I’ve always said that really good coaching is one of the best ways to improve your snowboarding. So what exactly do you get at a snowboard camp?
To show you, I’m going to break down a season of camp life based on my past experience with Pro-Ride Snowboard Camps in Whistler.
Breakdown of typical weekly events:
Free days. We could do whatever we wanted on these days.
Weekdays consisted of 1 coaching session per day. Pro-Ride likes to breaks down it’s coaching into half day sessions. I spent about 3 and a half hours with coaches each day. Training sessions were either before lunch or after lunch.
Rider to coach ratio - Depending on what I wanted to ride, I would be organized into a group with similar interests/skill level. Some days it had up to 4 of us in a group, but other days there were only 1-2 other people.
Coaches - The coaches were really friendly and informative. They had local staff instructors and examiners coaching us for our CASI level 1 test and a mix of local pros and veteran Whistler instructors for freestyle.
Training - The start of each training sessions was centred around finding out what our group wanted to work on that day and finding a feature that worked for all of us. We had sessions lapping the park, hiking kickers or hitting the powder depending on what our group felt like doing.
Typically, the coach would watch each of us as we rode. After explaining and demonstrating a technique, the coach would stop us at the top of a hill and asked to come down 1 by 1 to analyse what we were doing and how we could improve it.
For CASI instructor certificate training, the camp had examiners tell us exactly what areas we’d be tested on and also taught us each the standard instructor drills for teaching beginners and intermediate snowboarders.
Video analysis - Every Wednesday was video analysis day. We’d get 1-2 runs to try whatever we were working on and it was video taped by the coach. At the end of the day there would be a sit down at the chalet as we watched our riding in slow motion to find out how to better improve our technique.
Giveaway - Once every week or two there was a giveaway. Kind of like a lucky draw where they would draw names from a hat and give out free goodies such as beanies, snowboard bags and even a snowboard.
Non regular training sessions:
Trampoline training - We made one trip down to Vancouver to visit the local foam pits. The whole session was dedicated to helping us learn how to flip, spin and do new grabs. This was where I learnt to do my first backflips and frontflips.
Road trip - We also made one journey down to Mt. Baker when it was snowing heavily. It was more for fun than for training and it really was some epic fun! Knee deep powder and steep runs and chutes.
Jump days - A few times throughout the season, they would organize a ‘jump day’ to hike a little outside of mountain boundaries. Everyone would work together to build a small sized powder jump and we’d get a chance to try out some flips and spins into deep powder. Epic fun and great for learning inverted tricks.