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Last night I was lucky enough to be at the London premiere of Flow State, Warren Miller's 63rd film — and my favourite to date.
As always with the Warren Miller tour, the whole evening was great fun. There was a drinks reception sponsored by Asahi beer — which went down well — goody bags, that included ski locks, wax and stress balls, and the always popular prizes — featuring a Warren Miller suitcase and a pair of Rossignol world cup skis.
But, you don't want to hear about that, you want to hear about the film.
Flow State is my favourite Warren Miller film to date, the overall feel of the film seems to have changed and the abundance of powder keep the 400 strong crowd wowing and whooping the whole way through. As this is my favourite installation of the film to date, I'm not going to ruin it telling you about the best lines, funniest comments and sickest tricks, as you really need to watch it for yourself.
Warren Miller might not be doing anything ground breaking with Flow State, but the skiing, the snow and the atmosphere of the film are all great — you even get to see narrator Jonny Moseley doing some '80s skiing. There are steeps in Alaska throughout the film, a trip to Stavanger, some Japaneasy powder-filled tree-lined skiing and a fantastic section on Murren.
Watching ski films often make you awe at the impossible, but Flow State has firmly put Murren at the top of my To Ski list, and is a damn site more achievable that heli-skiing in the Tordrillo's!
So, stop reading reviews of the film and go and watch it, if you are lucky there may be a few tickets left to this year's tour!
In part three ICE instructor trainer, Mark Jones, talks us through the different ways to complete your ski instructor training. If you haven't already read them, check our part one and part two first.
Route 1 - Residential Course
ICE offers a wide range of fasttrack courses from our base in Val d'Isere during winter and on the glacier in Tignes in the summer. The fasttrack courses provide all the modules listed in part 1 and 2, including the required amount of hours experience. The fasttrack course is designed so that when you have completed the course, you have everything you need to go and start working the following day — and many people do just that.
The courses also include accommodation, evening meals and a lift pass, so everything is taken care of and the hassle is removed. Below is a summary of the residential courses and clicking them will lead you to more information on each course.
Route 2 - Independent Courses
If you do not have time to benefit from a residential course, you can do these modules listed above for Level 1 and 2 separately in your own time. Typically it will take at least a ski season to do them all, or maybe longer depending on the amount of time you can commit to courses and required training.
ICE offer the BASI Level 1, BASI Level 2 and First Aid courses on an independent basis. You will need to arrange the other modules yourself and also arrange your own accommodation, food, lift-pass and travel, since courses are run on a course-only basis.
Which Route Should I Take?
Deciding whether to go down the residential or independent route depends mostly on the time you have to devote to a course. By the time you take into consideration the costs of travelling, accommodation and lift-passes etc, there is not much to choose between the two routes in terms of price, so your decision will largely be determined by time rather than budget.
If you have the time to spare and feel you would benefit from the concentrated period of training that is on offer, the 10 week course will bring your level on the most.
If time is a little more restricted and you are on more of a budget, the 6 week course will be worth looking at. This is quite simply the fastest and cheapest way of getting qualified to this. You will be qualified mid-way through the season which means you will be free to work through the second half if you wish.
However, 6 weeks is less time in which to train so it is advisable to be at a good level before attending this course as there is less time make changes. 16 weeks on snow is a good guideline for entry onto this course, although it is only a guide and not a requirement. If you feel you would benefit from the extra training, you may be better off on the 10 week course.
If you can only manage a week or two each season then you will be best to go down the independent route. Start by booking a BASI Level 1 course and your trainer on the course will be able to give you advice on your future training once they have seen you ski.
It’s not all hard work!
It may sound like a massive amount of hard work, but let’s not forget people are here with us in Val d'Isere for a life changing experience, and quite often as part of their gap year.
You’ll get to make new friends, and there’s Val d'Isere’s legendary après ski! Your ski pass will cover you for the whole resort and days off are usually spent skiing/riding the resort's world class slopes.
In part two of our How To Become A Ski Instructor, ICE's Mark Jones talks about taking your BASI Level 2 and what steps to take to be able to take your first ski lesson. If you missed part one, give it a quick read first.
BASI Level 2 (10 days)
The course is physically demanding, as you will spend two blocks of five days involved in lectures, self-study, skiing/riding and teaching. While it is not necessary to be an amazing athlete it does help to have a good level of personal fitness which in turn helps to reduce fatigue and potential for injury. You can greatly help yourself by being familiar with the BASI manuals and in particular the fundamentals of technique and the central theme.
Before you can attend the BASI Level 2 course, you must complete 35 hours of experience in a ski school. This can be done by either shadowing an instructor or teaching as a Level 1 instructor in an artificial environment. Please note that these 35 hours are in addition to the 35 hours required to complete the Level 1 Qualification. Therefore there are 70 hours required between both levels.
Once you have achieved your BASI Level 2, your work prospects are very good. Level 2s regularly leave the courses with ICE and go on to work in Switzerland, Austria, Andorra, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
Working in France
At present the French authorities only recognise Alpine qualifications, with other disciplines being treated as offshoots. To work in France a UK instructor must comply with one of the following:
Only instructors qualified at BASI Level 4 ISTD level can work independently and take their own clients on to the mountain.
Once you have obtained your Level 4 ISTD qualification — you will need to apply for full French equivalence for the region that you are going to work in to be able to teach independently or with a ski school in France. There are two routes to complete the modules required to get you to this level as shown in this video:
Part three coming soon.
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