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Tips, info ideas on training and passing BASI L3

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
A few comments / questions:
- no left side plank in the BFT (it is in the EFT) - I mention this as when I tested I found quite a difference between sides, pointing out a definite weak point
- am surprised to see no squats at all in the BFT and no loaded squats in the EFT. I recall a colleague coming back from the l3 common theory where one of our olympians (i think Alain Baxter) opened a talk on ski fitness with the remark "the answer is squats, now what was the question..." OK you need a proper gym for loaded squats and most people's form is awful, but for people who are serious then learning to squat correctly and then doing so consistently is (IMHO) the most benefical training there is for skiing; and thus should also be tested systematically. And bodyweight 1 leg squats, needing no equipment, is also a great exercise which anyone skiing for performance should be doing
- dont understand deleting pull ups and having both dips and press ups in EFT (overkill on triceps / delts muscular endurance which are of limited interest for skiing). Quite a few indications that pull ups are, surprisingly, a good choice for this (ref NewGen's recommendations, and the US ski/crossfit community who found that improving their participants pull ups also improved their skiing athleticism...)
- maybe a 1-2K row would be of lower impact on the joints (but still with an appropriate metabolic challenge) so a good alternative to a 1.5 mile run? I think you need to avoid anything which is long and slow, this sort of cardio is of negligible benefit for alpine skiing
- would be great to eventually see, not only average results, but also recommended targets, for the different levels. Esp for some of the less common tests like the stork test
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@gra thanks , great feedback ! You are right that both sides "should" be tested but so many really struggle with side planks I thought it useful to have one in the basic version. Two would just take too long and in my experience some of the difference between R and L side planks is due to people doing them when fatigued or conversely knowing they have more left in them and not giving up as early. I wasn't going to have any side plank in the basic at all but was persuaded to leave one in to demonstrate that lateral core strength is quite important...

Leg power is tested via the vertical jump, squats are a great exercise but not a great "test" due to needing equipment and using correct form as you mention. Had body weight pistol squats in at one point but again form is very important and I felt on balance they weren't the best test on a self perform basis. In the extended test I ask for height and weight both to help people track their own progress but also in order to calculate leg peak power in the jump to better compare against others.

I am still considering pull ups vs dips vs press ups.... I agree may be overkill on tricep endurance. The JJC guys use pull ups as well as many of the team selections. I left out pull ups at the moment due to needing equipment as well as most people struggle to perform just a few (if any) and many use bad form. I thought Press Ups would be easier to self test of upper body strength and endurance but am open to suggestions...

Yeah agree on a row vs run but I REALLY didn't want any tests that need specialised equipment or even a trip to the gym to perform.

the general Cardio I think is really only applicable for those doing full days training at altitude but is useful to gauge your own level of readiness and "training to train". whether it is a run a row or something else may be an idea to make this optional on the data collection but keep so people can judge their own progress.
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I am giving some thought to what training I'll be able to do next season and have come up with two broadly workable plans. I'd appreciate any insight from those with some experience of L3 training as to which they think would be best and why. Other suggestions welcome too!

I've already discussed with skimottaret, and his suggestions have been very useful, but I wonder what everyone else thinks?

My background: got a solid L2 pass in December last year, the L1 coach (trainee) later in the season, and I have hundreds of hours teaching experience at Hemel and dry slopes over the last few years. I've got a family who are supportive of either plan, and longer term we would all be happy to spend a season living and working abroad but that would need a lot of careful planning to sort out schools and my wife's work. I doubt I'll ever get a eurotest pass (I've never done any race training)

Plan 1: Spend the season on the New Generation Work and Train programme in Villars. This is alternating weeks of teaching and training in a group of 8. It would obviously involve spending the whole season away, so appeals on the grounds of being an immersive experience, and a lot of skiing and teaching under my belt. It doesn't include any assessments or qualifications.

Plan 2: Spend a number of separate weeks on specific focused training. Potentially higher costs due to travel and lacking the economies of scale when compared to Plan A but I'd likely end up better off as I wouldn't be missing out on months of income from my regular job, and I would probably have an easier time persuading my employer. I would likely try to get my second discipline (adaptive, at Hemel), common theory, mountain safety, and the ISIA training week (or possibly something bumps specific?). On top of that I'd aim to spend a couple of weeks teaching with Interski or similar to gain some experience teaching in a mountain environment. This would all be spread out over a number of months, with teaching and practice at Hemel in between.

What's your view on the best way to train for L3?
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@kieranm, Extended period(s) on snow will help. An option could be teach and ski for 4 week periods perhaps taking in half term. That way you might be able to score the best of both and take advantage of staff training where ever you choose. You should have a good handle on the area's you need to work on so can use your free skiing time well.
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@AndAnotherThing.., I can see the benefit of that, and I suppose that's where Plan 1 has an advantage - always time to be practicing in the interleaving weeks. If trying to get this using Plan 2 the obvious combination would be to do the ISIA performance week, and then follow that with a couple of weeks teaching. Unfortunately the performance week is only scheduled to run in November (too early to do any teaching) or April (too late). The Mountain Safety course is a bit better, but still doesn't neatly tack on to any of the peak weeks for teaching. I think to make best use of this approach I'd therefore have to look for a non-BASI week of performance training - suggestions welcome. The parts where I think I'll need to work the hardest are bumps (though of course all the other strands will need work too, it's just that bumps are starting from a relatively low level).
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Our good friends at skiMarmalade run a pro bumps week in Tignes early in December I think, contact Derek Chandler BASI trainer and bumps phenom Toofy Grin
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Vicariously through The Lad's experience I would say Option 1 without a doubt.

He was 21, VERY fit and BASI 2 since 17. Worked a full season aged 18, then another 2 part time seasons while at University.
Did Mountain Safety, Common Theory and 2nd skill.
Failed Tech on bumps. Not even close.

Two years later he came out of a full season in Japan and passed Tech and Teach at Hintertux.

He credits those passes as being the result of a full season and a lot of training...the Japanese LOVE bumps! He is quite certain that without that whole season on snow, and dedication to training, he would not have passed.
His bumps were good enough that on day 1 of the Tech the trainer pointed to him and told the rest that was the level they needed to be at.

Last season I saw a very good friend who had spent the whole season teaching a lot of hours fail the Tech...he had been teaching too much, not training enough.

The typical pass rate for Tech and Teach seem to be around 25%. It is a big, big step-up from BASI 2.
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Plan 1 if you get the opportunity, and well done if you get that organised with a family! If time away remains restricted I'd spend it all on tech training until the L3 Tech is done, and ski regularly at home in between.
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Quote:

The typical pass rate for Tech and Teach seem to be around 25%. It is a big, big step-up from BASI 2.


Not quite that hard... last four years avg pass on L3 Tech 47% and L4 tech 31%, Teach pass rate much much higher
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Thanks rungsp, and balernoStu, all good food for thought.

I'm sure I'm a long way off passing the L3 tech, and so not too worried about that in the short term (this season). Likewise the L3 teach, although I think I'll find that easier than the tech. I'll probably start thinking about those in more detail the following year. Does that alter your view on what to do next season?

@balernoStu seems to be suggesting Plan 3: kick the other modules/teaching into the long grass and spend a number of weeks away (I could probably wangle four) during the season on tech training with practice in between.

This sounds like a lot of fun, but can you give some detail why you think that would be better than Plan 2? My reasoning for not doing all tech training up front is that the other courses would I'm sure improve my skiing no end, even if that wasn't their primary focus, so I'd still be making progress as well as getting some of the modules completed.
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^ there is no right and wrong answer to all these questions....
certainly doing full seasons is more fun than working back home Wink
but that option is easier to do when your 20 something rather than 30 or 40 something (with full time job / family).

obviously skiing a full winter will help lots for passing L3, but I don't think it is absolutely essential if you can ski / train at home.
plus everyone still needs a real job, or at the very least something that will pay bills for the other 30 weeks of the year known as summer.

there is no doubt that at L3 the tech exam is the gate keeper and by far hardest exam to pass. average pass rate of about 25-30% sounds about right. a good argument can be made that doing the (easier) L1 coach / teach / common theory / 2nd discipline courses <etc> is all good training for the tech exam ? so why not do them first ?
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Quote:

average pass rate of about 25-30% sounds about right.


except that it isn't wink see above
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@kieranm, it's the teaching weeks away I'd drop first if you're time limited, as it sounds like you're getting plenty experience at home. Some of the other courses should indeed help your skiing towards L3 Tech, and count as 'tech training' in my book. After the 3 Tech would then be a good time to get those teaching weeks in.

Don't forget Plan 1 though, if you have the support of the family and an understanding employer you're well on the way!
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skimottaret wrote:
Quote:

average pass rate of about 25-30% sounds about right.

except that it isn't wink see above


Cheers - Good info.
missed that bit (cross post ?)
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Plan 1, live the dream and ski bumps and crap snow every day and you'll come on loads, plus have very fit ski legs to pass the L3 tech and teach at the end of the season..
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Have been chatting about our fitness tests with two physios and have come up with the following... http://www.insideoutskiing.com/extendedfitness.php

Pull ups although used a lot in ski racing programmes have been dropped in favour of press ups and classic bar dips with bench dips.
The final run, row or burpee challenge is optional and won't be tracked by us but useful to measure your own progress if you are intending to do full on full week training for L3.

Am hoping to get these to a wider audience so please have a go. Only myself and one other SH has so far, come on guys you know it will be good for you !
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So I have decided this season to go with Plan 2 (a number of separate weeks training, rather than a full season) but start planning for the full season in the not too distant future.

To this end I've booked the common theory course next month in Glenmore and I'm on the waiting list for Adaptive L1 (this got booked up while I was dithering).

I'm now trying to choose between doing the Mountain Safety or the ISIA Performance Training week, or potentially something non-BASI instead. I'd like to do both but at the moment that isn't possible.

A few questions:

- any suggestions for where to stay in Glenmore for the common theory next month? I'll be taking the train up there, and not planning on hiring a car, so staying at Glenmore Lodge itself sounds most convenient though I think there is a hostel and campsite by the loch nearby too. Anyone else booked on this course and want to share accommodation?

- any advice on whether I would be better at this stage doing MS or performance training?
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^ stay at Glenmore lodge. there are rooms at the lodge (well priced if you find someone to share) or you can even camp outside.
loch morlich YHA or glenmore camp site would be other options.
did the common theory last summer - it was much better than I expected a dry land week in the class room might be.

Aviemore / Loch Morlich is a lovely part of Scotland.
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@kieranm , good plan !! If you don't stay at Glenmore a car is very handy and almost a necessity depending on where you stay.. I trained up and caged lifts but worth thinking about. As far as MS or performance I would go with the MS to tick it off prior to the training course and it may help you understand the level needed for the variables strand..

ps thanks for doing the draft version of fitness tests I was working on. After a few discussions with coaches physios and PT's now have a final version if you or anyone else fancies a go Toofy Grin

http://www.insideoutskiing.com/uk/rtsoffhill.html#7
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We did some bumps work indoors earlier this week at Breahead, and some of those involved will be aiming for L3 in future. The slope team pushed a ridge in for us overnight with the piste machine, then early evening myself and another spent about 45mins digging to give a nice introductory bumps line.


http://youtube.com/v/8Vuyghg6YkY
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I'm just back from the Common Theory course at Glenmore and happy to give a quick write up if anyone else would find that useful. Summary is that it was an excellent week and well worth the journey.
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kieranm wrote:
I'm just back from the Common Theory course at Glenmore and happy to give a quick write up if anyone else would find that useful. Summary is that it was an excellent week and well worth the journey.


yes please! Have you seen the info on trying to run a L3 mountain safety in Scotland Kieran??
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@balernoStu, the problem I find with indoor bumps is that the zipper line becomes very easy IMHO, I used to go over the tops to try and make it more difficult last year!!
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@kitenski, yes indeed they were pretty easy this time, particularly as most were going round the crests initially which doesn't need absorption. As such the task was changed slightly to ski more directly over the bump, as you found more useful, with a bit of pivot down the back for speed control.

I did see some improved movements through the session, and all had fun, so think it's an example of worthwhile prep towards L3 which can be done at home. I'd be interested to see bumps shaping in other domes to help improve our's for next time.
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kitenski wrote:
Have you seen the info on trying to run a L3 mountain safety in Scotland Kieran??


I'll work on a more full write up but this specific point was among those discussed and quashed. There were two problems cited that would prevent it being viable: reliability of weather to allow it to be scheduled in advance; and the fact that the L3 MS is supposed to assess you on lift-served off piste. I'm no expert on Scottish off-piste but the consensus seemed to be that there is relatively little that is accessed directly from lifts. So although there was a strong desire to arrange a Scottish Mountain Safety course, both among the participants and course organisers, it seems unlikely to happen.
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So here's my quick write up of the common theory course. First off, I really enjoyed it. I am already a fairly academic person with a science background who enjoys learning for its own sake, so the lectures were right up my street. The practical sessions were also well structured and fun. The setting at Glenmore Lodge is fantastic, and within a day or two of being there I could see why this is the only place they hold it: the quality of the natural environment, facilities, and local speakers was high.

The timetable we were supposed to follow got changed about to accommodate the speakers' availability, but I don't think this mattered.

The first day covered navigation, map reading and an introduction to mountain safety. The group was split into three (there were 26 of us all together) depending on their previous experience, so for example one group already had their L3 MS and could be advanced towards the L4 EMS. This was a fairly physical day walking around the hills over rough and sometimes wet terrain.

We also got to do some transceiver practice which for someone like me who has never used a transceiver was very useful. We split up into pairs with one in each pair having some previous experience and the other being (like me) less experienced. We were then able to spread out, hide, and hunt for transceivers. Those who had their own were able to use them and Glenmore Lodge had a good supply that the rest of us could use. We also covered how to deal with multiple burials and it soon became obvious that the more expensive transceivers were a lot better at this.

The second day begins with a bit of history of snowsports in Britain, and sociology of snowsports coaching. The afternoon was a lecture on sports psychology by Paddy Mortimer. This covered both how to use psychology when working (especially with children) and how to use it to improve your own performance and training. There was a lot covered, so really only an introduction, but I found it really interesting.

Day 3 covers physiology which was done for us by paralympic gold medalist David Smith. The lecture gave his own views on things, and he clearly knew his stuff and it was great to learn about this from someone who has been through it. It highlighted some changes I need to make in my own training to be more effective.

There are then three half-day practical fitness sessions which were each done in small groups:

The first of these is gym work looking at weights, core strength and agility. This was lead by Alain and Euan Baxter, so again two athletes who have a good understanding of how to apply this stuff to skiing. For those with little or no gym experience they introduced the various things we should all be doing. For those of us already doing that stuff they worked on technique and gave ideas for further exercises. There was also a focus on making it fun for those who don't enjoy weights. They also covered dynamic warm-ups which although I've done before was good to get another perspective on.

The second practical session looked at interval training, balance and stretching. Nothing particularly revolutionary or new here for me, but highlighted that I could be doing more of this and less aerobic exercise, and probably get more effect. Some of the group found the interval training hard work. The balance work included a slack line which is always fun.

The third practical session looked at performance screening, so measuring a set of exercises and stretches and comparing them to look for potential problems and things we should focus our training on. Mine for example highlighted stronger abs than back, which is familiar to me from pilates, and so I should look at some back exercises. There was a real spread in abilities in the group.

Dr Tessa Pirie, who did the third practical session on performance screening, gave a lecture on biomechanics and injury prevention and management. Again a really good speaker, and useful to get the background on some of the practical stuff we'd been doing.

The final session covered sports nutrition and hydration, given by Rebecca Dent. Of all the lectures this is the one that I think I learnt the most from and will probably be making the most changes as a result of. She had a lot of content and was very pragmatic about diet.

There's then a bit of work to develop a personal plan to encompass all of these things, whatever your goals.

It was organised by Roy Henderson, and Dave Renouf popped in to give his views on international affairs.

So overall a great few days in Scotland. The weather was fine, there were a few midges, I enjoyed running up the surrounding hills in the spare time. I took the sleeper train there which was very convenient, and stayed at Glenmore Lodge itself. There were others staying at the YHA hostel and the local campsite, which all seemed fine too.

It would have been nice if we'd been able to take advantage of the biathlon facilities at Glenmore Lodge but I didn't think of this until the last day when it would have been too late to organise.

I left with a reignited enthusiasm for fitness, feeling that maybe the Eurotest is achievable after all, and really looking forward to whatever comes next.
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@kieranm, thanks for sharing, and interesting that the diet lecture is the one you expect to make most changes based upon. It is a few years since I did this course and wouldn't mind hearing some of the current speakers as part of a refresher.
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@balernoStu, yes I was surprised by that too. To some extent it just reflects that I'm already doing a lot of the exercises and gym work that was highlighted. My diet is already pretty healthy, but what the lecture highlighted for me was the changes a serious athlete has to make to their diet if they want to be most effective.

If you just want to hear a couple of the speakers I would drop Roy Henderson or Sean Langmuir (who I think normally coordinates this course) an email and ask. Given your location dropping in for a day should be doable, and I would hope there would be no objections to that.
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balernoStu, Maybe also suggest to Snowsport Scotland that they might organize those talks as part of a Performance Coach refresher.
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Actually IIRC SSS did run a weekend course recently, which may have included some of the speakers. I didn't make it due to having classes on but will look out for the next.
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@kieranm, what were the major things covered in the diet section??
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@kitenski, sorry about the slow reply.

The theme of the nutrition section was how to eat well while training through a season. It covered a very wide range of things, a lot of driven by questions from the audience, everything from the pros and cons of a vegetarian/vegan diet right through to recipes for high protein snacks to carry with you on the hill. Other topics we hit (off the top of my head) were:
- supplements
- alchohol
- getting enough to eat when you're not hungry
- fuelling children in a camp
- how your intake needs to vary as your training intensifies
- the "healthy plate" concept and overall balance of different food types
- good/bad carbs
- the benefits of fats and dairy products
- how to evaluate reports in the press of health benefits/problems of particular foods
- where to get good recipes
- shopping and meal planning in resort
- food ideas when touring

The list goes on. Rebecca Dent really knows her stuff and was very up to the minute on current research and ideas, so made a great speaker.
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@kieranm, thanks, does seem like a really good course!!
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Have just booked up a lot of training for myself and only three weeks till first course , gulp Wink After a good start in the spring my fitness is not where it needs to be, too many holidays and too many beers Sad But at least no major injuries to deal with. Also got on some new tech skis at hemel nice boards but not sure they are man enough... Dynastar Course Pros R20's

Anyone else book any courses?
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Just took off the summer wax on 4 pair of bad ass skis and the equipment is looking good... spoiled for choice on tech skis as now have 3 pairs and not sure which ones are going to magically make me a better skier Toofy Grin
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skimottaret wrote:
Just took off the summer wax on 4 pair of bad ass skis and the equipment is looking good... spoiled for choice on tech skis as now have 3 pairs and not sure which ones are going to magically make me a better skier Toofy Grin


If in doubt choose the red ones Toofy Grin
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But then he'd have to get a whole new red outfit to coordinate!

I'm trying to pick a week of race training in early November to find out what that's like but spoilt for choice at the moment.
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@sarah, no red ones, black/white ones which are good but f'ing stiff and the trainers cant see the ski bending, yellow and black which are awesome on piste but a bit skinny and I sink too much off piste and some shiny blue ones that tick a lot of boxes but feel a touch boingy....

@kieranm, what type of racing SL or GS and what skis you got? what tuning gear do you have and do you know how to use it yet? Don't bother with waxes and potions but learn how to get a sharp edge on your boards...
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I've booked on the first week in November with JJC in Saas Fee, so now looking forward to that. By the sound of it I'll be working on fundamentals rather than skiing too many gates, but we've all got to start somewhere and the beginning is a good place. I'll be taking my regular skis (Head iTitans) and boots, which I hope will be fine for that week, and then if I want to take racing further perhaps I'll have to consider getting more specialist gear. Tuning wise I have a lot to learn but spent a day with Jon at the Piste Office this summer, so I've got the basics and some equipment to practice with.
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saas fee is very very nice at the moment wink
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