Verbier Ski Instructor Course Week 5
‘The child is father to the man’, they say. But this week the trainees were discovering that the nursery slope is very much the father of the qualified ski instructor, as they hit the famous field of dreams which is Verbier’s Les Esserts beginners area. Some might have been loathe to be torn away from the high black pistes and powder bowls of the Verbier ski area – but this was were they really started to forge their client-facing professionalism.
In the mornings the trainees continued to build up their shadowing experience alongside European Snowsport’s instructors, largely working with child skiers. And everyday they faced new challenges, the answers to which were rarely found in the BASI manual. What do you do if a child refuses to get up off the snow? How do you please mum and dad when they both have different expectations for their offspring? How many hot chocolate breaks are just too many? How do you break it tactfully to a six year old that ‘jumping off that cliff like Daddy does’ might need to wait a few years?
In the afternoons the ski boot was on the other foot, as the trainees returned to the watchful care of senior instructors Emma Cairns and Nick Reader. They particularly focused on prompting the trainees to find their own voice when teaching, while getting the technical standards expected of BASI instructor completely and confidently accurate. Gradually, as the basics started to trip off the trainees’ tongue they started to let loose their imaginations. Soon Les Esserts witnessed James Bond, Harry Potter and Olympic Ski Racer themed lessons. It was even rumoured that one trainee ran a full snow-plough lesson based on the theme of ‘A Hot Date’.
Between all this, one night it started to snow. And snow. Deep, feathery powder, blurring the lines of the previously green-brown village. The trainees headed high for the day and relished some long, slinky lines off off-piste. Les Essert would still be there next week.