Week 4 - CSIA Level 1 Assessment Week
So by this stage most people will have had 3 weeks to work on their skiing and get it up to level 1 standard, unfortunately for me, but nothing new in the world of Helen and Mark, although I have had 3 weeks skiing and managed to work on some things to improve my skiing I've also had some major changes to base of support (spot the CSIA technical term), the end result of which is although my skiing is now more symmetrical and consistent I have had only about 2 days to get re-train my muscles for the new set up so I will more or less learning to ski again during the level 1 assessment - oh well at least it should be easy for me to show improvement :-)
The assessment is over 4 days, the first 2 days are nominally ski improvement days with a little bit of how and what to teach thrown in and a couple of hours of classwork on the first days as well. Days 3 & 4 are predominantly centered on teaching. The assessment is done on a group basis with different course co-ordinators for days 1/2 and days 3/4.
So the one set of conditions we have not skied on in the previous weeks is fresh powder - so what do we get for day 1? yep you've guessed it a foot of fresh powder. You can pretty much count the days I've skied on fresh snow more than 3-4 inches deep on one hand, this combined with all the boot changes meant my skiing on day 1 was pretty ropey. It wasn't helped by the fact that I was the slowest skier in the group and the co-ordinator likes to ski fresh powder and ski lots.
Now we are into almost perfect ski conditions the fresh snow has been groomed in, today was a lot more with minimal time spent on teaching again. I did however develop a cunning strategy, as I was the slowest skier in the group I was generally the last person to arrive at the stopping points which meant that I had the opportunity to demonstrate the skills that the co-ordinator was looking for. The end of day 2 includes a 1 on 1 debrief with the co-ordinator to review your skiing, as I suspected I hadn't been skiing that well but I had been improving but needed to carry on improving during the rest of the course.
At last the focus changes from skiing to teaching, there are two main things you have to demonstrate, the first is to be able to improve the skiing of others in your group and the second is to show that you can teach absolute beginners. The first part of the day the new co-ordinator does some sample lessons with half the group acting as students and the other half acting as assistant instructors. The afternoon we spend doing beginner lessons and generally having a good laugh, for once I have the last laugh, beginner teaching is generally harder work and the day was quite warm and sunny so the decide to take off their jackets, I think about doing the same thing, however as I start to take my jacket off I feel a cold breeze and decide just to undo my jacket rather than take it off, this causes some amusement from my fellow candidates. The last part of beginner teaching is going up the beginner lift, so all of a sudden we aren't working up a sweat but sat on a lift and going a bit higher up the mountain, the end result everybody apart from the person who kept his jacket on (SMIRK) is cold.
Well this is it the day of reckoning, today we have to do the lessons and we will be under close scrutiny. We are divided into two groups, one to teach beginners and one to intermediate parallel, it looks like the stronger skiers have to teach beginners and the weaker skiers have to teach intermediate parallel. Somehow I end going first and no surprise I am teaching intermediate parallel, this is were I have to say thanks to Chris, last weeks instructor, for telling us to take notes on our fellow candidates skiing short comings during the first couple of days. Anyway the lesson goes well with my "students" all demonstrating the same shortcoming making the choice of drill relatively easy and allowing me to keep the lesson moving. So that's me done teaching all I have to do is play student and ski for the rest of the morning (the last day finishes at lunchtime to allow the co-ordinators to make their final assessment). We have to do 3 or 4 runs to allow everybody to do their teaching, on the last run I'm skiing behind the co-ordinator to the start point for the final lesson when I notice something strange about her skiing I watch a bit more and realise that she is demonstrating the steps required from snow plough turns to parallel turns, when we stop I mention this and it seems I have actually surprised her by noticing and get complimented for spotting this. After the last teaching session we are asked to do one more free ski run for the co-ordinator to observe.
Well the assessment is over now it's an anxious few hours wait to get the results ...... well I passed Woo-Hooo, I just got through on the skiing but the comment from the co-ordinator was that my teaching was awesome.