After spending last season in Verbier, I couldn’t wait to head back for another ski season. Following an introductory meeting at the Altitude office, it was clear to me that this was going to be the course I had been looking for. Everyone seemed to be really into skiing, our trainers looked motivating and the overall vibe was really good.
The first week was spent working on the formation of the instructor team at Altitude Ski and Snowboard School. It was great to get to know each other; moreover it was fun and inspiring to ski with all the top instructors at Altitude.
After the first week, our team (ISIA and ISTD candidates) started training. Each morning we went up to develop and fine-tune our skiing. Every member of the group had an idea on which areas he or she had to work on and for me it was the piste performance. Throughout the training weeks my focus was on short and long turns, which at some points became a bit frustrating. Thanks to our trainers and the great team we could correct our mistakes and have a lot of fun during training sessions.
Altitude provided us with work opportunities during the peak season weeks. Each of us was working and practicing our teaching skills. I was lucky to have all kinds of skiers from kids to adults, from beginner to advanced. I even instructed a snowboard lesson, which was probably the biggest challenge! These teaching weeks were a great opportunity for me to train for my upcoming teaching exam as well.
I signed up for four exams in March, so I knew it would be a hard month for me. My first exam was Mountain Safety. Verbier received a metre of snow the week before, so conditions were perfect. We learned about navigation, transceiver search, avalanche hazards and group management.
ISIA Teaching was the second week. It was a tough week with a lot of thinking and planning, but my group worked together really well and we all passed the exam at the end of the week. Colin, our BASI trainer, was really helpful and motivating. I think everyone in the group was thankful to have him as our trainer. We learned new teaching styles and techniques from each other and in the mean time we were finetuning our own skiing as well.
The third week I had my ISIA Technical exam for which I had to travel to Val d’Isere, France. This was the week I was most afraid of, since I knew that my piste skiing might just not be enough. This was a very tiring exam with a lot of focus and hard work. Giles, the trainer pushed everyone to their limits. I crashed more times that week than in the whole season. Even on the last day at 3pm we had to perform at our best to pass. When he told us on the middle of a mogul run that we all passed we were extremely happy and relieved.
The Freestyle Coach Level 1 was the most relaxed exam. A week of learning new tricks in the park, jumping around the slopes and trying new things on the airbag. It was a great way to end all exams, and I could not be happier. I passed all four exams I signed up for, I improved my skiing this season and I was part of a great team who made the season unforgettable.
I would like to say thank you to all my trainers throughout the season, Harry, Jon, Rémy and Ross who helped me improve my skiing and pass my exams, to the ISIA/ISTD group who made the season so much fun, to Altitude for the support and to my Parents! I can’t wait for December again!