Earlier this winter we asked a few of our ski and snowboard instructors to share a story about their best day supporting a snowsports student. Their replies show that the word “lesson” really doesn’t do justice to the experience. Sure, the lesson is about learning or improving on skills, and that in itself is exciting. But their “best day” stories showed that a lesson can be about fulfillment, exploration, challenge, independence, creativity, friendship and more – all good stuff!
Here’s snowboard instructor Greg Fatigate’s “best day” story:
Diana was as terrified of her toe-side turn on her snowboard as she was determined to not quit. She had felt the sensation of a smooth arc on a snowboard and knew she was hooked. However, there was a skeleton in her snowboard closet that she couldn’t forget. A fall she took the season past manifested itself in an awkward transition from heel-edge to toe-edge. We called it the pivot kick.
Diana is a thoughtful mother of three children, all of whom I have the pleasure of snowboarding with as well. A professional career woman in her early forties, Diana always sticks out in my mind as someone whose breakthrough is memorable and inspiring.
I like starting out on terrain that my student or group is already comfortable on. So we went to mid-station on the Village lift. To eliminate the awkward pivot kick, we focused on a long track across the widest part of the hill. We identified what we felt from our board when it was flat on the snow in transition. We also identified what we should feel in the interaction between our shins and the tongues of our boots when we begin to close our ankles. We came to see that this was the feel we needed to make a smooth toe-side turn.
Diana also noted that she liked the longer track we took during the drill. She noted that she typically just stays to the side of the trail. The track we took was nice, long and smooth.
Then came the inspiring part: Because we worked out the terrifying hitch kick, Diana is now able to ride with her kids just about anywhere on the mountain. For her and her family, time on the mountain is precious. Before this, she told me, she couldn’t spend it with them. She is able to focus on the joy of being with them, not the fear of the pivot-kick.
All of our instructors’ “best day” stories can be read in Explore Smuggs magazine.
Have you had a rewarding snowsports instructional experience? We’d love to hear about it – share your story in a comment!