So much that they didn't let us up the mountain to train so we had to do our lessons indoors. Then on Saturday the 16th July Treble Cone opened the mountain and everyone turned up. Not only was it a weekend, it was the middle weekend of the school holidays, plus it was opening day with a promise of freshies for everyone. The queues were horrendous!
For those of us training with the Rookie Academy it was our final day of training before the Level One exam, and most of the trainees' first time to see the mountain covered in snow and ride a few trails. Everyone was pumped to be experiencing skiing the mountain at last, not to mention that glorious view...
Sunday was an early start, as it was Day One of the exam. Our examiner, Sem, was a dynamic lady from Cardrona, who took us through our paces, teaching us about the teaching model we'll be using to teach skiers, and working on those wedge turns again. Not to mention our athletic stance. I am beginning to hate those two words....
Day Two was a chance for us to earn some marks, teaching a (non skiing) movement to the group using the teaching model we'd learnt the day before. I chose to teach my group how to uphaul a windsurfing sail, others taught fencing, golf swings, tennis serves, and even Bollywood dancing! It was a fun day and most of us got good positive feedback. One of our group, however, was struggling.
Our group of eight consisted of 7 Rookies and one 17 year old from Auckland. Although some of the Rookies are as young as 15 and struggle with remaining focused, this young man in our group showed no focus and very little application throughout the entire five days. All of our guys tried hard, despite nerves and wandering concentration, whereas this young chap just cruised along with little insight into the fact that his behaviour was so immature that his ability to be responsible for young children was highly questionable.
Sem was brilliant, always providing us with constructive feedback and really putting in 200% to help our struggling lad get over the line. As the teaching sessions involved us teaching each other, we all tried to be as helpful and attentive as possible when it was his turn to teach, but really, the lad had no idea what he was doing. When I asked him on the final day why he was doing the exam he scoffed that he was doing it to be an instructor, why else would one do it? Others in the group stifled their laughter as he'd actually shown no inclination throughout the week to actually learn the material required to pass the exam.
Day Three we taught a section of ski progression to each other. Level One instructors can only teach from first time to wedge turns, so we again spent time working on those, as well as improving our parallel skiing technique.
Day Four we pretended to teach a bunch of kids, using games and play to introduce the various movements of skiing. Back at the hostel I'd asked our resident 9 year old girl what kids her age were into, so Miranda and I based our lesson on teaching kids how to ski in a straight line with an athletic stance using the theme of zoo animals. Thanks Elsa!
Day Five we had to prove we had enough ski form to demonstrate the skills we were teaching. We had to demonstrate good form at rounded wedge turns - you should have seen the steam coming out of my helmet with all the concentration required to do this - and parallel turns with a pole touch. By lunch time we were done. A massive snow ball fight followed....
Only our young Auckland lad had to redo one of his teaching sessions, and Sem chose four of our group to be his students. Miranda, Kit and I weren't chosen, so we got to free ski for the first time this season. I took the gang down Cloud Nine and Superpipe, both nicely loaded with windblown dry snow, and the first time I'd skied them in piste skis rather than my fatter twin tips. Happily, that wasn't a problem. Then I took Kit over to the viewpoint over Matukituki Valley, then back down to the plaza where our marks and presentations were happening at 3pm.
We all passed, except for our Auckland lad, but that wasn't a surprise. He didn't deserve to pass and I only have praise for the way Sem, Stephanie and the NZSIA really tried to help him get through. But the lad needs to grow up a bit, and learn that without application, there's no reward.
So I'm now a Level One Ski Instructor. Who would have thunk I could have gone this far? But then again, I really had no choice. My usual ski coach and mentor for the last few years, Heidi, has become an instructor trainer and examiner herself, and is getting employment outside the normal ski school. I'd either have to find a new ski coach, or become an instructor....
So here I am with Sem and my certificate.