This is it, our last week of lessons before the level 2. As much as I havent wished for the weeks to fly by I'm actually quite excited about getting the level 2 exam over and hearing my results. Meeting up in the village as per usual Monday morning we are greeting by Dom our instructor for the week. I'm really stoked to have Dom this week, his a brilliant instructor and pushes us really hard on our riding.
The one and only Lee Keenan was back instructing us NBS skiers the week before our level 2, and to be honest we couldn’t of been happier! The last time we had Lee I can safely say we skied the hardest we all have ever had in one week, while learning a lot, so from the off everyone was positive, always a good start.
It was a strange day in relation to the weather, no consistency; one minute we’d have a light flurry of snow, then wind, then a bit of sunshine; however the snow was nice and compact so we could dig our edges in nice and firm, and totally have faith in our skis, which is always nice. The morning saw us working on Javelin turns, meaning you lift the inside ski as you turn, and cross the tip of it over the downhill ski, while it’s lifted. It sounds a lot harder than it actually is but once you have balance on the downhill ski its reasonably simple. Working on that on the steeper pitches Big White has to offer was a bit more of a challenge, but Lee just wanted us to get the feel of flexing and extending through the turn, to handle the pressure and edge, and I think I can speak for everyone when I say, it definitely worked! Putting it back into our normal skiing made a big difference.
This difference was shown when we did some video analysis of both a normal ski run, then one doing the Javelin turns. To be able to watch myself in both and talking about putting the skills back into my skiing was nice, while also a bit of a warm up too, because by the afternoon the weather had turned and got worse! The chair stopped numerous times due to really strong winds, and when we got the top the lifty told us the lift was shutting, was not at all surprised!
Tuesday and another cold day at the top of Biggie! -15 and below so we either skied hard or went cold! With Lee coming up with more and more impossible drills to get us working and some more focus on our overall skiing kept us reasonably warm, while also having a productive morning. However not warm enough, as when I asked Rhiannon if my nose looked clear of frostbite because it was numb and she reassured me it was fine, and then getting off the chair Lee quickly made me aware I had frostbite, good eyes Ri! But it was soon fixed so no harm done. We also found out this morning we will be having Darryl as our level 2 examiner, which should be good, let’s hope we can all impress him and show our progress. Slightly sour end to a good morning, when I was flying down Serwa run to get home, when a snowboarder came out of nowhere and decided to cut right across me and the run, to get to the trees on the other side, if it wasn’t for a huge reaction speed check we would of crashed! Not even a sorry, or apology of any sort... I was less than impressed!
The afternoon saw the weather slightly improve, but was still cold! Luckily we could all easily warm up by helping Lee build us a small slalom course where we could test our skiing mobility we had been working on, which added a nice element of fun, meaning we all had a quality afternoon!
Wednesday went from really cold in the morning to lovely and bright and sunny for our afternoon, so not all bad! More ski improvement for the morning which appears to have worked, according to Lee, saying big changes were made for the better and everyone was looking good, always nice to hear the hard works paying off! A small element of teach in the afternoon with NBS Leigh and Sam shadowing which was nice, some all round footage and photos. We also had an analysis period where we were merely looking at the public and working out what was wrong with their skiing and how we as instructors would improve it... Definitely harder than the other instructors make it look, but by the end things started to become more apparent, meaning PROGRESS!!
It’s crazy how at the start of the week the weather was really cold, yet by Thursday we was waking up to a blue bird day, around -1 which doesn’t sound too great to people at home, but for out here is lovely and WARM! Actually made me feel good, so kind of made me ski better, if that makes any sense. We teamed up with Jamie Jacks ski group (another instructor we have become good friends with) so that both groups had a good quality of student to analyse and assess. Looking at better skiers and trying to pick them apart to find an in depth weakness was SOOOOO hard, but after a few times, we sort of began to get the idea, meaning going back to look at not so good skiers it was easier to find fault and talk about how to develop it. The Big White weather is also really unpredictable, a nice sunny morning would probably mean a nice-ish afternoon yeah, nope, the clouds had come in, the light dropped and now conditions were a lot harder! For this we broke off into pairs, me with the flying Scotsman Billy, and we assessed each other, then came up with a tactic and instructed, so a bit of teaching practise. Everyone had a full run to instruct so plenty of time and space to work on the area that needed it, however we had to think of lesson pace and duration of skiing, a lot to think of. Although there are a lot of things to think of, everyone did well and it was another productive day!
Friday and the weather was still unpredictable, an overcast morning was warm... sweet! Intermediate parallel, short turns and GS (giant slalom) turns were on the agenda, with Lee videoing us doing all 3 so that we could look at all areas of our skiing. The video showed we all weren’t perfect but improvement was definitely present, it’s just the fine tuning and tweaking we have to do now.
The afternoon, as it was a Friday meant fun, so we literally just skied, shredded up the Powder chair, launching ourselves off the rollers and got some nice airs! We did do a few short turn drills, but at around 2.30-2.45 it was obvious we were all struggling from fatigue, it had been a tough week! A beer was in order at the Bull Wheel... So that was it, no more lessons between us and our level 2!
Saturday Dan, Kate and myself jumped in the car with Billy and his family and headed to Kelowna initially just for a food shop, however we ended up having a brilliant day down in town. After a quick stop at the park for the boys to have a play about, us three included, we headed to the Mall for a mooch about, then head over to Fresh Air, a ski shop selling good gear, where Dan bought himself a new Rossi Jibsaw snowboard for an insanely good price! In the end we did what we set out to do and did a food shop, before heading back for a glass of wine and a film, no-one fancied a big night...
Sunday saw me, Dan and Kate head out in the morning for a little ski/board session, with Dan testing and loving his new board, good purchase. We headed through town and stopped at the point where the local fire-fighters have been camping on the roof by the VCM all weekend for charity, while also making pancakes. After enjoying the immense blueberry pancakes we headed home for a chill before heading back out, for another ski, me and Kate now working on different parts of our level 2 (short turns, braquage ...) To be honest was a lot of fun, even more so when the weather turned really nice!
That’s it now, no more days until our level 2, nerves are ok at the moment, keeping them at bay, but I can tell as soon as Monday morning comes around, they will soon enough set in!
The final week before exams and the last chance to improve under the watchful eye of the instructor before the Level 2 exams commence.
This was not an easy week for the guys and girls as they all worked hard on what they need to demonstrate for their exam as well as working on their analyzing skills they need to pass the teaching section.
The snowboarders had a new instructor this week and they were all very impressed by his knowledge and ability on the snowboard, he even threw down a back flip to impress the boarders, which went down very well. This had them at his beck and call and really allowed the students to progress their ability and maximize their potential. This was fantastic especially leading in to the exam next week.
Their confidence was really shining through when they all hit this jump/drop on one of the runs.
The skiers had instructor Lee again who has a lot of experience in training for the level 2 so they were all very happy. This showed as they skied the hardest we have seen them ski and have noticed such a drastic improvement in their skiing. If it was not for the fact they have been wearing the same jacket and pants for the last few weeks it would be near impossible to recognise these guys on their skis. This goes for the boarders as well, they have all come so far and should be happy with the level of skiing and riding they are at. Lets hope they can perform on the days of the exam and all come away qualified Level 1 and 2.
The skiers were fortunate enough to stumble upon Big White Ski School training and this gave them the perfect oppurtunity to practise their analytic skills against some top notch skiing.
The weekend was a very chilled one as the students wanted to make sure they were rested up for the Level 2 exam. This meant that after group dinner on Friday night the majority went home to watch a movie and go to bed with a few of the others having a few games of pool and catching the last shuttle home at 22.38.
Saturday and Sunday consisted of skiing and riding with everyone practicing their demos and teaches as well as working or their individual feedback in their riding.
The week ended with a waxing session and a BBQ / Hot tub mini party to get nice and relaxed and prepare their equipment.
We wish everyone the bet of luck and look forward to celebrating on Saturday night.
Something specatactualr happened this week as well, the Northern Lights were visable and someone managed to capture this fantastic photo. This photo is completely un altered and has had no enhancment.
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