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January Gap Course – BASI Exams

This was always going to be a stressful week. The BASI Level one exam requires you to teach one of the five stages of beginner skiing from never having seen snow before to making parallel turns. It also requires you to perform the full spectrum of technical turns from basic snow plough (a lot harder than it looks) to long carving turns but without a change to your posture. We split into two groups. Our trainer, made it very clear that we all had to make some changes to the way we ski. I thought I had already made some fairly fundamental changes in the previous weeks. I had not.

Final BASI Level 1 assessment

This was not only a very important week because of the exam but Thursday also marked my twenty third year of life. Unfortunately, I couldn’t fully relax and enjoy the day because I had to deliver my lesson on parallel turns to the rest of the group. Friday was also the final assessment day for our technical skiing so any birthday celebrations had to be postponed to after this point. I am used to having exams on my birthday though, it happened to me all throughout school and university and it is the curse of having a birthday during this time of year. Friday came along before I’d even got a chance to prepare myself for either the very worst or very best birthday I’ve had. Luckily for me, it turned out to be one of the best of the twenty three others.

Offshore Café Verbier

To finally have the week behind us was a huge relief. After a slower start than the rest of the week and with such amazing weather on offer, we decided to discover a bit more of the four valleys. First, some sustenance was needed. In hindsight this was a bad idea. Other friends on the course had told me about a certain sandwich at Offshore cafe. The legendary ‘chicken and cheese’ is exactly what it says it is. A huge crusty bit of bread filled to the brim with cooked chicken, mayonnaise and lots and lots of cheese. And because that was obviously not enough, a portion of chips as well. After consuming this stupidly large sized meal we then decided this was the best time to go down the famous mogul run, Tortin. I had heard about Tortin prior to arriving in Verbier. I pictured the first time I would go down this run and it wasn’t with what felt like half a kilo of chicken and cheese lodged in my stomach. We did make it down Tortin, but I have to admit there were several moments when I thought the ‘chicken and cheese’ might make an appearance on the run. I have no regrets though, it was an incredible sandwich and I’m sure I’ll be back for more!

Killian O’Brien

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