Snowboarding Star Makes the Grade
A schoolboy has become the first person in Clackmannanshire to achieve a Level One snowboarding coaching certificate.
It was announced this week that Lewis McCormack, 16, from Alloa, a pupil at Alloa Academy, had made the grade after an intensive five-day training course.
Lewis took up snowboarding five years ago under the tutorship of Ian Findlater, Clackmannanshire Council's Community Learning and Development Worker, who himself is also an accomplished skier.
He began his snowboarding career with the Fir Park Ski Club, although a lot of his early training and basic coaching took place on the slopes and snow at Braehead's Xscape Snowfactor in Glasgow.
Lewis explained: "I wouldn't say I was a natural snowboarder, but I wouldn't say I was the worst either. Other people who started at the same time as me gradually dropped out over the years, but I stuck with it and at the same time put in a lot of practice and hard work.
"It is definitely a growing sport and is getting bigger every year. Skiing is much more established, but snowboarding is the fastest growing winter sport and as a result they need to train more coaches to meet the demand from people wanting to learn.
"If you go abroad you see kids, as soon as they are able to walk, being strapped on to a snowboard by their parents.
"Such has been the progress of the sport in this country, when you go to Glasgow you can see kids aged 11 and 12 learning to do 1080 spins. There are still more skiers in Scotland, but snowboarding is catching up fast. In the 1980's snowboarding was banned in most resorts, as people saw it as a sport for rebels, with skiing regarded as being for the upper class.
"Now you can get lessons in snowboarding and it is much more established and accessible. At the same time the standard is improving all the time.
"I would like to personally thank Ia Findlater and all at Youth Services for their support, help and encouragement in getting me to this standard."
Lewis, who is about to go into sixth year at Alloa Academy, underwent his Level One snowboarding certificate course at the Braehead Snow Factory, Glasgow.
The five-day course, which was 9am until 5pm each day had a strong emphasis on teaching the basic fundamentals, including standard turns. There was also a lot of the course work aimed at the safety of the sport.
He added: "Completing the qualification will allow me to teach in controlled environments, such as dry slopes and indoor snow slopes. When I do my Level Two course it will allow me to teach in a mountain environment, and that is my ultimate aim.
"I only found out this week that I had passed. There were eight people on the course and I found out that I am the first Level One qualified snowboarding coach in Clackmannanshire.
"I would now like to progress and do my Level Two and when I finish school, move to France or Italy and teach for a season, between November and March. I would have to study for my Level Two in a mountain environment such as Cairngorm, but I'd rather do it in France or Italy. That would allow me to teach anywhere in the world, including the southern hemisphere such as Argentina or Japan."
Lewis has one younger brother, Thomas, who also snowboards and has had lesson's with Ian, but at the moment is much more of a football fan.
Apart from snowboarding, Lewis is also a keen skateboarder and badminton player, and later in the summer also plans to go to Loch Lomond wakeboarding.