Following Willy Boyd’s article on the Dutch last week we bring you another report on a non alpine nation represented at Interski. Jon Ahlsén blogs BASI…

Great Britain – Instructors with transferrable skills

I have been assigned with covering what BASI – the British Association of Snowsport Instructors – presented at Interski. Perhaps my being a BASI trainer had something to do with that choice. I’m currently enjoying a weekend in the middle of the two week BASI level 2 exam in Zermatt. Next week’s forecast is looking grim with temperatures around -20 C for the week.

Jon's selfie at the top of the demo hill

Jon’s selfie at the top of the demo hill

To understand BASI’s chosen topics, we need some understanding about the skiing Britons do. It came as a bit of a surprise to me when I was going through my qualifications (and being from Sweden) that Britons ski a lot. Most of that skiing does not take place at home in Britain, but rather overseas, and particularly in the Alps. According to BASI, Britons spend more than £1,000,000,000 on skiing overseas each year.

The instructors that are qualified within BASI follow the Britons into the Alps, North America and elsewhere: the vast majority of BASI instructors are “exported” and work outside Britain. BASI has adapted to this reality hand has moved


instructing methods. What does this mean? It means that BASI does not require specific maneuvers to be performed, or that the skiing is performed in any specific manner. Instead, the idea is to work on skills the skills that good skiers use already from beginner levels, albeit at much more rudimentary refinement levels. For instructors, this means that the criteria on which candidates are assessed are outcome based, such as grip at fall line, round turn shape, rhythm, etc. on specified types of terrain, while taking into account the type of equipment the candidate uses (for example slalom vs. gs skis). This allows for a range of “looks” between successful candidates. To me, it’s harder to categorize a skier as a BASI instructor than it is to identify an instructor from Austria, Switzerland, Italy etc.

BASI on the demo hill

BASI on the demo hill

BASI means that this creates instructors that are more employable by any ski school anywhere in the world. An instructor who works on skills rather than form and linear progressions is more adaptable to other systems and can more easily adapt his/her teaching to fit in with the teaching approaches of other countries.

BASI chose to highlight this in one of its on-snow clinic through bumps, which traditionally plays a major part in the skiing Britons like as well as in BASI exams, from level 2 through to level 4. The focus was on BASI’s fundamental elements (where the aforementioned skills are described through possible inputs leading to outcomes) and “threads”, which BASI uses to describe the factors that can influence performance: technical, tactical, physical, psychological, environment and equipment. Bumps bring these out very quickly, and so this type of skiing was used to highlight how each of these can be used to improve performance.

Off-snow, BASI held lectures about what a BASI member can offer the world’s snowsports market and the TIED model. The latter is a powerful teaching tool, which provides a structured approach to good instructing. The acronym stands for Task, Information, Evaluation and Develop. It is designed to help instructors give clear and structured lessons, in which both the instructor and student are clear on what skills need improvement and why this is the case.

Photos and words – Jon Ahlsén