Cert Week (III)

The third day of the certification test was the day in which they tested us on our riding. They tested us on carved, skidded, and switch turns. We were asked to perform flatspin 360s and ollies and board presses. We rode both groomers and bumps, and explored basic moves in the jumps, jib park and half-pipe. The examiners watched us, critiqued us verbally, and wrote our scores in a little notebook.

At the end of the day, when they released us to go tally up the scores and write feedback, two of the nine of us taking the test declared themselves totally done with the experience and immediately took off their snowboards; the other six and I took a lap to shake off the emotional residue of the day. "I just want to take a run without being made to feel that I suck at snowboarding," said one of the women. Everyone nodded in assent.

So: over the course of three days of certification, nine out of nine people felt worse than when they started, felt less confident about their abilities, felt drained of joy. Keep in mind that we're talking about snowboarding, about a group of people seeking to improve as riders and instructors. I assert there's a problem with this process.

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