On-Snow Clinic

CASI were set to present on the same day as ourselves so I got geared up to go and hang out with them for their on-snow presentation. With a huge turnout, we split into 3 smaller groups so I joined up with Simon Holden from CASI to find out more. Simon presented a teaching model that is utilised in the Canadian framework at all levels, one through four. It is a tool that can be used (along with others) to help provide a structure to any lesson.

Big turn out for the Canadians

The S.A.F.E Model

Introduce the “new” movement, or skill in a stationary environment. This allows the instructor to provide instant feedback relative to the accuracy or performance and ensures the student feels comfortable to do so without a high risk of falling over or failure.

At this stage, CASI are really looking for their instructing staff to move their students into a low speed, low risk scenario to put this “new” movement or skill in practise.

The main focus here is to gain mileage. This is the time for the student to start to take ownership of the “new” skill with practise. Of course, the instructor will still be around to offer encouragement and feedback when appropriate.

This is all about challenging your students with an adaptation or modification to the original exercise or tactic. With appropriate changes here, the student can begin to refine their use of the skill and its application to the mountain.

Simon lead us through a couple of examples of this model in use to show its application to a lesson. The first example was skating with one foot strapped in at the low end of the skill meter. Next up, we took on some short turns on more advanced terrain and finally we finished up with some flatland freestyle. The focal takeaway from this series of examples was to highlight that The S.A.F.E Model can be applied to all skill levels on all terrain types.

The SAFE Concept

Indoor Seminar

For the indoor focus, CASI showcased a well put together overview of some key elements of their education system. Check them out…

The Quickride System

The goal of this system is to create mobile and independent snowboarders as quickly and safely as possible. There are 5 steps to get there; basics, sliding, control, turning and flow. Where this system has evolved is the freedom instructors have within these steps. Traditionally (as with many beginner progressions) we would follow the same set routine to get students turning so it was really cool to see this flexibility within the framework. The idea being that instructors can use a variety of tactics to suit the student to achieve the step.

Practical Teaching Skills

We were introduced to five key teaching skills that are used within a well put together lesson. These are assessed within their qualifications at every level and are as follows:

Guest Service & Safety – covering good decisions for terrain, class handling and building a relationship with your student.

Communication & Lesson Structure – using effective communication and choosing an appropriate teaching style, for example a building block or guided discovery.

Demonstrations – quite simple here, do what you say you will do.

Analysis & Improvement – this is the opportunity to enter a feedback cycle, starting with using the riding competencies (read below) as a filter to compare the student to an ideal picture.

Technical Content – this final element is to ensure that the technical concepts are clear and relevant to the student.

Riding Competencies

Within this section of the presentation, we were primarily shown the core and advanced riding competencies which essentially frame the technical outcome of CASI snowboarding. They are also utilised as a filter for entering the analysis and improvement portion of the practical teaching skills.

Core Competencies

  1. Centred & Mobile Stance – the rider maintains a relaxed, adaptable position.
  2. Turning with the lower body – using the feet, knees and hips to turn the board.
  3. Balance over the working edge – achieving grip through the turn.

Advanced Competencies

  1. Strength & Flow – maintaining a position of strength to remain stable on the board to keep flow.
  2. Arc-to-arc – using the snowboard design and the shape of turn to redirect forces into the next turn.
  3. Loading & Deflection – blending edge grip, along with flex and rebound of the snowboard for the desired outcome.
  4. Steering Versatility – adjusting the amount of edge angle throughout the turn to create sliding or carving when desired. This can also influence turn size and shape.

Overall this was an informative presentation with lots of key structural information about the methodologies and techniques used within the Canadian framework.

– By Leo Carey