The All Mountain Challenge

Level 6 at Coronet Peak is the All Mountain & All Terrain challenge.

Our students are learning to make dynamic carving turns on most groomed trails. This means they are moving with and across their skis constantly and consistenetly resulting in two clean lines in the snow all the way through the turn.

They ski in control off piste with upper body discipline always facing down the hill. They ccan ski the fall line in the bumps with a minimum of upper body rotation.

They can jump off most things safely, checking their approach take off and landing before launching themselves.

They can adapt to all the different types of terrain and conditions the mountain has to offer including challenging blacks at anytime.

They are our model students and always apply themselves 100%.

 

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Goals: Giving a Ski Lesson purpose

When you come to a ski lesson, there is always a goal that you want to achieve, otherwise why would you come to a lesson? Whether it’s to ride up a chairlift and successfully ski down a piste, meet like-minded & similar ability skiers, or to ski down a black diamond run in control and with form. Or, in the case of children they usually want to ‘have fun’. There is always a ‘goal’.

A goal is ‘the aim, intention, objective or purpose of a person or group of people.’ For a lesson to be great, it needs a goal ‘to make the direction of the lesson clear.’ What we’re doing in the lesson also needs to be related back to the goal or the lesson becomes disjointed and confusing.

What the student wants from the lesson helps to determine the goal. This could be to improve technique, ski a more difficult run, meet new people and make friends, have fun, or maybe build confidence. And sometimes a students motivation for being in a lesson plays a role, too.

As instructors, we see what you need to achieve your goal by watching you ski and negotiate what could be a realistic goal for the time available.

Goals may need to be reassessed from time to time in order to achieve them, breaking them down in to smaller and shorter goals. This lets us know we’re on track and gives a sense of achievement before moving on to the next one. Too much, too big, too soon are less likely to be achieved. Big goals are achieved through incremental small goals.

Every thousand mile journey begins with a single step.

One way we break down a goal is to turn it in to a SMART goal:

  • Specific: A clearly defined, concise statement of what the objective is will give the lesson a focus.
  • Measureable: There needs to be a bench mark, or control, against which to measure progress and stay motivated.
  • Achievable: Even though great effort may be required, there is still the ability for the goal to be reached successfully.
  • Realistic: There should be appropriate expectations of the objective to maintain motivation.
  • Timely: Achieved within a specified time frame. This could be within a one hour lesson, a couple of days, weeks or several seasons.

Which ever way you break it down, as long as there is a sense of achievement, progress and fun, then the lesson has been a success!

 

Let’s go skiing!

Winter Starts – Best Snow for Years

It’s been a busy start to the season. Even though we got in to Queenstown a whole month ago now it seems like it was only last week! There was significantly more snow on the mountains and resorts on the flight in which was quite a relief. In previous years there hasn’t been any snow to speak of.

Early season snow falls in May, temperatures remaining cold and more early season snow has kept the buzz in town that this will be a great season for snow. This season seems to be defying the locals adage, ‘Snow in May never stays, Snow in June still too soon.’ We’ve even had snow to the valley floor before Opening Day!

I’ve been busy training the local high schoolers and new hire interns the ways of teaching at Coronet and how to be effective assistants and instructors. I am also getting my schedule organised for the school holidays and the season.
Some Australian school holidays have already started, or starting on Monday, with the New Zealand school holidays starting next week. For the New Zealand school holidays I will be working on the Ski Clubs Ski Weeks, then after the school holidays I’ll be working on the Wakatipu Ski Clubs 6 Sunday’s Programme.
Both of these programmes are rewarding, as the participants are either locals of Queenstown, or the greater region on the South Island, and are fun to ski with.
Night Ski officially started on Friday night with the Launch Party tonight with Aroha & MC Tali and Hedlok. First Tracks opens on the 2nd July just in time for the holidays.
In August, I have my Trainers Cert. Exam, which is a tough nut to crack. This will be the third season I’ll be attempting the exam, this time for sure!

Back to the Beach

Remaining focused on Winter, and being ski fit, while living and working on the beach means the next 8 months are going to be challenging. I’ve never been a fan of other people’s publicizing of training regimens, unless you are a personal trainer and especially not my own. For me training is an intrinsic, personal and relatively private activity. In this instance though, I am doing it to hold myself to account. I have often said what my off-season goals are and the response has been, ‘Yeah sure, that’s what you said last time. I’ll believe it when I see it…’ Well, as Bullwinkle said, ‘This time for sure!’

The ultimate goals I have is to pass the NZSIA Trainers Cert exam and the ski element of the NZSIA Telemark Level 3. These are the best part of a year away.

How do I break these overarching end goals in to smaller, more manageable parts that are relevant for both, Summer here and now, and Winter in the future? For both disciplines, maintaining technically accurate mechanics at speed and in variable terrain requires exceptional lower body strength, core stability, and plyometric control. They also require cardiovascular stamina and aerobic fitness at altitude.

There are various outdoor pursuits which can help with Winter that can be done in the Northern Illawarra area. Trail and beach running, swimming in the ocean pools, cycling on the bike paths and strength training at the local gym.

Trail Running in the area has a few facets. First, there is a local, non-competitive, timed 5 km run every Saturday morning. This run is relatively flat along the bike path next to the ocean and will serve to gauge my progress generally. Then there is Beach running, while flat will add some variety with an increased ‘collision time’ (time during which the foot sinks in to the sand, mimicing snow) and will give a thorough work out of the legs. There are also various trails up and along the Illawarra Escarpment for terrain diversity. I aim to run a Half-Marathon in May 2018 in 1 hr 15 mins.

Along the coast there are 8 Ocean Rock Pools and 2 Olympic swimming pools using ocean water. My swimming has never been the best, however, there are a couple of goals I would like to achieve here. First, is to swim 10 laps in the Olympic pools, in 10 minutes. For me, this is quite ambitious, but not unachievable. The second, is to swim 10 laps in all 10 pools. I have attempted this before and got as far as 2 pools and that is as far as it has got.

I have timed the ride between home and work as a sprint and cycled the bike paths with the family. As far as cycling goes this will be used as a form of cross-training and I will time the commute 3 times a week.

Strength conditioning and core stability are best trained in the gym, while plyometrics will be trained at the local sports fields. Even though skiing is very leg-centric, it is important to train the whole body. My upper body is particularly weak and this needs to be rectified. I can barely do 1 chin-up so to aim for 10 by May, as a start, is realistic. As for other base line, starting points, I need an initial assessment before setting further targets.

So there it is, a Summer of training and setting some ambitious yet achievable goals to get involved with over summer and autumn. I prefer to train outside and in a variety of sports. The area we spend summer is lends itself to training and it would be prudent of me to take the opportunity while we are here. As well as spending time with those I need to spend time with!

 

 

 

Level Yo-Yo: How it’s prevented. 

You’ve come for another ski holiday and been conservative in deciding which Level to put your child in to. They get their legs back and move up in to the level they completed last year. The next day, though they get moved back down, then moved back up. Then another day, another instructor, they moved back down. I have often referred to this phenomena as ‘Level yo-yo’. Children get moved up then down, then up then down.

Needless to say this a very frustrating scenario for everyone involved, you, the parents, us, the instructors and most importantly, the kids. So, why can’t we, the instructors, get it right for your child to have fun and learn in the level they’re supposed to be in?

There are several reasons why students oscillate between levels, and how to prevent it.

At the start of either the season or holiday, make sure you are conservative when determining their level. Even though they may have finished last year at Level X, depending on how much they have grown and how active they are, they will have some muscle that hasn’t skied yet. It is better to be placed in a lower group to ‘get their legs back’ than to start in the level they finished at and be on terrain or at speeds that would encourage bad habits and move them back to a lower group. This almost always negatively affects confidence, morale and motivation.

If they have grown, it is also likely that they have new equipment (even if its new for them, second hand) and could take some getting used to. New, stiffer boots, longer and/or stiffer ski’s can all affect their skiing at the start. When buying new boots avoid getting them too big on the assumption they will grow into them. This can be quite dangerous, as an ill fitting boot can have more leverage with which to break a leg. As long as they are the right size, rentals or second hand are fine. Orthopedic foot beds are also a good idea if they have unique and specific feet.

When dropping them off at lessons, be as accurate as you can with their ability. There is a big difference between having a physical ability to get down vs. accurate technical skill. For example, does your child ‘Death wedge’ down steep runs or do they turn their skis while in balance? What we as instructors look for to determine their level is efficient speed control through turning. Making sure they are turning with their legs rather than their shoulders and whole body. Ask yourself, What turns first, the ski’s and legs or shoulders and hips? If in doubt, check the resorts website for a level chart or videos to help you determine which level they should start at.

Their emotional state or well-being also affects learning and the retention of information quite significantly. At the start of the holiday there may a lot of excitement to get back out on to the slopes and a lot of energy expended as a result. Everyone was up early to make sure they had a substantial breakfast, cooperation between siblings to help get out on time with all their ski gear. Which results in an excellent first day back on snow and the lesson was great! There is a mild celebration and everyone has a late night. Which results in everyone being tired and sluggish the next day, waking up late, not having enough breakfast, siblings squabbling, rushing out the door, forgetting some innocuous (or important) piece of equipment, getting to the lesson after begging to be let in and missing the first part. Most of what was learnt the day before is forgotten, giving the instructor of that day the arduous task of saying, ‘Maybe you’ll have more fun in the lower group.’ Yes, I have been that instructor. And, No, it is not fun.

While your child may be able to do something with one teacher, then can’t quite do it on their own. One teacher will see it, move them up, then it’s lost with other teachers. A student not only needs autonomy of skills to stay in the level, but to maintain the effort that they have put in previously to get to the next level. This could have been the result of the relationship between student, instructor and the other students in the group. Encouragement between students often affects performance.

Alternatively, an instructor may try to make the student (or themselves) feel good by giving more ticks on the progression card than the student can do. This could indicate that more training is required to bring all instructors to the same expectations of skills. Sometimes students can recognise that they are getting more ticks than they deserve. This practice undermines the integrity of what we do. Children generally understand when they earn their ticks before moving up. I have known some kids to request an instructor because, ‘when we get ticks from you, we’ve earned them and your not going to take them away.’

Another common assertion is that the child has been down a Blue run from top to bottom with the significant detail that the child was skiing between the parents legs omitted. This has the potential of being highly dangerous at worst and a waste of the rest of the classes time (and the other parents money) at best.

“Perfect practice makes perfect.” (Bruce Lee)

I have had some parents ask me, ‘The last instructor promised they’d be moving up today. Why haven’t they?’ Good question. What the last instructor should have said was, ‘Given your child’s rate of improvement in today’s snow and weather conditions along with their mood, energy levels, performance arousal/anxiety levels (Stoke level) and learning environment* (if they stay with me). IF all these things remain the same tomorrow (next lesson), then there stands a high probability that they may be ready to move up.’ However, very rarely do all these factors remain exactly the same and they will most likely need more mileage and practice at the level they’re in. Appropriate speed and appropriate terrain can help to enforce positive technical outcomes, as well as being more enjoyable for everyone.

It also depends on the group and if they are ready to go to the terrain of the next level, too. In each level there is a spectrum of ability, ‘entry level’ can be quite different to ‘strong’. For example, if a student is a strong 3B then their skis are mostly parallel on green and easy blue terrain. However, if they are entry level 3B, then there would still be a wedge at the start of the turn on the same terrain. So, on the face of it, it may look like some of the kids in the same group are of different levels, some may have just come in to the class, while some are on the cusp of graduating.

As you can see there are a multitude of reasons your child may be moved up and down between levels. While we do everything we can to prevent it from happening, conservative and accurate determination of level at the start, get good rest, keep energy levels up and consistent effort from your child will help to ensure once they have moved up, they will stay up.

‘Let’s go Skiing!’

The Rule of Fun

All too often when kids are being dropped off to their ski lessons, are the sage parental parting words, ‘Make sure you have fun!’ or the succinct, ‘Have fun!’. As if their kids not only have permission, but have an obligation to have said ‘fun’. Or maybe they were destined to forget about having fun because they’re in a lesson. ‘Okay, since you told me to ‘Have fun’, I suppose I better!’ And then, at the end of the lesson, when they pick up the kids the first question is invariably, ‘So, did you have fun?’

Ski lessons can be many things to many people, but a prime motivator for kids, or anyone for that matter, to do anything is that it is ‘Fun’.

‘Fun’ is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as ‘what provides amusement or enjoyment; specifically: playful often boisterous action or speech.’ However, ‘fun’ is subjective and there are many definitions of what ‘fun’ is or what may constitute ‘fun’. In the outdoors adventure world a ‘Fun Scale’ has emerged, the lines between the types of fun may be a little fuzzy, here I’ll try to explain.

Type I: This type of fun could be considered your standard, typical fun. Going to the movies or having a couple of drinks with friends, for example. The effort and commitment requirements are low, it is easy to maintain and you wish it would continue. Whilst there are fond memories of having fun, there is no emotional journey and as result, there is little sense of achievement. Participants either don’t need a specific skill set for immediate success or they already have the skills required, though, someones Type 1 might be some else’s Type 2.

We like to try to keep the first time skiing experience as Type I fun as possible. The more positive this experience, the more our guests will come back to invest more effort and become more emotionally involved. This sets them up for Type 2. Skiing with friends on familiar terrain fits Type I fun. As an experienced skier Powder days are definitely Type I fun!

Type II: This type of fun takes more effort and commitment than type I fun. Often, there is a certain mental fortitude required to complete the task at hand and won’t seem like fun at the time.Type II fun is about pushing boundaries, growth and development. There is fun recognised after the fact in the journey, or pursuit, of self-fulfillment.  But the journey is worth it as there is a considerable sense of achievement. In the context of a lesson, doing new things out of their comfort zone.

A child after a lesson a few years ago said to his dad, ‘He made me do things I didn’t want to do and it was really fun!’ (And yes, I did quietly question the wording of his exclamation.) We skied over a little drop where he was scared, at first I had to convince him that he had the ability to do it. Quite a lot of kids were scared at first, but once they’d done it they don’t want to do anything else. Exploring new terrain can be quite challenging in itself at times and once there is some familiarity, confidence can be developed.

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you”

Another example of Type II fun is when the weather is less than favourable and precipitation is more wet than light, dry and fluffy. The type of weather that mum and dad put the kids into lessons, then proceed to the cafe to stay dry. A specific goal of mine is to bring the kids back at the end of the lesson super keen to have one last run with mum and/or dad, when they’re both dry.

Type III fun is similar to Type II fun. But it takes a lot longer to realise that it was fun, if it was fun at all. Some extreme descriptions I’ve read mention Earnest Shackleton or books by Jon Krakauer as Type III fun. Type III fun could end up in the Patrol Hut, Medical Centre or Hospital, quite possibly on the first day of the season or holidays. The type of ‘fun’ to be avoided.

So, next time you pick the kids up from ski lessons the question isn’t whether or not they had fun. The question is ‘What type of fun did you have?’

References and Further Reading

“Fun.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Viewed on 25/08/17.

Dunfee, R. 2015. ‘The three and a half types of fun, explained’ tetongravity.com Viewed on 25/08/17 https://www.tetongravity.com/story/adventure/the-three-and-a-half-types-of-fun-explained

Wright, C. 2013. ‘Suffering for the Fun of it’ nationalgeographic.com Viewed 25/08/17 http://adventureblog.nationalgeographic.com/2013/11/26/suffering-for-the-fun-on-it-alex-honnold-and-cedar-wrights-worst-trip-ever/

Cordes, K. 2014. ‘The Fun Scale’ rei.com Viewed 25/08/17 https://www.rei.com/blog/activity/climb/page/2

Cordes, K. 2009. ‘The Fun Scale’ kellycordes.com Viewed 25/08/17 https://kellycordes.com/2009/11/02/the-fun-scale/

Staff Writer. 2016. ‘The Three Types of Fun’ steliasguides.com viewed 25/08/17 http://www.steliasguides.com/tech-tips/the-three-types-of-fun/

Rubin, G. 2013. ‘Consider the three levels of fun: Challenging, Accommodating and Relaxing Fun’ gretchenrubin.com Viewed 25/08/17 https://gretchenrubin.com/2013/04/consider-the-three-levels-of-fun-challenging-accommodating-and-relaxing-fun/

 

Winter has arrived, again!

The first post of the season is a little overdue, but it’s here now. It’s been an interesting start to the season. When we flew in on the 22nd, May, we flew through a blizzard. The Remarkables and the Southern Alps were covered in snow, Coronet Peak opened on time and it looked to be a very promising start to the season. However, rain and constant warm temperatures slowly but surely reduced the snow pack, leaving the lower mountain and beginner areas bare.

IMG_0562

Coronet Peak remained closed for two and a half weeks, from the 22nd June through to 9th July, re-opening just in time for the NZ School Holidays. During this time I was on the Trainers Cert workshop at Cardrona for the first few days, then worked across the valley at the Remarkables, which was nice for a change of view. I have worked there before on an ad hoc basis at the end of the season a couple of years ago.

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The Coronet Express started spinning at 8:00 am on Saturday morning, 9th July for First Tracks pass holders, with the other lifts operating into the evening, including the beginner conveyors and the Meadows chair, providing access to the Big Easy.

The Greengates chair continued to run for sightseeing and tubing from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, giving the chance to soak up stunning views from the Ice Bar.

Night Ski also kicked off for the season on Saturday from 4:00 pm and from all accounts it was an awesome night with the airbag on the deck, a DJ spinning tunes and warm braziers burning.

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Unfortunately, we have no control over the weather, but, this should be the start of a Colder Low pressure weather system that has a few cold fronts and southerly winds later in the week. Hopefully, winter is here to stay!

The Benefits of Playing Sport for Children

Sport has long been considered part of a country’s psyche, with its respective national sport, state, province, region or county with respective teams and each town with it’s club. Professional or amateur, there is something about sport that brings people, and the community, together.

Sport has a broad meaning that includes all sorts of physical activities. It can be outdoor or indoor and organised/competitive or casual sports. Soccer, Rugby, Basketball, Netball are examples of competitive sports. Other pursuits such as Dancing, Ballet, Jazz Ballet, Martial Arts, Gymnastics, Swimming, Running, Horse riding can be competitive, social or a mixture of both. Outdoor adventure pursuits such as hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, climbing, canyoning, abseiling, surfing, kite surfing, wind surfing also count as sport, as long as there is frequent participation. Although not necessarily sport, as such, Physical Play is not to be under estimated for it’s benefits, either. Skateboarding, roller blading/skating, rip sticking, though not in a team/organised setting have their benefits, as opposed to video games and chess which are sedentary. They mainly exercise the mind or hand eye coordination and reflexes.

We engage in the most play, or sport, during the times of our lives when the educational demands are the highest. Play has been defined as ‘voluntary, has no obvious survival value or is apparently purposeless, is pleasurable or fun, creates a diminished sense of time and self consciousness and is improvisational.’ (Hargrove, T 2011). Being voluntary and fun are important for children to maintain motivation for participation in sport, as a distinction from participating to win. And ‘a diminished sense of time’ basically means that ‘time flies when you’re having fun’, which has been known to distress some children because they don’t want the fun, or game, to stop!

For Humans, being a sociable animal, this is a benefit on a large scale, but what are the benefits of children playing sport? While this is not an exhaustive list I have managed to narrow it down to four major areas where sports benefit children’s development: Physical Coordination, Socialisation, Academic Improvement and Personal Development. (Oh, and may also benefit their skiing & riding, too!)

Sport and physical play are important for creating and developing body awareness. Most children in lessons will know, generally, what the different parts of their body are called. However, this doesn’t mean that they know how to tell that part what to do. The classic example is when a student is learning how to stop for the first time. They have been taught that making a wedge (aka slice of pizza or slice of anything circular or any thing that resembles a triangle) will make them stop. Then once sliding, they put their hands together and nothing happens with their feet and skis. This demonstrates a good cognitive understanding of what it is they need to do, however, their arms and hands have been used with more dexterous activities and receive the message first. The development of physical and motor systems start from the head and work their way down and is referred to as ‘Cephalocaudal development’. (McInerney & McInerney, 1998) Since it is a new neural pathway being forged to their legs it takes a little more effort to make it happen. From experience, this happens in both adults and, more so in children.

When teaching skiing, there is a noticeable difference between athletic, or physical, and sedentary kids. Children who are active in a lot of sports, or highly active in one, generally pick up snow sports quicker as they have more active neural pathways, resulting in improved coordination. ‘A child whose brain has more neural pathways will be able to learn more easily.’ (Johnston & Ramon, 2011) The best time for these pathways to be developed is between 3-6yrs.

Skiing involves the use of muscles that don’t get used in everyday life. And being a sliding/balancing sport, requires the use of the smaller stabiliser muscles in both the lower and upper body to maintain balance. The muscles used in a variety of activities such as skateboarding, roller blading/skating, rip sticking greatly improve a child’s (and adults) ability to develop balancing skills and then reappropriate these skills to skiing. Working in Canada, it’s interesting to see how quickly kids pick up skiing if they play ice hockey, or at least ice skate. There is a dramatic and noticeable difference between those that do, and those that don’t.

Developing these muscles, along with on mountain skiing experience, allows us to apply and adapt what is known as Perceptual Motor Skills. Perceptual motor skills could be described as the difference between learning to read and learning to write.(Johnston & Ramon, 2011) It’s one thing to know how a letter looks, what a letter or word is. It is another to be able to write the letter, or word, and coordinate what it looks like, or sounds like, to the movement pattern of the muscles in the hand and fore-arm.

Perceptual-motor skills also apply in other sports that involve the timing of catching, hitting, kicking or throwing a ball. These help to create and develop spatial awareness which is important when skiing in a variety of situations. When skiing in a class line, younger children have a tendency of crashing into each other, either while skiing or when stopping. Sometimes it is amusing to watch, although with older kids can be quite scary. The timing and coordinating of a pole plant or the gauging of jumps, ie. where the take off and landing are in relation to each other, which then determines what speed is needed.

Perceptual-motor skills means that we are able to see the terrain or conditions and adapt, and anticipate our movements accordingly. How we ski in the bumps is going to be different to how we ski on the groomed. And like wise, how we ski in powder is going to be different to how we ski on firm, almost impenetrable snow. Perceptual-motor skills are closely related to Proprioception.

While being physically aware of others around them is important, so is knowing how to socially interact with those around them. Playing team sport has the benefit of allowing the interaction and development of positive and valuable relationships with others their age, as well as other adults, coaches, trainers and parents of other team members.

As a child gets older a sense of ‘us’ is developed, being able to share and take turns. Seeing where a child is in its’ social development is demonstrated in many ways. The two more distinct ways are separation from their parents and the importance of where they are in the ski school snake. The former is evident in the younger ages (3-6), while the latter is more evident in the 6-8 yr old age range.

Playing team sports exposes children to the highs and lows of life through winning and losing. Being humble in the win and gracious in defeat, a sense of sportsmanship and egalitarianism can be instilled by being part of a team. Interacting and communicating with other team members can result in a successful team. Once children have seen that positive interaction can lead to positive results, the desire to cooperate with each other is heightened. The sense of belonging to a group and being able to contribute to the team’s success can improve their self-esteem and self-worth. In this process leadership skills can also be developed.

The relationships and teamwork involved with playing sports has other benefits. Solving problems and either defending or attacking on the field develops the mind through strategic thinking. Practising plays to get past or through the opponents defences, and then to be able to create variations to counter what’s in front of them allows them to learn how to think on their feet under perceived pressure. Instances of thinking strategically in skiing include navigating through the trees, race gates, or congested runs. Determining one’s own speed, the speed of others, the spacing between trees, gates and people all contribute to the child’s ability to think on their feet. Trying to think how the opposition, or others, thinks also helps develop empathy.

Studies have shown that those that participate in sport are less likely to suffer from depression. Physical stimulation of the brain increases endorphins released in the brain, maintaining an equilibrium of neural chemistry, which in turn helps to have an increased attention span. (Bilich)

Playing sport, and skiing/snowboarding, assist with a young persons Personal Development. Helping to develop an intrinsic sense of self-awareness. For example, they may be disappointed in their personal performance, even though the team won. This intrinsic sense of self-awareness can then transpose between sport and academia. Setting goals, practice and perseverance are relevant in more than one facet of life. Achieving set goals contributes to a more positive self-image and builds confidence. This is particularly true for young women, as playing sport increases their chances of graduating college by a staggering 41 percent. (Hadfeild, 2007)

In a ski lesson, an instructor was heard to say to his student, ‘Do you know why we fall over?’ ‘It’s so we can learn to pick ourselves up, again.’ A lot of the time a child only needs moral support to get up…..after you’ve walked half-way back up the run to help them. The skill of emotional self-regulation is developed and honed in the theatre of sport. This is one of the reasons that parents put their children in to ski lessons, as they either don’t have the patience or they find themselves always physically helping their child, rather than emotionally encouraging them.

Some of life’s little lessons are learnt through sport and play. And not necessarily high consequence lessons, either, but rather lessons that aid the personal development of the child. Exploring and learning things for themselves, through trial and error. The more experience they have of cause and effect, the more likely it is that they are developing an awareness of themselves and their surroundings.

Skiing is a versatile sport that you can compete in various disciplines, train to improve technique, go on week-ends by yourself or on holidays with family or friends. Skiing is a sport that can represent so much, to so many. There are not many, if there are, sports like it. For those that live near a ski resort, skiing can be structured weekly training/lessons or recreational fun, for those that go skiing on holiday it would more likely be recreational fun and exploration.

The benefits of sport improved Physical Coordination, Socialisation, Academic Improvement and Personal Development are enhanced significantly through the Theatre of Sport and can afford a more holistic development of the child. Skiing also lends itself to the positive development of children and the participation of other sports lend itself to the development of their skiing.

References & Further Reading

Devenish, C. 2016. ‘The Benefits of Playing Sport for Children’ nzsia.org Viewed on 11/07/16 https://www.nzsia.org/2016/07/the-benefits-of-playing-sport-for-children/

Hargrove, T, 2011. ‘The Importance of Play for Motor Learning’ Bettermovement.org Viewed 22/11/14 http://www.bettermovement.org/2011/the-importance-of-play-for-motor-learning/ 

McInerney, D.M & V. 1998. ‘Educational Psychology: Constructing Learning’ Prentice Hall.

Johnstone, J.A. and Ramon, M. 2011, ‘Helping children develop to their full potential through perceptual-motor experiences’, Humankinetics.com. Viewed 22/11/14 http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/helping-children-develop-to-their-full-potential-through-perceptual-motor-experiences

Hadfeild, J. 2007. ‘BYU study: Girls + high school sports = college graduation’ news.byu.edu Viewed 15/03/2015 http://news.byu.edu/archive07-Jul-GirlsSports.aspx

Bilich, K.A. ’10 Benefits of Physical Activity’, Parents.com. Viewed 22/11/14 http://www.parents.com/fun/sports/exercise/10-benefits-of-physical-activity/

 

Intermediate Telemark Video

Here’s a little video that was made at Big White about balancing on both feet simultaneously through the turn.

Balancing on both feet enables us to steer the inside ski more effectively.

The big difference between Telemark skiing and Alpine skiing is that in Alpine skiing you need to have your weight balanced on the outside ski all the way through the turn. In Telemark skiing we like to have our weight equally distributed between both of our feet, giving ourselves the ability to steer that inside ski all the time.

One way we can determine if we’re equally balanced on both our feet is to give ourselves a little hop. We can take off and land on both feet at the same time, giving one sound with the ski’s.

Telemark skiing with our weight on the outside ski, results in the inside ski doing things we really don’t want it to do. It becomes ‘squirrelly’ and acts as if it has a mind of it’s own. Being balanced on both feet means we can take charge of the inside ski and actively steer it where we want it to go.

While the hop is a really good static exercise (it’s quite challenging when moving), an easier way to equally distribute our weight while we’re moving is to shuffle our feet underneath us, back and forth, while we’re going across the hill. It is really hard to favour one foot over the other during this exercise.

I hope this helps you out with your Telemarking and let’s go out and enjoy the snow!

 

 

Ski to Sea Change

A huge life-change has led to my first taste of summer since 2008. For someone who thrives on winter, has worked back-to-back ski seasons for eight years, and has largely been responsible for only myself, this change has taken some adjusting. Rest assured though, it’s been fulfilling: the catalyst bringing me to home territory, south of Sydney in the Illawarra region of Australia, was the arrival of my daughter.

Emira* was born last August, in the middle of the New Zealand ski season. Like many newborns, she had a few minor issues at the start, but after a couple of weeks managed to settle into a routine of sorts. Since then, Emira has had swim lessons (the youngest in the swim school!), participated in local library reading groups, been cruising the area in our bike-trailer, as well as pretty much melting the heart of everyone who meets her. The last 6 months have been an adventure that has changed my perspective and priorities! I am sure many of you can relate.

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Bulli Beach Cafe

Currently I am working in a beach-side cafe as a chef and continuing training for the ski season in New Zealand. Having worked in kitchens before embarking on my career in the ski industry, this was a relatively easy change to make. It has been good to have skills to fall back on to provide a consistent and relatively stable income. The big advantage? A beach café is dependent on season and weather, allowing me to return to Coronet Peak for the southern winter!

Ghost-commuter

Looking North from Sandon Point on the commute home.

Cycling along the coastal bike path between Thirroul and Bulli, provides a scenic ride to and from work. And the Northern Illawarra in general lends itself well to training and maintaining a respectable fitness level. As well as the undulating bike paths there are bush tracks that ascend the escarpment – great for high intensity running – and ocean-side rock pools to provide more variety for swimming. Rather than staring at a black line in a chlorinated pool, it can be more interesting to swim in salt water with fish and other marine creatures!

Coledale looking North

Coledale looking North

It is strange to have a summer after 15 winters, however, it has been fun and rewarding. My partner and I are embracing the changes, and this year are planning to introduce Emira to her first proper snowy winter – in Queenstown for the 2016 season!

*For Privacy reasons, I have used a pseudonym