Justin Crabtree receives Ontario 2017 Youth Scholarship Posted on Apr 3rd, 2017

Justin Crabtree

The Ontario Region has been promoting a Youth Scholarship Program to encourage young skiers to become CANSI ski instructors since 2006. Parents, youth or anyone who would like to nominate a person who is between the ages of 15 to 21 years of age at the start of the course can go to our Youth Scholarship policy on CANSI's website for more details.

This year we year we recognize Justin Crabtree, who currently is the youngest member of CANSI at the age. Here is what Justin had to say about his experience on his first CANSI course - XC Level I certification at Hardwood Ski and Bike, Barrie Ontario:

When I found out I could take my CANSI Level I course after signing up quite late (it's a funny story- I'll tell you another time), I really didn't know what to expect. I had, or at least was hoping I had, all the necessary technique down pat, but I soon found out this was just one aspect of the course. I discovered that being able to ski doesn't necessarily make you a good teacher, as the amazing course instructors showed us what a good lesson looked like.

Yes, being a good instructor involves the right technique, but it also involves a good lesson structure, a toolbox of exercises to correct specific mistakes and most of all a positive and encouraging attitude. What I took away from this course was not only the confidence that I had the proper technique, but also all of these other important aspects of being an instructor. Furthermore, I developed a deeper love for the sport of cross-country skiing (not to mention taking home the title of Canada's youngest instructor, until next year of course!).

CANSI Level I taught me everything I needed to know about the specifics of cross-country ski instruction, including the confidence to incorporate my own experiences when I teach. For example, every year when I get back on my skis I find it's always a struggle to get my technique back, however, by practicing more, at end of the season, I'm a better skier than ever before. This is what I want to show beginners when I'm teaching - that all skiers struggle at the beginning of the season but will eventually progress to be better skiers.

The technical aspect of this course was very important. For all of the course participants, only minor fixes were needed for our different techniques, but they were also extremely important. It was made clear that being able to demonstrate a near perfect example of any Level 1 technique was very important. The instructors' attention to detail was unmatched and they were able to identify and fix any aspect of any technique. My main issue was a change in timing in the one-skate technique. For my entire life, I had skied one way but in one weekend, thanks to the instructors, I can safely say I fixed this issue. This is just one example of their amazing teaching helping just one student, but they helped in other ways - just being around them showed us an example of where we want our own teaching to be. I have the amazing course instructors to thank for getting me get to a much higher level.

I started cross-country skiing six years ago after essentially switching over from downhill skiing.  If it hadn't been for my cross-country instructors when I first started, I don't think I would've taken this course. I'm thankful for the good instruction I received, and now I'm ready to participate in giving beginners the same experience I was lucky enough to have.  For the next few ski seasons, I plan to work at Hardwood Hills. No matter how far I go in instructing skiing, however, what I learned in CANSI has given me invaluable skills that can translate into my everyday life. Organization and time management, the participation of students, analytical skills and creating a fun environment are all things that can make me a good leader and world citizen, not just a good ski instructor.

Justin Crabtree