A hot and sunny morning greeted us as we made it to the slopes of Pamporovo resort. This was the first morning of the snowboard clinics and the SBINZ team were excited to see who would show up and how the clinics would roll.

Stubbsy and I joined 26 other snowboarders from all around the world, mostly European countries, and met up with the Slovenian team. Luca welcomed us to their clinic and assured us there would be some riding, coffee and sweet treats! To start we rode to the nearest mountain restaurant and learned how important the history of their organisation was to them and their 3300 members.

Slovenia presenting at the start of the clinic

They placed a strong emphasis on refining their resources, technical information and technique. Luca shared with us that the quality of material is important along with consistency and structure. To add to this, an equally important aspect they encouraged was a strong sense of belonging in the industry and to show an authentic self when working, riding and teaching. It was important to their membership to challenge methodology with critical thinking on and off snow to make sure their resources were the best they can be.

The Slovenian instructors agree that the five words that sum up snowboarding are:

  • Life
  • Passion
  • Freedom
  • Fun
  • Expression

They were curious to find out what makes their clients tick and what snowboarding meant to them:

  • Holiday
  • Friends
  • Family
  • Challenge
  • Sport
  • Interesting
  • Fun

Based on this market research, they figured out there was one major thing in common. FUN!

Each of us were encouraged to remember what moments we remember our clients were genuinely having fun. What did it take? Where did it happen? When in the lesson did it happen? What conditions helped increase this feeling?

Our Reflections

We were encouraged to challenge our own progressions to find new ways to increase the fun, even if it meant changing the progression to suit the riders current needs. There was no use sticking to the rule-book, if it meant suppressing the chances of having fun.

This really fits with our Safety-Fun-Achievement model and to remember that the needs of each student are likely to change throughout the lesson. Being mindful of when this change happens before it is too late will make for a great time on snow. Remember to pick up on verbal and visual ques that will help you as an instructor and coach make good decisions, from top to bottom. Keep ’em Stoked!

We then mobbed to the terrain park and trained the whole park, all 26 of us!

– By Richie Johnston