Canada Day!

Today was our turn to share with the world, we hosted workshops this morning and afternoon with a focus on sharing a little piece of our teaching methodology; the SAFE concept. We also hosted an indoor workshop where we gave an overview of our system, more on that later.

The SAFE concept is nothing new to us, it has been part of our course content for many years but sort of fell out of view slightly, overshadowed by many of our excellent teaching concept we’ve brought to the members in recent years, most notably the Competencies and the Practical Teaching Skills. The SAFE model provides a tangible lesson structuring tool for instructors to introduce, develop and refine new skills. Initially used as a beginner teaching technique, the SAFE model can be adapted to more advanced manoeuvres and concepts.

S: Explanation / Demonstration of the tactic. A: Practice in a controlled environment, lots of feedback. F: Mileage and Practice. E: Add variation to the movement (edge / slope / movement change).

5 of us presented this session today, offering different presentation style and giving almost all of us a chance to teach snowboarders from all over the planet, not an opportunity you get very often, if ever, for most of us. I headed out with 2 Americans, 2 Polish, 1 Australian, 2 Swiss and 2 Slovenian riders; incredible amount of knowledge in one group… slightly intimidating! The pressure to perform was definitely felt.

First step was to ensure understanding of the SAFE model by using a very basic piece of our Quickride, more specifically skating, every country has skating as part of their beginner “progression”, naturally, as it is how we all get around the flats and load any type of lifts, finding common ground on a manoeuvre was the objective to ensure a focus on the teaching methodology and not get caught up into a “we do it this way in our country” type of scenario. Once clear on the model, it was time to up the difficulty to keep everyone engaged, we settled on Short Turns, another consistent tasks amounts the various systems present in the group.

Static: The good old twist the disc analogy to use the feet to turn the board (turning with the lower body), while this tactic as almost as old as CASI itself, much to my surprise, not many had heard this analogy before. A black groomed run (albeit very slushy) was the venue. Time for a demo.

Active: Time for everyone to give it a try. Very interesting to observe the various movement patterns from different systems. Feedback is next… which had to be prefaced by “my goal is not to make you ride like me or the Canadian way” as this is not a CASI certification course, which brings an interesting dynamic within the group as you can tell they are comparing this to their own way of performing this task. Everyone was a good sport and gave it a try… lots of questions ensued.

Free: Time for mileage while guiding them safely. Very cool to watch that many high end riders tearing apart a slope and having a good time.

Experiment: Let’s add a variation. I started by giving them a variation to try. Building on twist the disc I had them attempt to twist one disc at a time, separating the turning effort between front and back foot relating them to phases of the turn. I then followed it up with having them come up with a variation of their own, lots of good stuff came out there and we all gave them a try accompanied by some great discussions.

With a bit of time left I took them to the park to discuss how this model can be applied to any riding environment and together we came up with a manoeuvre that we can apply to this model to; in this case ollies and nollies. For sake of time we skipped A and F and went right to E, having them do ollies and nollies on various features of their choice while cruising through the park, super fun way to wrap it up!

Well received, great times and discussions were had with everyone. I feel privileged to have been given this opportunity to present at Interski for the 3rd time, career highlights for sure, a huge thank you to you, the members, and the Interski comittee for giving us this opportunity.

Thank you CASI!

Luc Belanger

Team America ‘F’ Ya!

Today I had the opportunity to hang out with an amazing group of instructors from the United States of America (I may be pronouncing it wrong).

Team America got to Bulgaria a few days earlier than everybody else. They unpacked their bags and headed into the small towns around the resort. Their purpose was to meet up with the children of the towns to get them started on their journey of snowboarding.

Burton’s Riglet program starts children off snowboarding in their school gym. The children then head out into the snow to the Riglet park.

Team America, along with the Bulgarian park crew set up an amazing Riglet park at the top of the mountain.

At 12:30 every day the local kids would come up to the top of the mountain and snowboard for two hours.

I had the pleasure of working with these children in the park, teaching them how to snowboard alongside the Americans.

I have heard of Riglet parks before. My home resort, Mt. Pakenham has small ‘Riglet boxes’. Pakenham has Riglet boards complete with reels and we teach the wee ones how to snowboard. We do it wrong!

This Riglet park was next level! It was about 10 meters by 20 meters. Their was a mini pipe, a snake bowl, four rollers and four boxes.

The Riglet boards had a handle bar attachment that mounted to the binding inserts. This allowed the children to play with minimal guidance from the instructors. When the children were ready, they transitioned into a board with bindings.

For two hours these children played in this park, progressing at an extremely fast rate. No English was spoken, only high fives were given. It was much more like a skate park than a ski hill.

I am very excited to bring this back to my home resort!

I have to hand it to the Americans. Not only are they participating at Intershred but they are giving back to the host community.

Breen Trott

Mastering Swiss “Harry”

Yesterday Switzerland presented indoor lecture with the topic of “Stop thinking, Start learning” This topic was based on Swiss methodology of skill development. Presentation was done by Isa, she is in charge of educational committee on Swiss Snow School Snowboard division. Similar to CASI, they emphasize on delivering lesson customized to customer’s needs in order to give the best learning experience. For instructors, they develop several points and tools to structure high quality and fun lessons in the simplest way possible.

Three models are introduced:

1st level – Acquisition/ Consolidation

2nd level – Application/ Variation

3rd level – Creation/ Supplementation

We also discussed in groups to list some key points to simplify lessons, such as small steps, good demo, analogy, simple and clear explanation etc.

Today’s on snow presentation was based on indoor presentation. Breen and I were in the group of Philipp, a technical director from Davos snow school.

At the start of the presentation, Philipp mentioned two goals:

1: Learn to do trick called “Harry” ( nose press with backside shifty)

2: Introducing Swiss methodology of skill development.

The first goal is a technical goal and the second goal is a pedagogical goal.

Philipp started just showing clear demo and made us try with mileage. At this stage his intention was to make us learn basic form of this trick “harry” just by copying his demo. Then at the top of the lift on the flat area, he made us do static “harry” without board first, then with board assisted by someone. Then we went down to apply this moment on the easy terrain to start, kept practicing with mileage. This first step is Acquisition and consolidation.

Next, Philipp added three analogies to help us perform “harry ” better.

1: Superman – lean forward to the direction of the travel

2: Kick boxer – back foot heel kick movement

3: Frisbee throw (with front hand) – helping body to move forward

Also he added another hint, making us feel pressure on big toe on front foot, pressure on heel on back foot.

This second step is Application and Variation

Lastly he paired us up and perform “harry” following each other. This gave us an opportunity to copy each other’s movement and learn the timing of performing “harry”. After this we headed to terrain park to try “harry” on the rollers of the jumps. This allowed us to adapt timing with more speed and perform more stylish “harry” . He also gave us last hint which is the extension of hip, knee and ankle joints when performing “harry”

This third step is Creation and Supplementation.

Overall it was a fun session, well-prepared, maximized terrain available. We were challenged, moving, cheering, laughing, falling. It is always interesting to see the different approaches to similar materials we use in the CASI system. Philipp was focusing on presenting clear structures of the Swiss methodology of skill development and it was definitely clearly delivered. I wished we had more group or personalized feedbacks to achieve our technical goal more efficiently, even if we were using guided discovery approach.

It is always fun to learn new things!

By the way we decided to name #swissharry for this trick. Don’t forget to use this in your photos!