13 January 2011

Ski Day 9: First Training Day @ Ski Bowl

Saturday the 8th was our first on-hill training day with the current crop of ski patrol apprentices, and it started out pretty well. I joined A Team at Ski Bowl, since they were minus a coach, and we headed off into the fresh snow.

We helped out with the area opening, like the training teams usually do, and I got tapped to drag an empty toboggan over to the Warming Hut. This prompted a quick Toboggan Anatomy 101 session at the Palace before we took off.

Once we finished helping with opening, we rounded up to Rescue Center to give the apprentices their orientation there, then headed off to the Outback. The visibility wasn't what you'd want when doing the "Peak Hike", but the fresh snow looked to make the trip worth it.

For the most part, it did. We skied the West Boundary, and with some exceptions, the fresh stuff was nice. Underneath, there was some crusty stuff, but by and large it wasn't too shabby. After we finished some "area orientation" in the Outback, we headed off to get to work. The first few days of the on-hill training is focused on building the fundamental skiing/riding skills that will facilitate effective toboggan-handling, so most of what we worked on were carving and sideslipping drills, focusing on correct balance, stance, and movement for transitions.

One of the guest coaches we had up with us is a PSIA-certified ski instructor, so we were getting some really good instruction and feedback for our apprentices. The coaches even picked up some new drills to try out. The improvement in the apprentices' skiing was pretty remarkable for just the short time we worked with them.

The afternoon got a little interesting, as the "witching hour" took effect and pressed some of the coaches into service. We had three area guests get injured on the same run, within minutes of each other, so the apprentices got to watch several cases through the assessment and transport phases. I got to do the transport on one of the cases, providing the apprentices with a good example of what their end product will look like. Lower Reynolds isn't a challenging run, by any stretch, but it was a good place for an easy skill demo.

We got through the cases just in time for almost all of the skiing apprentices to join the sweep team for the Outback closure. The snow that fell throughout the day made most of the Outback run pretty enjoyable, and a nice way to finish the day. After sweep, it was off to the Palace and time to head back to Govy and Charlie's for paperwork and de-brief.