EA Snowboard Instructor Course – Jackson Gillis – Blog 3

13th January 2014

Jackson Gillis has now completed his EA Snowboard Instructor course at Norquay in Canada. Its time to take things to the next level. Exam time!

After the fun three weeks of training with my fellow snowboarders and instructor Matt, it was great to feel prepared for CASI level one examination that was held over 3 days.

Strapping in for Technique Exam

Strapping in for Technique Exam

Kicking off Day 1 we were told what was to be examined ranging from the level of our riding skills to our ability of being able to teach a variety of people, especially children. The focus of the first day was on rider improvement and we had to show the evaluator our progression at learning new techniques and given feedback on our riding. I personally had to improve my centred body position and vertical movement over the board that would help me generate more speed.

After lunch we were able to see first hand what we would be teaching as a level one instructor, known as the 'Quick Ride Progression for Beginner Snowboarders'. It was a great advantage to see our evaluator show his many techniques of teaching. This helped us in the next phase of the exam where we all used our nervous energy to teach a number of lessons with different scenarios.

After a good night sleep and an adventurous breakfast of stir-fry it was time to get back on the mountain to resume the second day of the exam. First up was Quick Ride progression again with the aim for us to see how a successful lesson is done, and other important aspects of a lesson such as safety and class management.

Heading up the Mountain

Heading up the Mountain

After an anxious lunch we were examined and given a different technique to teach (I had pendulums) and even though I felt nervous it was great to finally get out there and get the ball rolling. Everyone gave it a good try and we all received feedback along with what could be improved on for the next lesson. My feedback was that I displayed a lot of enthusiasm but not enough explanation. I was really proud of my feedback but I want to improve and make my lessons more consistent.

Teaching a lesson

Teaching a lesson

After a nerve-wracking day it was funny to see how relieved everyone was once their first lesson exam was done and we could all go home.
Day 3 dawned with me waking to the effects of the flu. I was glad it was the last day of our examinations and worried my flu would affect my chances of being able to display a great lesson. Thankfully, we were given a gift from nature with a fresh dump of snow and initially our evaluators lost focus on the exam and gave us all a couple of runs on the powder.

The final day of the exam focussed on teaching different scenarios with demonstrating how to adjust a lesson for different types people or challenges whilst looking after the safety of our students eg. kids, non athletic people or a language barrier .

It was a relief to finally be done but a nervous wait to see if we had all passed the exam. Even though it felt like hours it was only like twenty minutes before our evaluator came over with the results, with my nerves reaching its pinnacle. Once he said, “The first to pass the CASI level one exam is Jackson Gillis”, what a relief!

It was a wonderful feeling to see everyone back at the hostel congratulating and conversing with each other about their different examinations. What made the day even better was that my sister flew in from Australia to spend Christmas in Banff and that meant I was able to sleep in a queen sized bed for the next week and a half.

Happy morning after exam!

Happy morning after exam!

Over the last month I would have to say my favourite part of this whole process was actually riding around with all my friends and our instructor Matt, learning new tricks finding new terrain and having a good laugh. Now that I am a level one instructor I hope it can be just as fun because I’m living in paradise while working my dream job!

If you're keen to take your skills to the next level and complete an internationally recognised qualification and get into working in the same season, then the EA Snowboard Instructor courses may be for you. Get in touch with team at EA now or click here fore more info.