By Jane Dawson
The group of 9 (8 guys and myself!) met at Café Extreme in the Chill Factore on a wet Monday morning in the last week of April to do a week of training to attain our BASI Level 1 ski instructor qualification. We met our trainer Peter Hinde, collected boots and skis and headed to our changing room/classroom. We introduced ourselves, mentioning how long we had been skiing and the reasons for taking the course and where we came from, which ranged from very local to Poland.
We sat down and listened to Peter run through the course content and what we should expect to have achieved by the end of the week. Myself and one other guy had done a pre course on Sunday evenings for five weeks so we were hoping this would stand us in good stead.
Off to the main slope to have a warm up and practise before Peter gave us his initial assessment of what we needed to work on during the week. During the five day course we spent equal amounts of time learning the principals of teaching and working on our own personal performance. We also covered mountain hazards, and dealing with accidents and emergencies.
Although our group was initially quiet we soon got to know one another and had good chats over coffees and lunch. Obviously all keen to do well, we cringed slightly when on the first day Peter showed us our skiing on the very large video screen, hoping we would all look different by Friday. Our day would start by meeting up at around 9.15am to go through the day's activities and then on to the snow around 10ish when the slope opened. We generally finished around 4.30 in time to either have another ski or beat the traffic home and go over what we had learnt during the day.
Thursday came all too soon and we had all prepared a teaching session which we delivered one by one. This formed the first part of our assessment, quite nerve racking delivering to your peers! We all passed phew!
On the last day we had to demonstrate a plough through to a parallel, this again formed part of the assessment of our performance. After lunch we had a chance to have another go at something we were not happy with and Mark Elliot, chief instructor at Chill Factore came onto the main slope to meet us and invited us to complete our 35 hours of "shadowing" qualified instructors required to attain the Level 1 licence.
The moment of truth arrived at around 3pm. We were summoned to see Peter individually for a de-brief and result. I passed! A great ending to a fantastic week of skiing. Peter was a great trainer, the staff at the Chill Factore were very friendly and encouraging and the course has certainly inspired me to improve my own skiing as well as passing on my knowledge to anyone who wants to learn this challenging but exciting and rewarding sport.