Monday, March 19, 2012

Lots of Skiing

Last week, I took two days off work to attend a ski clinic/exam. The Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) control the certification process for ski instructors. There are certification levels for Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, and Adaptive skiing. There are three basic certification levels for each discipline, and my discipline is Alpine (downhill) skiing. I've been teaching for 11 years, and I'm at level 2 certification. I hope to get to level 3 in the next few years, but I still need to improve my skiing somewhat to get there.

In addition to the core certification levels, there are other certifications available. This year, PSIA added two new certifications - a level 1 and level 2 children's specialist. Close to 70% of all ski lessons in North America are taught to children and these certs were created to emphasize the need for the special skills used in teaching children. To be honest, I haven't taught a lesson to an adult in 7 or 8 years right now. I felt it was important to get this new certification.

For a few weeks, a few of us from Sugarbush and Mad River Glen had been doing study sessions, getting ready for this clinic. The exam portion of the clinic wasn't too difficult. On the first day, we had to teach a short lesson based on one of our favorite lessons. Later in the day, we were quizzed on our understanding of some concepts specific to children and age groups. Our final exam piece was the most challenging. We were presented with a scenario and asked to teach a condensed lesson to achieve a specific objective. Here was my scenario:

"A group of 7-10 year old children. Two boys, four girls. The boys play hockey. Two of the girls ride horses. Two of the girls are sisters. One of the boys has ADHD. They can all turn one direction but not the other. Create a lesson to get them to linked turns in both directions."

When I first looked at the card, all I could think was "You have to be kidding me". We did have the option of returning a card and drawing another. But, as I thought about it, while it seemed somewhat contrived, I could get this lesson someday. And, I should be able to handle it. I got the card at the end of the first day and got to think about it overnight. I presented in the morning of the second day, and I think I did a really good job. I certainly did well enough, because I passed the exam.

I'll probably take the level 2 exam next year in this series.

On Friday, I returned to my office for a busy day and decided to not work out with more skiing on the weekend. We ended up having a beautiful sunny weekend with amazing spring skiing conditions. The only bad thing is that the conditions, snow depth and weather were all more appropriate for mid to late April rather than March. In the past 6 days, Sugarbush has gone from 111 open trails to 64 open trails. Mad River Glen, Sugarbush's neighbor to the north, closed for the season after yesterday. Sugarbush announced that the ski school will be closing after next weekend, and it's possible the mountain will close as well.

But, this past weekend was just awesome. On Saturday, my group of girls wanted to ski with another coach's group and we did that. We spent most of our time on steep bump lines and had a lot of fun. We took a mid-afternoon break to sit on a wooden deck at the summit of Lincoln Peak and just enjoy the weather and the views. It was a great, great day. On Sunday, we did a couple early ski runs and then switched to snowboards for the rest of the day. I do this once a year with my group, exposing all of them to another way to have fun in the snow. It's challenging to go from being an expert to being a beginner, but everyone has fun and we all laugh at each other falling down a lot.

Today it's back to work. And, I'll probably go for a run after work.

Tomorrow, it's back to CrossFit.

It's going to be warm all week, so more ski trails will be closing. But, we should have enough snow for one more weekend skiing with my students. After that, who knows?

No comments: