The NZ season is coming to a close and the NZSIA and SBINZ Interski Team are now managing the time to process our findings and assess our performance. “The busiest week of my life” is a phrase that we’re all hearing ourselves saying on a regular basis. But, to be honest, “busy” doesn’t even come close.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be writing a series of posts about what we delivered at Interski 2015, and how our on-snow workshops and indoor lectures were received. Here’s the first for you; A write-up on SBINZ’s “Versatility” Workshop.

This time last year, when the selected SBINZ team got together to begin planning our Interski workshops, we felt that one of the most important goals for attending this event (and part of the reason why a team of six was sent) was reputation.

When we say “reputation”, we mean the reputation of the SBINZ as a whole, the different instructors at each level (our membership), and the Kiwi work hard / play hard attitude – all in the eyes of the other snow sport nations around the World. We wanted other countries to go away from Interski thinking… “Wow, the NZ team were awesome! They had such a great attitude and they know their stuff. We should hire some SBINZ qualified instructors in our school.”

For the snowboard side, this “reputation strengthening” began right at the start of the week when we had a few hours to ride together on the first morning and managed to round up a few other nations to join us for a shred. Kevin from Belguim, Ben from BASI and Adam from APSI were all running solo at the event, so we pulled them into our riding crew straight away and went to find the goods!

Ben from BASI slashing pow banks at Interski 2015

Ben from BASI slashing pow banks

On day three, it was time for the delivery of our on-snow workshops and the continuation of our reputation-focused agenda. Both of our clinics were focused on the adaptability of SBINZ instructors, with one being more about the teaching side of things and the other the riding. Richie J and myself (Stubbsy) took the reigns on the riding side of things with the clinic titled “Versatility”.

Our goals for this clinic were two-fold:
1. Showcase the versatile riders that the SBINZ system helps to create and discuss how this helps increase student retention within the NZ snowboard industry.
2. Outline the certification pathway and riding standards at each SBINZ level, and discuss how foot sensitivity has become an underlying theme to help achieve this versatility.

Here’s a quick overview of the clinic content:
– Increase awareness by switching boards taking care to avert your eyes and guess the characteristics of your partners board, i.e. length, camber profile, stance width, angles, etc.
– Back to our own boards, riding to the bottom trying to be as diverse as possible within our own riding, while also paying attention to the feelings and sensations from the top of the boot down.
– Discussions around what we did in our own riding to be more diverse and increase the feelings in our lower legs and feet (bringing in the SBINZ’s four directions of movements during the discussion).
– A few runs working through some selected tools and tasks in our Level One and Level Two certifications, showcasing how these tasks help to increase foot sensitivity as an entry level instructor.
– Present the Development Options Model and show how this is used to balance the importance of Freeride, Freestyle and Carve within the SBINZ system.
– Work through three different Level Three tasks (one from each strand in the Development Options Model), with a focus on foot sensitivity and the required standards to reach L3, while also bringing in the Principles of Form model to help quantify the movements.
– Share some versatility-orientated tasks from other countries, selecting one specific task to ride through together, then use the SBINZ’s Principles of Form model to break down the task.
– Step up the level of riding with an extra-versatile task that is beyond any requirements of our different systems (toe-to-toe euro carving in this case).
– Wrap-up with why we feel that versatility in our instructors is so important in retaining students and how it has helped to make a difference at some specific snowboard schools in NZ.

Richie Johnston practicing his toe-to-toe Euro Carving before the clinic

Richie Johnston practicing his toe-to-toe Euro Carving before the clinic

So that’s a rough overview of the Versatility Workshop, but to see it in action you’ll have to attend one of the Development Days SBINZ will be scheduling next season.

These Development Days are actually scheduled every year – AND THEY’RE FREE – so please sign up and take advantage. The Trainers are there to meet your needs and help you reach the next level of certification (should that be your aim), or just simply share their knowledge and experience with you. And there’s lots of that to go around after Interski 2015 in Ushuaia, Argentina!