Joe at Big White reports pre-exam
"Enjoy this run, gang, cos it's the last time you'll ski without thinking about your technique"
The above is the first thing our instructor Kristian said to us at the start of our level one training, and at the top of our only warm-up run of the day. Although it was easily dismissable at the time, it turned out to be completely true. From then on in we were constantly analysing, over-analysing, adjusting, failing to adjust enough, and quite often just scrapping everything we knew before and starting again.
Days were long and technical, and mentally shattering. Hot chocolate breaks no longer happened, except on the coldest days where toes and fingers crawled back inside wrists and ankles. Yetis bumbled out of snowbanks, bleary eyed at the sight of exercise after drill to increase angulation and weight transfer. Some EA-ers pivoted so hard that they corkscrewed themselves into the snow and had to be rescued by ski patrol. Others were so preoccupied with making sure they had a centred and mobile stance that they forgot to look where they were going and had to be dug out of ditches full of powder by amused compatriots. Make no mistake, this course is no walk in the park even if you can charge down steeps with the GNAR-heads.
Progress varied, but gradually, slowly but surely, we all started to improve. Snowploughs disappeared, inclination lessened, centres of mass hovered accurately over bases of support, and ditches went unvisited. Instructors changed, with a slight alteration in teaching style yielding yet more progress as different areas were examined and improved. Evenings were spent in the company of CSIA manuals, alcohol, motivational videos and yet more alcohol. Drunk we weren't, well not too often anyways, but unwinding after a day of intense concentration and hard physical activity sometimes involves a large scotch or three. The determination never wavered though: everyone wanted to pass, especially when we found out that results would be announced in front of the entire group. Nowhere to hide here, and it showed in the determination from everyone present. Kudos to my coursemates, there was nobody who didn't take it seriously and give it their all.
At the end of the last day of our training, our instructors Kristian and Dobby shook our hands and wished us all luck for the upcoming 4-day Level One exam. Lord knows we'd need it. Forget enjoyment, this is serious business. Hopefully the fun times can follow on afterwards.