Ski Instructor’s Course, Canada
Building further upon the success of last year’s trip, EJNR and JWFS took six boys to Jasper, Canada for some intensive skiing instruction during the Easter holidays. As before, all boys and staff received some world class instruction and the boys were prepared for the Canadian Ski Instructor Alliance (CSIA) Level 1 Ski Instructor course. Two boys had come to Canada expecting not to take the course so we were especially pleased when they decided to take it and also passed. All six boys passed the course thus maintaining Eton’s 100% success rate.
The Level 1 course is an introduction to ski teaching, CSIA technique and methodology, and the role of ski teaching within the ski industry. It combines the basics of practical ski teaching methods, technical understanding and development of guest service skills, specifically addressing children’s skiing. The course includes strategies to develop skiers from entry level to intermediate, techniques and strategies for effective assessment and development, personal feedback on ski performance and workshops on customer service and working with children. It enables the holder to work as a professional ski instructor anywhere in the world teaching up to intermediate level. Further details of the course can be found at: http://www.snowpro.com/csia/e/ which is run through the Canadian Rockies Academy (http://canadianrockiesacademy.com/) who offered us a tailor made package designed specifically for our requirements. Eton remains the only school in the UK to offer such a package. Ironically, the snow conditions on the mountain were the best in our three years there, but unusually warm weather in the valleys affected our other plans. We had to drop dog sledding because there was not enough snow and the curling rink had been melted as it was the end of the season. Sessions on avalanche awareness and use of transceivers were also left out this year. However, other activities included visits to the cinema, restaurants, swimming pools, Maligne Ice Canyon and perhaps most significantly, a visit to the ‘Palisades’. Through a personal contact, we were extremely fortunate to spend an evening at an educational centre at the heart of the national park run by Parks Canada. We were treated to a large meal, lectures on national parks, wildlife and conservation, a GPS hunt and a large bonfire. We were shown some rather worrying pictures and statistics (from both human and conservation perspectives) about grizzlies, black bears, wolves, cougars and other animals occupying the park. The centre was so impressive and well run that we could not help wondering if there is scope for an Eton visit to the site in its own right.
The boys were especially pleased to have the opportunity to meet Jennifer Heil – a Canadian freestyle skier who has won 5 gold medals at the world championships and a silver and gold and two previous winter Olympics. A number of autographs were signed – mostly on clothing – and one boy, who shall remain nameless, took the opportunity for some shameless flirting!
This year was perhaps the most successful trip to date. The boys were delightful company, worked hard and were impeccably behaved. We were looked after well by the staff at Marmot Basin and the CRA. As Jasper is a small town, we are remembered year-to-year and benefit from some personalised service often from unexpected venues. Having said that, to keep things fresh, we are looking to a new venue next year and hope to offer an American equivalent possibly in the exclusive resort of Stowe in Vermont. Photographs and some video clips can be found at: http://www.ecski.com/ The boys were Fisher ma (TEJN), Richards (MJP), Black (JDN), Stacey (CJD), Money-Coutts (WFM) and Bleach (JDN).