ISIA Team 2016/17 – Ski Instructor Training Zermatt

Ski Instructor Training – ISIA Team

Well, the season is over.
The team have taught, skied, trained, laughed, fallen over, and skied some more.
All over Europe it was a challenging season snow-wise, but in Zermatt we are lucky to be high enough to avoid most of the issues faced by other resorts; of low snowfall and warmer temperatures. This led to a great season for teaching and also for our ISIA Training Team: Gemma, Ian, Lello and Will.

Will has done previous seasons in Austria and decided to try his hand at BASI exams at the start of the season. He decided he preferred the Austrian system and has been training with the view to gain his next level.

Ian has done four previous winter seasons in various locations around the world and came to the ISIA Team in order to prepare for his technical and teaching exams, generally seen as the toughest of the ISIA modules.

For Lello, this was his first full season as a ski instructor. He differed from the other three in that he joined the Ski Instructor Training with his main goal being to become a better overall skier.

Gemma graduated from university last year and decided to join Subzero Coaching ISIA programme after a previous training season spent in France. Having experience in sports and a little racing at school, her main aims were to develop her teaching experience.

With a broad range of experience, the team learnt an incredible amount this season.
Not only improving their technical skiing, they became better teachers, learned to telemark, and gained a greater knowledge of the mountain and avalanche awareness. They learnt to speak another language; how nutrition plays a big part in coping with long days and a long season. As well it helped with how to prepare and maintain their bodies for skiing through dryland and postural training programmes. The season had its grand finale with a full week in GS gates, run by our partner race coach from the world cup circuit.
Here follows a little interview with the participants to our ski instructor training course.


So, first things first, how has your season been?

Gemma:  I have absolutely loved and cherished training with Subzero Coaching. After being out of the game (so to speak) for three years whilst I was at uni, I was worried coming into the season that I wouldn’t remember how to teach, or wouldn’t be any good at it or worse that I wouldn’t enjoy it. All these doubts disappeared after meeting the amazing team of full time instructors Matterhorn Diamonds has and our wonderful trainer/coach Fede. They made me feel at home and at ease almost immediately and helped me grow in confidence both on and off the snow.
Ian: The season has been extremely productive in terms of the amount of exams passed and the improvements made in my technical and teaching skiing. I’ve made some great friends in Zermatt and hope to return again for 2nd season working for Matterhorn Diamonds.
This was by far the best season I have had, I received excellent training and the ski resort itself was a great place to ski.
Lello: This was my first winter season and it couldn’t have gone better.  I met some really great people and the fact we all got on so well really made it a season never to be forgotten.


How do you think your skiing and teaching improved?

Ian: My skiing has improved massively, I came into the season below ISIA standard and with the help of Subzero Coaching I have managed to pass my level 3 technical exam and am comfortably skiing to this level since the exam. 
My teaching has also improved tremendously, again with the help of Subzero Coaching but also I have gained a lot of real life teaching from the ski school during busy periods.
I set myself a few goals before the season began and one of them was to gain more teaching experience.  To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to teach as much as I actually did, so all on all I am really happy to have had the opportunity and I feel far more confident with teaching.
Gemma: My confidence in my skiing and teaching abilities has increased greatly throughout the season, I realised that not only did I enjoy teaching but that I am pretty good at it too!
 I felt that my skiing and teaching were hugely improved, but also just training with other colleagues who are progressing their careers through different Ski Teaching Systems. Comparing the different ways of doing things was really interesting to me.

What exercises or activities did you find most useful?

Ian:  I found skiing a lot the most useful exercise!!! Don’t underestimate how much time and practice can improve your skiing, especially quality practice, it’s so important.
One thing I noticed during training was that my ankles were not very flexible, so all the exercises involving the ankles, especially the one we did skiing on one leg, rolling from inside and outside edge was extremely useful.

ski instructors zermattWill: All the exercises have been useful to my skiing career; I saw a huge improvement in all areas of my skiing, longs, shorts, bumps and off piste. One thing that really helped was to understand how I preferred to learn. Being able to better understand new ideas and practices made a big difference; as well as how to teach differently.

Gemma:  I found our dryland training really useful, it taught us how to take better care of our bodies during the season, keep us fit and healthy as well as prevent possible injuries and above all it was fun and we got to play touch rugby!

Favourite day on snow?

Gemma: Team day away training variables in Verbier
My favourite day on snow was skiing fresh snow (whenever we had it) with the whole Subzero crew, it’s such a blast. Whenever we had a good dump Fede our trainer made sure we got some miles in on the fresh stuff!!!
Powder days. I love powder!
Lello: My favourite day on snow came when I was teaching a 6yr old Spanish kid.  On the last day I took him to the snow park. As he flew past me at great speed with a huge grin on his face, shouting “…I love you Lello!” almost brought a tear to my eye.

Favourite day off snow?

Ian:  I can’t think of one particular favourite day off snow, but I am a big fan of a down day after some serious ski training e.g. films, sleep and junk food.
Watching our Italian GS trainer from Cervinia performing live with his band after a hard day training in the gates during GS week. Also our end of season games and BBQ day.
The Zermatt Unplugged festival was fantastic, I wasn’t training during that week so I really let my hair down.
Will: Netflix and comfort food. So important to give the body a break, and enjoy resort life too.

Ski instructor training

What surprised you this season?

Lello: Discovering how much I love living in the mountains; I’m staying on for the summer season in Zermatt!
Exceeding my teaching hour goals and building my confidence to the point where I felt I could successfully attend BASI courses
The prices in Zermatt surprised me.
Will: If you aren’t prepared for it, how much training there is. At first I didn’t ski in the afternoons as I was too tired; should have done the preseason programme Fede gave me! But how important it is to go and ski afterwards too; the trainers give you all the tools but it’s up to you to make the most of the time.


Any disappointments?

Will:  The lack of powder days in Zermatt, I thought ALL glaciers received huge snowfalls. Though it was a tough year everywhere.
Gemma: None (the season ending too soon?!)
My only disappointment was that I discovered the Canadian ski authorities don’t recognise any training hours given by a private ski school outside of the Canadian system. My advice to anyone thinking of doing a ski instructor training is to check with their association first; if you want to count the training hours towards a particular qualification. I decided to join as the training was to improve, not specifically with passing Level 3 in the near future.
Ian: Nope.


Were there any funny stories from the season?

Will: Being known as ‘Pang the Bang’, a nickname gained in GS week from Roberto (Race Coach), who when asked about Will’s fairly spectacular fall with skis and poles scattered across the piste, likened it to being shot in a movie.
Gemma:  Ian believing that the Toblerone story was true for 2 months. Cazz told him that because the Matterhorn looks flat on top from the Italian side; there is an Italian version of Toblerone that is also flat on top. Cazz is very proud of getting him to actually go and ask in an Italian cafe…!
Ordering cappuccinos after 11am specifically to annoy our Italian trainer, as apparently only children have milky coffees after 11am.

ISIA training

Advice for anyone thinking about doing a this ski instructor training next year?

Ian: At the start of season research kit e.g. skis and boots, I think it’s important to get this right at the beginning of the season and not have to spend extra money and time trying and buying new kit (ask Fede for advice prior to the season). Turn up to every training day, all training is good training and put your trust into the trainers methods. Sunbzero run a programme with limited numbers. It is very important to make connections with all the individuals within the team. You will be spending a lot of time together. Ski for a couple of hours everyday after training, just rocking up to training IS NOT ENOUGH. Use whatever you were taught in the morning and put it to practice in the afternoon; so you can start getting the feelings right without requiring feedback each run. 
Most of all … embrace it!!!!!!!
Excellent training, excellent trainers, excellent company. Just do it.
Lello: Sign up. Now.
 Do it. The ISIA programme offers way more than just on snow training and exceeded all my expectations.


Thanks to Caroline George for putting this together, off her own back. Her help and initiatives have been an integral part of what we were able to deliver to the team. We could not have done without her.
Another special thanks to Bruce Pope, for his help on the field and in the “back office”. His constant stream of jokes kept morale high.

Needless to say the rest of the Coaching Team is filled with gratituted after such positive feedback. A big hug to all and looking forward to go skiing with you all soon.

Head Coach
Subzero Coaching

Ski Instructor Training Zermatt, Switzerland

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Ski Instructor Training Zermatt – Ski Instructor Training Switzerland

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