Here we are at the halfway point in the course and I’m very excited to say that almost all of us Big White SnowSkoolers are officially Level 1 instructors! This past week was filled with a bit of stress, a lot of excitement and some sadness as well as we said goodbye to the 5 weekers.
 
With the snow wearing thin and the weather getting warmer and warmer, most of us were happy to have a few days off before the exams started. Some couldn’t resist the blue bird skies though and headed up for a few runs anyway, especially the snowboarders whose 3-day exam didn’t start until Tuesday.  Sunday night the stress began to set in and we all frantically reviewed our manuals and memorise teaching techniques.
 
Monday we woke an hour earlier than usual and headed up to the VCM to meet at 8.30, although nothing seemed to happen until about 9ish. The snowboarders had the day off so we left them all to sleep in while we started our exam course. I was lucky to get Jamie, the same instructor I had last week as my course conductor for the first two days so after about 5 minutes of skiing we’d all completely relaxed and it felt just like normal lessons!
Monday and Tuesday’s assessments were all about ski improvement and revising teaching methods that we’d learnt in the previous weeks’ training. This meant going over fast track to parallel again and it is now embedded in our brains forever! On Tuesday the morning was spent inside watching lots and lots of videos that showed teaching techniques, lessons structures, safety procedures, Level 1 skiing standards and a whole lot more! We also spent a small amount of time learning about the physics of skiing, made interesting by Bella’s explanation of the centre of mass in a skier using Luke as her model!
 
For Wednesday and Thursday, groups switched course conductors and my group had Jason, the instructor I had on my first week here. Our skiing and teaching were assessed and although a little more stressful than earlier in the week, we all managed to get through it. The hardest part of the course was definitely when our teaching was assessed. We had to evaluate the skiing of our class and determine the best strategy to deal with the main problem. On Wednesday we spent a lot of time teaching fast track to parallel on Happy Valley (and watching Bella fall off the magic carpet!) before the snow finally arrived on Thursday when our teaching was done on the mountain and we managed to fit some tree runs in too. Finally 2.30pm rolled around and we went inside to wait for our results. 4.15 at the Gunbarrel Grill revealed all of us skiers, except for one girl, had passed and were officially qualified CSIA ski instructors! Thursday night was a late one with big celebrations of our success!
 
The snow kept dumping down all weekend and although we were exhausted from our exam week, most took advantage of the much-wanted powder and headed up for some runs. On Friday night we all went down to Kelowna to watch the ice hockey – Kelowna Rockets vs. Calgary Hitmen. Although our home team lost 7-1 with the one goal being scored in the last minute, it was definitely a fun new experience for most of us!
 
The weekend brought with it sadness as we said goodbye to some good friends who headed home after their 5 week course came to an end. They will be missed very much, especially some of the Aussies who I got to know very well over the course.
 
Halfway point and Level 1 qualified, it’s all going very quickly! Bring on the next 5 weeks and Level 2!
 
Emily Jackson
SnowSkool / Interschools scholarship winner - 2011
 
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