Day 48 – Jumping and Spinning on Skis

Skier on Cypress Mountain

It’s been almost 2 weeks since my last post, I have been working everyday from 8am to 4pm and then go skiing after work until 10pm.  Although I did take Monday off work just to ski all day in warm sunny condition.  As I am preparing for my CSIA level 1 (Ski Instructor) certification, I’m putting most of my energy into practicing skiing.  I still teach snowboarding and train once a week on snowboards but my focus right now is to get my skiing techniques up to par before the exam.

After practicing on my own for a few weeks, I figure I better take a lesson to make sure I’m on the right track.  As Cypress Mountain offer ski instruction at night (Grouse doesn’t), I naturally came back here for another lesson tonight (Thursday night).  My instructor for tonight is Elias.  He is a CSIA level 3 (Ski), CASI level 2 (Snowboard) instructor.  He has taught at Cypress Mountain for the last 5 years.  He has been skiing and snowboarding for 25 years, and teaching for 18 of those years.  He was a cross country skier before he started alpine skiing.  He has skied and taught in quite a few countries in Europe when he first started teaching.  He has also taught in the United States and skied in South America.

skiing at Grouse Mountain (January 24, 2009)

His vast amount of experience really shown through in his teaching.

My goal for tonight was to learn 3 techniques.

1. learn pivot turns

2. learn spinning on the snow

3. learn to jump off small kickers.

We started the lesson off with him explaining the technical side of pivoting.  He showed me on a blue run how to point my skis down the fall line (really scary), count to three, then pivot until my skis are pointing up hills.  I thought that was scary until he told me to do the same thing backwards.  We then started working on side slipping (like snowboarding), and then falling leaf – forwards and backwards.  It got better after I practiced a few times but the pointing skis down the fall line for 3 seconds is still really scary.

We then went over to Collins (Green run) where he taught me to traverse across the hill until my skis are on the snowbank, then ski backwards until the back of my skis are pointing up the hill again.  We then went on to learn how to do pivot turns backwards and then moved onto spinning on skis without using poles.  It was so encouraging to be taught by a ski instructor who is also a snowboard instructor.  He knows how to relate skiing to snowboarding, explaining in a language I would understand.

The last thing we worked on was our jumps.  We started off with jumping on the snow while we do pivot turns, then we went up on the side banks of Collins where he showed me the different techniques of jumping and worked up to a 180 degree jump.  When we were skiing down the hill, he also pointed out to me what I am doing wrong in my carving and showed me the correct way of doing it and why we do it that way.  It made my carving much more stable.

I would say this is the best ski lesson I have ever had, and I have taken a lot of ski lessons over the years.  Elias was really knowledgeble and could explain the mechnics of skiing simple enough so that a snowboarder like me could understand.  Elias teaches on Thursday nights at Cypress Mountain, I highly recommand taking a lesson with him if you want to become a better skier.

Day 26 – Wet Wet day at Cypress Mountain

I was originally planning to hit up both Grouse and Cypress today but my lesson at Grouse was canceled due to the rain, so I decided to stay at Cypress for the rest of the evening.  I took a lesson at Cypress Mountain with Matt from New Zealand.  He is a New Zealand Stage 2 Snowboard Instructor (SBINZ), which is the equivalent of CASI level 3 in the Canadian system.  Matt only teaches part-time at Cypress Mountain and works in construction full time.  I came into the lesson thinking I just need a few tips on my teaching, but turned out I actually got a big improvement on my own riding.  Watching my riding from a fresh set of eyes really helped.

Snowboard Lesson at Cypress Mountain

Taking a Snowboard Lesson at Cypress Mountain

I told Matt I wanted to work on my jumps.  I can do 180’s and 360’s easy but could never rotate enough to do a 540.  Matt pointed out I should be looking at the take off with my eye and have my hips squared to my board, which will give me more balance in spinning a 540.  With these tiny adjustments to my stance, I was spinning faster and getting more air.  Matt then demonstrated a 360 static jump with his board and a few 360’s riding on the flats.  It was amazing.  I have never seen anyone spin that fast in the air.

Matt taking me down Collins

I guess, even after ten years of riding, there’s still a lot I can improve on by learning from others from different backgrounds and higher certifications.  I’m really glad I took the lesson today.

It was raining the whole time I was up there so I was completely soaked after only an hour of riding, so I decided to go home.  I really wished I have brought my garbage bag to wear underneath my gortex jacket and plastic bags to wear over my gortex socks like I usually do when it is raining.

Raining on Cypress Mountain

Old Ski School office on Cypress Mountain

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