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Ski Snowboard Class Descriptions

Professional Ski Instructors of America & American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA/AASI) Class Levels.

We take teaching seriously!

Responsibility Code:
All classes teach and strictly adhere to the Skier Responsibility Code:
1. Stay in control
2. People ahead have the right of way
3. Stop in a safe place for you and others
4. When starting downhill or merging, look uphill and yield
5. Use devices to help prevent runaway equipment
6. Observe signs and warnings
7. Know how to use the lifts safely

SNOWBOARD CLASS 1 "Intro to a new sport"

Terrain: Lodge Base Area Lift: Walk, Skate, & Climb
Required to Pass: Boarder can walk, climb, and perform Heel & Toe J-turns to a Stop with back foot out. Boarder has been introduced to safe practices.
Topics to Cover (Keep it Fun & Create Excitement for the Sport)
1. Introduction, Basic equipment orientation, Board carry and storage
2. Mtn. Safety, Rider Responsibility Code (See Card)
3. Strapping in & out, Reg/Goofy check, Equipment check
4. (Both Feet In) Introduce Athletic stance, Falling & Getting up
5. Have fun with Balance Movements: Jump, Jump & Spin 180, Tail & Nose Press, Balance on the edges, Twist, Tilt, Pivot & Pressure the board (Simon Says, Find the limits of balance) Return to an athletic stance
6. W/Back Foot Out: Walk, Skate, Glide, & Climb (Follow the leader)
7. Straight glide with natural or uphill runout - Shoulders/hips/board parallel
8. Heel & toe "J" turns to a Stop (Back Foot Out) A centered Athletic stance helps ensure enough weight is on the front foot. Press the toe or heel of the front foot into the snow to steer. (Squish a snowball)
(Look where you want to go, steer the ship (knee), Superman) *Encourage patience, letting the board and lower-body do the work.
BONUS: Do Straight Glide and J-Turns with Both feet in. Learn Handle Tow

SNOWBOARD CLASS 2 "Skidded C-Turns"

Terrain: Schoolyard Lift: Handle Tow
Required to Pass: Boarder can stop and can confidently perform Skidded Heel and Toe Turns using lower body steering.
Topics to Cover (Watch for equipment issues at this level) Kids benefit the most from mileage, keep them moving.
1. Review Rider Responsibility Code - Spread it out throughout lesson
2. Review Class 1 material as needed
3. Introduce Handle Tow - You don't need to use it during lesson
4. With both feet strapped in, do Heel & toe "J" turns to a Stop.
5. Conditions Permitting: Introduce Skidded Traverse on both edges - Encourage a good athletic stance. Turn uphill to slow.
6. Garlands - both Heel & toe - Use front foot and knee to steer board. Look in the direction you want to go.
7. Skidded C-shaped Turns - both Heel & toe (Think Pedal Power) One turn at a time then connect the turns with a small traverse.
BONUS:
Practice Nose & Tail Presses - Try Nose Press while gliding slowly, then try Nose Press w/gentle spin, both directions. Contrast with Tail Press.
(Sometimes new movements feel awkward.)

SNOWBOARD CLASS 3 "S-Turns"

Terrain: Lower Cascade "3-Hill" Lift: Rocco Poma
Required to Pass: Boarder can confidently perform Linked Skidded Heel and Toe Turns using lower body steering on 3-Hill. Boarder can Side Slip, perform Fallen Leaf and Skidded Traverse on both edges.
Topics to Cover
1. Review Rider Responsibility Code
2. Introduce Poma lift - Ride, Load, & Unload (Watch then try)
3. Introduce Side slip (Heel & toe) - Control using ankles, knees &/or hips
4. Introduce Falling leaf (Heel & toe) - Shift weight to change direction
5. Review Skidded Traverse (both edges & both directions) Shift weight over the new lead leg as it changes. (Superman, Ironman, Elsa)
6. Garlands (Heel & toe) Use fan progression, steering steeper into the fall-line
7. Skidded turns (Heel & toe) Start lower on the slope and move higher to steeper parts as the students become more comfortable. (Pedal Power) Strive to keep shoulders and hips parallel to the board & the slope. Turn uphill to slow before starting new turn.
8. Linked Skidded turns ? Connect the turns through a traverse & gradually shorten the traverse. For a greater challenge make smaller turns.
9. Play with flat 180's & 360's (helicopters) on the lower half of the 3-Hill. These help develop control of board's twist, tilt, pivot, & pressure.

SNOWBOARD CLASS 3P "S-Turns, Chair Lift"

Terrain: 3-Hill and Back Trail to Chicken Chute Lift: Rocco Poma & Skyridge Chair
Required to Pass: Boarder can ride Chair Lift & perform Linked Skidded Heel & Toe Turns w/Speed Control down the Chicken Chute.
Student should exhibit efficient form using lower body to steer board.
Topics to Cover
1. Assess Students - Evaluate boarders on 3-Hill to ensure they are ready for more challenging terrain. Boarders not ready can be moved to another class.
2. Chair lift - Introduce Riding, Loading, & Unloading - Use practice chair
3. Introduce Terrain Park Rules (Smart Style, AKA Park Smart)
4. Review Side slip and Falling leaf (Heel & toe) on the steeper terrain
5. Do Garlands (Heel & toe) using active knees to shorten the turn.
6. Practice short radius Linked Skidded turns - Shorter radius turns are important for managing speed in steeper terrain. -Steer the front knee through the turn. (How tight can you turn?) -Actively flex the legs at the beginning of the turn to shift body forward and downhill in the direction of the turn. -Turn uphill to slow before beginning next turn.
-Refine the boarders' turns & movements
Certified Instructor approval is required to punch students to Class 4

SNOWBOARD CLASS 4 "S-Turns, Dynamic and Sized"

Terrain: Back Trail & 4-Hill Lift: Sky Ridge & America Chairs
Required to Pass: Boarder can confidently perform Skidded Heel and Toe Turns of different size, with speed control, and is beginning to actively unweight the board at the beginning of the turn.
Topics to Cover
1. Review Rider Responsibility Code (Spread it out)
2. Assess Students & review earlier material as needed
3. Practice Linked Skidded turns (Funnel Turns, Follow the Leader) Begin with large turns and get progressively smaller.
Dynamic Riding (Most Extended)
4. Practice Flexing and Extending the legs while traversing. Get Rhythm
5. Practice Garlands while Flexing & Extending (Heel & toe) - Maximum extension should happen at turn initiation (turning down hill). Flex and get smaller through the finish of the Garland. Extension should move the body up and forward toward the nose of the board and direction of the turn. -Start small & get tall. Garlands can be shallow. Strive for fluid rhythm.
6. Practice Skidded turns with "most extended" initiation (Heel & toe) --Start small & get tall. (Pick an apple, put it in the basket.) Dynamic riding makes you a more versatile rider in more challenging terrain.

SNOWBOARD CLASS 5 "Intro to Carving & Switch Riding"

Terrain: Back Trail & 4-Hill Lift: Sky Ridge & America Chairs
Required to Pass: Boarder can traverse 4-Hill while on edge with little skidding. Boarder shall show reasonable proficiency in both directions & both edges (4 combinations). Boarder can carve at least the 2nd half of a carve-turn on the lower portion of the 4-Hill in their natural direction.
Topics to Cover (NOTE: TIGHTEN BOOTS IF NOT SNUG.)
1. Review Rider Responsibility Code (Spread it out)
2. Describe Skidded vs Carve turns. Carving uses board edge and side-cut to create shape. Equal pressure between front and back feet.
3. Practice Static Movements (Hold Balance position on toes & heels.)
4. Practice Traversing back-and-forth across the hill on Toe edge, carving down and then back up the hill in an arc, create continuous traverse and then Garlands trying to maintain a thin line. (Flex into ankle straps for toe-side carve. Shift hips over heels on heel-side and raise toes.) Maintain equal pressure on both feet. Exaggerate pressure on back edge if tail is skidding. (Look for thin line. A little speed can help balance.)
5. Repeat above, Traversing on other edge (Heel Edge).
6. Park the Car and Back Out ? Carve up the hill and reverse back out continuing across the hill. Shift weight to new lead leg when backing.
7. Carve large gentle S-turns at base of 4-Hill above schoolyard.

SNOWBOARD CLASS 6 "Intro to Freestyle & Park"

Terrain: Back Trail, Park, Schoolyard Lift: Sky Ridge & America Chairs
Required to Pass: Boarder can perform ollies, butters, is beginning to jump straight air off small jumps & terrain features, & small box glide.
Topics to Cover
1. Review Responsibility Code & Park SMART (Spread it out)
2. Intro to Tail & Nose Press: On gentle terrain. Shift weight over tail and nose of board. Move knees in direction of press. Open or close shoulders to induce spin (Butter). Prewind for faster spin
3. Intro to Straight Air (ollie): Practice static ollies then dynamic (Slowly first on gentle terrain, Bring legs up, Spring of tail & land flat).
4. Targeted ollies: Practice ollies over snowballs, pine cones, lines in the snow, etc. Refine the timing so they're popping in the right place.
5. Straight Airs: Review ATML. Start with a roller and use targeted ollie to gain air, (focus on timing). Practice! Increase speed and size as student's competence increases. Remind the students to keep the body over the board & perpendicular to terrain, flex to absorb landing.
6. Intro to Box Glide: Run and jump on unstrapped board landing inside & outside of the bindings for a glide. On green terrain draw a box on the snow & practice ATML.
7. Box Glide: Take it to a short and/or wide box, one they can glide on & off without an ollie. Then introduce the ollie on & off feature.

SNOWBOARD CLASS 7 "Dynamic and Switch Riding"

Terrain: Whole Mountain Lift: Sky Ridge & America Chairs
Required to Pass: Boarder can perform switch turns on 4-hill, apply most-flexed initiation in steeper terrain (5 or 6 hill) & uses effective upper-lower body separation with fore-aft movements to steer the board.
Topics to Cover
1. Review Rider Responsibility Code (Spread it out)
2. Describe what the Most Flexed movement is, why & when we use it, and how it is performed.
3. Practice Static Movements ? Flex and extend, start tall (Athletic)
then flex knees, ankles and hips moving in the direction of turn, alternating toe and heel edge. Get Rhythmic!
4. Practice rhythmic movements while traversing and transition to Garlands, steering the board toward the fall-line while drawing your legs up. Steer back up the hill, extending the legs.
5. Repeat above, Traversing on other edge (Heel Edge).
6. Use fan progression and then Apply to turns. Make complete turns flexing at initiation, extending gradually through to completion.
7. When on easy terrain (2-hill), review basic turns in Switch direction.
8. Use increasingly more challenging terrain while being safe.

 

Skiing Level Instructor Cards
Safety, Fun, Learning

The following apply to ALL level cards:

  1. Review of the responsibility code.
  2. Working on balanced athletic stance.
  3. Extension and Flexion (tall as a house, small as a mouse).
  4. Review of the prior level tasks.

Skiing: The 5 Fundamentals of PSIA:

  1. Control the relationship of the center of mass to the base of support to direct pressure along the length of the skis.
  2. Control pressure from ski to ski and direct pressure toward outside the ski.
  3. Control the edge angles through a combination of inclination and angulation.
  4. Control the skis rotation (turning, pivoting, steering) with leg rotation, separate from? the upper body.
  5. Regulate the magnitude of pressure created through the ski/snow interaction.

Skiing Level 1:
Safety, Fun, Learning
Required to Pass: Gliding straight run to a stop.
Skier can walk, straight run, stop and has been introduced to beginning gliding wedge.

Teaching Objectives:

  1. Standing, walking, gliding, climbing.
  2. Straight run ? with a natural run-out.

Teaching Aids: figure 8 walk with 0, 1 and 2 skis, Follow the Leader, Tag, Simon Says, Traffic Cop, ankle rolls (static and moving)

Skiing Level 2:
Safety, Fun, Learning
Required to Pass: Skier can perform controlled, linked, wedge turns down the entire 2 hill with speed control achieved through turn shape. Emphasizing directional extension/flexion throughout the turn. Perform multiple braking wedges during a straight run.

Teaching Objectives:

  1. Linked wedge turns with speed control achieved through turn shape.
  2. Directional extension/flexion while flattening the inside ski to achieve turning.
  3. Learn to ride the carpet lifts.
  4. Develop quality mileage.

Teaching Aids: Red Light Green Light, wedge changeups, Simon Says, gliding wedge to a stop.

Skiing Level 3:
Safety, Fun, Learning
Required to Pass: Skier can perform controlled, linked, wedge christies (a match ski at the end of the turn) down the entire 3 hill. Speed control must be controlled by turn shape. Include extension/flexion. Note: feet must move in direction of new turn. Perform side slip.

Teaching Objectives:

  1. Skating, downhill and across flat.
  2. Side slipping and wedge garlands emphasizing a parallel skid.
  3. Hockey stop.
  4. Mileage performing link Wedge Christy turns, speed control through turn shape down entire 3 hill.
  5. Introduce riding the chairlift loading and unloading procedures.

Teaching aids: J turns, fan progression, sideslip, hockey stop.

Skiing Level 4:
Safety, Fun, Learning
Required to Pass: Skier can perform controlled, linked, wedge christies (a match at fall line with a skidded finish) down the entire back trail. Speed control must be achieved through turn shape emphasizing a narrow wedge and directional extension/flexion through the turns. Feet must turn in the direction of new turn.

Teaching Objectives:

  1. Ride the chairlift - loading and unloading procedures.
  2. Emphasize big toe edge of ski (inside edge of outside ski).
  3. Perform controlled, linked Wedge Christies (and match at the following with a skidded finish parentheses).
  4. Speed control must be achieved through turn shape emphasizing a narrow wedge and directional extension/flexion through the turns.
  5. Feet must move in the direction of the turn.

Teaching aids: skating, big toe and little toe, side slip, hockey stop, fan progression.

Skiing Level 4PT:
Safety, Fun, Learning
Required to Pass: Skier can perform controlled linked Wedge Christy turns (skis match at or before the fall line with a skidded finish) down the entire 4 hill. Speed control occurs via turn shaping and there is functional pole use.

Teaching Objectives:

  1. Introduce pole touch.
  2. Practice pull touch emphasizing timing and position.
  3. Edge set with pull swing.
  4. Pole touch when skies are flat.
  5. Ensure student is using poll correctly 85% of the time.

Teaching aids: skating, big toe and little toe, hockey stop, J turns, C turns, shuffle turns, and edge sets with pole touch.

Skiing Level 5:
Safety, Fun, Learning
Required to Pass: Skier can perform advanced, linked Wedge Christies (a match before the fall line with a skidded finish) with a pole touch, down the entire 5 hill. Speed control must be achieved through turn shape. Emphasizing a narrow wedge and directional extension/flexion through the turns. Note: feet must move in the direction of the new turn.

Teaching Objectives:

  1. Practice Wedge Christies, garlands, lateral and side slipping emphasizing extension and flexion toward direction of intended turn.
  2. Perform controlled, advanced, link, Wedge Christies with a pole touch (a match before the fall line with a skidded finish). Speed control must be achieved through turn shape with a functional pole touch.
  3. Feet must move in the direction of the turn.

Teaching aids: skating, big toe and little toe, hockey stop, J turns C turns, shuffle turns and edge sets with pole touch.

Skiing Level 6:
Safety, Fun, Learning
Required to Pass: Skier can perform linked, open, skidded parallel turns with a pole touch down entire 6 hill. Speed control must be achieved through turn shape emphasizing directional extension/flexion through the turns. Note: feet must move in direction of new turn.

Teaching Objectives:

  1. Review balanced and athletic stance with tipping to be used (edging maneuvers) throughout the entire turn.
  2. Pivot slips, skiing in a box.
  3. Parallel initiation (forward, side slip and parallel garlands) emphasizing extension and flexion movements toward direction of intended turn.
  4. Take lots of fun runs! Explore the mountain!

Teaching aids: skating, big and little toe, hockey stop, fan progression, J turns, one-legged skiing.  

Skiing Level 7:
Safety, Fun, Learning
Required to Pass: Skier can perform linked, open parallel turns with small, medium and large radius and with proper use of pole touch. Speed control must be achieved through turn shape emphasizing directional extension/flexion through the turns. Note: feet must move in direction of new turn. 

Teaching Objectives:

  1. Carved turn with tail of ski following tip throughout turn.
  2. Railroad track traverse (dynamic balance along entire length of this ski).
  3. One-legged traverse uphill ski only, downhill ski only.
  4. Explore functional pole touches for various turn types and shapes. Use pole touch for timing to develop rhythm.
  5. Maintain speed through turn shape.

Teaching aids: railroad tracks, skating, big toe and little toe, pivot slips, one-leg side slips, hockey stops.

Skiing Level 8:
Safety, Fun, Learning
Required to Pass: Skier can perform linked dynamic, carved, parallel turns (short and medium radius) on the entire mountain. Skier can adapt these maneuvers to different terrain or snow conditions: i.e. bumps, steeps, powder, ice, etc. Speed control must be achieved through turn shape emphasizing directional extension/flexion through the turns. Lower body must move below stable upper body.

?Teaching Objectives:

  1. Learn the medium carved turn (must show railroad track through entire turn).
  2. Long leg, short leg.
  3. Teach and perfect dynamic parallel turns using directional/extension movements and efficient use of the forces to accomplish tasks. Use progressive flexing through bottom of turn.
  4. Learn to manipulate ski to help make turns. Be the pilot of your skis.

Teaching aids: railroad tracks, skating, big toe and little toe, pivot slips, one-leg side slips, hockey stops.

Skiing Level 9:
Safety, Fun, Learning
Required to Pass: Ski anywhere in all conditions. The mountain is yours! Continuing beyond center line skiing i.e., hop turns, cross under, retraction turns, Donald Duck turns, Swiss Hop turns. Slow dog noodle (not good for knees).

Teaching objectives: Can you say mileage! :)


 

More about USSA competitions and what it can do for your child

U.S. Ski & Snowboard

Did you know?

You can become a certified ski or snowboard instructor too. You can get certified at 16!

Get certified at Sky Tavern through the PSIA and AASI programs for instructors. PSIA is the Professional Ski Instructors of America. Likewise AASI is the American Association of Snowboard Instructors. Both are professional accrediting organizations for snow sport instruction. At Sky Tavern an instructor can train for and be tested for certification.

More About Becoming A Certified Instructor

Be Instructor Too!

"Teaching is how I give back to Sky Tavern. I was a SkyKid and I had no idea the teachers were just everyday people volunteering to make skiing accessible to everyone."

The Winter

Sky Tavern The Winter

The ultimate goal of Sky Tavern is to get kids and families outside together, learning, sharing and enjoying a sport for life.

The Summer

Sky Tavern The Summer

In addition to the development of Sky Tavern cycling infrastructure, we are focused on our connector trail to the Tamarack Lake Connector (TLT) from the Sky Tavern base area.

The Lodge

Sky Tavern The Lodge

Located on the Mt. Rose Highway, 30 minutes from Reno is the oldest non-profit ski and snowboard training facility in America. Rich with history and charm, since 1948, the lodge is fully functional and able to provide the most memerable experiences.

The Mission

Sky Tavern is a nonprofit regional center providing exceptional summer & winter outdoor sports training, competitions, recreation & events accessible to all.

The Vision

Sky Tavern is a community asset that promotes a child's growth & success through exposure to outdoor sports and recreation, no matter the personal challenges.