The Rhyme and Reason
of Sweden’s New
By GreGG Davis
We were riding up the gondola at St. Anton, Austria, a small group of seven led by Kristofer Olsson, a member of Sweden’s nowboarding delegation at the 2011
Interski. “In Sweden we’ve been working with combining
three concepts to create a really fun learning environment
that meets everyone’s goals, no matter what they are,” he said.
We were on our way to ride the terrain
park and get some insights into some of
Sweden’s new snowsports teaching ideas.
“There’s no problem motivating
someone who already has motivations
coming from inside them,” said Olsson.
“From a teacher’s or clinic leader’s
perspective, simple is better . . . use
someone’s internal goals to direct the
lesson or clinic topics and activities . . .
use that to make them a ‘snowboarder’
right away . . . part of the club, feeling like
they’re on the inside,” he said.
As we were strapping in at the top,
Olsson asked us three questions. Each
of us used the next chairlift ride to
think about and answer the questions
for ourselves. We did a couple runs,
shared our answers, and discussed how
the questions relate to the three-part
model of teaching they’ve been working
on—a model known as “Will, Skill, Hill.”
model: Will. What is your will, or desire,
in this learning situation? As instructors,
if we can get our students thinking and
sharing ideas around the topic of their own
will, goals, and desires in snowboarding,
we’ll come much closer to actually meeting
their goals easily. And we can use that
information to direct our lesson topics.
what are the new movements and
feelings riders will be experiencing
and learning to perform? For students,
considering and thinking about the new
skills that they’re trying to learn gives
them a more concrete goal, and helps
them to get there.
Olsson connected the dots on the
topic when we reached the top of the
terrain park. He set up a specific task—
to choose any three features, and do any
three tricks we wanted. But then he
asked us three questions again:
1. What do you want to try?
2. What will you focus on to accomplish that?
3. What will it feel like to do it
perfectly, just like you imagine it?
What are your strengths in snowboarding?
The second question has to do with what
students bring to the table in terms of
their already-learned skills. It refers
to the second word in the model: Hill.
Finding out what our students already
know how to do can direct our decisions
as instructors about what drills, exercises,
and riding activities to focus on. We’re
building on what the student knows to
make connections we wouldn’t be able to
make without knowing that information
What are your dreams, or what do you
dream about in snowboarding?
The first question corresponds to the
first of those three words in the teaching
What can you bring to this workshop to
This question relates to Skill in the model
and gets more specific. In other words,
The same three parts of the model
are present in these three questions
posed to a group of students. Olsson
established some internal goals for us
by asking us to think of some specific
things we wanted to do. That’s our
Will. Then he brought out some of our
already-learned ideas relating to that
goal. We had to try to think of how we
would accomplish it, without getting
direction from the instructor yet. That’s
the Hill. And by imagining what it will
feel like to do it perfectly we’re already
exploring Skill, feeling the successful
accomplishment before it actually happens.