23.03.2006 0 °C
Yay yay yay, I did it!!! My ultimate goal of this trip has been realised in passing the CASI level 2 examinations. I am a happy man and the world of real snowboard instructing awaits.
With all due respect to the level 1 qualification, which at the time I believed to be harder than alchemy, that was a piece of cake compared to this multi-tiered monstrosity. How? Well, the level 2 introduces that concept of analysis and improvement (A & I) which requires you to identify a problem in somebody’s riding then diagnose what the cause is (not to be confused with a symptom of the problem of which there are many), then utilise an appropriate tactic in appropriate terrain to correct it. Compound that with the fact that all this must be delivered alongside sound demonstrative knowledge of snowboarding theory and consistent riding of the highest technical level, and you see why it‘s no mean feat - it‘s not all gnarly tricks, hip-hop and baggy pants you know. I can safely say that this one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
Although the exam was only 4 days long it felt like a lifetime, requiring absolute focus an concentration for the whole 9 hours each day which was incredibly draining. We were honoured that the Technical Director for CASI, who just so happens to run the KHMR Snowboard School, would be the examiner, with Ryan (our main instructor for the PowderTrip program) alongside as the observing rookie. (Trevor incidentally jetted in from a 10 day trip to Alaska on the first morning of the course, and flew out again on the last day to Colorado for more snowy fun - can’t be bad!) Given the high calibre of the examiner, he expected the absolute best from us all so it was no walk in the park.
Day 1 was spent introducing the course, developing and assessing our riding capability. Day 2 moved onto intermediate and advanced sliding turns which I found a doddle. Day 3 we moved onto carving which I’ve always struggled a little with - I’d like to blame the board as is shorter than I should ride and is a very flexible (K2 Zeppelin 156cm) so not the easiest to work with, but workman/tools springs to mind. I was practically reduced to tears with Trevor ripping my riding to shreds, highlighting fundamental flaws in my steering skills in a video session (leading with the hip not knees/ankles). Add to that an unfortunate string of pretend feedback from my course comrades which I took as literal, and a miserable attempt to deliver a crappy lesson in the wrong terrain and I was destroyed. That night I thought it was all over but I knuckled down, studied hard, switched by board setup with natural stance and insane high-back lean to aid carving and set my mind for the next day. Listening to Changes by 2 Pac (not my normal choice) on my journey to the hill on day 4 I felt so inspired to give it my all and yay yay I totally nailed it and stormed the day - teaching was spot on, riding was flawless with some razor sharp carving everywhere I went, and mood was positive. Still I was beyond surprised when Trevor stuck out his hand at the end of the day with the magic words ‘congratulations’. Stoked beyond belief!
So, level 2 instructor I am. Congrats also to Leanne, Travis & Matt who passed too; next time will be yours Paul and Yotoko.