Over recent years we have helped hundreds of students obtain ski instructor qualifications. A large part of a student’s success is down to the effort they put into their training, as well as the experience and skill level of our coaches.
It is also important that a student has the best possible equipment set up for taking part in the course. We explore in this blog what equipment our trainees need, and how to go about choosing the best equipment for a ski instructor course.
Choosing the right ski boot.
Our BASI 1 & 2 instructor course spans ten weeks, therefore having both the correct fit and a good comfort level while wearing your ski boot is very important, as you’ll be spending a lot of time in them! With full days on the hill skiing, training and shadowing lessons, the boot determines how comfortable you are and impacts the level of performance you can achieve.
We recommend that you use a professional boot fitter, who will measure the size of your foot. Ski boots may seem similar, however different brands suit some feet better than others. The brand that is best for you will depend on your foot width, foot shape, biomechanics and possibly previous foot injuries.
We recommend a solid boot, meaning a flex for women between 90-110 and for men between 100-130, depending on your size, strength and skiing level.
What is flex? The flex of a ski boot is all about how difficult it is to flex the boot forwards. It indicates the level of resistance the boot will provide as you bend your ankle forward.
Often, people believe that the higher the level of flex the better the skier. However if you are a more intermediate skier, who suffers from lack of mobility, or stiffer ankles, often a slightly stiffer boot will in fact aid performance. By communicating with a professional boot fitter and explaining that you are joining an instructor training course, they should be able advise you on the right type of boot for your individual requirements.
So, how do I choose the correct boot?
We highly recommend a boot that has four buckles and a strap as this gives you the best support around both your foot and shin. It optimises some vital movements we use as skiers. On the course you do not require a ‘hike mode’ on your boots, so we suggest you choose a piste-specific boot.
We work in a resort with highly trained boot fitters at No 1 Sports. You may prefer to wait until you are in resort to choose your boot, and an Altitude coach will accompany you to the shop to help you choose the perfect boot. This also means you can easily return to the shop for adjustments once you’ve had the chance to try the boot out on the hill.
Here are some coaches recommendations of good options for your training course:
- Rossignol Hero
- Technica Firebird
- Lange RS Wide (if you have a wide foot)
The best skis for your instructor course.
Ski technology has transformed dramatically over recent years and the shape of the skis depends on the discipline they are intended for, such as on-piste, powder or touring. Whilst our instructors may have a variety of ski types, it is essential they can ski the mountain using a piste ski.
During the course our coaches may decide to ski powder with you, or take you for a few runs through the terrain park. On dedicated deep snow or park days they may give you the option to rent or use your powder or park ski, until then it’s important your main ski is a piste ski.
A ski that is piste-specific will give you the best chance of achieving the tasks that the coaches set. This will lead to a better performance particularly in the preparation for the BASI exams.
The shape of a piste ski gives you the ability to ski bumps, perform short and long turns and engage an edge much easier than other skis. They tend to be 70-78mm wide under the foot with the tip and tail around 110mm wide.
Another important factor is how tall your skis should be. We recommend a ski that is somewhere within the region of 5-10 cm below your height. This gives you a stable balance, and also the ability to steer and control the ski in shorter or longer radius turns.
Another element you should consider when choosing the perfect ski for you, is how stiff the ski is, although a softer ski may be easier to bend, it can often create less feedback through the ski leading to poorer balance and performance around the turn.
On the other hand a ski that is too stiff may be too difficult to steer due to the amount of force needed for the ski to turn. A typical output for someone whose ski is too stiff gives the impression that they are just riding the ski around the turn and not influencing the arc shape.
The perfect flex of a ski for you will give you both the stability and manoeuvrability needed, and it will also compliment the power you apply to the ski to achieve the turn you set out to make. Choosing the best flex has been made easy by ski companies by reading the description of the ski. Although there isn’t a flex rating brands advertise skis for beginners intermediates and advanced skiers.
It is important to remember that as future instructors we are tasked with guiding learners through the skiing progression, meaning you need a ski that can clearly demonstrate the progression. Therefore taking into account the type of ski you choose is integral to becoming a well rounded instructor.
If you are attending the off piste course this season the same information applies to give yourself the best chances of being successful in the level 1 qualification. Our previous students partaking in this course often rent an off piste ski from our partners at No1 rentals, or they may choose to purchase both piste and off piste skis.
Here are some skis suited to instructor trainees and instructors alike. Altitude deals can also be found within the links.
Recommended Blizzard skis
BASI Level 1 and 2 or BASI 3
- Firebird HRC
- Firebird WRC
BASI 1 and 2
- Blizzard thunderbird
- PHOENIX R14 (Good Female Ski)
Off- Piste Course
- Cochise 106
- Rustler 9
Recommended Rossignol Skis
Rossignol products are now available to pre-order online (available from dates detailed on individual products).
BASI 1 and 2 Course – Hero elite plus ti Nova 8 CA React 8 HP
If you have any further questions on choosing the correct equipment for your course, please do not hesitate to contact us at Altitude.