Ski instructor training in Tignes: One down, Two to go!

Ski Club of Great Britain member Tessa Regan is in Tignes for a ‘gap-year’ – saying goodbye to city life and hello to sun, snow and seasonnaires… better late than never!

BASI examiner

BASI examiner during video analysis session

The first stage of becoming a qualified ski instructor is completed successfully, now it’s time to really get down to business…

So the good news this week is that I successfully completed and passed my Level 1 Instructor Course, which is the first module of the BASI system of training and certification. We spent a whole week being trained and assessed by a BASI examiner, which far from being as scary as I was expecting, actually turned out to be a pretty enjoyable week and I certainly learned a lot. OK, maybe it was a bit nerve-racking on the final day, but our examiner was very supportive and did everything he could to help us to meet the required standards. Throughout the week he was assessing our competence to teach beginners and intermediates through the various stages of learning to ski, including plough turning, plough paralleling and parallel turning. A big part of this was being able to correctly demonstrate each stage – sounds easy I hear you say, but in actual fact there are an awful lot of things that can trip you up and so need to be practiced and perfected.

Plough turning assessment

Plough turning assessment

Our first attempts at actually running a ski lesson certainly threw up some schoolboy/schoolgirl errors, like for example making the class ski down the slope without using their poles and then realising oops, we are now all at the bottom of the slope, but our poles are still halfway up – duh! Still by the end of the week our lessons had become much slicker and we were getting pretty inventive with our ways of making them enjoyable and fun.  Next week we begin shadowing professional ski instructors to see exactly how it should be done.

Apart from learning to teach, the other big area of assessment was our personal ski performance, including both short and long turns on piste. Then this week, with our sights firmly set on Level 2, we began getting stuck into steep slopes, bumps and variable off-piste, including our nemesis, the dreaded breakable crust!

First Aid training

First Aid training

This weekend our two-day first aid course saw us getting up close and personal with some strange looking dummies as we practised our CPR,  and also learning how to deal with all sorts of injuries and medical situations that we might encounter while out skiing. We certainly got some funny looks today for our over-zealous role playing out on the slopes, as we were simulating the aftermath of a multiple skiing pile-up.

So if you’re in Tignes at the moment, make sure you don’t lie in the snow for too long if you fall over, or you might find yourself pounced upon and enthusiastically bandaged by some trainee ski instructors keen to practice their new skills!

Read the next blog in this series: Ou est le soleil?

Read the previous blog in this series: Swotting in the ‘big brother’ house

Tessa Regan

Snow Swappers is a holiday swapping service for people that own property in ski resorts around the world. Membership is free of charge for the first year and there are chalets and apartments available to swap now in both Europe and North America.


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