A great trip skiing in the Lauziere not far from the Col de la Madeleine.? We set off from the road at 06h00 as the warm weather would quickly change the snow from marginal to wet porridge.? It was lovely watching the dawn sky brighten as we passed below the Logis des Fees on the way to the Portes de Montmelian.? Steve, my friend from Scotland was with me, as was my son, Stephen.? We chose the route to avoid steep slopes and there was plenty of evidence of avalanches the previous day; big wet snow slides.? Finally at the ridge we looked out over the Combe de Savoie, to the Bauges mountains in the direction of Chambery.? We waited about 20 minutes for the snow to soften a bit more in the sun before setting off.? The first slope was great skiing.? Further down, depending on the aspect the snow was either slightly crusted or deep damp snow with no real base; far from ideal conditions and requiring good technique.? Still it was good to be out in the mountains.
Despite the assertions of some of the UK press there is no discrimination against British instructors. There are currently around 350 British ski instructors working in France entirely within the law.
The first hurdle for any aspiring ski instructor, French or otherwise, is to pass the ?Test Technique?. The Test Technique is a slalom course that has to be completed within 20% of the course ?openers? adjusted time.
An ?opener? is a top-level skier who skis the course. The time achieved is then adjusted according to their ?handicap? to arrive with ?base time?. 20% is then added to this time and this is the target required to pass.
Once past the Test Technique there’s a two week training course known as the Pre-Formation where you learn to teach beginners to ski. A one day test completes this phase. You are now issued with your ?Livet de Formation? (a training logbook) and are classed as a ?Stagiaire? (trainee instructor). As a trainee you can work within an approved ski school (known as a ?Centre de Formation?) under the guidance of a training advisor. You now have 3 years to pass the next phase …
The Eurotest. This is a giant slalom and once again you have to complete the course within a 18% percentage of the ?openers? time. Some British qualified instructors come direct to this test if working through the BASI (British Assocation of Snowsports Instructors) and wishing to work in France.
The training process is far from over with further training courses; the first lasting four weeks and the second five weeks. These training courses cover teaching, skiing off-piste, ski touring and avalanche safety. On successful completion the full diploma is awarded and you can teach independently or within any ski school.