Taking our level 2
Saturday 14th March - cold and cloudy
It had finally arrived. After months of preparation the first day of our level two instructors exam was upon us. We got up even earlier than normal to register at 8 o'clock, saying our goodbyes to Claire on the way out as we would now not see her again. We had organised for Jackie to pick Claire up and take her to the bus stop to catch her Greyhound back to Calgary. And judging by her lack of prescence upon our return, it clearly worked.
The exam is split into two main parts: riding and teaching. As such the first two days of the exam are spent getting used to all of the riding techniques we have to demonstrate, whilst similtaneously learning how to teach them to others. The third day is for practicing our teaching and being given feedback on it. The final day is our evaluated teaching day where we do two lessons which our end result is based off.
As today was basically a walkthrough of the easier techniques we need to know, it was quite laid back. I think we were all a little suprised to find how much fun we were having. But then again, snowboarding around in our own clothes with six of our friends, what of that sounds bad?
Waiting to get our feedback at the end of each day
So when we returned home we had a very elated and relaxed evening with the knowledge that tomorrow would be a little bit harder lingering in the back of our minds.
Sunday 15th March - OH MY GOD!!!!
Sunday brought with it over a foot of powder! Yes, for any of you following closely this is the most powder we have had all season. And it couldn't have come at a worse time.
Snow! In buckets!
All snowboarders love powder - fact. All snowboarders that is, except for those trying to do advanced carving and sliding turns on that day. Not only was that thick snow making our exam more dificult but it was also taunting us, just laying there all fluffy willing us to come play. Crafty snow.
It may have been because of the snow or merely because we were trying harder techniques now, but as the day wore on it quickly became apparent that this was quite a challenging exam. And now we were getting nervous. One poor turn after another and the fear began to set in.
It also didn't help that this was the first time that Cam had taken a level two exam on his own. It wasn't that he was a bad instructor at all, just very serious. This wasn't being at all beneficial in making us feeling relaxed and positive about the exam. However, as the powder began to get flattened out in places, our riding picked up and we ended the day feeling that all was not lost. We could do this. We could ride and teach and pass... as long as it didn't snow again.
Monday 16th March - Sunny
"YES, LOOK AT THAT GROOMED RUN!" Something none of us thought we would ever hear ourselves say or even think, but that was the case today. It was the first day of us doing our practice teaching and we knew that groomed conditions were a must. Luckily for us the Kimberley cat drivers had given us exactly what we wanted to start our day positively.
We were given the choice to do intermediate or advanced techniques first, and deciding that we wanted it out of the way, picked advanced. The positive attitude that started with seeing groomed runs, continued with getting a sucessful practice teach under our belts, and by lunch time the elated feeling had returned. Both Sarah and I had been given good feedback on our lessons with some minor things to improve, and in all, we were feeling pretty good about our teaching.
Riding, however, was a different matter. Our riding has been evaluated throughout the entire course and we were constantly being given feedback on what we still needed to do. It started off okay but as we improved one thing another got worse or still needed work. The stress was returning, we couldn't deal with all this up and down. So we drove to New Mexico and robbed a bank, quite easily actually, with a gun. Using the $100million we got away with, we bought a boat and converted it into a spaceship, which we used to fly to the moon to hang out with Abe Lincoln. He's a dude.
Sometimes we were feeling that the riding was going well, sometimes not. So as the third day came to a close we weren't sure what to think. Cam is very good at telling you when things need work to help you improve, but isn't great at communicating when you have done what is needed. That, or Sarah and I never did what was needed.
Cam showing Trev how to snowboard, but it looked more like a dance
Tuesday 17th March - St. Patricks Day
Today was the day. It had all come down to this. The final day of our level two had come and our nerves were shattered. Today we would be given two lessons to teach, one intermediate one advanced, that would decide whether we passed the teaching portion of our exam. Our riding would also be watched throughout the day which could lead to us passing that too. So no pressure then.
The day begun with Sarah having to teach first. It was nice to know that she would be done nice and fast but the problem was she would have to teach her other lesson last. Way to reduce the stress. However her teaching was really good and although we didn't get any feedback today we felt positive that it had gone well.
I was to teach fourth, slap bang in the middle of the group. Well at least I wouldn't have to wait too long to be completely finished. I also felt good about it and depite hearing myself stumble over my words and making one little mistake felt positive.
The day went on and we soon realised that the teaching was going fine and that the riding was the real area to get nervous about. Luckily Cam was telling us things to try and do throughout the day and each time we did we felt a little closer to achieveing what we needed to.
So with Sarah wrapping up the day in a similar manner to how she had started, very well, we ended the final day of the course. Cam disappeared off to do secret CASI things and we were given an hour to get changed and then get our results. We all went up to the Stemwinder to grab a drink and start of the celebrations or commiserations. Either way, it being St Paddys day we were going to be drinking alot. The bar had decided to put green food colouring in the beer and so with colourful drinks in hand we settled in fo the nervous wait.
Some hacky sack to calm the nerves whilst waiting for our results
I'm not going to keep you in the dark any longer as im sure the tension already has you on the edge of your seat. Sarah passed both her riding and teaching and got above standard for her teaching just like she did for her level one. Aparently shes very good at instructing. I passed my teaching as well although only at standard but did not make it for the riding. Cam said I was doing everything right, I just needed to tie it altogether, but I was very close. He also highly recommended that I go for a retest in Fernie in a few weeks.
The snowboard team - Level 2 students, supervisors and supporters
And so the drinking began. Liana said that as a celebration she was going to take all of the snowboard school to the Sullivan for dinner and drinks on her. So we quickly headed home to shower and change and then were out again to go partake in more green Kokanee. The dinner was excellent and nice to spend an evening with all of our friends, especially the ones brought closer together by the exam.
Dinner at the Sully
But the party couldn't stop there. After the dinner was done we headed onto the Edge where there was karaoke. Not expecting any of our group to get up and sing I was very suprised to find myself, Eric, Vaughan, Sarah and Trev standing up on stage singing 'Low'. It has been our theme tune all season so by now we all knew the chorus very well, the verses however, not so good. It also didn't help us any that its a very fast, hard to understand rap. Oh well safety in numbers at least.
Team karaoke to Low
I was wrong again, before the end of the night Eric had got up on his own, Vaughan had rapped along with Vanilla ice and Sarah had been pulled up on stage to sing along to the spice girls. Karaoke is apparently infectious although I dont see it.
Dancing at the Edge
So with spirits high by energy levels low we sloped off back home ready for another day of work tomorrow, with probably the most qualified snow school Kimberley has ever had.