Welcome to Austria!
This summer I had an amazing opportunity to head out to the Austrian Glacier in Hintertux and do my BASI (British Association of Snowsport Instructors) level 2. Having already completed my level one years ago I was keen to progress on to be able to instruct on real snow.
It amazes me that in the middle of summer there can still be snow sitting on a mountain somewhere. When we arrived into Munich Airport it was a staggering 40°C which is the hottest temperature they’ve had in over a century. Being stuck on a transfer van in that heat was not ideal but after a few hours we were heading up the mountains overlooking some beautiful scenery. Even in Hintertux village we were walking around in shorts and a teeshirt but once we were up the gondola we stepped out into our utopia, this would be our playground for the next two weeks…
We trained 9-5 every day, mornings on the hill and afternoons in lectures, developing our skiing and teaching technique so that we were up to BASI standard. The marking scheme was fairly straight forward you were either below the level, at the level or in certain cases above the level. We were kept up to date with where we were at and given feedback to help us improve. As the fortnight went on the feedback developed from us being told what to change, to watching ourselves on video and being given guidance to the last few days where we all had a solid idea of what was expected and self-checking our own skiing making the tweaks required to hit the level.
We spent the entire two weeks in BASI mode. Myself and my roommate would discuss our lesson plans to the nth degree each day after coming off the hill. We’d wake up in the morning having dreamt how our lessons were going to go and discuss the pros and cons of all the different ideas which had cropped up in the dream. Our lesson plans changed a number of times before we actually got to play them out on the hill, but that almost made it better because when there was a spanner thrown in the works and things took a different path to what was expected it was easy enough to just adapt the lesson using all the variations which had been thought of during the night.
Our trainer having spotted that our lessons were going remarkably well decided to up the game and gave us lessons out-with the remit to see how we’d cope. We had some brilliant fun with these scenarios teaching little Gertrude from private school how to do bumps so that mummy and daddy would buy her a pony if she skied well. And getting Stan from Iran doing bottomless shots (imaginary) while pole planting, Jäger in one hand and Stroh in the other. I love that the rest of the guys in the group got so into character, it makes such a difference when you can learn with a smile on your face.
As the two weeks progressed you could see just how much the glacier was melting. It did make some pretty waterfalls but it also makes it pretty obvious that these glaciers won’t be here forever…
and here’s our last day photo of the group, just as we were all about to find out our results!
There were some very happy faces and unfortunately some sad ones too but even the guys that didn’t pass said that they had had an amazing experience and commented on just how much their skiing had improved in such a short space of time. The BASI Trainers had done an amazing job, especially with such a variety of abilities in each of the groups, and you know what, I don’t think there was a single person there that didn’t enjoy themselves.
We celebrated at the bar with a few drinks after an intense couple of weeks. One of the guys on the course even bought champagne for everyone. Cheers!