A ot of people choose to spent a season teaching as a ski- or snowboard instructor in the Alps every year. More often than not, such a first season leads to a real passion for freeriding. A season as an instructor of course presents the perfect opportunity to explore the backcountry during off-days. It however is important that all that exploring is done in a responsible way. That opinion is shared by Snowminds, an organisation that educates upcoming ski- and snowboard instructors from the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden.
Snowminds runs instructor courses in Austria and Canada and cooperates worldwide with ski schools in countries such as Canada, Japan and Austria. They have now decided to include Salomon Mountain Academy in all their educations with a stronger “freeride focus”. As a result, over 300 upcoming ski- and snowboard instructors will receive the Salomon Mountain Academy already this year.
“We educate over 500 upcoming instructors on a yearly basis and we see an increase in the popularity of freeriding amongst the participants on our courses.” Thijs Kennis, founder of Snowminds in The Netherlands, says. “We have a rather broad selection of courses, varying from a two-week instructor course that focuses fully on teaching, to a five-week instructor course during which participants get introduced to a broad selection of disciplines such as mogul skiing and freeriding.”
As part of that five-week course, Snowminds organizes days on the mountain with a mountain guide. During those days, participants learn about the usage of an avalanche beacon, a shovel and a probe. In addition to that, there are seminars in the evening about the risks that are involved with freeriding. “Our entire team at Snowminds loves freeriding and ski touring and we believe that freeriding can really enrich a season experience. We however feel it is extremely important to make sure our instructors are aware of the risks and that we help them to get started with it in a safe way. It is our goal to create awareness amongst our course participants and to show them the different ways to get educated. Even though all our instructors work independently during the season, we still feel it is our responsibility to take care of them and we strive to make our Snowminds instructors know the potential risks that are involved with freeriding. We’re therefor very proud of this cooperation and happy we are able to include the Salomon Mountain Academy into our courses.”
The cooperation with Snowminds creates a great opportunity to reach a bigger group of young individuals that will spend a lot of their time in the Canadian Rockies, the European Alps and Japanese Alps. It will hopefully not only create a bigger safety awareness amongst a younger group of freeriders, it also can serve as a great and safe introduction to the amazing freeride scene we’re all part of!