A serving of Powder with a side of Teaching

 

The snow finally withdrew at some point in the night and we awoke to clear blue skies and cool temperatures, the snow pack was safe.  Still feeling a little fragile from the epic powder yesterday, I thought some stretching and a good rub down with some tiger balm might be necessary.  A word of warning, make sure you take absolute care where you put your hand after applying tiger balm.  Some places are very sensitive to the warming sensation of extra strength tiger balm; I don’t think I need to say where, I’m sure you can fill in the blanks.

First run of the day was under the chair that takes you to the top of the mountain, the eagle.  There were still lines from the less crowded stormy day before and it made it so much better to be able to see clearly where you were going and what you were riding into.  As Darren West (Level 4 instructor and or Level 2 examiner) so aptly but it, your first run sets the tone for the day.  If you have a shit first run then it’s hard to bring yourself out of the poor technique as the day wears on.  Today’s first run was pure bliss.  Tobin wanted to teach during the morning but it wasn’t to be.  The snow patrol finally got their act together and the Boomerang (backside of the mountain, double black runs galore) opened around 10:15am.  The Boom was untouched from the day before because the avalanche danger couldn’t be neutralised.  Everyone filed in from the right side as they traversed from the Eagle chair so the main way down was well tracked out but no one had touched the right hand side.  So the morning was spent getting a face full of powder, untracked runs, hoots and hollering through the trees, and unparalleled chute drops.   The banter you hear from the chair as you ride down is unrelenting.  Powder days seem to bring out the in child in everyone.  It’s hilarious.  The chair went crazy when we all watched a skier huck a 25ft cliff drop.  It was seriously impressive.

Since we have spent such little time on the teaching aspect of the Level 2 examination we begrudgingly left the boom to catch up with Darren West.  Darren is very experienced and a wealth of knowledge.  We only did 2 runs but we discussed loads on the simplicity of taking a lesson (over complicating things is a common tendency).  So the key to a good lesson is:

  • Introduce yourself and identify the skill level of the group and what they want to achieve in the lesson.
  • Pick a piece of terrain (run) that is presumably below their skill level – set them up for success.
  • Display what it is that they want to achieve with a brief explanation then have the client ski down past you, so you can watch them from different perspectives.
  • At this point identify one of the skills that the skier needs to work on.  The skills are:
    • Stance and Balance
    • Timing and Co-ordination
    • Edging
    • Pivoting
    • Pressure Control
  • Create a drill or get the client to feel a sensation that corrects their technique.
  • Finally, mileage.

The key to good lesson is to make it fun for the client and keep up the tempo so the client doesn’t get bored.  Simple ;)

Oh, it’s snowing again!

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