11 February 2008

Ski Day 16: Soak, Freeze, Wind, Sun - Training @ Meadows

Hood, from the lot near the patrol room, at the end of the day.

Pro Bowl Sunday was spent up at Mt. Hood Meadows, and it was my second day as a patrol toboggan coach. It was a mix of rain and snow in the morning, and windy as well. I was paired up with Gordy, who's been patrolling for a long time. We had 10 apprentices, so it was pretty manageable for the two of us.

We started off by checking in at PHQ to see what opening procedures we could help out with, and basically handled everything on the south side. With the large group, we got things handled quickly and headed over to Star to start training.

The gang gets ready to start running sleds.

Gordy went ahead and had the gang start right in on running unloaded sleds, but I thought we should have started off with some fundamentals drills. I didn't want to slow things down by taking him off to the side and arguing with him, and most of the apprentices we had were on their 4th or 5th day or later, so I figured they'd have been through some of that stuff already.

I found myself wishing I had spoke up. Many of them need work in key areas, despite being able to handle the sleds at least to the point where they aren't in over their heads. They just aren't solid enough in my opinion to just jump right in first thing. I did talk it over with Gordy as we broke for lunch, so the plan after lunch was to work on some things I wanted to see corrected.

So, it was under a wind-blown and slowly-increasing sun that we started into some sideslipping drills, focusing on the upper/lower body separation that is so important to a strong body position ("gorilla stance") and good edge control and angulation. Most of the group struggled with it initially, allowing their shoulders to follow their lower body around when making their transition turns. They all ended up making progress, though, after running through the drills a couple times. I still want to work on more things with them, and plan to do so on my next coaching day.

We finally start seeing the summit in the afternoon. Shot near the top of Star.

After the drills, we went back to do a couple more sled runs to see if they could apply what they picked up in the drills. For the most part, they were beginning to put it into practice. I managed to shoot some photos and video of the trainees as they did their stuff.

Apprentices, sled-running down 3-D. Andy drives, Randy rides, Mark mans the tail-rope.

After we wrapped up training for the day, I took a smaller group of apprentices who wanted to stay for the Star sweep and linked up with the Hill Captain, who happened to be my co-worker Jeff. We helped with the closing and sweep at Star, then called it a day.

Jeff and Laura present: Meadows in the Afternoon

Next week, I'm going into the day with a battle plan, instead of just expecting to follow the lead of the other coaches. Hopefully, we will have enough coaches that I can take a smaller group and run it the way I think it should be done (which is how the head trainers have asked us to run it, and how the OET manual suggests anyway).


BJDorr said...

Great insights on the patrol training. Sounds like an interesting volunteer job. But first, I really need to refreshen up on my skiing. It's rusty, like an old Model T.

Instead, I've been cheap, riding my bicycle all over Portland, gearing up for Reach the Beach, STP, Cycle Oregon, the moon.