Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Officially a ski instructor

So I have finally got over the hangover from Friday night’s epic celebrations of 13 out of 14 of the gappies passing their BASI level 2 qualifications.

some ski instructors

I passed and, for those that plan to, we can now be let loose to teach real people on real mountains all over the world. I’d like to be able to tell you about the party we had to celebrate but I remember nothing of it until I woke up on the floor of the hotel lobby at 5.30am. I blame the altitude.

The final week of the BASI level 2 exam was a pressure cooker for some people and an opportunity for others to put into practice everything that they had learnt over the last nine weeks.

My fellow gappy Alex had a full on Cinderella story, being told that he had some serious issues with his skiing three days into the 2-week course. With the mountain being shut for a few days over, he had to develop his skiing to the level required in a very short time. I kind of knew that I had passed when I was assigned to help him and over an incredibly intense 3-hour ‘Dave private lesson’ we made the changes that he needed to make stick and he passed.

The trainers call you down the hill one by one to tell you your result and I was first down the hill to get the nod to whether I had passed or failed. I couldn’t get excited about my pass though until I heard how he had done. I can’t begin to describe how happy I was for him because, like me and only one or two other gappies, he actually plans to teach skiing in the alps and I know how much he wants to pass on his love of skiing to others.

We had an amusing night in the Alpen Bar one night of the BASI course when a few of us ranked all of the gappies in skiing ability terms. This then moved on to ranking all of the Warren Smith Academy coaches in order of ski ability too. It’s pretty hard to determine differences in ability between BASI level 3 and 4 instructors (even though there were some surprising outcomes) so we fairly quickly moved on to ranking the good looking women in Saas-Fee. Predictably, Lydia the barmaid in the Alpen Bar was the clear winner.

As I write this, I’m sitting in a hotel in Martigny trying to plan a schedule for the three interviews that I have lined up this week with various Swiss Ski Schools. Most of these are going to want to know that I can speak French to a decent level because I said that I could – the fact that I’ve been in Swiss German speaking Saas for nine weeks has not been helpful to strong French language skills. They will also want to know that I can ski so I made a video of myself skiing on the last day of BASI that I can take with me to show them.

This is the last blog about the summer gap and I’ve had an absolutely wonderful time over the last nine weeks in Saas. It’s the sort of place that really gets under your skin and I just know that I will be back, probably to train for level 3 next summer. The Gap has been like a combination of an epic ski trip and a stag weekend, except that it keeps going and getting better week after week and your skiing gets really grooved. I know that I’ve made four or five mates that I’ll keep for life and I’ve met Olympians and World Cup skiers and snowboarders.

I don’t know if my blog has helped anyone who is thinking of doing a gap course but if there is any doubt, just do it – you won’t regret it.

published here

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