Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Trainers Accredidation for Rocky Mountain PSIA... 12 days away!

No, really, I got it. Its all under control...
Oh holy cow, here we go! 12 days to trainers accred, this is the Rocky Mountain equivalent to trying out to be a clinician. Last year, I decided not to pursue any accreditation, as I was looking to find my place in the ski school, see where I fit, meet folks, and get my feet under me (literally) as well as improve my skiing.

With the encouragement and help of a bunch of folks (Aspen is an incredibly positive training environment), I've decided to go for both in-house trainer as well as trying out for the RM-PSIA trainers accreditation. This would mean, if I get hired, that I get the awesome and excellent job of helping to train instructors at the ski school.

I started this year with hosting an MA group, which was a lot of fun, and really helped me deepen my own understanding. We had some simple, basic foundational things which we kept coming back to over the 14 weeks that we met. The group, comprised of level 2 and 3 candidates, worked really hard, was willing to practice, to try, to fail, to succeed, and to question. As a result, we had some pretty excellent talks about skiing!

In order to get to TA this year, I had to fill out a Passport for the ski schools of Aspen, which means that you get several skiing maneuvers signed off by verifiers, as well as attend a physics lecture, a bio mechanics lecture, host a trainer level MA group, get your boots checked and understand alignment issues, and that you are working as a mentor in the ski school.

The TA for PSIA is very similar, there are four pages of passport called the Proficiency Log which you have to get signed off, everything from ski with a mentor and critique their skiing to hold a clinic and get your own work critiqued back, as well as the skiing maneuvers. There are several mandatory clinics that we attend to qualify to go to TA, and you also need to have a platinum medal in NASTAR, as well as some additional certification (mine is in Freestyle).

The first clinic I took to meet the requirements was also the first PSIA clinic I have done since I moved to Aspen. It was amazing to be back in the fold again, and to see the process in this division. I traveled to Vail to attend Clinic Leading 401, which was led by Todd Metz, who I later found out was at Winter Park with my very first skiing mentor, Michael Hickey!

It was fun to find that out, and I thought a lot about Michael that week. I am still grateful to him every day for believing in me, taking a chance on me, and being willing to dive back into the PSIA pool with me after a long absence. Ever single time I teach, or use, a patience turn, I think of him, and I swear, one day, I'm going to make sweatshirts that say "Team Hickey: we leave our mark!" on them.

Clinic Leading 401 was excellent, it helped me to understand and integrate what the National organization wants as a structure under your clinic topic, so that there is some consistency from one clinic to another. It is a really well thought out skeleton on which you can hang any topic, and Todd led by example really well. He created an excellent environment for us to try and to fail, and to succeed in, and I was happy to feel like I belonged in the group.

It also helps that skiing with Todd is a bit like skiing with a border collie. Throw the ball, throw the ball, throw the ball! The group did not lack energy, that's for sure!

For once I wasn't the weakest skier in the group, I think my skiing was solidly in the middle of the field, and I was comfortable there, while still pushing myself to perform.

I went out on snow with one of our home trainers, Rick Vetromile, and my favorite training partner, Cindy Leuchtenberg (who is skiing SO amazingly well its inspiring every time I see her turn), and we worked on short turns. Rick let me know that the skiing he was seeing from me was withing the box for TA. YES, I was happy to hear that! I have a lot of work to do, but I'm on track!

Next up: adventures in getting back on snow after the Huge Wreck in Clinic #2, Precision Skiing 401 with Jen Metz!

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