Week 4 was an exciting time on our New Zealand ski instructor course, with a new powder dump and plenty of teaching practice. Here’s a blog from Nonstopper Richard Mable…
Week 4 at Nonstop began well. On Monday, Lucia, Ingrid, Jenny, Alex and Georgie got their “wings” and shadow taught their very first lessons! With their shiny new instructor jackets they got behind other Porter’s instructors and helped them out. Everyone got some great hands on experience and had a great time, even if some were so nervous they were nearly in tears before the lesson. (The Nonstoppers, not the children).
Meanwhile Jase took Richard, Angus and Macou out all around the mountain, showing them all the chutes, steeps, and places to get their gnar on with the newly received amounts of snow. With a beautifully covered mountai
n, they traversed the high ridge above Headwall and got some great magazine esque pictures before ripping turns down the smooth 600 meter drop on Big Mama in about 3 turns. In the afternoon, joined by Jase’s dad and the lovely Beth (Jase’s wife), we all raced down Mcnulty’s, which is the cat track down the entire mountain. The rules were there were no rules, which resulted Richard popping Angus out of his bindings at the starting line and then Macou taking out Richard on a turn as they neared the finish. With Angus and Ingrid hot on his tail, Jase won (of course). That night we all celebrated with the other instructors at the pub and some Nonstoppers found they didn’t make it back to the pub till morning. Lucia was especially kind as she paid 60 cents for a Hoover to clean the place.
On Tuesday, it was Richard, Angus, and Macou’s turn to shadow teach. They took to the task with gusto and came out the other side alive and having thoroughly enjoyed themselves and glad the first one was out of the way. Meanwhile the others continued to work on their wedge turns for the big exam day. That night we all agreed to do the Peak to Pub race at Mt Hutt the day after our Level 2 exam in October. It starts out as a downhill ski race, then a mountain bike course, then finally a 10k run where you have to swim through a river to complete the race. Some of us are going in team and a couple of us are going to try to do all 3 parts as individuals, and we’re all looking forward to it!
Wednesday Jase got the whip out and tested our “smooth, rounded turns” ability by making us do 4 turns within a certain amount of space. This exercise was repeated again and again until we had all “passed” it, with some complementing it much, much, much sooner than others. Simultaneously cursed and blessed by the falling snow and clouds we were stuck on T1 at the bottom of the mountain for the rest of the day, working on our “roar” turns and skiing on one ski on the platter lift.
Thursday was the first day we started working on some avalanche awareness, took a look at some wet slides that had come down the mountain in the morning and worked on skiing through the warm, choppy snow. The rest of the afternoon was a freeski in the sun!
Friday was a big day for the Nonstop crew, we went to our first club field, Broken River! Club fields are what skiing was like before there was grooming and lifts. They all use a rope tow that goes about as fast as a high speed quad. The idea is you wear a harness with a “nutcracker” which is basically a metal clip attached to the harness. You stand next to the rope and slowly grab it with one hand, then as you gain speed with the rope you flip the nutcracker over it and hold on tight. The nutcracker pulls you up the slope and you just have to carefully put it through the pulleys and make sure your fingers don’t get caught. A little nerve-racking at first, but fun when you get used to it. The day at Broken River went extremely well and everyone had an awesome time. The club field terrain is awesome, from big bowls to steep narrow chutes, and with all the recent snow everything was well covered.
The weekend was good fun as we celebrated one of the instructor’s birthday’s with a grand party with lights and a DJ and funky little dancing room. Richard also got to practice his left-side driving a little more than he wanted to when he went on a wild goose chase with Ingrid around Christchurch looking for her friend Ollie. Meanwhile, everyone else was enjoying Yummy Chinese, and eventually the girls did end up finding this mysterious Ollie man. With another recovery Sunday on tap, many movies were watched and the crew rested up for a big week five!