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Elmira instructor opts for just recreational snowboarding now


Elmira’s Doug Mooder will be wrapping up winter’s end by retiring his 23-year role as Ontario and Montreal regional coordinator at the Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors (CASI).

What kept him going for more than two decades? Mooder cites a real passion for the job and plans on continuing with the hobby long after retirement.

“I’ll still be whipping around snowboarding, but I’ll just be doing it for the sheer love of it,” said Mooder.

CASI is dedicated to training and certifying snowboard instructors and to ensure a national standard of safe and efficient snowboard instruction is maintained. The non-profit organization offers four levels of instructor certification, each one with increasing difficulty, as well as an additional certification in park instruction. Instructors are evaluated on their teaching as well as their technical skills.

Mooder said passing that highest tier Level 4 was an extremely challenging, but rewarding moment in his career.

“There would have been well over 9,000 people who took the certification course under my watch,” said Mooder. “So all of the people that I met and taught, and how many of them moved on to great opportunities would sort of be the highlight.

“It’s similar to hockey: you develop life skills that transfer into business. When you’re teaching and encouraging somebody and fill them full of positive reinforcement – sooner or later you learn that you can transfer that into your own life and teach yourself in the same manner.”

CASI is organized into several regions: British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba/Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic. The organization also certifies instructors and runs teaching courses outside of the country, including Andorra, Japan, and South Korea.

Formerly a skier, Mooder got involved with the CASI organization after moving from Whistler, British Columbia to Ontario and finding a completely different terrain in this province.

“When you’re skiing in Whistler, and you go to Chicopee [Kitchener] – so to go from 5,300 feet to 300 feet – it’s pretty boring,” said Mooder. “So snowboarding made it extremely exciting.

“Not too many people snowboard for a living in Elmira. So for me to continue snowboarding all the time in the offseason, I had to continue to find a way to make a living out of it.”

Mooder explained his teaching style evolved over the years, but is mainly based on a disciplined work ethic.

“I was always a natural – pedagogical – teaching minded because I wasn’t an athlete, but I was brought up with a strict work ethic. If you wanted something, you would discipline yourself and work hard at it. I worked hard to get good at it, and it really helped me as a teacher.”

Another career challenge was to watch trainees not able to pass the course and to offer advice as to how they could improve for next time.

“The hardest part is when people weren’t successful. The first time I tried my highest level and didn’t pass, they didn’t take the time to explain to me why I wasn’t successful, so I always made sure to explain to people how to get there and why I made the decision I made, and the training involved to be successful eventually. That was my strategy.”

Even without the snowboarding gig, Mooder still has plenty to keep him busy. He has his landscape design company, Mooder Horticultural, to work on during the warmer summer months, plus he and his wife have two children and two dogs to care for.

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