There are 4 levels in the BASI ski instructor qualification system and BASI level 2 is probably the last exam ski instructors will take before asking themselves: “Can I make this my career?”

DJ or Ski instructor?

You can still gain your BASI level 2 ski instructor qualification whilst being a lawyer in London a DJ in Newcastle or a professional ballerina in Milan. Its only when you start to move onto the BASI level 3 or ISIA qualification that most people start to shift their lives and careers towards skiing and most of the time move to the alps.

For this reason sometimes the type of students that participate at a Level 2 exam can vary a lot. I think it is important to recognise the value of this exam and do not underestimate it.

Fun but intense exam.

The BASI Level 2 exam is a fun, rewarding, interesting two weeks and most people come out of the exam with a lifelong passion for ski instruction! But it is also a long, full on exam. Ten days, 6 hours a day on the slope and 2 hours in a class room. The level of attention required is high. Technical skiing and teaching, a mix that by the end of week two will have blown your mind away! Be ready for it.

Many people underestimate the BASI level 2 exam. If you are concerned about your ability why not join us at one of our free UK open days where one of our trainers can have a quick look at your skiing and advise you on whether they feel it is appropriate for you to sit the exam. If you are not quite at the level yet then don’t stress, you can come to as many open days as you like to work on the weaker areas of you skiing, alternatively you could join our 2 Week BASI level 2 training in Tignes

BASI trainer Ale Cambon smashing it in the bumps

Skiing or training.

The most obvious but important tip to properly approach the BASI Level 2 exam, or any exam, is to be well prepared. Dedicating enough time on the slope, training correctly is key for success. Allowing enough time to be out on the slope training with a focus is a must, but it is not enough to be just out skiing everyday. You need to be out dedicating time to specific development. If you are doing a Residential Ski instructor course the trainer will sort all of this out for you. However if you are out skiing for yourself decide whether it is going to be a skiing day or it is going to be a useful training day. It does not have to be a whole day long training, one hour a day is enough, but make it count!

Look after you and your skis.

Maintaining a good level of fitness will help you remain focused and performing at a higher level for longer during the two weeks of exam, so not too many burgers and chips!!! Saying no to comfort food grows determination 😉

Also if you have been skiing all season, every day, your ski pants and jacket might look a bit tired, try and make sure that when you start the course you look the part and you don’t have bits of trousers hanging off into the snow, jeeeeez I sound so old!!!

Get used to skiing on a sharp ski. It is important to keep your skis sharp regularly through the season during training. Do not just service your skis the day before the exam. It might work against you and actually make you ski worst because you are not used to it.

Our BASI Level 2 instructors training in Villar

Routine.

Try and get into a routine during the exam. Your own personal way of starting and finishing the day will help you destress outside the exam hours. This can be as simple as storing the skis always in the same place, drying your boots straight away after skiing etc.

If you are taking an exam in a new resort this might take a couple of days so spend enough time finding your own little routine and dimension.

Be open minded.

One of the most important things I find is peoples mind set. Be open minded and ready to change. It is very normal that during BASI exams you will be told what you are doing wrong and how to make it better.

Accept it and take it as an opportunity to develop, you will benefit as a skier and it will give you more chance of being successful in your exam.

Be a team player. It is not a race against the other students in the group it is more of a journey together and if you show that you care for the others and you want to help everyone out you’ll have a much better time and you will feel much more supported too and you’ll probably relax and ski/teach better.

Being balanced on your out is ski early is key to high performance

Perfection isn’t required.

Sometimes our nerves can play tricks on us and as the exam approaches we convince ourselves that we are not ready or good enough and we are not “perfect” skiers or teachers.

This is probably true, we are not perfect! It is important to remember that students are not required to be “perfect”, faults and mistakes are absolutely acceptable. And not just at  BASI Level 2, but also at BASI Level 3 and 4 we are still in the process of learning and getting better.

In BASI we measure the quality of our performance/teaching capabilities from level 1 to 4  but there is still a whole world of improvement after that which is not quantifiable in numbers, but if it was we could probably add level 5, 6, 7, 8 etc..

As ski instructors we are only required to perform at a certain standard to pass the levels. Accepting our limitations will take some of the tension and stress away from the goal.

Go down before going up.

Frustration is part of the game. Before seeing the light and feeling like a god on skis you will go through moments maybe days of frustration where you will think “oh my god I can’t ski anymore”, this is good! Live it! Don’t look for shortcuts. Keep working hard on what you are not very good at (yet). Be aware of that phase and don’t bring yourself down too much, you will suddenly break through and your performance will raise again together with your mood.

It is an amazing sport, fun, adventurous, challenging, creative, socially engaging, unpredictable, live it fully and enjoy it!

Written by Alessandro Cambon. Ale is a BASI trainer, Swiss Patente, Maestro du Sci and Moniteur de Francais. During the winter Ale oversees our ISIA training in Villars Switzerland as well as running BASI exams.

If you have questions that remain unanswered about how to become a ski instructor why not read the rest in our series of blogs or contact us on instructorcourses@skinewgen.com.