Archive for February, 2009

First Time on Skis in 12 Years

Posted in Uncategorized on 2009/02/24 by cfoster7


As an instructor it is a really good thing to know how to snowboard and ski and be able to teach lessons for both.  I have been snowboarding since I was nine and haven’t been on a pair of skis since.  The ski director Joe told me that by the end of the season he wanted me on a pair of skis comfortable enough to teach an introduction lesson.  I skied for about six years before jumping onto a snowboard so I figured it would be fun to get back onto a pair of “sticks”.


It was definitely a lot different than I thought it would be.  For one there are two boards instead of one.  It was so weird to be able to slide my feet independently of one another.  I was also facing forward versus facing the side with my head turned forward.  The weirdest thing had to be the boots.  I haven’t had my feet in hard boots in forever and walking was one of the most difficult things I’ve done at Timber Ridge.



Joe took me on the bunny hill at first and modeled what an introduction lesson would be like.  We also shadowed one of the ski instructor’s lessons to get an idea of class management.  It was awkward my first couple of runs down the bunny hill but I got the hang of it pretty quickly and we headed for the chairlift.



Getting on and off the chairlift was pretty easy, except I didn’t have any poles to help push me along so I had to slide my feet and also do the “duck walk” where my feet are angled out and I step the skis forward.  I’m not going to lie it was nice to be able to get off the chairlift and already be ready to go down the hill, not having to take time to strap my back foot into the back binding.


We took a couple of runs down the hill and by that time I had to go check in with my supervisor.  Joe told me he was really surprised at how well I did on skis and that if he didn’t already know that I hadn’t been on a pair of skis in 12 years he wouldn’t have been able to tell.  I didn’t get to learning to ski in time to teach any lessons before the season ended, but there is always next season!


Snow Storm Lessons

Posted in Uncategorized on 2009/02/24 by cfoster7

Teaching an introduction lesson in a blizzard is no picnic.  The wind is blowing the snow all around and it’s super hard to see the students.  When I have to teach lessons in this kind of weather I make sure to be the one facing the blowing snow so my students don’t have to squint their eyes to look at me.  I also always wear my goggles on my head just in case of a sneak snow attack.

The big challenge is fighting the wind.  The wind usually can get whipping pretty fast and it takes a toll on your balance.  I have had a couple of students get pushed over by the wind when they were trying their best to carve.  When that happens I just try to get them to laugh it off, get up, and try again.


There are certain bunny hills that I’ll take my lessons out on depending on the weather and the traffic on the slopes.  We have a total of two bunny hills: one immediately to the left of the lodge and the second is all the way over to the right, past three chairlifts.  I take my lessons usually over to the far bunny hill because it has the least amount of traffic on it, but when it is windy I stick to the one that is closer to the lodge.

Sticky Snow = The Enemy

Posted in Uncategorized on 2009/02/24 by cfoster7


Since the season is winding down the weather has been a little wishy washy.  At Timber Ridge the weather has been less than premium lately.  We had a complete thaw about a week ago where almost all of the snow melted.  The snow base on the hill, which was at about 45 inches or so, melted down and got really soft.  Then we got hit with a storm which gave us about 6 inches of snow altogether and that just sat on top of the melting base insulating it.


Whenever that happens it makes the fresh snow really sticky which is the worst to teach lessons in.  The rental snowboards that most of the beginning snowboarders use for lessons are not waxed as regularly as they should be and get used very frequently so the wax that is on there gets worn off pretty quickly.


In these kinds of lessons the only thing I can do is take my snowboard off for most of the lesson and get down on the ground so I can push their snowboard along.  Because most of the people in my lessons have hardly or never snowboarded before they don’t want to go fast, but if they don’t have any kind of speed they can’t learn anything.


Sticky snow seems to come creeping in just as you are starting to get the hang of riding.  It always sneaks up when you least expect it…

My First Intermediate Lesson

Posted in Uncategorized on 2009/02/11 by cfoster7

I’m trained to teach introduction lessons for snowboarding and I got asked to teach two boys who were already carving pretty well. Their mom told me they wanted to learn tricks, but didn’t want me to go too crazy. She also said that she had to basically force them to take lessons and she did this because she didn’t want them to get hurt. I told her not to worry and I took her kids to the bunny hill. I evaluated what level they were at. They were both about equal with room for improvement on carving, so that’s where we began.

About 15 minutes into the lesson they were both carving pretty well, so we moved to switch riding. Switch riding is where you ride with your opposite foot in front, so the nose of the snowboard becomes the tail and vice versa with the tail. This trick took a little more time to learn because it feels super awkward to be riding opposite.

After the boys started to feel comfortable with switch riding, I taught them ground 360◦s or as I like to call them “circles”. For this trick, the rider has to switch from toe side to heel side quickly and they begin to go in circles while going down the hill. The boys had so much fun learning this because it was challenging to switch from edge to edge so quickly.

The circles took up basically the rest of the lesson time so we headed down to the bottom of the hill. There I taught them how to “tic-tac” which is switching your weight from the nose of the snowboard to the tail while walking forward. It’s a pretty challenging trick because if you go too far one way with your weight the snowboard slips out from under you and you fall.

Overall, this lesson went great. The boys had such a great time and told me they were really happy that they took a lesson. I saw them later on the slopes and they were pulling off circles and great carving. It was rad!

Slippin’ too far on the Toe Side Sideslip

Posted in Uncategorized on 2009/02/11 by cfoster7

Many of my lessons have had trouble with the toe edge sideslip.  This is important to learn how to do because it is a better way of stopping while on your toe side versus falling to your knees.  A toe side sideslip is where the snowboard is perpendicular to the hill and all pressure is on the toes.  Beginners seem to have trouble with this side in particular because they are facing uphill and can’t see what is going on behind them.

The common way that beginners ride the toe side sideslip is applying inconsistent pressure which makes the snowboard hop backward and causes their balance to shift forward and backward.  Also the stance gets warped because their balance is off.  The correct stance is bent knees, a straight back, and looking up the hill, but the posture changes to straight, locked knees, a bent back, and looking down at the snowboard.

I first tried to just ride next to my students demonstrating the sideslip and offering feedback as they were doing it.  That didn’t work out too well because it was hard for them to listen and think about what they were doing at the same time.  The method I use now is taking my snowboard completely off and walking in front of them with my hands out.  This allows them support in case they fall and I’m also closer to them so they can look at me and hear my feedback.  It seems to be working because after a couple of runs my students usually can do it without using my hands for support and their stance is correct.