What a marvelous day we had at King Pine in Madison NH on Sunday January 29th 2017!  The weather was PERFECT, sun, clouds, warm temps and no wind.

Jake Jacobsen and I, as Region TE’s, were Lead Instructors for two groups participating in the Toboggan Clinic.  Almost all the participants came from the King Pine Patrol, and one registered from outside.  John Riley (NH Region ATI) along with two ATI candidates, contributing as Instructors, provided great feedback and demonstration of skills for our students.

We all started out as one large group for a few ski runs to warm up and perform some basic ski patroller skills, which gave us a good indicator for group divisions. We began the morinng by focusing on productive and terrain appropriate drills including snowplow, side slip, transition and crud run route selection.  This got us ready to move to toboggan operation.

With empty sled runs we concentrated on creating smooth sled following results.  The goal for each student was to try using skidded turns in a narrow track called short-swing turns.  Not only did the students feel excellent speed control, it also skied the toboggan with very little rear sled wash-out.  This proved to be very evident when demonstrated by our Instructors,  Everyone’s proficiency improved with a better understanding of the benefits after seeing the demonstration, then getting a chance to practice with NH Region Instructors coaching the skills.

Loaded sleds were worked on steep groomed and somewhat icy trails before venturing into the big and interestingly textured bumps on steeper terrain.  My group was afforded several runs for each student.  The group tried all positions, including outside the handles and alternating to the tail rope.  Students made good improvement and uplifted confidence from early morning to our eventual conclusion by 2:30 PM.

I had the opportunity to observe Jake’s larger group working on the same terrain and noticed that even though the tasks at hand may have been originally daunting for some, by their second or third run I could only see huge smiles and enlightenment on the students’ faces. The elevation of skills for the participants in this clinic was obvious and substantial.

Thanks to our talented Instructors for their time and effort and commitment to the S&T Program. I also want to especially thank “King Pine Ski Patrol” for hosting this wonderful event.  I encourage patrollers from all over NH Region to consider participation in Toboggan Enhancement clinics such as this, I promise that you all will have fun!