Level 100 Coaches Certification Program Announced
The IFSA is pleased to introduce the new IFSA Coach Certification Program. With the recent geographical expansion of the IFSA and the associated increase in athlete and coach membership, development of a formalized IFSA coaching certification program is essential to the continued health and long-term growth of our sport.
Goals of this tiered training program include increasing coaching knowledge, application of rules and judging criteria, and, most importantly, improving athlete decision-making and safety.
In December 2014, the IFSA Board initiated a Coach Credentialing Committee to develop and maintain the first ever Big Mountain Freeride certification program. The new program was developed from the ground up, leveraging the knowledge and experience of proven head coaches and educators. Committee members include Stephen Helfenbien (Altabird, UT), Mark Impey (Red Mountain, BC), Bryan Salatino (Smugglers’ Notch, VT), and Trevor Tanhoff (Sugar Bowl, CA).
Designed as a progressive tiered program, the Level 100 program structure and supporting materials are now complete, and have been reviewed and approved by head coaches and judges across North America.
The new IFSA Coach Certification Program is designed to educate and certify knowledge and capabilities of specified criteria required for coaching the sport of Big Mountain Freeride. At the 100 Level, components include:
- IFSA Rules and Judging
- Venue Inspection Protocol
- Decisions and Backcountry Protocol
- Avalanche Safety
At the 200 Level, there will be an additional focus on:
- Skiing/Riding Teaching Methodology
- Basic Aerial Technique
- Skier Movement & IFSA Judging Criteria
- Freeride Technique
- On-snow Freeride Tasks/Drills
- Effective vs. Ineffective Coaching Techniques
- Coaching Scenarios + Feedback
- Group Venue Inspection + Line Evaluation
- Mock Competition + Judging Education
Consideration has been given to minimizing cost to coaches and programs with 100% online content for the Level 100 course. IFSA specific content will be offered at no cost to all to coaches and aspiring coaches upon payment of membership dues. Development of the progressive education program content was a collaborative effort with key support on module development from IFSA Education Sponsors Backcountry Access (BCA) and the Flyin Ryan Foundation. Primary requirements for Level 100 are achieved through completion of IFSA modules, and Level 200 utilizes pre-existing training and certifications already developed by organizations such as USSA, PSIA, CSIA, and AAI/AIARE/CAA.
Program implementation will be a multiyear process. Consistent with years past, individuals planning to coach junior athletes in IFSA events and access competitive venues are required to have an active 2016 Coach Membership. Starting in 2017, all individuals planning to coach junior athletes at IFSA events and to access competitive venues will be required to have an active Level 100 Certification. Additionally, the Level 200 certifications will begin prior to the 2018 season.
In 2020 and byond, L100 certification, an active/current IFSA Coach Membership, and a helmet will be required to access the venue during inspection and the competition.
This is an exciting event in the history of our great sport. Keep watch for news as further milestones are achieved in the coming months.
Photo Credits: Thanks Chris Saito, Brian Nagel, Cathy Howard, Andy McClellan and Jeb Wallace Brodeur for their great photo work!