Ellis Brigham Ski Test for BASI Level 1 and 2

Written by Lewis MacLellanNew Generation Ski Instructor Training Centre Coach.

Every season our long-term sponsors Ellis Brigham kindly invite one of our team of instructors to their annual ski test.  As per the last few years it was in the Austrian Tirol resort of Hintertux. A great resort just above Mayrhofen that has excellent skiing on the glacier at a time when most resorts enter a state of inter-season hibernation, with only the chiming of cow bells to be heard.  We were here for the last week of April and the conditions definitely delivered.

Hintertux Skiing

Perhaps testament to the snow sure conditions on the glacier is the amount of BASI courses that run out of Hintertux in Spring.  It was great to see so many on the hill and even better to see how well our trainees from New Generation Instructor Courses did with 100% pass rate across Levels 2, 3 and 4.  Massive congrats!

The ski test is always a great opportunity to suss out what will be hot (or not) for next winter, and allows us to pick out a couple of skis that we feel will be beneficial for our trainee instructors.

Equipment choice is of vital importance before embarking upon any Instructor Course.  With so much time spent concentrating on developing the fundamentals of skiing, poor equipment choice will put any trainee on the back foot before they have even clicked into their skis.

Ski Test

For BASI levels 1 and 2 the emphasise is primarily on piste skiing.  Short and Medium radius turns are the bread and butter for technical assessment at this level so choosing a ski that can perform well on piste is paramount.

Candide Thovex’s 2.0s may well be your dream ski and look cool in his videos, but at 102mm underfoot those ever arduous short turns are going to be made even trickier.

It is important to pick the right tool for the job.  And while a fat twin-tip may not be suited for your BASI 1 and 2 the same should also be said for going too far to the other end of the spectrum.

It is becoming increasingly prevalent to see trainees on skis that they are just not technically, or in some cases, physically ready for.  Choosing the right ski is about helping yourself to fulfil your potential rather than becoming hamstrung because of a preconceived macho idea that ‘stiffer is better’.  Trust me, I am speaking from first-hand experience here!


For me the ideal ski choice for anyone setting out on their BASI career should be a piste ski that comes from the same family as its more race orientated big bros.  A detuned race ski that has a radius of around 16m and remains relatively narrow underfoot at around 70mm will be perfect for all those short and medium turns.

The radius of around 16m allows the ski to remain stable at speed along with the race construction, but without the risk of the skis ‘skiing you’ as is often the case when trainees go for too big a radius too quickly.

In Hintertux the ski of choice for the men for this was the Nordica Dobermann Spitfire TI.  A fantastic ski, that I and the rest of the testers were super impressed with.  It is a strong, powerful ski that holds its edge remarkably well but remains extremely agile and responsive due to its radius.  I found them great fun in both short and medium turns, and due to the slight rocker at the tip they actually floated in knee deep powder remarkably well.

Nordica Skis

For the Ladies ski I chose the Nordica Sentra S6.  This was a big surprise as it massively outperformed my preconceptions of it (probably the flowery graphics fault).  It is basically a slightly more manageable version of the Dobermann Spitfire Ti.  Really lively and responsive on piste, stable at speed and it still manages to cope in the slightly deeper stuff.

Nordica skiing

This style of ski (a detuned, race inspired, piste ski) is ideal for the type of skiing that trainees will be doing whilst on a level 1-2 instructor course.  They remain stable and constant for the speed required at this level and also promote efficient movement patterns to get more out of the skis.

Whilst they are far more forgiving than their full bore race counterparts, both the Nordica Dobermann Spitfire Ti and the Nordica Sentra S6 necessitate action from the skier.  Something that I believe will provide a solid platform from which to build for future levels 3-4.

There were a few sets of skis (which are popular amongst trainees) on test that felt a bit dead or flat, making it hard to get feedback of when the skis are properly worked.  Skis like this for me, promote lazy and uninspired skiing.  This is something both sets of the Nordicas definitely do not.  Their responsiveness and deflection out of the turn can’t help but put a smile on your face!

Both sets of skis would be an excellent choice if you are looking at joining an instructor course this winter for BASI levels 1 – 2.  However, it is vital you get the right size for your height and weight.  The expert staff at Ellis Brigham will be more than happy to oblige with this, otherwise get in touch with us at New Generation Ski and Snowboard School if you have any queries.

Bon ski!