March 18-20, 2016 North American 'Sled Dog Bone Fight' Race & ICP 'Snowskates Ambassador Program' in Canyon Ski Resort, Alberta, CanadaApr 11, 2016
by Lorne Milne ICP Examiner/CSIA Level 3 Ski Instructor, Canada
Alberta, Canada discovered that 'Sled Dog Snowskates' are the 'Missing Link' between Inline Skates, Hockey Skates, Ski-Boards/Snow Blades as the 'Bone Fight' came to Canyone Ski Resort. These are no longer the original 'Sled Dogs' (a Soft Shell SnowBoard boot like device with limited performance). The new hard Shell Sled Dogs are extremely comfortable boots (like a high quality Ski Boot) with a built in mini ski base (with 25cm metal edges) that have excellent performance on groomed snow & icey piste!
Friday kicked off with a group of avid 'Sled Dog Snow Skaters' participating in the new ICP 'Snow Skate Ambassador Program'where we covered:
- How to introduce the sport to new Snow Skaters in terms of fitting the 'Sled Dogs' boot, the Athletic Ready Position, balancing fore & aft (majority of the pressure being on the heels) & balancing laterally (Edging through Knee & Hip Angulation);
- How to do basic movement (V-walking, Scooter Pushs, Basic Stride, Gliding & Turning);
- Safety, Alpine Responsibility Code, getting on & off Chair Lifts & Magic Carpets lifts, etc.
- Learning, Communication, Teaching, Guiding, etc.
- Written Materials (co-prepared by ICP Director Kris Fondran & myself) that provided a program overview;
Everyone was on their Sled Dogs & we all worked on our Snow Skating Skills. Participants came from a variety of sports backgrounds including Ice Hockey Skating, Skiing, & Ski-Boarding/Mini-Ski's (Down Hill ski's little sibling). As the pilot North American Ambassador program there was a healthy exchange of ideas on styles to be used in different situations.
Saturday excitement mounted with the 'Bone Fight' race event on a icey Black Diamond Run through rapid gates but with 3 or 4 participants on the course at the same time (like the 'Crashed Ice' Ice Skating downhill races or the 'Skier-Cross Olymic Ski Races). The speeds that we travelled at through the race course exceeded everyone's expecations!
Coaching continued through the day for both the racers & the Snow Skate Ambassador participants all over the Ski Resort's various runs at. As the ICP Course Conductor I shared techniques that come from Inline Skating Instruction, Downhill Skiing Instruction & Ski Racing (as per the Skate-to-Ski ICP program) & Ski-Boarding!
The 'Bone Fight' continued on with a Sled Dog Freestyle Jump competition in the Terrain Park. The Snow Skaters amazed us all with their 'Grabs, Spread Eagles, 360's, 540's,& Flips' & their ability to stick the landings!! The Bone Fight was a thoroughly professional & international caliber event participants from Europe & North America!! The top 3 Race competitors & then Jump Contestants mounted the podium to receive their Trophies, Prize Money, Prizes, & Champagne Bottles (which sprayed quickly into the audience)!!
Sunday culminated with all the Snow Skate Ambassadors practicing their skills at the Sled Dog Demo tent & on the Bunny Hill! They practiced 'connecting' with people trying out the Sled Dogs, 'fitting them' in the boots, ' introducing them to the balance & movement' on the Sled Dogs at the tent. Then they 'guided them to the bunny hill'. There they 'taught them' to glide, slide, & turn successfully followed by how to use the Magic Carpet Lift/Chair Lift smoothly).
The learning speed was phenomenal for everyone! Hockey Skaters, Inline Skaters, Skiers, Snowboarders were all trying out the Sled Dogs & having a blast on all runs on the mountain (on green circle runs, blue square runs, black diamond runs, & mogul runs)! We were fortunate to have a sunny weekend where the snow conditions were ideal for Snow Skating (firm, solid, cold snow) & the Sled Dogs have extraordinary grip on ice-like snow!
Expectations for the weekend & for the new Sled Dogs Snow Skates exceeded everyone's expectations. The Snow Skating Ambassador Program is a natural progression for Inline Skate Instructors. It's fun & easy to transfer skills over from inlines! It also fills that winter season when it's too wet outside to Inline Skate!
More Sled Dogs Snowsskates Ambassador programs coming soon. Look for programs popping up later this year in Singapore, Spain & China!