A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

AMC winter school

January 27, 2010
Emilie Phillips

This weekend I taught introductory backcountry skiing. I have taught at winter school once before and been a student twice, so I know the drill by now. It’s a weekend full of stuff. Most of the days are spent outside working on technique and practical skills. The morning and evenings are spent in lectures on how to stay safe in the winter moutains. There is no time left for breathing.

There were actually 3 instructors for intro skiing — Scott, Marty, and I. Scott is trying to train me up as his replacement, so I ended up doing a lot of the active teaching. At the beginning of the weekend, my students were terrified of a slight incline and doing more of a shuffle than a nice kick and glide. So I started by running through the sequence of drills Ted taught us the other weekend. I am going to need to learn how to tailor them better at some point, but for this group, covering them all was a good idea. We made some progress on the kick and glide, and then went back to the hill and made a good bit of progress there.

The hill has a steep part and a flat part. All the ski groups started there, so it got rather packed out. By lunch time, we were the only ones left, so I did a quick run up the hill and ski back down, including the little ski jump at the bottom. I managed some nice telemark turns on my long skinny cross country skis, took the ski jump not too fast, and did a tele hockey stop at the bottom. All that practice I have been getting on my heavy gear must be doing something even if it doesn’t feel like it. I was styling on my cross country skis (at least I think so even if no one else was watching).

Oh, and another thing that happened while all the groups were still on the slope: One of the young ladies (my age) in another group was uncertain about going pee in the woods. Rather than letting her run in the lodge, I got conscripted to teach an impromptu lesson. Apparently I gave a good one because she was raving about it for the rest of the day.

In the afternoon, we did a short tour. We got going late, and one of the students got tired and frustrated and ended up walking a bit. But the others were having fun. That afternoon, there are various seminars. I got suckered into teaching one on ski waxing. Unfortunately, only one person showed up. So I ended up giving Tony and Bill free waxing service.

Then the usual evening skits and scenarios on what to do if someone gets injured. I think I had more useful to say this time than last. I’m still learning a bit of that stuff myself.

Sunday, the one student who had been having trouble Saturday decided to stay closer to the lodge and work on more technique. Another student who had not gotten the memo that you were supposed to be there all weekend and had shown up late saturday, decided she wanted to leave early sunday. And one of the instructors for advanced skiing started feeling sick. The net result was that Scott was switched to advanced, leaving me as primary instructor for intro with Marty as my assistant. And the instructor who was feeling a little sick stayed and worked with our two folks who were not coming on the tour.

For the tour we did a trail (93Z) that looks like an old road. Nice and broad, but some ups and downs. They did well on the way up. I got to teach stream crossing. On the way back down, there was plenty of falling, but also plenty of giggling. And overall a massive improvement from where they had been saturday morning. Marty even taught one of them the telemark stance which she did until her legs gave out.

We got back a little early, but folks were pretty well burnt out. I did a few more runs on the hill. A couple other folks stayed out a little more. And then we all retired for late lunch and wrap up.

So, no grand adventure stories like some of my weekends, but tons of fun never the less.



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Comments (1)

  • Question

    Was this in down-hill boots and skiis, fixed heal gear? Not that is matters that much, glad that you were having fun.