The on-snow clinic we delivered today at Interski looked at how we balance soft skills and hard skills in the SBINZ system, and what we do as an education body to bridge the gap between the two.

Considering the Interski 2019 theme of Future.Snowsports, the utilisation of technology in our industry in inevitable, both in the future and right now. Using technology as we progress is mandatory and very relevant.

That being said, when we look into the future we believe the value of human-to-human connection within a learning environment will become more and more important. With this in mind, instructors emotional intelligence and ability to connect to guests is crucial, but must be suitably balanced with their riding abilities and technical understanding.

Last minute pep talk

In the clinic we delivered today in Pomporova, Bulgaria, we divided into three different groups. Each group began and finished with the same content but explored different avenues in between, looking more specifically at our Kids Certification, our Park and Pipe Certification or the Level Three Certification.

Going through the intro and about to split the groups

At each level of certification we highlighted one of the key soft skills and demonstrated a specific hard skill, then presented what we do as education body to bridge the gap between the two through the assessment process.

The tabs below have each certification discussed in the clinic, along with the highlighted soft and hard skills and the SBINZ bridge…

Soft skill: Safety-Fun-Achievement

How the instructor creates a suitable learning environment using the SFA model.

Hard skill: Ollies

Ollies are a riding-only assessed task at Level One.

Bridging the gap: SBINZ Trainers using the SFA model in the Level One

SBINZ Trainers bridge the gap between hard and soft skills continually throughout the assessment be ensuring a suitable balance of SFA is used for the candidate. For example, a candidate can easily perform an ollie so we challenge them within their ability to try nollies, switch ollies/nollies, taps and other variations – all ensuring we create a sense of achievement in the candidate.

Soft skill: Experiential and Environmental Learning

How the instructor helps the student learn through utilising the student’s previous and current experiences, and adapting the environment around them.

Hard skill: Aerial awareness

In 2017 aerial awareness was added at Level Two, which ensures that successful candidates can make a secondary movement in the air from a compact position, such as a grab or a shifty.

Bridging the gap: The new on-snow verbal analysis process

At the SBINZ Level Two analysis has always been a big focus. In addition to the written analysis we now have an on-snow verbal analysis where the candidate analyses a basic freestyle trick on a mobile device, then presents a corrective task to another candidate to address the problem.

Soft skill: Question-based Learning

Question-based learning is a new addition to the latest SBINZ manual and is first introduced at the Level Three standard but continued with more depth at Trainer’s Cert.

Hard skill: High Performance Carving

High performance carving is a fast high-end carving task typically on a black groomed trail, which requires use of an effective high performance stance in the process.

Bridging the gap: Corrective teaching assessment

The teaching element of the Level Three is a corrective based lesson. Here the candidate is expected to use good questioning in the introduction of their lesson to identify the problem the students are having. They must then construct and deliver a suitable lesson plan, targeting this issue accompanied with use of question-based learning.

Soft skill: The Multiple Intelligences

The eight multiple intelligences have become a core part of our Children’s Teaching certification. You can read more about this concept in our manual.

Hard skill: Real vs Ideal

This concept takes a look at the ideal movements we are trying to create versus the “real” capabilities of a child at a specific stage of development.

Bridging the gap: Two separate teaching assessments

At the SBINZ Kids Certification we now run two separate teaching assessments, one focusing on creative lesson building around suitable movements specific to an age group, the other focuses on how the candidate teaches to specific multiple intelligences.

Soft skill: The 3Cs

First introduced at Level Two, this concept helps instructors focus on building comfort and confidence in their students before being ready to commit.

Hard skill: 360s on medium sized park jumps

Whilst the Park and Pipe assess candidates’ ability to spin 360s in both directions on small features, this certification also requires one of these 360s to be performed off a medium sized jump of approximately 4-5m.

Bridging the gap: Outside-In concept to aid the 3Cs

Most candidates attending the Park and Pipe Cert still have fears about certain features or tricks. In this course we showcase the use of the outside-in concept to help address the 3Cs.

Leo presenting the park and pipe portion of the clinic

If you joined us on-snow for the clinic, we hope you enjoyed it. If you’re reading this from further afield, please feel free to comment below with any questions you may have.

Overall the clinic was very well received and had some amazing levels of interaction. We’re very stoked with the result.


– By Keith Stubbs