New ‘Terrain Based Learning’ area makes learning easier and faster for skiers and snowboarders
Wintergreen Resort has been teaching thousands of people per year to ski or snowboard for more than thirty years. This winter the resort will continue to devote significant capital to introducing guests to the sport by expanding the beginner terrain. The newly expanded area will present novice skiers and riders with a Terrain Based Teaching methodology which has proven to make the learning process easier and faster.
Instruction techniques in the ski industry have evolved with the Terrain Based Learning (TBL) method that allows skiers and riders to progress at their own pace using features created by sculpting the snow to help participants learn to turn and stop. Unlike the traditional group method where the entire group learns next steps when everyone has grasped a concept, the TBL method lets individuals advance to the next station once they are comfortable.
People of various ages and abilities can advance at a pace that is comfortable for them without slowing down or racing ahead of others in the lesson. This method also increases the number of skiers and snowboarders a teaching facility can accommodate since the instructor to student ratio is replaced with station to student ratio. Certified instructors remain present along the TBL course to provide individual instruction and a bit of encouragement.
Wintergreen Resort’s new Terrain Based Teaching area is comprised of five stations plus a new check-in area and a conveyor lift. Station No. 1, known as the ‘Flats’, will cover basic but necessary beginner information like equipment familiarization, moving around on flat ground with equipment, getting up from a seated position and learning techniques to approach and load a lift. Station No. 2 is a ‘Mini-Pipe’ which is a dished out area in the snow that allows participants to begin moving with momentum for the first time. The mini-pipe promotes a natural increase then decrease in speed to encourage skiers/riders to ‘steer’ in both forward and backward directions. The second station focuses on balance, athletic stance, natural acceleration and deceleration and flex and extension in different positions. Station No. 3 is known as ‘Rollers’, and it will further enhance participant balance, proper body position, edge pressure and confidence. Learning to turn is highlighted in Station No. 4, the ‘Banked Slope.’ The slope gradient of the Terrain Based Learning snow features will guide participants’ skis or boards into a new direction without much effort from the participant. The final station, Station No. 5, known as ‘Banked Turns’ will cover linking turns for the first time. Skiers and snowboarders will control their turns by naturally turning them right/left/right/left with the banked turns made of snow. This feature teaches balance in motion, edge control, pressure management, flex and extension, as well as riding the lift.
In addition to the five Terrain Based Learning stations, Wintergreen Resort installed a conveyor lift forty feet longer than the existing conveyor. This surface lift is ideal for transporting skiers and snowboarders up the hill in a learning environment so they do not have to load an aerial lift. The final piece of the upgrade to the beginner area is the relocation of the Snowsport Check-in
Office which makes the process and access more convenient for beginner skiers and snowboarders with closer proximity to the beginner terrain.
Outdoor activities have proven to be extra popular over the past summer and fall as people are encouraged to spend time outside in fresh air rather than indoors. Based on early indications, Wintergreen General Manager Rod Kessler indicated the resort expects more people than usual will want to learn to ski or snowboard this winter. Kessler noted, “We made the investment in the expanded beginner terrain to accommodate additional guests and to help them progress more quickly to the point of being proficient skiers and snowboarders. It’s surprising, but with TBL, people can go from never having skied before to ready to ski from top to bottom on modest terrain in just a day or two.”