Ski Instructor Courses: Choosing your skis

Choosing your skis

This is not a topic to take lightly if you have already spent a good amount of money on a ski instructor course the last thing you want is to not be able to get the most out of it because you chose the wrong ski. Everyone is different and we never get all of the students on our ski instructor courses on the same ski.

Is there a miracle ski for ski instructor courses?

Head iSpeeds? Magnums? Rossignol Hero LT’s? There is plenty of choice. The question is will a certain ski help you in a certain strand? Is there one ‘miracle’ ski that will be amazing on everything?  The answer is no.

Which skis for our instructor training course?


Race skis are stiff and narrow and range between a 13 m radius in slalom to 35 m in GS. Mogul skiers have a softer ski with less sidecut, freestyle skiers are on twin tips skis with their bindings mounted much more centrally. During your ski instructor course you will be expected to demonstrate a high ability in a variety of different strands with out the opportunity to change skis. The idea of tailoring the ski you are using to certain disciplines is not one we can really entertain for technical exams.

“Often as coaches we are asked “I’m weak in a particular strand, do you think that this particular ski would help” I think that if you are asking these kinds of questions then you should worry less about the ski and more about the amount of time spent training.  A high level skier would be able to ski to the criteria on many different types of skis.” Tom Waddington – ISTD Verbier programme head coach.

Where to start

During your BASI 1 and 2 you can get away with using a more all mountain ski that will make life in the variables and bumps slightly easier and may even allow you too ski in conditions that others initially struggle in. The only reason for this is though that the piste performance criteria are in relation to the level 3 and 4 actually quite low.

If you do decide to take this option and buy an all mountain ski for your level 1 and 2 ski instructor courses, then make sure you are aware of what you are letting yourself in for.

An all mountain ski like this will not provide you with a stable enough platform to reach the piste performance criteria at BASI level 3 and 4. There is a reason all the guys training at these levels are using skis based on race skis. So as it is not going to provide you with a stable enough platform you are if you plan to continue with your BASI training going to have to re-buy meaning you will end up having spent twice as much on skis.

The other problem you will come across is that you will have made life easy for yourself in the variables at level 1 and 2. However as soon as you change skis to something suitable for the level 3 and 4 skiing in the variables is going to become a whole different kettle of fish and you are going to have to spend more time learning to ski variables properly. You do not get to change skis during your 3/4 tech and you will be asked to ski some pretty tough off piste terrain on what will have to be high performance piste skis.

By not buying the right skis in the first place you will cost yourself more money as you will have to buy a 2nd pair of skis to continue with your ski instructor courses. You will also cost yourself time as you will not be used to skiing variables and bumps on a stiffer high performance ski. As you can see below even on a world cup GS ski you can have fun skiing off piste.

Choosing skis for your ski instructor courses should not be a quick impulse purchase.

We have a list of skis that we recommend for the course and we work closely with our mentors to ensure that these skis are not just suitable for BASI 1 and 2 but remain relevant for several years as you journey through your ski instructor courses.

While we appreciate not every one will like or want the same skis we have had one ski this year that has stood out from the crowd. The Nordica Spitfire TI was a huge surprise for us all, you get a huge amount of ski for your money and benefit from the technology used in Nordica world cup skis on a much more user friendly platform.

Prior to the season commencing this ski was available from our partners at Ellis Brigham for a pretty awesome £500. Ellis Brigham now have them in the sale so they are just £375. If you have already planned your ski instructor course, this ski is worth serious consideration especially at this price. Click here to visit the site.

So which ski should I choose for my ski instructor courses?

“I would say that if you get a 16-18m radius piste ski, fairly stiff with a good fitting and equally matched flex boot then that is a good choice. If you cant do a certain strand very well or are having problems with technique then don’t look to blame the ski, look to train and practice more until you can make that ski do everything it can do. In skiing, the pilot is more important than the plane.” Tom Waddington ISTD Verbier head coach

What about boots and flex?

Essentially boots are the ‘steering wheels’ of the ski. It is very important to get a good fit and appropriate flex to your weight, ski stiffness and skiing ability.  For example, if you have a boot that is soft in relation to a stiff ski combined with a dynamic skier it is super hard to achieve a high degree of ski performance. In fact, speaking to ex British team member and eurotest opener Aaron Tipping he thinks that it is actually more important to have a well fitted boot to enhance feeling and control.  In his opinion this far outweighs the intricate details in ski choice.

Our website should answer most questions about the confusing world of Ski instructor courses. However if you are still feeling lost please just pop us a message on