I just passed my CSIA level 2 ski instructor training, which means I no longer limited to teach bunny hills, I can now teach on blue runs. I have my level 1 certification for 4 years but never teach any lessons. This year I decided to give level 2 a try and see how much my skiing had improved over the past few winters.
I took the level 2 course at Grouse Mountain. Although I am living in Vancouver for almost 10 years, it’s the first time I ski on Grouse. The weather is better than I hoped. There is not much snow base, there are brown patches on the ski runs and only three runs are usable, but at least I don’t have to ski in the rain. We even got 9cm of new snow on the second last day of the class.
The course is 3 nights and 3 days. I never ski 6 consecutive days in a row and it really tax my endurance. Most of the classmates work for Grouse ski school, except a girl work in Cypress. A high school girl and I are the only two students who do not teach skiing. The course covers teaching from linking wedge turns to doing full parallel turns. We spent most of the time on parallel turns since it is harder. The exam has two components, skiing demonstration and teaching. In the ski demonstration part, I am required to demo perfect parallels turn. In the teaching part, I have to assess my student and pin point what’s wrong with their skiing and give them drills to improve their basic techniques.
Somehow I actually pass the teaching part without much problem since it’s just good observation and then apply skiing theory. I was struggling in the ski demonstration. I was clearly below standard on the first day of the course. My balance is leaning too much up hill, my turning timing is off, I did not steer enough at the end of the time and I did not have much leg extension. For the whole week, I focused on improving my basic ski skill to bring it up to the standard. Luckily, this is the ski instructor training and I have lots of opportunities acting as student for my classmates. Since they are also working hard to pass the course, I got very good attention and helpful feedback. I think including the sessions from the instructor and the classmates, I have done the parallel turn lesson at least 15 times. I was so happy when the instructor told us everyone pass the course on the last day. The pain and sour of my knees and my back finally pays off.
Before I take the course, I always blame my old ski for my bad skiing. Now I know I have a lot to work on and I am far from the limit of my old ski, rather I am only limited by my poor skiing techniques. I always struggle on bumps because I don’t have a strong foundation. Skiing the same three runs on Grouse doing endless drills is not as fun as cruising down on Whistler, but it forces me return to the basics and work on my foundation. The instructor training is probably the best ski lesson I ever have in terms of skill improvement. Dollar for dollar, I earn more ski skill in this training than any drop-in lessons in Whistler. I even get tax credit for the course tuition since it is classified as job training!