The Eurotest is an exam, and as with all exams, the aim is to try to be as consistent as possible for each exam and each candidate, whether doing an academic or vocational exam. The aim of the Eurotest exam, as one of many elements within the various nations’ syllabi to qualify professional snowsport instructors, is to:
Have a system of measuring a candidate’s ability, in an as objective way as possible (i.e. a time on the stop watch), to perform movement patterns appropriate to a professional snowsport instructor (as defined in the EU Commission’s documentation on the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications (MRPQ) directive).
This aim of consistency is a very difficult one to achieve in the mountains given the variations in snow, weather and venues, without even mentioning the human factors.
Thus, with the help of our European colleagues (from Austria, France Germany and Italy) and Susie Berry OBE, with her vast experience as a FIS Technical Delegate (TD) at world cup events as well as various other international and national competitions, the criteria for the Eurotest are set to minimise these variations as much as possible.
This is done by stipulating for each Eurotest:
- That is adheres to the FIS rules for running a race to ensure safety elements are maintained (event though the Eurotest is not a competition per se), the only exception to FIS rules being the ski length and radius allowance.
- That the profile of the designated slopes are similar
- Thar there is a fair and equal entry system to the test with a minimum standard for entry
- That a “base time” to pass is set by current calibrated openers (who themselves will have achieved at some point in their career a maximum of 50 FIS points).
Thus each country that wishes to run the Eurotest must have these calibrated openers to set the “base time”. This calibration of the openers is done annually on a rotation in the different countries where the Eurotest has been run.
The process for the calibration is that there be one day of timed training and one of actual calibrating. The day of training everyone took part, but the weather and snow conditions were not good. Fortunately the following day was clear and considerably colder. The openers were divided into three groups and these were moved around and reversed in each of the 3 runs to ensure that no individual was disadvantaged by the condition of the course.
The times are then set with some clever maths to assign coefficients to each of the openers. This process is crucial to get the correct coefficient for each opener and thus ensure consistency of the exam.
BASI is represented at a number of Eurotests in the Alps in sending both Susie Berry and openers to enhance the mutual international credibility for fair and consistent tests adhering to the criteria set out above.
Although Britain has two agreed venues in Scotland to run the Eurotests, snow conditions since the 1990’s have proved to be quite variable, such that planning this event is costly and haphazard. Even when BASI does organise a Eurotest on home soil, few members appear able to take advantage of the opportunity, for various reasons, and tend to sign up to the alpine run exams only.
All the same, the authority of BASI, in maintaining its ability and right to run the Eurotest on home soil is fundamental to the autonomy of the Association to qualify snowsports instructors to the highest levels in the world.
So a huge thanks to Susie, Alain, Jas, James, Craig and Aaron for doing a sterling job in representing BASI and all its members at this event. All of the boys have worked hard to attain such awesome skiing ability and we should remember that when we see them at the Eurotests. We are grateful to them all with their exceptional skills and ability. Keep the flag flying team!
Written By Dave Renouf, BASI