Ski instructor 101: bring the right ski poles

I had to revalidate my BASI ISIA ski instructor qualification recently. I have to do this every year by spending a session in a snow dome with a BASI trainer.

As there were no group refreshers available for when we needed it, my friend Matt arranged a session with a trainer just for the two of us at Hemel. The snow was the most realistic I’ve come across in a snow dome, it was bumpy, the snow was piled up and there were patches of hard snow as well. It was great fun, not sure it would give a beginner/early intermediate much confidence but it would probably better prepare them for a real mountain.

Talking of confidence, not sure the trainer had much in me! Firstly he had to help with a refund as I’d paid for way too much time than the refresher needed.

Then, when we got to the top he skied down and waved for us to set off so he could watch us. I immediately powered off the top losing a ski in the process. Realising I was missing a vital piece of equipment I stopped and trundled back up the hill to retrieve it. Schoolboy error – I’d recently changed ski boots and hadn’t adjusted my teaching skis to compensate. Luckily they were set up with demo bindings so were easy to fix. The trainer gave me a withering look, but in my defence I’d stayed upright with one ski and stopped with style!

They say trouble comes in threes, though my last problem just made me look foolish. I have a few pairs of Scott race poles that all look the same, except they have left and right straps that don’t sit properly if they are on the wrong hand… And obviously I had bought two left poles with me. Not catastrophic, but I certainly looked stupid. At least he couldn’t fail me for the course…