It’s crunch time for our ski instructor training team in Verbier. Next week is the BASI level 4 technical exam here in Verbier. This is what the training is aimed towards.

We have seven hopefuls next week. Tom and Jon wish you the best of luck!

When you start a new winter season, everything seems ages away. Every year we think we have lots and lots of time. Then – in a flash – the training is over and it’s exam time. This season has seen our trainees improve more than in previous seasons. Here are the most important reasons from the coaches’ perspective:

Skiing is a sport

We have taken the approach that skiing is a sport, not a holiday activity. This means we’ve treated our trainees like athletes. We help our trainees get fit during summer, focus while training, practice outside training weeks, have recovery sessions off snow and lay off alcohol during training weeks. We even make sure their skis are sharp each morning.

Off snow fitness preparation and active recovery during our ski instructor courses

Patience

We stuck with a few required fundamental changes in the trainees’ technique throughout the six weeks of training. We didn’t fall into the trap of changing things up to keep people entertained. This included loads of slow skiing at the start – two full training weeks. Jon even had his group doing one snow plough drill for two and a half full days in week one. This is not a Harry Potter novel. There are no magic wands.

Staying focused during ski instructor training regardless of the conditions

Continuity

The team had the same two coaches for all six weeks. As we had 14 trainees this season, we split the team into two groups, but this was really only relevant during the first two weeks. After this, the familiarity with each trainee made it irrelevant whether Jon or Tom provided the feedback.

Feedback from a trusted source is essential while training

Team spirit and healthy competition

Our trainees took onboard the fact that skiing is a team sport. Even today, a few of the boys after lunch said that one guy was a bit down during lunch, so they tried to pick him up. After lunch he came out charging down the bumps, all in good spirits!

Taking a break and and preparing as a team for the next run

Psychology

We have upped our game on the mental aspects of training and taking exams. We’ve talked about frustration and learning plateaus. We’ve talked about focus as a key component to productive training. We’ve talked about confidence as a skill. We’ve talked about going into the exam with a positive, focused and confident attitude.

Tom talking to Hugh prior to his run making sure he sets of in the right mindset.

All in all, it’s been great for Jon and Tom. We’re now a bit like nervous parents before the Christmas play at school. We know they know the lines. All we can do now is to wait and hope they come out on stage and deliver.

Tom and Jon are nervously awaiting the results.

Jon and Tom

If you are wondering why it is important to start aligning your self more with an athlete than a recreational skier read this blog on Sport vs Recreation; are you approaching training in the right way?

Find out more about our BASI Level 4 ISTD training programmes.