CASI in Whistler, but independent of the mountains By Paul Andrew Maybe the mountains aren’t anxious about the number of snowboard instructors who will be available this year, but it doesn’t mean Whistler-Blackcomb is complacent about mountain riders. The last few years has seen a rise in the demand for instruction, and it just so happens the Canadian Snowboard Association of Instructors has a certification program right in Whistler. Greg Daniels, who runs the program in Whistler, says there are several courses each season which run for three days and cost $252. "This year is the first year it’s gone up in five years," Daniels said. "Last year CASI in British Columbia certified 725 snowboard instructors. Around 300 of them were in Whistler." During the 1999/200 season more than 60 Level 1 instructors’ courses will be available at mountains in B.C. such as Blackcomb, Sun Peaks, Mount Washington, Cypress and a dozen others. The three-day courses begin Dec. 4 and continue until July 8. The course includes technical evaluations in speed and skill on intermediate terrain, and teaching evaluation such as control of a class, having an organised lesson, achieving good communication, and understanding of fundamental riding skills. In addition, video is used to analyse some of the three-day certification process. Daniels said last year he had at least a dozen people on staff, certifying all those interested in the program CASI offers. It is the only certification Whistler-Blackcomb recognizes, but the mountains don’t control it the way they do the CSIA ski instructors’ certification. "They don’t control us but we are here for them. We supply the school with instructors. Over the years quite a few people in Whistler have become certified so maybe that’s why the mountains aren’t offering a discount as an incentive to teach snowboarding. Maybe they have enough now, but you never know. Last year this place really went off and they need more people every year," Daniels explained. "So maybe it won’t be right away, but by the spring it could be a different story." The first three-day, CASI certification training session is Dec. 4-6. Sign up is recommended by Nov. 13. If you don’t get in right away, you can call Daniels at 932-3238 to find out about the other sessions which run for most of the season.