By Tim Aitchison – Winner of the Altitude Futures ‘King/Queen of the ISIA/L4 Course’
What a great season, with fantastic snow conditions, some good powder days and passing all my exams! 2 factors why training with Altitude was great, firstly, the trainers were always on point, really knowing their stuff and pushing you to be a better skier than you thought possible. Secondly, my peers, pushing each other on and supporting one another helping us become better skiers. They were also good to going skiing with after training and, more importantly, drinking.
Altitude Ski School Formation week
The week was getting to know the ski school, people you will be working with and the trainers (Harry, Ross and Sega) and also your fellow peers. Doing some fun ski exercises and teaching our peers. Getting to know the area you will be teaching and training as well as having a tour around Verbier Village to get to know the shops, hotels and, more importantly, where the good bars are! This tour was very useful when it came to busy periods because you needed to know where to meet your clients.
BASI Level 3 training in Verbier
Training consisted of 25 hours a week – Monday to Friday. Being able to split the group, if necessary making it more manageable for the trainers, with some people going to train with the Level 4 for a bit. At the start of the season we began by doing slow drills to build on our fundamentals to make them strong before we moved on to the faster and steeper stuf. This included some fun drills I had never done before such as the Courmayeur shuffle. Two days before our Mountain Safety we had some tips on navigation and what to do if caught in an avalanche. Two weeks before our exam we worked on individual development in our skiing, giving people the best chance to work on the weakest part of their skiing or teaching.
BASI L3 Tech, Teach and Mountain Safety Exams
The first exam of the season had come; it was Mountain Safety Level 3. This exam was really useful to grow your knowledge about snow conditions and angle of slope, which is very important in an area like Verbier. This exam had really grown my awareness on which part of the mountain is safe and how to react when things go sideways. The last 2 exams were back-to-back with the weekend off in between them. The first was the Technical exam which pushed us to the edges of our skiing ability. This was a great week of hard skiing and everyone throughout that week improved. The final examination of the season was the Teaching exam. This was a very intensive week of learning. There was a lot of information about different styles of teaching and this really helped you think about how you can deliver a good lesson.
Working as a ski instructor in Verbier
Working for Altitude was great because we were able to teach during Christmas week, New Year week, half-term and the Easter holidays enabling us to try the teaching styles we had learnt in training.
I would like to say a huge thanks to the trainers Harry, Ross and Sega who helped me get through my exams and my peers who put up with me during the season. Hopefully, I will be back again for more training for level 4 next season.