The BASI level 3 or ISIA (International Ski Instructor Association – as it’s otherwise known) is the next BASI qualification from Level 1 & 2. The BASI level 1 & 2 are great qualifications but they can be done as part of a gap year or independently. For the BASI level 3 exam, however, can not. This is the point where you have to commit to making a decision that this is what you want to do as a career. People are still around to support you, but the responsibility to book exams, ski outside of training, find accommodation and so forth all now lies with you.
BASI Level 3 ISIA Exam
The Exam Format
The BASI level 3 (ISIA) Exam has 8 modules to tick off:
The Exam Criteria
200 hours of Teaching Experience:
Before you can book the technical or teaching element of your BASI Level 3 you must complete at least 200 hours of teaching. This block of time working gives invaluable experience as a ski instructor which you can bring into everything else you do towards your ISIA.
Once this prerequisite element is taken care of you can start working your way through the 7 other modules that make up the ISIA.
Technical Exam – 5 days:
This technical exam follows a similar pattern to the BASI Level 2 exam but is made up of a 5-day assessment on purely the technical elements of your skiing. Including central theme, short turns, long turns, steeps, bumps and variables. More about the tech exam here.
Teaching Exam – 5 days:
Again this element has similarities to the earlier exam and is aimed at better equipping you to “make a difference to learners”. A solid grounding in ski teaching theory is essential for this as you will be required to use appropriate teaching strategies to improve the learner and will be assessed on your understanding, delivery and safety.
Evolution of BASI Online Course:
The Evolution of BASI is an online course which is split into two parts and can be accessed via your member area on the BASI website. It’s free of charge and provides you with information you’ll need before providing you with an online quiz to complete.
Second Discipline Exam – 5 days:
This is a really cool element of the ISIA and requires you to improve your knowledge and skillset as you develop in another discipline. You need to attend the BASI Level 1 in Snowboarding, Nordic, Telemark or Adaptive (teaching skiing to those with disabilities). To find out more about 2nd discipline, click here.
Mountain Safety Exam – 6 days:
This 6-day course aims to train and assess instructors on their ability to lead parties off-piste. The course is split into 4 days training and 2 days assessment. Along with a written element you will be assessed on your avalanche and mountain awareness, transceiver searching, group management, map reading, basic navigation, personal skiing performance off-piste, fitness and skinning/snowshoeing.
Second Language Test:
Do not underestimate this test which has held back many trainees who focused solely on technical training until this point. There is a good reason we include French lessons in our BASI 1 and 2 courses! This test is a 15-minute conversation in either French, German, Spanish, Italian, Norwegian or Japanese, aimed to determine the trainee’s ability to communicate in the given language and their skills to report an accident to native rescue services. So get those school books out and start revising.
Coaching Course – 5 days:
The BASI Coaching Course aims to give instructors the skills to adapt their knowledge of skiing to the ‘competition environment’. Including course setting (both according to FIS rules and for varied training needs) programme planning and technical ability.
Our Top Tips
- Go and discover skiing! Find some time in the season to ski different models of skis for different purposes. For instance, a slalom ski and an off-piste ski. I think at this stage people typically learn a lot from experiencing the rigidity of a race ski and the flexibility and flotation of the fat ski. The diverse spectrum of skis nowadays give you sensations that are so different from one another that you learn a lot from these different feelings.
- Start looking for your own accommodation – early! We always advise our ISIA students to try and base themselves somewhere that as many exams as possible run. For example, Verbier, Val D’Isere, Morzine and Courchevel all host BASI level 3 ISIA tech, teach and mountain safety exams as well as opportunities to sit your 2nd discipline.
- Do not rush into buying your pass straight away (unless there is an awesome early bird offer). Resorts like the 3 Valleys and Espace Killy do offer bulk buying options so you may be able to team up with your peers and all save some money in resort. Similarly, you may decide that you want to work and a common perk of this is to receive a free or subsidised lift.
- If you do want to work this should also not be a problem even if you are on a BASI level 3 training programme. Jobs like transfer driving and cleaning pay well and are primarily weekend work so fit well with exams and training.
Our BASI Level 3 (ISIA) Ski Instructor Training Courses
As you can see, the requirements are a considerable jump between the BASI Level 2 and 3. So most people need some really focused training to get them there. Because of the number of modules included the level 3 often takes more than 1 season to achieve, but the good news is as you are already a ‘seasoned seasonnaire’ and with the BASI level 2 qualification you can work while you train.
We cater all of our ISIA training courses to allow for this. But there are a number of ways to approach this:
Fast Track Training Only Courses:
- Locations: Verbier & Courchevel
- Training only programs (exams not included)
- Training Monday – Friday (chance to work at the weekends)
- We take a break in training over the school holiday periods. This means that trainees can work as an instructor for at least 6 weeks of the season.
- Our Courchevel course is predominantly race training based on the World Cup Stade.
- Both courses are run by BASI trainers, so you’re getting the best possible training. Meet the Verbier mentors or meet the Courchevel mentors.
ISIA Work and Train Programme:
- Locations: St Anton & Verbier
- The opportunity to be employed by New Generation working for at least 10 hours a week. In the busy school holiday weeks, you instruct full time. Meaning you can earn money doing what you love, build up experience and train hard all at the same time.
- Training every afternoon.
Because of the time, it takes many people to complete all of the Level 3 modules. We are aware that some people are not looking to commit to a full season of training. For those looking to up their game before going into the tech exam. We recommend our prep weeks in the 3 valleys. These courses are coached by a BASI trainer and lead directly into the Level 3 tech exam. Meaning you can not only get the feedback you need on your skiing but get to know the resort well. As training is in the same place as your exams.
So there you have it – the ISIA is no piece of cake but there are plenty of training routes to support you to get there and it is so worth it when you do…
If you’re interested in one of our ski instructor training courses, sign up below to find the right course for you.