Tag Archives: instructor

The best job ever…

So I’m heading to Japan in 2 days. They have had over 2 meters of snow already this season. That is a lot! While I’m there I am going to be traveling and also teaching snowboarding. I love snowboarding for so many different reasons. The view alone is often enough to make you get up early, but the rush of dropping in to a big jump, the thrill of finding a new untracked line, secret pow stashes, funny chair lift rides with mates, the reward of landing a new trick or slaying mogul fields after working on down unweighted turns…. all of these things alone would make it worth it. But together, the whole package is just unreal. It makes me laugh when I’m asked if I am going to get a real job. In an office. working for 50 weeks a year to maybe do a week of riding… just not for me. I love every single run every single day out on the mountain.

So, how did I get here? Well I took a course with the Rookie Academy in Wanaka New Zealand. It gave me the skills to get where I am today. But dont just take my word for it, this is a video I made about the rookie courses, interviewing other ex students.

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Jas Bruce Alpine Coach / Snowsports Instructor

Jas Bruce – Alpine Race Coach and Snowsports Instructor from John-Jo Ritson on Vimeo.

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Snow Skool Instructor Courses: Wanaka New Zealand.

The winter snow season in New Zealand is from June 28th (ish) until September 30th (ish). 3 months. Even though this is about half the length of the northern winter, coming to New Zeland to train, get certified and keep skills sharp has been a common practice for many snow enthusiasts.

In all of New Zealand there is about 25+ ski feilds of varying sizes. Wanaka in the Southern Alps is the top location with 3 awesome and very different resorts just 35-45min drive away.

Snow Skool run a 10 week programme here and asked me to make weekly videos documenting the course.

Recipe for a week in Wanaka: Snow Skool in Wanaka, NZ. from SnowSkool on Vimeo.

is the latest edit I made on behalf of Snow Skool. I filmed on Monday the 3rd September in overcast skies with 50+cms of new snow! It was heavier and wetter towards the bottom and quite challenging. This made for some funny shots of everyone flailing around in the snow. The next day was sunny and the saddle opened. I just had to get shots for Treble Cone this day and went straight to the bottom of the summit slopes to film, cheer and cry as I got people ripping untracked light pow. Got some good shots that made it on to U Live TV! My first big slot on national television. 40 second clip showcasing TC epic terrain. You can see that video here:

Late season DUMP! from Treble Cone on Vimeo.

All the footage shown on U Live TV was also in this clip above.

Once I had the TC shots I cought up with the Snow Skool group as they rode the Saddle looking fro drops to work on vertical movement relating to pressure. ON the way abck to the home basin I cought up with the skier group and got some shots of those guys working on vaious aspects of paralelle turns, demos and teaching and increased performance.

After that I boosted home to begin off loading CF cards.
On Sunday we headed back to Amigos Mexican place 7 weeks to the day (see that video here) that the Snow Skoolers arrived in town. I had once been nearly knocked over by the “death wings” so got some for the guys to try, to my disappointment I had one to find out it was about 25% as hot as when I had last had it. The boys were still impressed with the heat, but they got it easy let me tell you!

You can see all of my Snow Skool Videos here and all my videos from Treble Cone here. Or just ALL of my edits from 2012 NZ winter here.

You can visit my web site here: www.RideClass.com



Head Honcho @ RideClass Productions

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For the love of it…

I love helping people learn to snowboard. I am constantly trying to make the lessons I teach as clear as possible, making sure all the information is there for the taking, with out any superfluous waffle.

I went rock climbing many years ago and the instructor was telling me how to do the belay business, kinda important. However, I was wearing a harness and those rubber kick ass climbing shoes. These 2 physical things in contact with me, where very distracting! I know that sounds kinda dumb, but the big monotone guy was losing the battle for my attention. The funny thing was, that I WAS REALLY TRYING TO PAY ATTENTION! I learned from this, and not just how to belay.

On a crowded learning slop, being clear and animated, keeping the students attention is key. So many factors effect students learning ability. What they had for breakfast, how their boots feel, if someone near by is smoking, pretty clouds in the distance… the list is endless!

Doing repetitive work can be monotonous and boring. With teaching so many lessons you meet so many interesting people, however the information is the same regardless. The physics and bio-mechanics don’t change, only the people do. This means I always present it differently depending on the client and how they learn best.

When you wash the dishes, you can rush through it to get them done. Or you can “practice” washing dishes. Taking each dish as a chance to be better at washing dishes, becoming the most efficient, most accurate dish washer you can be.

I take a little of this into my teaching. People obviously are WAY more exciting than dishes! but when your on your 5000th lesson, you can keep it progressive for yourself by giving 100% focus to doing the best lesson possible. Addressing the most important issues first…. is the person nervous? did they have an injury they are scared to hurt again? Or maybe their boots are not tied up!

When all is said and done, its snowboarding, not brain surgery. But when you see people in all emotions racked with fear, crying, elated and shouting with joy, you know it means everything to that person. In that moment, snowboarding is everything. I’m there to share the joy, as cheesy as it sounds, to share the joy and get them stoked on boarding. As instructors we get commissions if people come back for more lessons but for me, the most important thing beyond everything else is that they get to experience the pure unadulterated pleasure of sliding along on the board. IT IS FUN! It can be the most pure & exhilarating feeling in the world. I have done lots of things in my life including diving with sharks, full contact karate tournaments, to name but a few… and NOTHING has ever given me the same all natural “mountain air” high as Snowboarding. Nothing has even come close.

If people can grasp that, if people can get even a tiny glimpse of that magical feeling in a first timer lesson…. I am happy.

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“Passion For Fashion” and Shoulder season joys.

So, here is an update as to how the Fashion Show went, as well as how if feels to be in transition from injury to health and spring to winter.


More to come as the flight gets closer!

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“What they say”… Rookie Academy Video.

So I have just published a video for The Rookie Academy and thought I’d let you know what went into the making of it.

First here is the video:

Rookies asked for a video from the client’s point of view, just Ex Rookies talking about their time during the training.

I knew that I had some interview done on the snow, in lift lines, on chairs, at the side of the run etc etc but want to give the video some basic structure. To this end I contacted a few ex rookies and some just finishing the course to pin down some set interview.

Sound is often an issue recording on snow, due to wind, (and shitty in camera mic’s) so to be able to set up a dual sound system is awesome. Until you go to edit 😦

Sound syncing can be done a number of ways, software, time code, and the good old clapper board!
I feel like making a good old clapper board for a number of reasons, including having color grade indicators and a true white balance card. AND TO SYNC THE SOUND! Until then, saying 3,2,1,and clapping your hands (do all this twice) is the poor mans clapper!

Anyhoo… I set up with Tom in his front garden, filmed using the Canon 7D, my sony mp3 recorder as well as the Sony HDR HC3 as a B cam. I knew Tom from filming last year for hte rookies so we basically just had a chat about the last 2 years of his life, which have been pretty good 🙂 I didn’t end up using any of the B cam footage because I wanted the final video to be quite fast paced, with quick cuts between each person. If I had then cut to another angle of the same person I may have been hard to follow who was saying what and also may have looked like I was trying to make it seem like there were more people!

Was quite surprised at just how much footage I have on file for the Rookies, so had an enormous amount to choose from. In the end I just put the most relevant clips in and have the rest for another video later on should it be required.

Last year during my Canadian season Rookies asked me to put together 3 videos for them, which was possible as I had kept all the files of the season.

Also filmed Clair just before she left town, down by the lake with TC in the BG. I shot with same set up as Tom’s interview, and had the F-stop down around 2.4. This in fact gave a nice blur of TC to the point the TC was pretty much unrecognizable! However the effect I was after was achieved, Clair is what we are interested in, she is in focus, the beautiful snow capped mountains are there but not what we are looking at, more suggested and give a nice light airy feel.

The set interviews gave a nice solid feel to within which I could drop the more ad-hock unplanned clips from off the snow, as well as other interview done on the smaller sensor camera (HDR HC3).

Quite please with the video, added a bit of saturation and some other looks to try to blend the very different camera footage together. Also got to test out the new Cinestyle Picture Profile from technicolor in Tom’s interview. It gives a real flat picture, and grades perfectly with s curves. Will be shooting with it from now on 🙂

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