What’s it like to spend a season training for your BASI Level 3 ISIA? 

December & January

Last season the ISIA course kicked off with December training and preparations for the busy weeks. Training weeks were focused on preparing for teaching over the busy Christmas period and discovering the ski resort of Verbier. Despite being almost 3 times the age of the students, ski coach Remy put the speed and agility of the students to shame!


529855_387120741313058_177908495_nSoon enough it was time for the trainees to start working during the busy Christmas and New Year period. Everyone had a lot of work and there was a large variety in the levels of the students, which was crucial for those who had to do teaching exams later in the season. In the middle of the busy working period the team celebrated New Year’s Eve, and Verbier seriously lived up to its reputation with a huge party in Place Centrale.

Once the holiday season was over the ski school invited the ISIA team to discover Farinet Après-Ski. They teamed up with all the other ski and snowboard school instructors and ‘Ski instructor GAP’ students to celebrate the end of the holiday period. This resulted in early bed times for most people!

January training & exams

After the holiday period was over the team headed back to training. All the students were focused again and they worked hard towards the BASI exams later in January.  Also, the arrival of fresh powder led to an epic morning of training on Mont Gele with ski coach Adam. He focused on the technical development in skiing off piste and some great rhythm exercises.  

Mountain Safety Course

One of the BASI Mountain Safety Courses took place in Verbier from 12th to 17th January 2014. There was a strong contingency of the Altitude staff partaking in the course, 5 in total, almost enough to make up an entire group. The Mountain Safety Course in essence trains and assesses instructors to lead client on off-piste descents within the confines of the ski resort.

Deep powder

484287_562912413733889_911640584_nAt the beginning of the course the group was incredibly worried about the snow conditions, but the worries proved to be unfounded as the snow came falling down thick and fast leaving fresh, deep powder. Before the snowfall the group managed to do the avalanche transceiver practice on La Chaux, so that they could ski as much powder over the following days.

Highway, Stairway, Backside

During the course the group did some great off piste tracks such as Highway, Stairway to Heaven and backside of Mont Fort. Towards the end of the week with the assessment just around the corner, the nerves started to increase in the group and people started to worry about their map reading skills. All in all, the entire group had a fantastic week of skiing in and around the Verbier region, and to top it off most of the students passed.

 February, March & April 2014304984_481187071906424_493943977_n

The advantage of training in the ISIA team is that everyone is busy working over the half-term period and they can fully focus on training during the quiet weeks. Last season half-term was the busiest week in the history of Altitude Ski and Snowboard School, which was of course good news for all staff. The build up towards Easter is renowned for being the time that BASI technical exams traditionally take place in Verbier.

BASI 3 Tech

1560468_708926779132451_828057617_nTechnical exams are one of the toughest parts of the BASI qualifications and within the Altitude ISIA team two out of three managed to pass the level 3. Additionally, all three entrants pass the level 3 teaching exam, which was a fantastic result and celebrated by the whole team with a large night out in the Farinet and Pub Mont Fort.


Fresh powder in Verbier

When March arrived it brought 60 centimetres of fresh snow, so the group had another chance to ski some deep powder again and were able to enjoy some of the best runs of the season. It was a great build up to one of the most prestigious events that is hosted in Verbier, the Freeride World Tour Final ‘Xtreme Verbier’.

At the end of the season the team had a chance to expand their skills on the mountain with Italian Patente Christiano taking them for a telemarking session, which was a great insight into what it takes to have a second discipline.

Written by Altitude Ski School, Verbier