“I am Dennis, I’ve skied for about 50 years.” “Hi! I’m Alice and when I was little I was on the race team.” “Hey, my name is George. I started skiing when I was four.” “I’m Andrea. I started skiing two years ago…”
My confidence just dropped dramatically. I was already the baby of the group in terms of skiing before we had even been up the chairlift. Today I started my level 1 ski instructor exam. Working in Skiwiland this winter made me want to learn more about skiing so I can continue doing this kind of work and improve my own skiing. I get around the mountain alright, but am only too aware of what can be improved. I know I’m not an awesome skier yet, but hopefully I can make a start with that by getting my level 1 certification.
We started skiing straight away. At the top of the Coronet Express chair we started with the basics: athletic stance. What do we have to pay attention to? Why do we do things the way we do? “In this run, feel the shins touching your boots all the way through the turn.” I must admit this sounds easier than it is sometimes. We also talked about poles and it turned out I was holding them wrong. Your hand goes in the strap, but your thumb is supposed to go on top of the strap for safety. Nobody had ever told me that! By looking at each other critically we all learned about what we had to work on.
After a few laps it was time to learn about the first progression; the introduction to skiing and the straight run. After the lunch break that continued to the gliding wedge. It is so good to see someone teach the proper progression. You can read about it, but it’s so dry and seeing it for real is learning about how to say things and which exercises to use. I love that I am getting a better understanding of why we do things. What you do in your warm up can affect someone’s skiing. And even in our wedges the trainer saw a lot of things to improve. Are your skis really moving simultaneously? Is your upper body stable?
The last part of the day focussed on our own skiing. After some exercises for the whole group, we got individual feedback. I had to work on my separation and vertical movements. To initiate a turn you have to extend, but instead of extending perpendicular to the slope, I was just extending like a tree. So I learned to extend like lift towers and not like trees. When my trainer mentioned it, it made so much sense. Why didn’t I get that already. With some help of exercises I got a pretty good feeling of what it should feel like.
It was an intense day with lots of skiing and learning. So much information to process! After hearing about so many tiny things I need to work on, I feel pretty insecure about my skiing. At the same time I am so happy with what we’ve covered and I know I will used all this in what’s left of the season. There are a few more days before we are officially assessed, so who knows what can still happen. All hope might not be lost yet. I really feel like the rookie of the group, but everyone is super nice and totally supports each other. We will see where this course brings me. Hopefully to a certification, and otherwise certainly to a better understanding of skiing.