Our BASI level 2 exam has started and after much anticipation, we are finally into the last two weeks of the summer gap course in Saas-Fee.
|a lonely scouse waits for his lost sheep|
The main question that I am asking myself is have I done enough work so that my skiing up to the level required to become a qualified instructor.
I feel like I’ve certainly been putting the work in – I think I’ve skied almost every weekend and day off that we have had here and I normally skip the food break on the mountain in order to get a couple of extra runs in. I’m hoping that all of this extra ski time is going to pay off and judging by the feedback that I’m getting from Al, the BASI trainer who is with our group this week, I think (hope!) this extra work has paid off.
There are two groups and two trainers sent out by BASI. Our one is Al Okrafo-Smart, who is based in Val D’Isere and the other group has Andy Freshwater, an ex-GB racer who was at the Nagano Winter Olympics in 1998 (apparently he went through the same gate that Herman Maier went over in that famous crash). They have very different styles, with Andy’s group doing all sorts of weird stuff everywhere and our group focusing on the fundamentals of skiing and how this relates to performance stuff. It’s very interesting to have another different style of working after the two previous weeks of boot camp from the Warren Smith Academy coaches.
The BASI coaches are using video feedback in the same way that the Academy guys do except that there is a difference with the video runs that we are doing this time because they count. I get a very different feeling of pressure, thinking that this run has to be spot on because this is what I’ll be judged on. It’s pretty intense and you can feel the tension running through the gappies.
Al has been good enough to give us an idea of whether we are skiing at the required level to pass BASI 2 and there are different levels of work to do within our group. Some are skiing very close to the level and we know that one of the more talented skiers is beyond it. From a personal perspective, I know that my carving is at the right level and I’ve just got to show a little bit more agility in my short turns – no more Mr Smooth next week, I’m going to be chucking myself everywhere.
The mountain has been closed for a day or two here and there while yet more fresh snow dumps on the glacier. This is adding a bit more pressure on to those people with a lot to work on as they will only have a limited time to work on their weak areas. A bonus to this is that we have got all of the theory and some of the demo lesson work out of the way so we can mostly concentrate on performance skiing for the rest of the course.
I’m starting to feel sentimental about Saas, knowing that I’m going to be leaving it in just over a week. It feels a little bit like home to me after 8-weeks and anywhere else is going to seem really busy and brash compared to a village where you walk everywhere and have to dodge electric cars. Everyone here has made me feel really welcome and I’m not sure if that is just a Swiss thing or a Saas thing but I’ll certainly be sad to leave all of the new mates that I have made here.
For now though, it’s a big focus on the final week of the exam and then the final Friday night end of gap celebration.