Case study of ICE student Donna Clegg - Level 2 Ski Instructor
Valdisere Career ICE-break 2009, by Donna Clegg
There are some times in your life when it is good to make your dreams come true.
Why a ski instructor course?
I wanted to do something full of action-packed activity for my career break. I had done running events and weekend adventure activities but I needed something more. For me, there had to be a focus on learning a new skill for an extended period of time, preferably with people with similar interests to me. This led me to consider a ski instructor course.
There were various companies offering ski instructor courses yet ICE seemed to offer the most professional and organised instruction, combined with a world-class location namely valdisere. Being able to chat to the instructors directly via phone before the course felt personable and reassuring, and convinced me that ICE was the right choice.
Could I do it?
As a general guide, you should have a minimum of eight weeks ski experience before attempting the course. However, each case is decided on an individual basis. With only a week’s previous experience, I was expecting a flat ‘no’ from the instructors; yet after explaining that my main motivation was to become a better skier and that any qualification would be a bonus, I was offered a place on the course. My main concern was if I would hold anyone else back but the answer was ‘no’ as groups were divided by ability when improving performance. I had all the reassurance I needed....I was going skiing for ten whole weeks!!
On arrival, there was a welcome dinner for all the ICE students and introductions to the instructors and rest of the ICE team. This was a great set-up as it eased us into our new environment. We had the weekend to settle into our apartments and choose our skis and boots with the professional help of the instructors. My first impressions were that a lot of thought and consideration had gone into making this a first-rate experience.
First impressions on the snow
I knew that for me, the first week on the snow was going to be the toughest both psychologically and technically so I fully threw myself (literally!) into learning as much as possible and focusing away from my lack of experience. The instructors were always careful to teach us one new thing at a time and really focus on turning any weaknesses into strengths. Video analysis was used to help us recognise our individual improvement areas.
Highlights of the course
We had the opportunity to learn from all the instructors who each had their own unique styles of teaching. I was amazed at how far we could push ourselves and improve our performance and teaching with each instructor. For example, I never imagined that I could ski off-piste through the trees so confidently within such a short amount of time. Just for fun we were also rewarded with lots of ski ‘treats’ such as race training and freestyle days. These were great to let go of any inhibitions and just give it a go!
Valdisere itself is a real inspirational place to ski. There are so many places to explore on the snow that we were on a constant adventure over the ten weeks. Not forgetting the social side, there were plenty of fun nights out in the local bars and clubs to get to know each other and relax after a hard week's skiing.
The final assessment
At the end of eight weeks of the most thorough instruction, shadowing and plenty of personal morning/weekend practice with friends on the course; I was ready to take on the last two weeks of level 2. I was determined to succeed and was not afraid of failure. I knew that if nothing else I had enjoyed the most wonderful experience with some of the most inspirational people. Those last two weeks were designed to challenge us to our maximum, and encourage us to achieve our best performance and teaching skills.
A reward to remember
Through a lot of hard work and plenty of encouragement, I made it through and achieved my BASI level 2 ski qualification. I received an award for ‘most improved’ skier and was at that moment the happiest I could ever be.
I never expected that I would ever walk away with the Level 2 qualification so when I did it threw up a lot of exciting options for me. I now know that anything is possible and that my future is full of exciting possibilities. Watch this space.....
Call us on 0870 760 7360 for more information. If you choose option 3, you can speak directly to a BASI Trainer who will happily discuss the course content, accommodation, what to do with your qualifications, how to find work and answer any questions you may have about the course or skiing and snowboarding in general.