Monday, February 14, 2011

Days 1 and 2 of Rocky Mountain Trainer Accreditation

Okay, here we go!

Yesterday was day one of the first PSIA certification I've done in two years. I forgot how fun it is to be in a group of candidates training toward a goal, the excitement is palpable, the energy is awesome, and the athleticism goes up right as the stakes do.

I can't honestly believe I'm in this group. Its a bunch of really good skiers and teachers, from all over the Rocky Mountains. Copper, Steamboat, Breckenridge, Vail, Beaver Creek, Aspen and Telluride. These dudes rip. And yes, they are dudes. The only other girl in the RMT is my friend and training partner and fellow MWR (Mommy Who Rips), Kristin Heath.

Yesterday, I got up early, had everything laid out, I'd washed my jacket in Oxy Clean so it looked professional, braided my hair, my skis were newly tuned, my hot bag had my boots at just the right temperature, and all my training materials were in my bag and ready to go.

I got to the Highlands locker room on time, only to find that my name wasn't on the roster because I was told I could bring a check the day of. (Yes, this is an issue that I am really focusing on. Its hard to raise two boys by myself as a ski instructor, especially with taking a lot of time off to cert train, and the cost of clinics. I'm grateful that my sponsors, public and private, have really helped me out raising the money for RMT and for the RAT this spring. Now, its time to make sure that I manage money really well for the next two years and into the future. Its time to get really good at that.)

We got it squared away, and the locker room was filled with the awesome buzz of certification, all the E1 potential hires (that's Examiner, Rocky Mountain is hiring two. There were at least 13 candidates), and all 16 RMT candidates. There were three examiners for each group of 8, as well as well wishers and the regular staff. It was awesome. Pre competition rituals abounding all around as we prepared to go show our best.

The nerves were high, and I wondered where my skiing would be. We started right off the chair with wedge christies and basic parallel, which I think I skied well for me. I'm worried about some small movements in the basic parallel, I think I've shown it well since then, but its on my list of things to make sure I ski right in front of the examiners tomorrow.

I had my list of performance cues in my pocket, tidbits that had really helped from Jenny Macarthur, Jenn Metz, Schanzy, and lots of other folks who have helped me build my skiing in the last few months. 

We moved on to one of my favorite tasks, medium radius carve turns, and I felt that I skied them twice really well. Not as well as on the preview day on Sunday, but good enough.

The whole morning, however, I was feeling like there was something going on, I was missing something. I couldn't figure out what the heck it was.

We switched examiners, and the feeling got worse. My goal was to make sure that the skiing continuously came up, as well as the attitude, over the day, but I couldn't find the key.

I felt good, I was nervous, but not too nervous, I was happy, I felt present, I was on my feet, I could feel my skis, I just was missing... what?

We went back around for another lap of tasks and in the Medium Radius Carve Turns, something weird happened (Cindy was video taping it, I have no idea what it was) and my inside ski wandered, and I nearly did the splits. I saved it, got back on my feet and made three good turns after it, but there was something very strange about my movement patterns on my skis.

We took a break and I wandered around wondering what was going on. I remembered my first level 3 when Weems and Mermer Blakesly were at Big Sky with Squatty, and how they caught my terrified little carcass in their arms. I got on the phone and called Weems from the Merry Go Round.

Angel that he is, he answered the phone. I explained what was going on.

"Kate, did you forget to go skiing?"

uh. Yeah.

That's why I love him. I had, that was it, that was the missing piece. I forgot to let my body do the moves it knows how to do. I was so concerned to show my best that I was skiing my focus rather than going skiing with a focus. I know better than that! SHEESH!

On the lift, I put Cindy Lou and Kurt in my heart, looked over on the chair and saw Shanzy and Andy laughing at me and making fun of me. I thought about what it feels like to be surrounded by friends playing in the snow and bringing your performance up at the same time.

The next run was sodbuster, and I had promised myself, and Schanzy, that I'd keep what we were working on in that run. I committed to it. We skied it, and I did the task. Fall line bumps the way we'd been working. I stayed in the short swing realm to make sure I stayed in the fall line, and it felt pretty good.

The second pitch was even better than the first, and I caught myself smiling and saying "Yeah!" as I was skiing. Because, you know, I was SKIING!

The day was over after that, and Jason ClossicSchanzy had given me, and then it was time for cuddles with the kids, a quick bite in town, and time to talk through my teaching segment and write the clinic outline.

I was late to bed, I crawled in around 1am, and got up at 7 to take the kids to school. I woke up not nearly as bright eyed and bushy tailed as I would have liked, but something felt different. The kids were hugging and kissing, cheering me on, and I headed in for day 2 of the exam after dropping them at school.

I walked in on time, turned in my Proficiency Log, and sat down to go through my ritual.

"On snow at 8:15!" came a call through the locker room.

Are you KIDDING ME? Its 8:05 and I'm still in my snowboots drinking coffee! When did THAT change! I thought we were supposed to be on snow at 8:45!

Right. Its a good thing that I came prepared, I hate to be rushed ANY time I'm competing, but that's why we live out of our bag for three weeks before any big event, I knew what I had to put on, where it was, and I was on snow at 8:15 ready to go.

Kristen taught first, and did a great job slowing everyone's extension down in medium radius carve turns. I was excited to have another opportunity for redemption, and so I decided to light it up on the NASTAR pitch in flat light while practicing a new move.

Can you see where this is going? Yeah. Double E. I came out of both skis and went down hard. Lucky for me, I was far inside the turn, so I spun out. I couldn't believe it. Really? This is my FAVORITE maneuver! And I feel good and I'm going skiing! What the HECK IS GOING ON???

Oh, wait, I wasn't going skiing. I was excited to show them what I could do, and I dialed it up before I should have. In flat light. And I paid the price.

I got back in my skis and carried on.

I was teaching next, there was no time to hang onto worry, here.

My teaching segment went really well, I taught Movement Analysis 301 on snow, and we used one footed no pole whirly birds for a circus trick to do MA on. Everyone got to play around a little, we laughed and got it done. It went well, and I got to show and warm up some of the new movements in the next segments in the bumps.

The rest of the day just got better. The next guy to teach taught using Medium Radius Carve Turns. Really? I get another chance? FOR REAL???

We skied up to the top of the pitch, and our group, which had gotten really tight, was so awesome, Joey said, "Okay, Kate. Redemption Time. You go first. Crush it!" and everyone in the group was encouraging me to ski it.

I shook my head and thought of the day that Weems and I went and made WHEEEEEeeeee turns at Highlands, all inclination, no angluation, not even in the eyeline. It was SO fun and we skied So fast. I tipped my skis over and pulled my hands up and suddenly, I was over my skis, over my feet and the turns felt like my turns again. They weren't the BEST turns EVER, but I was still standing at the end, and every turn was better than the last. The group put me there, and for that, I owe them a HUGE thank you.

The skiing got better and better as the teaches went on, we have some outstanding teachers and skiers in our group, John from Telluride, Joey from Copper, Kristen, Boomer, it was an amazing day, and I was really honored to be included in this group.

We ended early, around 2pm and then went in to change. I headed home and grabbed the kids, and we came back to Highlands Pizza to wait for the results of the E1 selection.

My friend and training partner Andrew was in the selection and skied well and worked hard, as were Will and Benjamin, both good friends and training buddies going through this selection. The division was only hiring 2 examiners, and none of these guys got the job, but Ben Roberts, one of my coaching clients from last National Tryouts got selected, and it was awesome to see him again. I was proud!

The kids had a blast running around Highlands with all the other kids of the examiners and candidates, and then it was time to come home and prep for tomorrow.

I got a piece of feedback from Todd Metz at the results, I asked him if there was anything in particular that he needed to see in my skiing tomorrow. He had something, and it is serious.

Its a small change, but a very important one, and a very hard one to make. I was knocked back for a minute while I was listening to this. I was SO grateful for his honesty and his willingness to tell me when I asked.

I realized that without this change, I will not pass this exam.

I realized that this change is one of the hardest and most sought after pieces in any one's skiing, and its something I've been chasing. I thanked Todd and left with a sinking feeling, knowing what I'd need to do.

I left and brought the kids home and then drove into town. While I was in town, I thought about my skiing, when it feels really good,when its on and the skis are nimble, I have options, and they can go where I want them. I've done this. I've made this change before. I've skied like this for days on end.

Its time to commit to owning this piece. I realize that this is a change I'm not only capable of making, its a change I'm capable of showing, and keeping.

Tomorrow is the last day of selection, and I'm ready to go skiing!!

3 comments:

Liat said...

I love reading about your selection experience right as it is happening! Thanks for taking the time to do this - I know you've got lots of studying to do!

Windy/Darcy said...

Ok, you've got me wondering..

Kate Howe said...

Thanks, guys! Its coming... I'm finally awake... wow...