A Successful Ski Class by Team Germany

The German workshop took us through the six ingredients that they believe create a successful ski class. These ingredients could also be applied to other snowsports disciplines.


The structure of the workshop was designed to give us an example of a successful ski class lesson with narration to highlight what is going on in the lesson and why. Specific attention was brought to the six key ingredients for a successful lesson (which you can see in the left of the picture below). I volunteered to be in the lesson which was delivered with creativity and energy. It was inspiring to ski with a World Cup hero, Fanny Chmelar. In the lesson there was a big emphasis given to an early, strong pole plant, this was a bonus to get an insight into some of their technical ideas during a teaching-focused workshop.


Learner centred teaching and the Knowledge Picnic from Team Finland

The Finnish on snow workshop was set up with a brilliant introduction. The idea of a ‘knowledge picnic’ was introduced, this is when everyone brings some of their own knowledge to the group to share with everyone. We also had a pleasure of hearing how the Finnish were developing their use of learner-centred teaching.

My first chairlift ride was with experienced ski instructors from USA, Austria and Denmark, we were tasked to have a chat about learner-centred teaching. We had a great chat about the benefits and challenges to this approach of teaching.

However, the session did not continue with the same momentum as it evolved into a prescriptive task-after-task command teaching style.

The Finnish Snowsports Instructors have a great idea as this is the direction that most of the world’s snowsports teaching associations have gone in.

Great British, Denmark, USA and Austria Knowledge Picnic


Teaching teachers to teach by developing reviewing skills

Training all-round snowsports teachers

The theme of Interski 2019 is ‘future snowsports’. Throughout the BASI system we prepare our instructors to be lifelong learners who will continue to develop their instructing skills to make them adaptable and prepare them for the future. In the on-snow session we outlined what reviewing skills are and we demonstrated and explained how we develop these skills through experiential learning in our instructor teaching courses.

In this off-snow lecture we bring attention to the why do we teach our instructor to review their teaching sessions. It is worth noting that since our teaching courses are the same across disciplines, the on-snow workshop and this accompanying lecture have been designed and delivered by a team of ski and snowboard instructors.

BASI aims to create employable, credible and autonomous snowsports instructors. We develop candidates’ reviewing skills in all our courses so that they review their lessons and make their next lesson better. BASI trained instructors can therefore adapt to a variety of workplaces, clients and conditions in the UK and across the world. As lessons are not from a template, each lesson is specific to clients’ needs and expectations.

Context – research quotes that support the power of reviewing skills

There is some academic research which helps put some context behind the idea that reviewing skills may help develop good teachers/instructors. Teachers and coaches report that their most powerful learning experiences come from two sources:

  • learning from colleagues and peers
  • learning from experience

These are some quotes which support this idea:

Learning from colleagues and peers:

“Good teaching is a collective accomplishment and responsibility” (Hargreaves and Fullan, 2012)

“teachers can only really learn once they get outside their own classrooms and connect with other teachers” (Hargreaves, 2009)

Learning from experience:

“learning takes place in everyday experience and occurs without intention, from “doing” and from both successes and mistakes” (Smylie, 1995)

“Teachers indicate that they learn through the activity of teaching itself” (Hoesktra, et.al, 2007)

“we do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience” (Dewey, 1938)

What qualities does a good snowsports instructor have?

Good snowsports teachers have a huge variety of qualities which can be placed into three categories: professional knowledge, interpersonal skills and intrapersonal skills. The professional knowledge is everything that would be in a snowsports teacher’s manual including snowsport-specific knowledge and the theory of how to teach snowsports. Interpersonal skills include social skills and communication with others. Intrapersonal skills include understanding of self and passion. BASI value all three categories which contribute to an all-round skilful snowsports teacher.

An instructor with effective reviewing skills will be able to develop all three categories that combine to make a good Snowsports instructor.

Reviewing in the BASI System

We teach reviewing skills in all our courses. BASI snowsports instructors develop their understanding, experience and ability with review skills from Level 1 courses through to Level 4.  We encourage instructors to continue using reviewing skills so that they can develop themselves in the workplace, therefore becoming adaptable, autonomous instructors. In the future BASI hopes to continue to develop our training and assessment of reviewing skills within our system.

Reviewing in practice

With the skills they have developed on their courses, a BASI instructor will continue to use review skills in the workplace. The following videos show examples of reviewing in practice. There are three sets of videos, the first in each set shows ineffective reviewing skills with no depth or reflection, while the second video in the set shows the instructor using more effective reviewing which will help them to develop their teaching.

The first set of videos shows the instructor at the end of a lesson reviewing the lesson with the client. The second set of videos show the instructor’s self-reflection about a lesson. While the third set of videos show the Instructor reviewing a lesson with his peers.

A teacher with effective reviewing skills will be a lifelong learner who will continue to develop all three categories of teaching skills autonomously in order to adapt to the environment in which they are working. Looking at the future, in line with research highlighting the value of learning from experience and from peers, BASI are looking to further develop the training and assessment of reviewing skills within our system.

 “the most important attitude that can be formed is that of desire to go on learning” (Dewey, 1933)

The lecture was designed, developed and presented at Interski 2019 by BASI National Education Team members:

Lesley Page, Paul Garner, Giles Lewis, Ben Arkley, Kevin Edwards, Dave Morris and Amanda Pirie


Using the TIED Model to Develop Adaptable Technicians and Adaptable Teachers

The production of adaptable teachers is BASI’S overriding theme at this Interski conference.

BASI has undeniable success in creating instructors that can fit into any school anywhere. A BASI instructor is unbound by a prescriptive technique or an imperative lesson plan. It is not a new achievement. BASI has long embodied pragmatism and inclusion. A BASI instructor has always been considered a safe-pair-of-hands however disparate the situation.

BASI instructors work far and wide, from dry slopes and snow domes at home, to rolling carpets in South Africa, to the Alps, Rockies, Southern Alps, Snowy Mountains, Andes, Hida Mountains, and the Bulgarian Rhodope Mountains of this congress. British instructors have always had to adapt or fail. This lecture explored a process BASI uses to continue to develop and augment versatile teachers.

The TIED model (Task-Information-Evaluation-Development) was presented as a means to sculpt an adaptable instructor. Specifically, the lecture focused on the Evaluation element: why is the student not able to achieve the desired outcome. The lecture highlighted the need for an adaptable instructor to find solutions that are not merely technical, but may be resolved in other Performance Threads.




The lecture expressed the importance of trainee instructors to understand specific blockages in performance that equipment can cause, from ski choice and tuning to boot stiffness, last, cuff adjustment, leg alignment.



  • Visibility
  • Temperature
  • Snow conditions
  • Difficulty of terrain
  • Altitude

The lecture emphasised the importance of relating back to the TIED model, for instance adjusting the difficulty of the task.



Can you imagine tackling this??

  • Attentional focus
  • Arousal levels
  • Emotional thresholds

The lecture reinforced the need for aspirant instructors to be trained on the psychological aspect of performance and basic tools that they should have knowledge of.



  • Strength/Power
  • Agility
  • Physical application when performing
  • Stability

There are two sides to this:

1.The actual physical strength/power/agility of the performer and how they can be better prepared.

2.The application of whatever physical power they have in the live performance. Are they underpowered/overpowered?




  • Methods of speed control
  • Turn shape

At this point the lecture turned to the strand of bumps as a salient means to highlight the tactical thread (and indeed no other strand so immediately pulls together the requisites of equipment, environment, physicality, psychology, tactics, and technique).



  • Steering
  • Movements
  • Posture and balance

It was suggested that trainee instructors understand this is sometimes the least important area that can be developed, and the other threads should have been attended to as effectively as possible.



The lecture affirmed the general target of BASI, to produce well-rounded, adaptable teachers. It used the TIED model and the evaluation element to show one way that BASI is striving to achieve this, and make the skill of versatility ever more important in the training and assessment of aspirant teachers. The lecture asked a pertinent question: how much emphasis is put on the training of instructors outside of the technical strand? By embracing the performance threads, where technique is a mere element, a coach can develop a rounded and pragmatic skier, able to react and make decisions at will. By embracing the performance threads, a trainer can develop rounded and pragmatic teachers, able to better performance efficiently and effectively.

Meet the team – Jas Bruce

We sat down with BASI NET team members and asked them about their journey through the BASI system. We all know that going through the BASI system (or any other instructing system) can sometimes feel hard. We wondered how these BASI members were successful in their journey. What we found were stories that are universal to anyone trying to develop at something. We thought we would share these stories with the hope that they inspire snowsport instructors to continue learning and developing in the sport they love.


Jas has a goal in everything he does: “to be as good at it as is possible”. He has dedicated himself to this mantra throughout his career as a skier and ski teacher. Jas started ski racing while he was at school and when he left school he committed himself to the sport as a full time athlete and was selected onto the British Ski Team. During this time he did his first instructor exam on a dry ski slope and loved it, so he combined racing and teaching when he could. When he traded his catsuit for textbooks to study for a sports science degree in Edinburgh, Jas continued ski instructing part time at Hillend dry ski slope, in the Alps and in New Zealand. Jas recommends ski instructing as a fun and lucrative student job. However more importantly, he believes it was during the hours at the dry ski slope that he developed the foundation of his ski teaching skills and his determination to forge a career in ski instructing.

Jas’s passion for skiing and ski teaching is infectious and his drive to continue to develop his skills is inspiring. Jas has learnt from a variety of mentors during his ski career who have helped develop a strong toolbox to teach in a variety of situations. His mantra still holds true as he is open to new ideas about teaching and technique, as well as seeking personal technical skills training opportunities whenever he can.

Jas is a full time BASI Trainer which means he delivers the whole range of courses to candidates throughout the year. He does this alongside managing New Gerneration Ski School in Val d’Isere.

Message… Enjoy the journey. Enjoy the teaching, learning, developing your skiing and being part of the snowsports community, so you can reflect with fond memories. You grow with time, be patient and never stop seeking knowledge: give yourself time and be open to new ideas to grow into the best ski instructor you can be.

Jas Bruce perf 1


Meet Dave Morris

We sat down with BASI NET team members and asked them about their journey through the BASI system. We all know that going through the BASI system (or any other instructing system) can sometimes feel hard. We wondered how these BASI members were successful in their journey. What we found were stories that are universal to anyone trying to develop at something. We thought we would share these stories with the hope that they inspire snowsport instructors to continue learning and developing in the sport they love.


Dave earned a degree in English Literature and Philosophy and it is apparent when you speak to him that he approaches his coaching/teaching practice in a philosophical manner. He comes across as incredibly conscientious about doing the best job for the people he is teaching/coaching.

Dave skied from the age of three because of a ski mad dad and then ski raced until 18 years old starting at 10 on the dry ski slopes of North England – a bit like Dave Ryding but not as good! He has balanced a ski coaching career with an instructor and trainer career.

When you speak to Dave about his journey through the BASI system you realise that he has used his experiences in each role to inform his understanding of his other coaching practices. So for example his experience as a race coach has helped develop his trainer practice and vice versa.

What strikes you when talking to Dave is that he has been able to learn from his experiences and that he has the humility to keep learning. As a extremely experienced trainer (since 2003) and race coach (since 2000) and instructor (technical director for New Generation) it could be easy for him to assume he knows more than other instructors. However Dave spoke about learning from a young instructor who worked for him. He saw what a great job this instructor was doing and was inspired to adapt his approach to teaching ski school clients.

Message: No matter how much knowledge you have always be ready to learn from others around you. Dave has continued to experience, watch and question within his coaching/teaching practice. This is what makes him such a successful coach and trainer.

Dave perf 3

The Perils of Dogma in Skiing, the Perils of Dogma in Life

Ru G

Dogma is “a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.” 

I remember an argument that two industry friends had about skiing. It is not the theme of the argument I particularly recall- perhaps it was about the use of lower leg versus hip in a turn, or the adjustments to technique needed when skiing the sand dunes of Namibia. The way things were argued was memorable. I remember a vehemence of conviction from both sides. More menacing, I recollect a mutual unwillingness to contemplate the possibility of being wrong. What started as a chat over a brew escalated to a verbal brawl, into personal attacks on each other’s skiing and personal hygiene. I could not help but see an allegory here: dogma leads to anger and fanaticism, as the world daily and bloodily attests.

Let’s ride this conceit back to skiing. Having principles alone is not dogmatic. As ski coaches, we probably all have a set of principles we wittingly or unconsciously purvey. Some may call these techniques. Others more may call these skills. But even the skill-based agnostics have their favourite skills to impart. We have biomechanics at hand, Newtonic laws to apply. We are experts at specifying tasks and exacting outcomes. The sport is not as open as some would perceive. I don’t know many people who set off without any intent at all when they ski: most will choose to turn, some may even choose a rounded turn that promotes ski performance and its accompanying delicious sensations. We would be flaky coaches to have no beliefs on skiing. It is the notion that these principles are incontrovertibly true, however, that defines the dogmatist, and stands in the way of imagination.

As a world-weary pragmatist, I have spent my ski career siding up to certain things that work for me and appear to work for students, only to listen, discuss, engage and argue with colleagues around the globe, and cherry pick new things. I do not forget or forsake my old notions, merely add to them. I will share an example below, focusing on Long Turns.


I used to actively incline at the top of the turn, to create extreme space between skis and Centre of Mass. I became very good at the white-pass turn.

I am now more focused on establishing edges when on top of the ski by articulating the feet, ankles and legs, particularly on a longer radius ski. As such I changed a gross movement of the mass down the hill and away from the skis to a subtler movement with the ski and towards the work phase.

I would not stop coaching a white-pass turn to develop the skill of using old lateral separation to beget extreme early angles into the new turn, or indeed to prolong a light feeling for a slight smudge were that my intent.


I used to focus on equal edge angles and aligned shins.

Now I accept that to use a greater range of hip laterally, it will be hard for the inside knee to point overly inside the turn.

Some may use too much hip in the build phase and so counter the hips in the work phase, making a focus on aligned shins a viable one.


I used to focus rotational separation towards the fall-line which helped me create an extreme throw down the hill.

Now I try and line my shoulders towards the work phase (apex) of the next turn, sometimes even using a swing of the arms to move me early to the new outside ski before an edge change.

I have begun to overdo this and probably need to focus on more rotational separation as I square up too much and lose energy out of the turn!

Now the above is merely a distilled example of my own process, and a process that I relate, hopefully without bias, to students. Nothing above is right. Nothing is wrong. I still practise and preach what I did, as well as what I’m changing. I am merely exploring more pathways, being curious, and fighting against simplification. If I had a dogma, I could not be curious, and coaching skiing would be rather stale.

Interski is a congress, a place for discussion. As with all discussions, whether the existential ones about skiing or the trivial ones about religion, it’s not how passionate our views are or how robustly we defend them that we should be weary of, it is about how open we are to revision and others changing our minds. It is about engaging.

Ru G perf 3

Meet Tom Waddington

We sat down with BASI NET team members and asked them about their journey through the BASI system. We all know that going through the BASI system (or any other instructing system) can sometimes feel hard. We wondered how these BASI members were successful in their journey. What we found were stories that are universal to anyone trying to develop at something. We thought we would share these stories with the hope that they inspire snowsport instructors to continue learning and developing in the sport they love.

Tom headshot

Tom has always been a keen sportsman. He played competitive rugby to a high level before pursuing his first sporting passion, skiing.

Tom’s skiing career is a story of two halves. The first half was a rather easy route through the BASI system. He had been inspired to stop pursuing a career in the city when his good friend suggested that he come to work with him as a ski instructor at in Italy. Over the next few years he found the BASI qualification system very enjoyable and didn’t come up against many barriers until the eurotest. He said, “I backed myself and believed in myself but I kept failing the eurotest”. This is where it would have been easy for Tom to give up. Instead, he swore to himself that he would never stop learning and pushing himself, especially after the qualifications were finished.

When Tom got his eurotest he realised that he had learned something key and fundamental, that “better never stops” – a quote taken from one of the best cricketers of all time, Sachin Tendulkar. This is his main philosophy in life. It is something that he continues to embody through his choices, but it is also something that he hopes to teach others.

After Tom became full cert he continued to develop his technical skiing and knowledge by competing as a FIS athlete in NZ and working with Dave Ryding and the British team. He is currently learning more about human anatomy and biomechanics.

Message: Better never stops. Tom confronted failure head-on. Instead of giving up he became creative in his methods to achieve his goal. Be inspired by Tom and turn a perceived failure into a success.

 Tom perf 1

Testing testing

BASI NET team member Mark Jones gets involved in ski testing through the winter and runs through the highs and lows of testing

Mark perf 2

I’ve been privileged enough to enjoy the role of running the annual ski tests for Ski and Board magazine for many years now. The way we run the testing has really changed over time, for the first few years it was a steep learning curve! One of the biggest changes has been the sheer number of skis available to test, with the increase of women’s specific skis and more recently the boom in ski touring it can be pretty daunting looking at the list of skis to get through. For the last couple of years, every test has had over a thousand pairs of individual skis ready to go…..

With the best will in the world, for that number you could make yourself a full-time job of testing! However, the reality is that the tests are only run for one week. This means a lot of preparation has to go into making a clear selection before going in with the team, normally we visit the manufacturers at the annual trade shows and pick out the latest technical innovations, and really get led by them on what skis they would like us to test. We also have to narrow down the categories of ski that we will test.

Once we have an example from each manufacturer for every category, the final list can be compiled and the team can be rolled into action.


Getting the right testers is absolutely crucial to delivering an accurate test. In the early days, I used to try and get a wide selection of skiers, from different backgrounds that would be more closely related to the skills of the buying public. This proved to be not a great decision! It’s only when you start looking at feedback from skiers that you realize many of them can be more adversely affected by outside factors, other than the skis themselves. Deteriorating snow conditions, fatigue, bad tuning and many other factors can lead to an unfair assessment of a ski’s performance. This is when you need professional skiers who are much more adept at focusing on the ski itself and have the ability to filter out other factors out of their control. Once you get a strong, pro test team everything becomes easy and the skis will start to get consistent feedback, which allows me to write up an accurate review of how the ski performs


It can be tempting to go mad and blast through as many pairs of skis as possible in the day. This is a balance that each test team has to get right, with the sheer numbers of skis available, there will always be a push to try and get through a lot of skis. This again can lead to inaccurate results; one quick run is just not enough time on a ski to give it an honest, realistic test. Each ski needs to be given the time and respect it deserves. The first part of the process is to have a conversation with the manufacturer about the ski that is about to be tested; Who is it designed for? What sort of qualities should you expect? What new technologies or designs are being incorporated? This can give the tester a much-needed overview of the ski before putting it through its paces. For each category, the tester will have a test card that guides them through what aspects of the ski they will need to assess. For example on a pure piste ski the tester will fully commit to making short carved turns, more progressive steered turns as well as making big carved arcs. They will look at factors like stability, edge grip, dampening,

be ease of use on groomed runs. However, with an all mountain ski it needs to be more of a broader picture, with a good test of piste performance while also taking some time to get some backside skiing and seeing how the ski performs in crud, powder and variable conditions. Each ski needs to be tested specifically for the category it is aimed at.


From my experience, it works really well when you can have a pro team that can work well together as a team. I really promote those essential ‘chairlift chats’ between the testers, sometimes it’s difficult to put your finger on exactly what part of skis performance that is either a strength or weakness. An ability to bounce your thoughts off your teammates can often focus the mind and allow some great feedback to be written out on the test card.

The other strong factor in a great team is that they love skiing! This may sound obvious, but the reality is that a pro team will comprise of race coaches, instructors or full-time athletes who rarely get the opportunity to ski for themselves. Falling back in love with their sport after a long, hard season of coaching can really a great experience and can revitalize energy and passion in a test week.

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Meet Giles Lewis

We sat down with BASI NET team members and asked them about their journey through the BASI system. We all know that going through the BASI system (or any other instructing system) can sometimes feel hard. We wondered how these BASI members were successful in their journey. What we found were stories that are universal to anyone trying to develop at something. We thought we would share these stories with the hope that they inspire snowsport instructors to continue learning and developing in the sport they love.

gilesGiles is an extremely well respected trainer who has been at the forefront of developing BASI’s professional content. 

When you speak to Giles about his impressive career he is careful to not exaggerate his talent or career choices. He speaks about how friends, who shared his values and passion, help inspire him in his career. However, if you listen carefully, you realise that his career has been full of brave choices that involved risk and challenge. For example, setting up TDC (The Development Centre) in a time when no one was teaching intermediates using a coaching approach. Or, using his critical thinking skills to be a leader in refreshing BASI’s manual and approach. All of these choices exposed him to criticism because they were outside of the normal path. However his belief in “creating something better” over rode any doubts he might have had.

These qualities and achievements are underplayed by Giles because he puts great value on being part of a team. He continually spoke about how friends and team members inspired him to keep developing his skiing. His enjoyment of being part of a team has led him to be accepted as a member of the BASI team at 3 interski congresses. This will be his 4th congress representing BASI. 

Message: Being part of a community can help you develop as a ski instructor. Sharing knowledge and passions with others can lead to exciting opportunities. It may allow you to take risks like Giles has been able to do.

Giles perf 1