Advice on becoming a snowboard instructor
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10 users
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vesty
April 1, 2005
Member since 02/28/2004
48 posts
I am interested in becoming a snowboard instructor (aasi level 1)and would appreciate any first hand advice from someone who has taken the exam. Thanks.
Roy
April 2, 2005
Member since 01/11/2000
609 posts
I am not a snowboard instructor but I play one on TV. I am a ski instructor and I can't figure out exactly what you're looking for. If your goal is to become AASI Level 1, and you are a current instructor, I can't help with any advice on the test.

However, if you currently have not been working at a ski area as a snowboard instructor, your first step is to get a job as an instructor. For that, keep an eye on the local resort websites around September (and this forum for that matter) for info on signing up for next year.
canaanman
April 4, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
358 posts
contact Tucker... he could probably answer all of your questions. You'll find his info if you do a member search.

All I can suggest is that you are fluent in switch.
therusty
April 5, 2005
Member since 01/17/2005
422 posts
I am a staff trainer at Whitetail and AASI level 2. If you are not yet working as an instructor, your first step is to choose which resort you want to work at and take their ITC (instructor training clinic). After you have had 50 hours of teaching and training experience you are eligible to take the AASI level 1 exam. Here is the link for the study guide. http://www.psia-e.org/AASIStudyGuideI.pdf

You do not need to be certified to teach. Although AASI membership and certification are primarily for helping you to improve your teaching ability, most resorts will give minor improvements in pay and teaching status for certification.

Although I skipped the level 1 AASI exam, I've helped some of our instructors pass the level 1 exam. Usually, this involves checking out various aspects of their riding and teaching skills, a discussion of what the AASI organization is about and how it works, and tips for passing the exam.

If you would like more personal advice, please free to private message me.
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vesty
April 7, 2005
Member since 02/28/2004
48 posts
Thanks. I am not currently a snowboard instructor, but I am very interested in becoming one. I would like to eventually become certified and just wanted to get a head start on some of the reading material. My thought was that I would have a better chance being hired as a snowboard instructor as there are so few of them (compared to ski instructors). Learning to snowboard after age 40 has been a challenge. Other folks my age might appreciate having an instructor who is older. Any thoughts...
canaanman
April 23, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
358 posts
As I said... get switch-everything down.

That's the main component of the ASSI Level I exam: switch riding. And now you know why duck is so benificent.
therusty
April 24, 2005
Member since 01/17/2005
422 posts
Although riding switch is an important component of the exam, it should not be the main one. The level 1 study guide emphasises a well rounded approach to preparation. The study guide is meant to reflect what is in the exam. From the reports I got from our pros who went to level one this year, the level 1 exam was not "focused" on switch riding. When I took my level 2 (5 years ago) we spent no more than 10% of the exam riding switch. Sometimes an examiner will use switch riding as an easy way to see fundamental movement flaws. Sometimes an examiner will change from exam mode to clinic mode once he's determined everyone has passed. What someone may experience in a single exam may not be a good guide to helping someone else prepare for their exam.

BTW - Everyone on the Jackson Hole snowboard staff rides duck. According to Mikey Franco, the primary reason is the more neutral stance (as opposed to making switch riding easier - which it also does). I also use a duck stance. My primary reason is to facilitate teaching goofy footers.
canaanman
April 24, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
358 posts
It's hard to ride duck in powder... its also not good for your knees in the powder.

But I like a duck stance because it makes spinning and landing easier in either direction.
therusty
April 25, 2005
Member since 01/17/2005
422 posts
Quote:

It's hard to ride duck in powder



Why?

Quote:

its also not good for your knees in the powder.



How so?
canaanman
May 2, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
358 posts
Ah... crap. I need to find the articles I have about riding duck... they're around here somewhere.

I believe it was that when you are riding powder you are further back on the board (atleast weight-wise) and your shoulders are more square with the fall-line, so it's better for your rear foot to be at or above 0. Makes carving in the deep powder easier. The snow we get around here doesn't matter much, but to ride duck and avoid any possible duck-related knee injury you have to be pointing the rear knee in the direction of the binding angle.. which is considerably harder to control in waist-deep fluff.
fred
May 2, 2005
Member since 12/23/2004
59 posts
canaanman, sorry but, that is the biggest bunch of hogwash i have ever heard!!!
therusty
May 3, 2005
Member since 01/17/2005
422 posts
Well,

I've been riding duck for 3 seasons now. I've done a little bit of powder riding in the duck stance. The deepest snow I've been in duck has been knee deep, so I may be full of crap. Nonetheless, I'd hate to see others read your comments about duck riding and take them as gospel. I'd be most interested to see where you are getting your information from.

Shifting the binding stance backwards on the board is something riders can do for powder riding no matter what stance they use. I've found that anything under a foot does not warrant the bother. Note that for the same binding hole position, that a duck stance will already have more weight more towards the rear of the board. However, assuming an apples to apples comparison (weight centered over the same board position), shifting the stance backwards is stance neutral. We already see this in the difference between a freestyle board (mounted in the center) and a free ride board (mounted towards the rear).

I have no idea why one would benefit from having their shoulders square to the fall line in deep powder. If you don't have your shoulders neutrally aligned with your hips and foot stance, then you're introducing the potential for
problems in any snow condition. We see this when teaching beginners. When a new rider is in a "normal" zero zero
stance and rides with their shoulders square, then they have no room to use counter clockwise rotation to help with heel side turns and when they use clockwise rotation to help with toe side turns they will have a delay while they rotate back through neutral. Normally we don't want to see the shoulders square to the fall line until we have aggressive stance angles (e.g. 40 degrees or greater) similar to those used by alpine riders. For beginners who insist on riding in the "see where I'm going position", I will adjust their stance to more forward angles to let
them ride better.

The big difference that powder riding introduces is that you ride more on the base of the board than on the edge because you float in the snow as opposed to riding on it. You also want to keep the nose up in order to avoid submarining. Finally, because you are floating in the snow, you tend to ride more upright with lower edge angles then how you would on a harder snow surface. Although this means that you will tend to do more steering with back foot pivoting, you don't have to. As far as I can tell, riding with with your shoulders square to the fall line provides no advantage for any of these differences.

This year, I rode for 2 days with Mikey Franco (an AASI National Demo Team member who works at Jackson Hole). He said that every snowboard instructor at Jackson rides duck. They get a fair amount of powder out there. Duck can't be that bad. Mikey pointed out that any unequal stance (e.g. front foot +15 degress, back foot +10) has a bit of duck to it (in the 15/10 example the feet have a 5 degree splay to them).

Duck is a more natural stance than a normal stance is. Just get 5 people to stand around in a group talking and look at their feet. At least 4 of the 5 will be standing duck to some degree. For those of you reading, try it yourself. Stand up, twirl around, then stop and face square to a wall, taking little steps changing weight from foot to foot as you need to to stop the dizziness and be comfortable. Look down and check your feet, then turn your feet until you see them exactly parallel. Is this position more or less comfortable? Most people will be slightly duck and will find perfect parallel to be slightly less comfortable.

BTW - you don't really carve in deep powder. Carving is when the tip and tail pass through the same point in the snow. In deep powder, the snow compacts as you pass through it. So even if you were on a carving track, the tail would be slightly skiddy because of the compaction. It's still a lot of fun though!
vesty
March 5, 2006
Member since 02/28/2004
48 posts
I just wanted to provide an update on my quest to become a snowboard instructor. I was hired by Wintergreen for the 2005-2006 season as a ski and snowboard instructor. I recently passed the AASI Level I exam which was quite challenging or this 40-something mother of 3. Next weekend I am headed to Wachusett, MA for the park and pipe clinic. My sincere thanks to everyone on this forum for their great words of advice!
therusty
March 6, 2006
Member since 01/17/2005
422 posts
Congratulations and welcome to the crew! Now all you need is some private lesson requests from the DC Ski Community!
kennedy
March 6, 2006
Member since 12/8/2001
792 posts
Damn right. You know we love the hook up.

I thought about applying to be an instructor but I don't know that I can fit it in, my schedule is always too all over the place to be consistent. The best I've managed is teaching and critiquing some friends.
vesty
March 14, 2006
Member since 02/28/2004
48 posts
Wachusett was very nice. We worked on jumps, rails and pipe for 2 days. I learned a lot, fell alot and still had fun. I decided to head up to Killington for the day.

Is it me or are folks up here just not as friendly as we are in the Mid Atlantic ... I'm beginning to worry about my April trip to Smuggs.
therusty
March 15, 2006
Member since 01/17/2005
422 posts
Vesty,

Smuggs is a big family oriented resort. You'll find a little stand offishness simply because families have their own agendas. But the last time I was there, I was warmly welcomed and well cared for. They care a lot about customer service up there.
Heather
March 16, 2006
Member since 02/24/2005
170 posts
My family will be at Smuggs the first week of April. Any guess on what conditions may or may not be like?

Vesty,
When will you be there? If our dates coincide, we should try to meet up so we can put faces with names!
JimK - DCSki Columnist
March 16, 2006
Member since 01/14/2004
2,644 posts
Quote:

Wachusett was very nice. We worked on jumps, rails and pipe for 2 days. I learned a lot, fell alot and still had fun. I decided to head up to Killington for the day.

Is it me or are folks up here just not as friendly as we are in the Mid Atlantic ... I'm beginning to worry about my April trip to Smuggs.




Vesty, we may have been at Wachusett on the same day, 3/11. See recap below. They have a nice park. One thing my kids found out - they made a few passes thru it then got kicked out for not having a special $5 ticket to ski there. They were told that mandatory viewing of a park usage safety film also goes with a park ticket purchase. I was surprised by the extra charge for park use, hadn't seen that before, but watching safety film sounded like a good idea. Terrain parks and half pipes are getting bigger all the time and that can also make them more hazardous for the uninitiated. The parks I saw in recent trip to New England dwarf what we have in the mid-Atlantic.
Sat 3/11, Wachusett Mtn (20 trls/1000vd): first time here too, overnighted with relatives living nearby. Weather was great, sunny 57 degs, had much fun on classic spring ski day. Fairly healthy Saturday crowd, but many left or burned-out by about noon. Burgers on the grill and lots of sunbathing, reminded me of a primo spring ski day at Seven Springs. A pair of express chairs kept lines to 5 mins or less. Summit runs feature 1000' honest vert down easy blue and black terrain with beautiful views of nearby lakes/reservoirs. Spotted the high-rises of Boston about 50 miles to the East. One summit run features a good stretch of moguls. This is a fine little central MA ski area on the order of Wintergreen or Whitetail and great to hit for a day trip or on the way to/from bigger hills up north. Not far from major interstate highways.
Regarding Smuggs, I think New England is supposed to have mostly cool weather for the next couple weeks. Hopefully your trip will pan out.
vesty
April 8, 2006
Member since 02/28/2004
48 posts
We will be spending spring break at Smuggs. We are flying in to Burlington on Saturday April 15th from Dulles and leaving on Saturday the 22nd. They are anticipating closing the lifts on Sunday the 16th which means we will have to go to Stowe, Killington or elsewhere for the week. I am pretty confident that Killington will still be open. We are using our timeshare week and booked a 2 bedroom. It should be nice.
Heather
April 8, 2006
Member since 02/24/2005
170 posts
Just returned form VT/Smuggs. Conditions are deteriorating rapidly even though we receive about 8 inches during this past week. Jay Peak had awesome coverage even in the glades. We took my son in Kitz Woods for his first adventure in tree skiing. We had a blast this week, although Smuggs definately needs to upgrade at least one of their lifts to a quad instead of all doubles. I was quite impressed with the terrain at Smuggs. Some really challenging runs on Sterling/Madonna. Morse Mt was quite limited. The main lift on Madonna Mountain scared the *&^* right out of me. i have never been on a lift that forgoes horizontal distance for vertical distance. That lift seemed never ending! Hope you have a great time. We will definately be returning to VT next year!
BushwackerinPA
April 10, 2006
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
The run underneath that lift might be the best showcase run on the east coast IMO its more intimidating than Chute and Liftline at MRG, although really not as hard.

Smuggs is really underrated and has some very good terrain and huge vert, the real vert is much bigger than anywhere else in that state.
JimK - DCSki Columnist
April 11, 2006
Member since 01/14/2004
2,644 posts
It's been a long time since my visit to Smuggs, but I seem to remember that the trip to Jay from there was about 45 minutes. I didn't make the trip to Stowe. Even though by crow's flight it was only a few miles away, by road believe it was just a few minutes closer than Jay.
One thing about skiing in the East at this time of year, there should be no lift lines.
Denis - DCSki Supporter
December 4, 2006
Member since 07/12/2004
2,170 posts
General comment, not to anyone in particular.

My VT daughter just sent me the following comment on Smugg's as a family area. I haven't heard this perspective before but it makes sense to me.

"I would argue that Smuggs is only a good family area if you are an intermediate skier or less. Expert skier parents have a terrible time there because the beginner terrain is so far from the rest of the mountain...unless you want to dump your kids on someone else all day and never see them. To me, that's not family."

She has 3 boys, now 9, 6, and 3, and she and her husband will trade off kids so they can each ski some challenging terrain and also ski with the little guys. The 9 yr. old, well 8 last season, can and does ski anything.

Their favorite terrain is at Stowe, which is too pricey for young families who ski a lot. They go most often to Mad River where the kids have free season passes. The 2 older boys are in the "Chipmunk Program" and they show us woods shots that they find out about in their classes. Last season we found it easy to take a run with 2 yr. old Daniel in Birdland, and then pass him off to another adult or take him to the Basebox for a rest.
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