Wow. Okay, lets start at the beginning. I slept really well last night, and woke up this morning feeling rested, but achey and icky. I knew I had Bodhi's flu, but, with the sage advice of my friend Kurt, decided to rally my white blood cells "okay, boys, time to get to work!" and keep it at bay until four this afternoon.
I started the day feeling strong, but with a wicked upset stomach and a fever of about 100. I was tired and lethargic, but my body felt okay to ski, if that makes sense. I forced myself to eat a scone and have some coffee, had four ibuprofen and 3 tylenol for breakfast, picked up the lovely and talented Ms. Shannon Griffen, and we headed up the hill.
We started the morning with an indoor teaching segment on ankle tipping, and moved on to warm up on Deer Park, arcing down boot hill. Troy Nedved and Greg Sponsellor were the examiners, not sure if I said that before, and I was really nervous on the first day, because Troy has a reputation for being a hard ass. Anyhow, it was an incredibly positive exam experience, and I felt like I was able to take the notes from yesterday and apply them today.
I had 101.5 at lunch, and Peggy saved me with more Ibuprofen, and I downed two red bulls and got back to work.
Today was mostly teaching segments, with some off piste skiing, we skied the hourglass, which is very fun and steep, and was probably one of my best runs of the year. Of course, i had a massive double E right after that hucking off a rock, scrambled back up the slope, got on both skis, and one felt really weird and draggy, so I just skied on the other one down to the chair lift, and rode up with Troy. While we were on the lift, I took the ski off, and it turns out that the brake had been snagged by the bush I launched off (explaining the SECOND boot out that happened about 10 yards below the first...) Troy bent the brake back into position, and we were good to go on the top, which is great, because it was my turn to teach!
I taught arcing, with the idea of pulling your skis to their edge, and then bending the ski, pulling it back, and then took it into arcing, and saw great change in the group. I was excited, but nervous, because we had to revisit some tasks, and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to pull off pivot slips and javelin turns better this time.
Turns out those were okay... the one that nearly failed me was open parallel! WHAT? Whoops! Apparently, I'm not patient enough at the top of the turn there... yipes!!
We did wedges, wedge christie, open parallel, javelin, bumps, and Charlestons again in the last hour, and then we headed in to change and wait wait wait while they tallied the scores.
We went up to Jimmy B's and Bonnie, our director, bought us some beer, then we headed over to the lodge to wait some more. Jen Gunther went first, and she passed, which was awesome to see. Then it was my turn... and they put the certificate and pin on the table, and I was just... totally blown away.
I was happy, I felt good about it, like I've worked hard, and I feel that my skiing is consistently at that level, but I had been fairly certain that I was going to fail on my pivot slips.
Here's how it works: you are scored 1, 2, or 3 on each element. 1 being below the bar, 2 being at the bar and 3 being above the bar. You need a minimum of 10 total to pass, in each section, with 5 elements each.
I got 10s across the board (whew!) but in the demos, I got a 1 on my basic or open parallel, and a 3 on my bump skiing (WOW, thanks, Megan, Weems, Squatty, Kurt, and Alex!!), which was my saving grace.
On the teaching segment, I got a 14 out of 15 possible, which is amazing. I was so very honored to have gotten that score!! 4 3s and 1 2. SWEET!
Troy said he was impressed, and I was just very very humbled and honored to have passed in this very tough region, to have passed at all, to have been really bestowed this honor, which feels huge.
I came down the stairs and my friends were there, cheering and hollering, and hugging, Shannon took a bunch of pictures, Michael hugged me and wiped my tears, and suddenly it hit me, what I had done, I had passed, I had opened the door to my future in skiing, Michael said some very insightful things, and suddenly, I was afraid, like OH MY GOD, what have I done? Now people are going to expect that I know what I'm doing!
Some people came up to me and told me that they were looking forward to taking clinics from me next year, and I just thought, holy CRAP. I passed. I mean, I'm in trainer training now. I'm not going for certification, I did it. Now, my job is to train to become a teacher who makes other teachers better at their job. WOW. Its what I've always wanted.
Shannon went up a short time later, and did not pass, and this was very difficult, because I would not be skiing at this level if it wasn't for her. She was the one who spent six hours on a powder day with me figuring out how to move along the length of the ski. She was the one who taught me how to dress. She was the one who explained to me how to read a descriptor, how to take the tasks seriously, she is the one who is always willing to train harder, longer, to keep going with me. It felt so bittersweet to be excited and proud, and not to be cheering with her. But she will kill it next year, she skied really well.
My amazing training partner Alex also did not pass, which was hard to watch, he is an excellent and amazing skier, and he helped me to feel at home in tough terrain on hard technical pitches. Its because of him that steep double black diamond feels like groomed blue to me.
I am so very grateful for all the love and support I've gotten, for all the kind words people have sent to me, for all the training people have been willing to give to me. I can't believe I passed this benchmark after only 2 and a half years, and I can't wait to get to work filling out my trainer's passport next season at Aspen!!