Which is the best ski for your BASI Level 1 & 2?

Ellis Brigham has sponsored New Generation Ski School for many years.  Each year we are lucky enough to have access to their ski test and get the opportunity to highlight a few skis that we think are perfect for those doing a BASI Level 1 & 2 Ski Instructor Course.

Ellis Brigham have always provided us with amazing uniform

From our time with the Ellis Brigham staff we have always been left struck by how passionate they all are about skiing and how in-depth their knowledge of their collection is. It is to their credit that we would not hesitate in recommending them to any of our clients that are looking for snowsports equipment for next season.  They seem to want to put the needs of the skier first over the sale, which in today’s tough economic times is very refreshing.

In the past our team of trainers have experienced a few problems with trainees turning up on our courses with the wrong equipment.  Others are simply unsure as to which ski we would recommend them to use.  Therefore this year to simplify things we decided to test a whole bunch of skis and choose one male and female ski that we recommend all of our trainees to use, so they can feel that they are preparing for their ski instructors course in the right way.

From skiing on so many different skis over the past two decades, it has really verified to us how important the correct choice of ski is for the type of skiing you are going to do and more importantly the level of performer that is going to use them.   Many big wide rockered powder skis or “all-mountain skis” are great fun but the purist in us is of the mind that for people looking to improve their skiing such as our trainee instructors should use a stiffer narrower higher performance ski that has some racing heritage.  We also believe that while training it is best to be used in all conditions both piste and off-piste. This type of ski reinforces good technique as it demands more from the performer in the basics of skiing posture and the skiing ABC’s (agility, balance and coordination).  A strong focus in training on these key primary areas can help anyone go a long way with their skiing performance. That being said it is also important to recognise that some higher performance skis may be too advanced for BASI level 1 -2 trainee entering our training programmes or indeed any other similar program.  That is why the skis we have looked at are within the range of 12-16m radiuses, rather than 18m plus.   This makes the ski more manageable and a good ski for BASI central theme training but with the race heritage construction it also means the skis are stable at higher speeds and demanding of correct technique, which will pay off further down the line.

The skis that we recommend above all others are the Nordica Doberman Spitfire 72 or 76 and the Nordica Sentra S6 or S7.

The Nordica S7 ski

The Nordica Spitfire Ski

Both skis are an excellent choice for BASI level 1-2 training as they really come into their own on the piste.  It is on-piste that the majority of the examination for the BASI Level 1 and 2 will be held.  Both skis perform extremely well in short turns and long turns and might even suit some trainees for BASI level 3 technical training.  When looking for a ski for trainees for BASI level 1 and 2 exams performance in short turns and long carving turns on piste are very important areas to consider.  History shows that many trainees struggle and indeed can fail due to poor performance in short turns and long carving turns.  The narrower width of these skis and slalom type turn radius allows and indeed demand performers to find good amounts of edge grip more freely and higher up the turn shape than other skis with wider waists.  Both skis also hold up well at the speeds trainees will be skiing at for BASI level 1 and 2 long carving turns and even beyond.  Sizes of skis do really depend on the height and weight of each individual performer, we would recommend each trainee to contact one of our trainers for advice as to the size they should order.

But what if you do not want one of these skis?

Don’t worry we won’t take it personally, everyone is different. If you decide to explore other skis there are some key numbers that you need to keep in mind.

  • The Waist Width should be between 66mm and 78mm, any larger and you will be on an all-mountain ski which will sacrifice performance on groomed runs.
  • The Turning Radius should be between 11m & 17m.

We are available to all students for advice on size but as a general rule, you should be looking for a ski that sits no lower than your chin and up to the top of your forehead. There are of course exceptions and personal preferences that need to be taken into account but for most skiers, this is a good place to start.

A few skis that have taken our eye from the Ellis Brigham range are

Finally, it is worth pointing out that some manufacturers often update skis by doing nothing more than changing the colour and top sheet. you may be able to save quite a good amount of money by looking for the ski in last seasons colours. If you already have skis please make sure they meet the above criteria and have not had more than 5 or 6 weeks of use or more than 5 years old. If they are please check with us.

WAIT!!!! We hear you scream. What about powder days? Or the Park?

If you are lucky enough to be able to buy multiple pairs of skis then go for it. Nothing beats having the perfect kit for the day, but don’t do it at the expense of your main ski and don’t feel tempted to buy an all-mountain ski to do everything, trust us. If you can’t afford multiple pairs of skis then you can hire different skis in-resort for a few days or just use your main skis for everything. It will pay off in the long run.