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Which snowboard instructor training course should I go with?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@davidof yes it's an interesting area, I have some background in this field, so can elaborate a bit.

I don't know how basi decided on what is "correct" technique. Traditionally (sports biomechanics) the approach was to take a (usually small) number of "elites" in that sport and measure a large number of variables as they performing a single repetition of a movement. The study will then report averages for the group. Obviously this creates a problem from the get go as this average may actually not reflect anyone measured! (E.g. the study could find average knee angle at turn initiation was 35degrees, although everyone measured was found to lie between 30-32 degrees or 38-40 degrees). There are further problems with this approach, but let's not get too technical (or boring!).

Carving a snowboard is a relatively simple movement (at least theoretically). You just have to shift your centre of mass from somewhere outside your toe edge to somewhere outside your heel edge and vice versa. Because the human body has so many degrees of freedom there's an infinite amount of body configurations and movement patterns to achieve this. That's before you account for equipment which is going to further change things (boot stiffness, binding angles, highback angles etc.). As long as you have a combination of movements that you can reliably repeat to perform this, your technique is probably fine. The argument would be if you were using some combination of movements completely inefficient, however generally the body is pretty good at finding physiologically efficient movement patterns. Should be noted due to physiological variability (limb lengths, flexibility, strength of different muscles etc.) what is an efficient pattern for one person may not be the same as another.

There's actually quite a bit of comparable research looking at how we go from a sitting on a chair to standing up. You can make someone wear weird shoes, tie a hand behind their back, or put a weight on their head. The movement will look different each time, however scientists realised the centre of mass always follows the same trajectory. Really this is the key to understanding movement, finding the "control variable" that is maintained in successful performance. Once you have this you realise there are millions of combinations of movements that will produce the desired goal, not just one.

You don't even need to understand the science. Look at all the outliers in sport that have unorthodox technique, golf is a good example; Jim Furyk, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson etc. Of course here we reach the unanswerable question - if they had been coached a traditional technique would they be more successful? You can make this argument but the other argument that it would have ruined them as they found the technique that worked for their body is just as possible.

Really the nail in the coffin of optimal technique has been the intra-athlete variability. Traditionally we thought the top athletes in closed sports were able to constantly produce the same movement over and over again exactly the same. That was what separates them from the intermediate players whos movement patterns were more variable hence less consistent performance. However the research found something quite different. Beginners have the most variability, which slowly decreases as they improve, before then increasing again as they reach a higher level. It's suggested this "functional variability" helps with performance. While it certainly make sense for snowboarding where technique is often needed to be adapted for conditions, it's even seen in sports like triple jump where on the face of it there doesn't seem to be an advantage - however it increases with expertise so there must be something beneficial.

So yes I find it kind of funny that basi consider their technique to be correct and making the Italian maestros go to basi 3 to work on technique. If I was going to take instruction id much prefer some expert snowboarder taught me what worked for them rather than what some organisation had told them to say based on their own assumptions what is correct. I also worry what happens to those paying for lessons that are not suited to the basi technique and would do much better with a more flexible instructor looking to find a technique that works for that person.
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Sorry that was quite negative. I am not saying that instructors can't help. In fact I would always recommend someone going for their first time to take lessons. Instructors can also help fix problems with people that are not beginners too.

That said I will continue to roll my eyes when someone who clearly rips and is better than 99.9% of riders on the hill is told their technique is "wrong" (I'm not in that 0.1% Laughing ).
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boarder2020 wrote:
Traditionally we thought the top athletes in closed sports were able to constantly produce the same movement over and over again exactly the same. That was what separates them from the intermediate players whos movement patterns were more variable hence less consistent performance. However the research found something quite different. Beginners have the most variability, which slowly decreases as they improve, before then increasing again as they reach a higher level. It's suggested this "functional variability" helps with performance. .


Very interesting. It suggests that for beginners the variation is more random and for experts it is deliberate. I do notice that some intermediate BASI instructors ski with a very rigid technique - although I'd put this down to them progressing through the system and needing to focus on what is required for the system rather than how they might ski naturally. They didn't want "bad" habits creeping in.
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@boarder2020, I'm not going to go through your post point by point, but here's a few thoughts:

Nobody at BASI (or any other instructor organisation) sat down and dreamed-up "correct" technique. The techniques taught are the result of a long, long evolution with input from other instructor systems, top athletes, different trainers, etc. etc. It's stuff that works. It's not one person's idea of what's "correct". Most of the national teaching bodies in both skiing and snowboarding have come to very similar conclusions, although there some notable variations too. There is a big cross-over in most countries between the national teaching bodies and national elite coaching bodies, so input is coming both from the top down and the bottom up.

There isn't a single "BASI Technique" either. There is plenty of room for individual variation. The idea that BASI forces everyone to ride in the same rigid style is just flat wrong. At the higher levels, the assessment focus is at least as much on "outputs" (i.e. how the board is performing) as on "inputs" (the stance and movements used to achieve the outputs). At the same time, it is a teaching qualification and the instructor is required to be able to demonstrate orthodox technique. As an example, I did some of my exams with a pro freestyle rider (ex olympics, national team, global pro-contract from a major brand...). He spends a lot of his time riding around with his legs almost straight, bending forward from the waist, only coming into a more orthodox, athletic stance when he needs to. It works for him because he has incredible balance and agility, but it would be foolish and unhelpful to teach someone to ride that way, so the trainers rightly made him show them that he COULD ride in an orthodox way.

A lot of BASI skiers and snowboarders do end up riding in a very similar, quite fixed style as a result of something @davidof mentions above. A lot of people coming into the BASI system are good holiday riders. They have to learn a lot as they progress through the system. As they all learn from the same source, they end up riding in a similar style. As @davidof says, a lot of French instructors come into their instructor system already well-formed as very strong, competitive skiers. They have been exposed to different coaches and backgrounds and therefore have more variation in style. Their personal style is also more engrained and less likely to change as they go through the qualification process.

A lot of self taught "expert snowboarders" don't actually understand how they ride. Even a lot of pro "how to" videos have big differences between the demonstration and the voice-over. I remember watching a video from a top freerider talking about carving and he said something about having weight on the front foot at the end of the turn and I was thinking "that's weird", then you look closely at what he's doing and his weight is nowhere near the front foot. That's not to say they don't absolutely rip, you don't need to intellectually understand the biomechanics of something to be able to do it. And then there's the infamous magazine trick how-to's from back in the day:

Mag: So, teach us how to do a backside 9!
Pro: Well, what you do is you hit the jump like you're going to do a backside 7, then you just add another 180.

That's semi-facetious, but it may well actually be what's going through that rider's head when they spin a back 9. It just isn't helpful to anyone else. Not that anyone's ever going to learn a back 9 from scratch from a magazine article. Was never totally sure why they published those. Laughing
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Quote:

The techniques taught are the result of a long, long evolution with input from other instructor systems, top athletes, different trainers, etc.


I thought we had agreed top athletes don't have good technique? They need to correct themselves for basi standard. Seems like a contradiction to then use them as input. As you say different schools of thought have different approaches so clearly something is not right. Some decent research wouldn't go a miss, but who wants real measured data when you can just take anecdotal evidence from some people. I would agree though that the general guidelines are not completely terrible, and will definitely work for lots of people, particularly those with "normal" physiology/anatomy. Perfect for teaching a beginner and intermediate who have glaring flaws. Not sure I would trust them to mess with an already elite athletes technique.


Quote:

There isn't a single "BASI Technique" either. There is plenty of room for individual variation.


So why do they pros have to re-learn the basi style? Obviously not that much room for variation.

Quote:

At the higher levels, the assessment focus is at least as much on "outputs" (i.e. how the board is performing) as on "inputs" (the stance and movements used to achieve the outputs)


You then say the instructor is required to demonstrate orthodox technique?! The science says inputs are not important unless you can find a control variable (which in snowboarding is most likely to be centre of pressure position). The kinematics to get into that position are unimportant. Hence the rider with straight legs bending forward at the waste would be considered perfectly acceptable by science. (If you read the sit to stand research papers it is very relatable to this specific example!).

Quote:

Mag: So, teach us how to do a backside 9!
Pro: Well, what you do is you hit the jump like you're going to do a backside 7, then you just add another 180.


Like I said in my earlier post teaching is a skill. Simply being good at something doesn't make you a great teacher and vice versa. Not really a controversial idea in most sports, however in snowboarding we expect the instructors to be of a certain level of performance themselves for some reason. Glen Mills is perhaps the most successful track coach in recent time, nobody would think to hold the fact he was never even a semi decent runner against him.

Quote:

you don't need to intellectually understand the biomechanics of something to be able to do it.


True. I would argue you need a pretty good understanding to teach it though.
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@davidof

Quote:

Very interesting. It suggests that for beginners the variation is more random and for experts it is deliberate.


Yes that's the assumption. You would think it is particularly true for snowboarding where the need to adapt to conditions is obvious. But we see the pattern in many activities that that would appear to have little benefit (e.g. piano players and triple jump). There is obviously something in it though as this increase in variability is needed to increase performance level.

One explanation is around degrees of freedom. Imagine someone learning to ice skate. At first they are just flailing around (high variability). They they begin to simplify the movement by locking some joints (freezing total degrees of freedom). This provides more control and will of decrease variability as some joints are just locked. As they I prove they can begin to unlock these joints (increasing the degrees of freedom and variability) which of course can help with performance.

As far as I know the only movement where this has not been seen is high bar gymnasts swing where variability continued to decrease with expertise. The suggestion of this was the movement is so timing related to generate maximum forces any variability would be negative.

It would be interesting to study the differences in self taught snowboarders Vs those that went through a coaching system. I would take a guess that those with high variability are the best all around snowboarders in terms of being able to adapt to whatever terrain is put in front of them.

There is some support for the idea of "self discovery" style coaching. I.e. you put the person in a position (e.g. some big icy bumps) and let them try to work out how to do it. The idea is we learn more this way as it makes us think and adapt rather than simply being told do this. The role of the coach is helping the learner understand what they are doing and giving them the skills to analyse their own movement/performance. I'm not really sure what the science says, it's more psychology kind of area, but interesting.
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@stevomcd, thanks for the best answer to this - I imagine your point about technical deficiencies in my riding is almost certainly true; I’ve only had a handful of lessons, and even if boarder2020’s pessimism about instructing turns out to be something I’ll agree with, I’d love the chance to learn to ride "properly."
I did suspect that teaching in France or Italy would be the only way to make a real living out of instructing, but obviously getting an L4 is a multi-year process and snowboarders can’t be stagiares, so I imagine I’ll probably spend my early years teaching in Austria/Switzerland to get to that level (I think I’m right in saying that no Canadian cert will let me teach in France?). With that in mind, wouldn’t it make more sense for me to move through the Austrian system (as I think their highest qualification is accepted in France) rather than BASI? If only because if I’m instructing in Austria or Switzerland anyway, I’d imagine the practicalities of sitting higher examinations etc would be easier to do with the local body, what with not having to travel to France every winter for assessments.

Incidentally, if you know what higher level instructors in Austria make I’d be fascinated to learn, I know in France/Italy it’s €45/30 per hour whereas what I’ve read online for Austria suggests ~€1300/month for experienced instructors, which seems shockingly low for an L3/L4 compared to the rest of Europe
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Also, would like to emphasise to folks that I’m not a "trustafarian" (love the word though, and I guess it’s a reasonable assumption); the money is from 6 years of part-time jobs and when it’s gone it’s gone, so I’d prefer not to empty the piggy bank on 1 or 2 seasons as a ski bum
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Cailian France or Switzerland are the only places where you will get the higher wages as an Instructor (not Italy really, lots of Italian instructors work in France).
When you are working towards L3 / L4 you need to be training, not teaching beginners 6 days a week every week so I don't think your idea of doing the Austrian system is really the answer.

For many the route is:

Year 1: work on getting L1 and L2. The easy way to do this is the classic gap course and as you say you have only had a few lessons this is probably the right path. You can do it cheaper by doing it independently but much easier and fun working in a group.

Year 2: If you want to continue then go and do a season teaching full time to see if instructing is for you. Do not do any exams this year, just get some experience and see if you like it. Lots of possible countries from Austria to Andorra to Japan to Canada. Also dryslope / snowdome in the summer.

Years 3 and 4: Work on getting L3 and L4. To pass these you need to be riding and training with people at the right level. Find a resort with access to a Trainer and a crew of good riders. Tignes / Val or Morzine / Avoriaz are probably the most common but there are others. Working in a bar or similar is common and maybe travelling to Italy or Austria to teach a bit in the peak weeks.
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snowrider wrote:


Years 3 and 4: Work on getting L3 and L4. To pass these you need to be riding and training with people at the right level. Find a resort with access to a Trainer and a crew of good riders. Tignes / Val or Morzine / Avoriaz are probably the most common but there are others. Working in a bar or similar is common and maybe travelling to Italy or Austria to teach a bit in the peak weeks.


try and do some competitions too during this time if you want to work in France, it will help with the carte pro process if they see you are boarding at a high level
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@snowrider I don’t mean to be confrontational, and I don’t have the experience to suggest that you are wrong per se, but it seems as though that route can be summed up as

Year 1: gap course
Year 2: instruct full time
Year 3 & 4: work in a bar and practice in a good resort, travel to Austria or Italy for a few weeks for experience

I’m just not sure what part of that would be better than getting an Austrian cert at the start of this winter and instructing for a year full time right away? I’m pretty sure I need 200 hours teaching experience between BASI 2 and BASI 3, and surely that’s impossible to get in the 4 weeks a season you’re allowed to teach in Italy with BASI 2 (besides the obvious difficulty and expense of altering living arrangements halfway through a season). I’m also not entirely clear on why working in a bar in Val or Tignes (and I have boarded in both) and practicing in the day would be any better than doing the same in Mayrhofen or St Anton?

Also, I know it’ll probably seem like I’m rushing it, but I would have thought it’d be a better idea to get a level 3 cert as quickly as possible so I could do southern hemisphere seasons during European summer rather going to a snowdome, which in turn would mean I’d be getting twice as much time on snow to prepare for the L4
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
If you do go teach in Austria, bear in mind that the ski schools there run instructor training as part of having to have their ski school licence. How much depends very much on the ski school, and especially with smaller ski schools, tends to just be on two planks rather than one, but it is worth considering.
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@Cailian Yes doing an Austrian qualification at the start of the season will allow you to get teaching a lot quicker and is a good option if you want to see if instructing is for you. As you have said the pay is not great. You can stay in Austria and keep working through their system but I think it will be difficult to get a snowboard qualification that will allow you to teach in France if that is the end goal and I though it was when I suggest the route above.
As you say you need to do 200 hours between L2 and L3 if you go down the BASI route, that would be easily achieved in the in the second season in the route I suggested.
The reason I suggested doing years 3 and 4 in somewhere like Tignes rather than St.Anton is that you are likely to have other people there going through the same process to train with. Practising with them rather than some random seasonaires will help you improve a lot more easily and you can split the cost of training sessions with a L4 or Trainer with them.
Hope that helps, as I said I suggested that route thinking France was the end goal. If it is not then Austrian or Canadian courses are probably a better option.
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How much demand is there for the higher end instructors? If I was running a ski school aimed at the general public I would just hire level 2s assuming they are competent enough to teach the average holiday skier and cost less to employ. Then for the better skiers I assume they would take an off-piste guide rather than an instructor? I guess race clubs, but assume they are the kind of jobs where once someone's in they stay for life? Genuinely curious.

Quote:

the money is from 6 years of part-time jobs and when it’s gone it’s gone, so I’d prefer not to empty the piggy bank on 1 or 2 seasons as a ski bum


Ski bum with part time evening job gets equal money to a level 2 instructor, has more time to snowboard, and doesn't have the outlay of spending £1000s on exams/courses. If you are looking to make money becoming a snowboard instructor is not a good investment. Many people don't ever reach the higher levels, and even for those that do it takes years. If you just like being out in the mountains and enjoy the teaching aspect definitely go for it. If you are just looking to maximise your time snowboarding or earn lots of money there are better options.

Quote:

To pass these you need to be riding and training with people at the right level. Find a resort with access to a Trainer and a crew of good riders. Tignes / Val or Morzine / Avoriaz are probably the most common but there are others. Working in a bar or similar is common and maybe travelling to Italy or Austria to teach a bit in the peak weeks.


Pretty much what I've been saying. You want to get good, spend your time actually riding a snowboard in challenging terrain with good riders who can push you. You will improve more than working as an instructor. It does seem like a huge back track that after spending all that time and money on level 1 and 2 and working for a full season you then are working an evening job trying to get good enough to pass exams, which you may spend a lot of money to take and fail (I heard the pass rate is less than 50% but I don't know how true that is).

I'm really not against becoming a snowboard instructor. If that's what you enjoy doing go for it. That's why I recommend shadowing a few lessons prior to dropping lots of money on a course, to see if it's for you or not. I work as a hiking guide in the summers (awful pay but extremely enjoyable), so I'm not against taking a pay cut to do something enjoyable. But like I say if you have other goals (become a good snowboarder, maximise free time on snow, save money) there are better ways to go.
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snowrider wrote:
@Cailian Yes doing an Austrian qualification at the start of the season will allow you to get teaching a lot quicker and is a good option if you want to see if instructing is for you. As you have said the pay is not great. You can stay in Austria and keep working through their system but I think it will be difficult to get a snowboard qualification that will allow you to teach in France if that is the end goal and I though it was when I suggest the route above.


Why won't the Austrian qualification let you teach in France? There must be an EU equivalence surely.
If not Austria why not the Swiss qualification? The top level is enough to teach snowboarding in France under EU equivalency rules.
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@snowrider, that does all sound quite reasonable, except for the part about the Austrian qualification not allowing me to teach in France - I’m pretty sure the top qual of all the big alpine nations (maestro di sci, patente, diplomskilehrer, moniteur) is accepted in all of the other. It’s only non-Euro qualifications that aren’t accepted afaik
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@boarder2020 are you American by any chance? In France and Italy, all instructors have to have a level 4, which is why you can’t just hire level 2s. Most other Europeans (and brits especially) want to work in France for the pay - about €45/hour before tips.
I do appreciate your points about just working in a resort, and I did do that a few years ago, but I’d like to give instructing a try (I’ve tutored for the last few years and do actually really like teaching), and from what I’ve heard, having too many lessons to enjoy the slopes is rarely a big problem for beginning instructors lol
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The top Austrian qualification may be enough, not sure if there is enough competition element for the French in it. Not aware of anyone getting snowboarding equivalence with it but its not like the French shout about it. Be aware that the system for ski qualifications is a lot more clear than snowboard only qualifications. The issue is that not many people progress through the Austrian system to the top level in snowboard so again it may be hard to find training to get there. As Sitter says above the vast majority of the staff training will be skiing rather than snowboarding and what snowboard training there is is probably not higher level stuff. If it is a route you want to go down you need to find a resort and school where there is going to be able to guarantee to give you that higher level training.
The Swiss qualification is definitely an option. It is the most popular option for French snowboarders that don't want to ski but the teaching system is very old school and some of the lessons I see given by Swiss qualified French instructors who are good riders are very poor.
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@snowrider, thanks, that all makes sense. I wouldn’t be averse to a Swiss-qualification but I’d imagine the cost would be utterly horrifying - I know the Swiss mountain guide course is about 30,000 francs compared to about €11,000 in France for example.
Is it possible to take the Italian exams as an outsider? I met a fair number of very good Italian instructors in France, including my first ever instructor, so they deff get equivalence, and I’d imagine the quality is higher as it’s a split qualification, rather than France’s "if you’re a ski racer you can teach boarding" approach
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No idea about the cost of doing the swiss system, but having done some of my Basi exams in Zermatt certainly not a cheap place to live.
Yes you can take the Italian exams, again it comes down to how you will train to pass the exams and how well you speak Italian.
The French system is actually getting better, its just you have to ski (very well) as well. The instructors coming through the French system now are doing more snowboarding as part of the diplome so generally their teaching of lower level snowboarding is not horrendous like some of the old boys that did nothing.
Ultimately if you want to teach in France I would look at BASI or IASI (especially as you are Irish). Its not easy but you have to realise L4 is a degree level qualification so takes the same time, money and effort as going to Uni for 4 years.
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I’m quite wary of BASI, given the politics of the EU at the minute. It might get equivalence in France right now, but who’s to say what will be the case in 4 years time? I did a season in France 4 years ago, and it was very obvious that the French industry was highly protectionist then, as it still is, and that EU rulings were often what forced recognition of British qualifications. Perhaps nothing will change, but I’d feel safer with a European qualification. If it’s just a matter of getting higher level snowboard training, maybe it would be best to get an Austrian level 3 (which is supposed to be faster to pick up in snowboarding too) then spend a couple of years somewhere like Japan or even Switzerland with more of a snowboarding culture?
The Irish association don’t do level 4 snowboarding (https://iasisnowsports.ie/education/qualifications-pathway/)
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Ok so first off - 7 weeks to obtain an Anwärter is pretty much outrageuous and a huge rip-off in my opinion. You can get a dual anwärter (snowboard and ski) in 15 days, which is also recommendable if you want to work as a snowboard instructor in austria, because in only snowboard ski schools might not hire you. (I rarely teach skiing though; maybe 3 weeks a season?)

What I would do if I were you (what we dutchies do) is do the anwärter (costs you about 1500 euros), for example at the Wiener Verband (they have courses in English there), then do a season, and then maybe do Landes at the end of the season (for snowboard this is 2 courses: the skills week (10 days) and a 8 day or sth off-piste course (Alpinkurs)), after which you are allowed to teach off-piste. Lots of progression, you earn money while working while at the same time learning a lot and getting a lot of boarding time, and it costs you a lot less money than those expensive courses. I think Landes is close to a BASI level 3 qualification, but not sure about that.

The anwärter may be short and they drill you eternally with the basics and get mad if you don't do it perfectly - it gives you a huge foundation upon which you can build. I have (luckily) not made a lot of ski hours in the last 4 years of instructing, but because I know exactly how it's done now I can ski really mindfully and have progressed a lot. Same for snowboarding: as long as you know the foundation, you can progress so much and also identify why things aren't working for you. People at the ski school can also really help you.

Normally there's always time to get some laps in before or after work (depending when your lessons start), I usually get in an hour before or an hour after. You will also not always have work (probably 4 free weeks during your first season in Austria, in our resort at least) in which training weeks are organized. On saturday you're usually off, which means a lot more time to train (or just have fun of course Wink ).


In case you have any questions, let me know! I've done my Anwärter at the Tiroler Verband and also did the first part of the Landes at the Wiener Verband.
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I'm just dropping in my penny's worth as I'm looking at a zero-to-hero course alongside working a season: employers are squirrely and as I was told by a wise old man: "keep your powder dry". BASS have a course in Morzine and accommodation, lift pass etc plus exam fees comes to £10k.

I'm enjoying the handbags in the thread and some very good points have been made on both sides. When I was skiing this year I was in a group with two Swedes, brothers who had done a lot of skiing. They were bold, skiied quickly and liked big drops. The older of the two could also carve pretty well.

Their technique however was fairly ropey. I was far less able than they but I could see they often initiated turns with their shoulders rather then hips/edges etc. They still skiied really well though and rarely fell.. The instructor was also v able and a young Frenchman so he of course skiied like he knew it. When he tried to get everyone back to technique there were a lot of sad faces: being Swedish they politely put up with it then carried on as normal afterwards. A third Swede skiied with a massive gap between his legs when he turned but he wanted to keep up with his mates.

I don't know really. The 'output' of skiing quickly on difficult terrain was achieved but if their 'inputs' had been corrected I think they would've been much better overall.

I'm not too bothered about the job, I just want to be a really good skiier and for me that means excellent technique rather than mileage alone.
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Quote:

The 'output' of skiing quickly on difficult terrain was achieved but if their 'inputs' had been corrected I think they would've been much better overall


Much better how? For most of us the goal is to ski/ride difficult terrain well (fast, fluid, some degree of "style"). If we accomplish that consistently in a safe way (i.e. the Swedes you skied with), why worry? Unless you plan to make a career out of it there is a point where the amount of time needed to further improve technique is not worth the limited benefits. For most of us technique drills are also far less fun than skiing (hence the sad faces!), so again unless you plan to make money out of your skiing you might as well enjoy yourself!

Quote:

I just want to be a really good skiier


Don't bother with an instructor course then. Spend the money on an instructor teaching you! In no other sport would people consider a coaching qualification the best way to improve your own performance.
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Quote:
I just want to be a really good skiier
Then take a look at the videos showing what's achieved at the various levels.
It may be a question of perspective, but being a really good skier and being a really good instructor aren't the same thing.
There's a reason the person who taught you to drive doesn't win many Grand Prix.
Your snowploughs will definitely be better if you put a lot of time into them.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Some interesting stuff that I won't go over!

Couple of new perspectives:

Swiss/Austrian qualifications - the whole framework is there for you to see online and it's good, but you'll be sitting your exams in a foreign language. Is your French/German/Italian strong enough? I did this in a course that was supposedly lower than my BASI qualifications and with a lot of French behind me and I found it tough. Sit a l3/4 course in a foreign language? Not easy.

Teaching while training as a L2. The wages aren't awful. They're not great, but they're better than have been stated in this thread, and sometimes even very decent (Japan/Switzerland). Way better than other entry-level season workers. If they're not, you're doing it wrong.

Training while teaching as a L2 - this is tough. The problem starts being that the more successful you are at teaching, the less training you do. As has been said, the jump from 2->3 is enourmous, even more so on SB than ski, and you'll need to set time aside to ride hard. The bar work while training idea is a good plan, but can get a bit exhausting... You'll have earned that L4 when you finally get there, that's for sure!

Where to base yourself while training after L2. This is tough, as there's not that many places with really good snowboarders who'll be able to teach you. I worked a season in Switzerland for a lovely school, but I was the top snowboarder in the school, and possibly the resort having seen the local ESS instructors! To train I had to drive to Verbier, buy a Verbier day pass...

Tignes has a good crew, as does Morzine. The 3 valleys should be OK too - RTM are based there. Verbier, Andorra with Snowsports Coach... after this it gets tricky - make sure you've got good, cheap (no away-day lift passes!) access to a trainer and a group of others also going for the same quallies. NZ and NA are much, much better at this - you enter into a school environment, with training delivered by top cert riders. Great if you can get into that.

Good luck!
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@boarder2020, how would they be better? Much as you say later on, it is to improve technique even if it takes a lot of time. The point you make is a fair one and I'm not trying to rod you off: I'm trying to find the most effective way to improve at skiing. I've found a Warren Smith five-week course of nothing but instruction but it's much more expensive. Having a target to aim for (as someone mentioned earlier) will concentrate my mind on what I'm doing. Quite often practice just works in bad habits so having the tuition ought to correct that. The interesting bit is the ratio of pure teaching hours to 'how to teach'. Hopefully this will be more about skiing with the coaching bit less important and mostly picked up from the shadowing.

Lastly, I used to be a fencer (!) at school. One of my jobs in my last year at school was teaching the juniors and it helped me enormously to break down my technique and to make sure that I was good enough to set the example so I could demonstrate that which I was teaching.
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I accept they could improve technique the question is why? They seem to be happy with their level of skiing, they can get around and ski the terrain they want how they want, they presumably have no ambitions to become pro. I can relate to being in that position. Right now I'm happy enough, and enjoy riding around doing what I want more than technical drills.

I guess my view is a little coloured by the fact I have some friends obsessed with technique. There comes a point where everything is over thought. We saw a guy throw a huge 360 (20ft+) and one of them claimed his technique was bad. The guy doing the 360 was Logan Pehota (numerous FWT podiums). I'd take his "bad technique", it must really suck to be so bad Laughing

You make a good point about simply skiing working in bad habits. If you can't afford a full season of lessons how about 1/2 day private instruction per week? That should be able to iron out any bad habits and work on ways to improve.

I guess it depends on what level you are currently at and where you want to end up. Will an instructor course improve your snowboarding ability? Probably. Will it make you a "great" rider? Not really. (That doesn't mean instructors can't be great skiers).
How many pro pros completed an instructor course prior to becoming pro? Close to zero. It's simply not the best or most efficient way to become a great skier. There is a reason the best athletes and best coaches in almost every sport are not the same people, it's two very different things.
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You know it makes sense.
Quote:

One of my jobs in my last year at school was teaching the juniors and it helped me enormously to break down my technique and to make sure that I was good enough to set the example so I could demonstrate that which I was teaching


Teaching fencing to school kids will probably I prove your understanding and make you think about your technique more. It won't make you a "great" fencer though. If that was the case every year the physics Nobel prize would be won by school teachers!

Is everyone that passes L2 skiing course a "great" skier? Imo clearly not, but it depends on your definition of great. To a "holiday skier" doing a week or 2 per year the instructors are probably all "great".
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@boobleblooble,
I commented on your BASI ski stuff in another thread.

Just more thoughts.....

If your deffo not gonna use the teaching qualifications then embarking on instructor training may be an expensive way to get the polished technique you seem to be after?

Other options could be something like Master Classes with ICE in Val d'Isere.

You get concentrated ski technique tuition with BASI trainers but with out the BASI exams. Ask the inside out guys about ICE when you do your session with them in the dome.

Other ski schools/resorts run similar stuff

https://www.icesi.org/ski-performance-course.asp?gclid=Cj0KCQjw4f35BRDBARIsAPePBHzWX9KIG0jYFiX2dgXFv4h4daJhnifv-x9Kxr0pR0p31_jRM1H0qlwaAjFoEALw_wcB
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boarder2020 wrote:
How many pro pros completed an instructor course prior to becoming pro? Close to zero. It's simply not the best or most efficient way to become a great skier.


No, but likely as not they were rolled into a race training program from an early age. The system is structured the other way around, become a racer, then become an instructor (or coach) when you retire.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

No, but likely as not they were rolled into a race training program from an early age. The system is structured the other way around, become a racer, then become an instructor (or coach) when you retire.


Exactly, you are making my point for me. The kids get put in race training programs because they are much more effective in making someone a good skier than completing a coaching course (in the same way if you want to become an expert physicist you wouldn't train to become a physics teacher). There is nothing wrong in doing a coaching course and it will probably help your skiing somewhat. But if your goal is to be a great skier there are much better options than a level 2 ski instructor course. I know at least a few people that have completed the L2 course and are clearly not great.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@boarder2020, Race training is less of an option if you are starting the process later in life though. The optimal answer is to finding a Coach to work with over the long term.
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boarder2020 wrote:
if your goal is to be a great skier there are much better options than a level 2 ski instructor course.


like being born in the Alps to a family of keen snowsports enthusiasts and getting enrolled into the local club at an early age or just getting taken skiing / boarding a lot
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Quote:

like being born in the Alps to a family of keen snowsports enthusiasts and getting enrolled into the local club at an early age or just getting taken skiing / boarding a lot


Yes that is ideal, but certainly not the only route. Jenny Jones started learning at 17 on a dry slope in Somerset, although she's more an outlier than the rule. I guess we are back to what is "great". If we mean the top 1% you are probably right that almost almost all grew up spending a lot of time snowboarding from a young age, and that if you haven't reached that stage by your early 20s you almost certainly never will regardless.

I guess a better question would be what's the best way to maximise your current potential and become the best snowboarder you can from this moment. I really don't think the answer is doing an instructor course.
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Thanks for all the advice and argument, it's been interesting and some good points made. I've looked into the various non-BASI training courses, Warren Smith runs one as well as those suggested above. The problem is that they're expensive and run over a short period of time, usually five weeks or so. They would hoover up all my money straight away whereas BASS do 140hrs coaching then the shadowing and "structured practice" are on top. I've worked out that I can do a full season in Morzine with all the BASI 1/2 exams and coaching for £10k, or I could do a couple of months.

I'll keep looking a bit longer but if a job isn't forthcoming I'm just going to self-fund. At least I won't have to spend hours looking for a job with a decidedly wobbly job market.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Whistler used to do an unlimited lesson pass, I'm not sure if they still do or if it will be running next season but maybe worth contacting them. Even with crazy accomodation prices you could probably manage a season there on £10k.

If you want to become an instructor the course makes sense. If you don't,and your goal is simply to become a great skier it's kind of a waste of time and money. Clearly large parts of the course will be focused on the teaching side rather than your personal performance. I don't know if on level 2 you even really do any off-piste? The assessment criteria for "steep" only mentions linked turns on red and black pistes (not particularly great Laughing ).

If the intensive courses are too much money why not just hire a private instructor for a couple of hours per week? I'm sure you would be able to find one willing to offer you a good deal for the repeat business in what is likely to be an unpredictable season. They can give you plenty of stuff to work on until your next session.

I've seen plenty of people without any instruction make great progress. A lot of it comes down to being active about your learning. Of course if you go out and aimlessly cruise around for a couple of hours each day you won't improve much. Study away from the slopes (ample amount of online resources available), really focus on what you are doing on the snow (perhaps even find a friend to video you so you can see), and push yourself in terms of terrain and riding with those better than you,and you might surprise yourself.
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@boarder2020, I'm going to send you a clip of my winning FWT run in April x
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Well I wish you luck with whatever option you choose. I just can't understand how an instructor course fits your goals. Hopefully you will be happy enough with the outcome
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@boobleblooble,

if your set on Morzine then get in touch with Door step skis and All mountain rental for a job.
Both have a good mix of seasonaires and folk who live out there all year round working for them with a high proportion of really good riders and skiers with a few who are going through the basi stuff too.
Ski tech for either of these companies part-time. Its mostly evenings and weekends fitting out skis to folk in their chalet and servicing kit back in their workshop.
They will probably train you and if you must have training to land a job with door step or all mountain rental then a 1 x day course ith anything technical would help you land that job.
https://www.skiequipmentuk.co.uk/training/
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