikes during the outdoor sessions.
Next week the team have a full week of instructor training, finishing with highly anticipated freestyle training day – the course marches on!