This coming winter; BASS ski schools will once again be running our highly successful BASI preparation weeks and season long training programs. For more than a decade now our Instructor training programs have been providing a clear and affordable pathway through the BASI system. However at BEST we go further and provide opportunities to start a career with one of the most successful ski schools in the French Alps, BASS. The program still feels like one of the best kept secrets in the ski industry so here we will outline exactly what the BEST program is, how it works and what it’s like to be a part of from the view of current and former trainees.
What is BEST???
British European Sponsored Training or BEST is a training program focused on helping trainees pass the teaching and technical exams within the BASI (British Association Snowsport Instructor) system.
We are a training program and not a gap course provider. This means we only focus on the skiing side of your time in the alps.
The training cost is sponsored by the ski school. The amount of sponsorship varies between 50-70% of the training fee depending on the number of weeks you book and the number of seasons you have spent training with BEST previously. This allows us to provide an extremely cost effective and supportive pathway through the BASI system to try and help trainees achieve a sustainable career in the industry.
The over arching aim of the BEST program is to help you start a career in the snow sport industry. We are extremely proud that many of our former trainee’s now work for us in France as Instructors. We always hope qualified instructors would choose to work with BASS but we don’t require it as a prerequisite to receive sponsorship. All of our instructors and coaches work with us because they are proud to represent BASS on the mountain and not because they were made to as a part of training.
Where do you train?
The BEST program is based primarily in the resorts of Val d’Isere and Meribel. You can easily be based in Tignes or Courchevel and still train with us. We have chosen these resorts not only because they offer unrivalled terrain and snow conditions for training but because BASI offers almost all exams in these areas. Coupled with the sponsorship element of our training this makes our chosen resorts cost effective places to base yourself while still providing the best skiing terrain in the world.
Who takes the training?
The training program is headed by BASI trainer, Craig Halliday in Val d’Isere and BASI trainer, Mike Crawford in Meribel. We work closely with other trainers and highly experienced Level 4’s within the BASS team. This ensures that while your training remains focused you also have a range of input and contacts to help you achieve your goals.
What levels of the BASI system do you train toward?
At BEST we offer training options for all levels within the BASI system. Our primary focus however is on working toward BASI Level 3 ISIA and BASI Level 4 ISTD.
Do I have to sign up for the whole season?
The BEST program offers flexibility you don't find elsewhere. You can choose as many weeks as suits you. However if you want to get the most out of the program both in terms of achieving your personal goals and in levels of sponsorship then we highly recommend signing up for the full 10 weeks. We also offer short 1 week preparation courses for certain exams throughout the season as well.
What’s it like to train with BEST?
Who better to answer that question than the trainees themselves. We’ve asked some of our past and present trainees fro their thoughts.
Emma Spruce (ESp) Passed BASI L3 and L4 technical course with BEST
Dave Hudson (DH) BASI ISTD L4 now working BASS Val d’Isere
Ella Underhill (EU) Passed BASI L3 and L4 teach course with BEST
Luke Collins (LC) BASI ISTD L4 now working BASS Val d’Isere
Elliot Stone (ES) BASI ISTD L4 now working BASS Tignes
What made you decide to train on the BEST program?
(ESp) I had been recommended BEST by some friends. I was attracted to the relaxed atmosphere and the smaller group size. The fact that the training was sponsored made it more affordable than other alternatives so that was a bonus too.
(LC) I had done my level 2 gap course and was working at home with no intention of going skiing again. Winter was just around the corner and I was working outside on site in rain that was horizontal with freezing cold winds. I instantly thought "what am I doing here" when I could be earning more money teaching people about the sport I am so passionate about. Bags were packed, training was paid for and I was in Val d’Isere skiing within three weeks..... best decision I have ever made.
(DH) I trained with BASS during a gap course with Basecamp and thought that the coaching I had was fantastic. The trainers I had were passionate, knowledgeable and made the whole experience fun and at the same time drastically changed my technique.
At what point did you know you wanted to peruse skiing as a career?
(ESp) I completed my level 1 & 2 before I went to uni and always had it in my head that I would go back to skiing again. When I finished uni I did another season in Val d’Isere and it confirmed for me that I needed to be involved in the ski industry and live in the mountains. I couldn’t imagine living in a city and working a 9-5 job in an office.
(ES) I was bored at university and decided to do a gap season. From there it was an easy decision.
(EU) Quite early on, I fell in love with teaching even when I had my Level 1. I’ve always been very personable and enjoyed meeting new people, combined with my love of skiing I found it was the perfect match. However, I wouldn’t say I considered it as a real career path until I passed my level 2. After seeing how much I was able to change my skiing to get to that level I decided that all I wanted to do was to get to the top level of qualification.
Any advice for someone starting their career in snow sports?
(ESp) Enjoy the process, don’t get too caught up in passing exams. I have definitely put a lot of pressure on myself to pass everything but actually I ski the best when I’m enjoying myself. If you put the hours in then the results you want will come!
(ES) Make sure you stick with it! Don’t let setbacks get you down as change takes time.
(DH) Invest in the training. Make the commitment and you will improve your skiing, teaching and your understanding very quickly under the guidance of the coaches at BEST.
(LC) Train hard and jump in with both feet at the deep end! Buy good kit, go for it, enjoy every exam and be confident.
What do you wish you knew when started training that you know now?
(ESP) That if you keep going then eventually the changes your trying to make will happen. Sometimes you don’t see any progress for weeks but then suddenly it will click. Just be patient and trust the process.
(ES) Enjoy yourself but remember that drinking makes you ski worse the next morning. I could have finished the BASI system years earlier if I didn’t drink.
(DH) That it doesn’t have to be a bluebird day to improve your skiing. You sometimes have the biggest breakthrough days when you have to drag yourself to go skiing in ugly conditions. Just get out there and give it 100% everyday
(LC) Remember every training session you loved as that will be the key to your success in your teaching exams
(EU) I think especially in my early training days I found constructive feedback sometimes a bit disheartening. I’m now able to keep my physical ski training and my emotions much more separate which allows me to work towards making changes rather than letting myself be my own worst critic.
Do you have any examples of break through moments in your training with BEST?
(ESP) I think I had a big breakthrough skiing bumps. I always struggled with the psychological aspect of mogul skiing and found bumps lines very intimidating. Gradually building up skills and difficulty meant that I could put some of that fear aside and I found that I could start to ski the bumps how I wanted to. They went from being my weakest strand at level 3 to being one of my strongest at level 4.
(LC) No I don’t remember anything, I was already unreal!!! Trainer note – I’m not sure this is factually accurate ;-)
(EU)I The biggest break through I can think of was when I actually managed to bend my left leg leading up to my level 3 tech. My coaches had been growing quite nervous that it wouldn’t happen in time for my exam but we managed it. There were definitely some cheers that day ! Also finally nailing a direct line in bumps on the S bumps in the lead up to my L4 tech was also a high point.
If you are interested in joining us on the best program or require more information as to what the program can do for you, contact us via our website britishalpine.com You can also contact us directly via Instagram @british_alpine_ski_school for Val d’Isere, @bass_ski_schools for meribel or via Facebook @bassSkiSchools
Thanks for reading