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Which skis for BASI level 1 and 2?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I've been sitting here in the rain in the Portes du Soleil, and idly wondering whether I could have a sideline as a ski instructor? I've looked up te BASI requirements, and the idle wonder is turning into a tentative plan. I would probably do the level 1 course on an artifical slope in the UK this Autumn, work towards level 2 in the Alps towards the end of next season, and who knows what after that?

My problem is that BASI, appropriately, recommend piste oriented skis. I've been skiing for more years than I care to remember, but I haven't owned a piste oriented ski for over 10 years. I can wax lyrical about freeride , full rocker, fatties, dynafit and randonee, but I know next to nothing about piste skis.

I'm 5'11" (180cm), and 76kg. My everyday skis are 179cm Whitedot Directors (which, incidentally, are awesome off piste skis, and a reasonable compromise as all rounders, but clearly not the right ski for this job). I also own a pair of K2 Public Enemy twintips. I like skis that are light, but stiff.

Here're the questions. What should I look for in a BASI course ski? How long should it be? Can anyone recommend a specific ski? What about an ex rental ski, at least until I decide how serious a plan this might be? Will my Public Enemies be OK, or should I go for a specialist piste ski?

I know this is an equipment question, but I felt that the bendzeknees section was probably a more appropriate section for this, as I'm particularly looking for advice from those who are familiar with the BASI system.

Looking forward to the usual helpful SH advice
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@Chamcham, I passed my L2 on Head Titans, as did Mairead O'Connor, and another guy in our group. I think they are a good/popular L2 ski for a reason - good compromise for all the strands. Having said that, most people fail on longs/shorts, and you will have no bother with the variables, so probably best to focus on what is most suitable for piste performance. In terms of what to look out for, for L2 you want something probably no wider than 80mm at a max, and a shortish turn radius, around 12-15m.

For L1 it doesn't really matter that much, as long as they aren't toooo fat. SnowPenguin passed his L1 on Hemel rental skis, as the only skis he owned at the time were WD Preachers.
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http://blog.basi.org.uk/which-is-the-best-ski-for-your-basi-level-1-2/

Came across this yesterday whilst looking for something else.
It's from 2015 but perhaps they have a more up to date version.
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I also have WD Directors (the newer style in 181) and you are very correct that they are not the right tool for the job Laughing
Twintips aren't a great option either. And I also don't really recommend the Hemel rentals!

The good news is that there are loads of suitable piste skis and they rarely sell out in a season. They also don't change a lot year-on-year. With your timings you can probably get something suitable in the end of season sales. That's what I did and I got the Titans at about 40% off IIRC. Mine are 163; you'd want one size up I reckon. The Magnum in the same range is also a good choice (especially if your variables are good). Nordica Doberman, Atomic Redster, Rossi Hero ST, Dynastar Speedzones are all good options. I have my eye on the Speedzone 12 or 14 as my next piste ski.

Wait til the sales, then check back in here for advice before buying.
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@Gämsbock, Thanks for that - useful comments.
@Scamper, Interesting blog, thanks.
@Maireadoconnor, I was planning to wait until the end of season sales, or even buy some 1-2 years old on ebay. I'm interested in your comments on ski length - how tall are you?
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160cm tall (ish) and 67kg (ish)
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@Maireadoconnor, So your skis are above head height? I was thinking slightly shorter might make them more manoeuvrable? Is my thinking right, or should I go longer?
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Hi, Did my 1 & 2 last season on Nordica Doberman Spitfire ... as recommended by NewGen. Good luck
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@dvb, Hi. What length were they?
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168cm, as @Gämsbock, said, all fails are on either longs or short, the rest of the technique stuff for seasoned peeps like you and me, you just turn up😉. Longs easy on decent carvers ... Shorts are the usual fails.
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Hijack ...Hey @Gämsbock, sitting in Basel airport after a week in Engelberg, first half good, back end low viz and a tad damp. Snow coming is on our out, new week there looks promising
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@dvb, hey hey! I'm thinking of heading out for the day on Monday, I've got the day off for Fasnacht but SnowPenguin has to work. I got really fecked off with the weekend queues at Engelberg last season though, so haven't been up this year... watching the weather forecast at the moment.

@Chamcham, I would go shorter than your height. I also have the 163 at 165cm... if the 170 feel stable enough then go with them. I was on the line for length and tried the 156 but they felt too short. But 156 would be the more "expected" length for Mairead and I I think.
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@Chamcham, are you still skiing everything in touring boots? If so, new boots will be more important than new skis...
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You know it makes sense.
@Gämsbock, fashnach is finished in Luzern so lots of hangovers this week in Engelberg, good time to catch some freshies on the epic lines
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Yeah, boots, forgot about them ...8 fitting and lots of tears last season for me but now they are the dogs round things
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
If you're doing level 1 indoors you might well want a shorter turnier ski than you might otherwise use outdoors. I'm the same height and only a few kilos heavier than you, indoors I use a 164cm cheaters SL ski (Atomic Redster Edge) with 11.7m radius, 70mm underfoot (although I generally teach on the slope's skis - which are a bit wider, softer, blunter! but similar length and radius). I did my L1 outdoors on Scott Black Majic 177 which are softer but have a not massively dissimilar radius and effective length to the Atomics above once you exlude the massive tip rocker. I did find them a bit cumbersome for technical stuff indoors (the rocker was a bit too much), wouldn't honestly recommend those as an exam ski though. That said I don't think it matters hugely at L1 as long as you've got a reasonably tight radius so you can do longs in the space available.

I've since bought some Dynastar Speedzone 14s for outdoors with a view to preparing for L2, they are 174cm, 15m radius, 72 underfoot - I only went for the 14 because I needed to shim the bindings, otherwise the 12 (same ski different binding system) would have been fine. I've only spent a few days on them so far (doing some training towards L2) but they seem very good.

You don't mention where in the UK you are, but - if you're looking for some training in advance - Inside Out do some training for aspiring instructors at Hemel over the summer, there's quite a few of us around that got our level 1s with their help. I'd heartily recommend them.
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@dvb, alright, you've convinced me... have sent out a few fishing emails!
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I did my L1 on Blizzard Black Pearls (88mm with 16m radius) as these were the only ski I happened to own at the time.
I haven’t thought about L2, but I imagine the ski choice might be a little more critical then.
I would also recommend the Inside Out Ski ‘instructor fast track’ courses.
Good luck with it all!
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Less than a 16m radius, standard geometry, 70-80mm underfoot and as stiff as you are comfortable with. Lots of skis in that category, so pick up something cheap if you don’t think you’ll use them much outside of exams or exam prep. I’d agree with the advice to get a pair of alpine boots.
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Thanks for all of that. I forgot to mention the boots - @Gämsbock, you have a good memory! I've already decided I need new boots, currently looking at Dalbello Lupos, much higher flex than I'm used to (I'm fed up with my Atomic Backlands on wide skis), and can be used in both pin bindings and alpine bindings.

There's a theme emerging - shortish skis, with a small radius?
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I did my L1 on a pair of cheap Head TT600 @ 177 skis that were brand new but around 5 seasons out of date. Almost everyone else on my course used the Hillend rental skis. At 177 they were a tad long for dryslope.

I was going to use my Head Magnums but decided that I didn't want to wreck them on the mat.
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I did my L1 indoors on my 163cm titans. I am 165 tall somewhere around 70kg. I would do it on shorter skis imho easier to snow plough. I teach on 150cm skis which are great for demoing on.

Undecided on my L2. I will be hiring skis so have the option to switch if I don't get on with them, will be going for something a bit shorter though than my titans. If they have the shorter titan that might be ideal.
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@Little Martin, why shorter? You’ll be expected to rip it on the long turns on th L2. I wouldn’t want to be on something short and twitchy. I found 163 Titans perfect for L2 and I’m similar or less height/weight to you. For L3 they’re not enough.

Your snowploughing is unlikely to be the thing that limits you for L2. With the amount of real teaching you’ve done you should breeze through the Teach.
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Given the number of pisteurs you see working in touring boots, if you can ski in the touring ones, why would alpines be such an advantage? (At levels where race precision isn’t necessary).

Just curious, no dog in fight.
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Pisteurs are better skiers than the average aspirant L2 🙂 Better than me, certainly.

But also, a lot of instructors choose quite different gear work for working versus what they choose for exams. Full on race boots aren’t necessary for L2 level skiing but something fairly stiff is a big help for getting the piste performance up to scratch. If you’re good enough, it wouldn’t matter. But I know I appreciated the help!
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As @rob@rar, said, some favourites in this (piste performance) category include: Head Magnums, Nordica Dobermann Spitfire Ti, Volkl Code S UVO, Dynastar Speedzone 12 or 14, Rossignol Hero ST, Salomon X-MAX 12...worth trying a few and seeing which feel good. And also worth ensuring your boots have a flex which matches the skis - no need for 150 flex race boots, but a touring boot or very soft flex will not help your performance
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Some good recommendations above from@spiceman, @Maireadoconnor, and others. Although personally I would go narrower than the titan which is a bit of a compromise ski. Length wise 165-170 at your stats. Try before you buy if you can. If you can afford it get properly fitted alpine boots without walk mode probably 120-130 flex ie a good match for the skis without being full on race boots.

A set up like that should be fine for 1 and 2. I wouldn't worry about different equipment for level 1 just because it's in a dome. Get used to the equipment before your course and get comfortable with tuning your skis the way you like them so there is no unnecessary stress during the course itself. If you are comfortably at the level during the level 1 you can use the performance time to develop your skiing towards level 2 standard.
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I did my L1 indoors on a short slalom ski (160cm maybe??) , did my L2 on the ubiquitous Titans @ 170cm (they were 78cm underfoot when I got them, modern ones are wider I believe??) , instructor said they were now too soft for me after I'd passed the L2 resit and I was overskiing them!! The Titans were great for everything though inc bumps, variables, shorts and longs. Now on a much stiffer Volkl Codewall L which is superb for hooning around the pistes, not really had them in bumps though....

FWIW on my L2 about half or maybe more of the class were sent away to get piste skis after turning up on various "all mountain" skis inc the BBR from what I remember....
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Thanks all, helpful input.
Does anyone have a view about the suitability of ex hire skis for L1? I may be doing that on a plastic slope, and new skis might get trashed there. Especially if I will need them for L1 only, I can then think more carefully about what I might need for L2/3. There are also quite a few available in Chatel at the moment.
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@Chamcham, assuming you can meet the skiing criteria set out in the L1 course ex hire skis would be fine! You are not marked on your kit Wink

Technical Assessment Criteria
Central Theme
Perform all phases of the Central Theme
Clearly show definition between each phase of the Central Theme
Understand how to achieve effective posture and balance
Piste Short
Perform round parallel turns on a blue or easy red piste without traverse
Use a variety of corridor widths
Show the ability to maintain a constant speed
Understand how to achieve effective posture and balance
Piste Long
Cleanly carve the last two thirds of the turn on a green or easy blue piste without traverse
Understand how to achieve effective posture and balance
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Chamcham wrote:
Thanks all, helpful input.
Does anyone have a view about the suitability of ex hire skis for L1? I may be doing that on a plastic slope, and new skis might get trashed there. Especially if I will need them for L1 only, I can then think more carefully about what I might need for L2/3. There are also quite a few available in Chatel at the moment.


I reckon that would be a very wise plan
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Bump for update. The plan continues, with level 1 in a snow dome in early summer, hopefully followed by level 2 in early winter 2018-19. I've found two end of season bargain skis which I'm considering, the Dynastar Speed Zone 10 Ti in 167cm, and the Speed Zone Ti 12 in 166cm. From what I can gather, the 12 is stiffer, but the 10 may suit me better as it's more forgiving. Would the 10 be enough for level 1 and 2? What about the lengths?

Just a reminder, I'm 180cm and 76Kg.

Any advice gratefully received.
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@Chamcham, for comparison I'm 180cm and 80kg. I've got the speedzone 14 (same ski as 12 but with plate binding system). Mine are 174 in length. I'm a L1 and I'm targetting L2 on these.
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@Chamcham, get the 12s rather than the 10s, I reckon

Hmm I wonder if they have two pairs in stock...
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The Dynastar speedzones are excellent. Like tubaski I have the speedzone 14 in 174cm. I'm a bit shorter and lighter than both of you, but don't have a problem getting them to work. They are I think a very popular tech ski among those going beyond L2. I think the speedzone 12 would be perfect for what you want if you can get them at a good price.
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Thanks all for your comments. I'm edging towards the 12, but still slightly concerned that it might overpower me, especially in the longer length (although my Directors are 178, because of the rocker, their working length is much less). What would you think would be the disadvantage of going for the 166 instead of the 174?
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Defo the 12, I would recommend 174 as a bit better / more stable in long turns and variables. If you’re overpowered by this then I suspect you won’t be at the level for L2, whereas if you’re at or close to the level you’ll handle this fine.
I’m 183cm/ 77kg and ski the 14 in 174. I find this version really encourages good skiing without killing you for mistakes. The issue anyway is not power, but skill, you’ll need to get used to a dedicated piste ski again after years on fatties
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@Chamcham, disadvantage of the 166 IMHO would be less stability in higher speed long turns (essential for L2) and going to be less stable in variables... Given @kieranm, is lighter and shorter than you and he skis the 174 I reckon you'd be ok. Worst case if you hated them you'd be able to sell them on again??

I'm 5ft 10" and 74kg and ski the Volk Code Speedwall L in 178cm.
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I've been doing my L2 on volkl rtm 80, 80mm underfoot, 166 cm length, 15.6 radius. Not struggled in any variable, and piste performance has been great. They are similar to my titans in terms of size but a longer radius makes the difference.

I started off on shorter version, but the radius was too short and I was definitely getting over worked in terms of number of turns made.

Final day tomorrow, will see if they have served me well.

Also I've rented, if I'd have turned up with my titans I'd have probably not got on as well with the long turns, so having the option to swap skis has worked well, besides it was cheaper than bringing skis with me.
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@Little Martin, good effort chipping in on a thread while on an exam, bon chance !!
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