Skis for BASI Training and Exams
We get lots of questions about this every year and with good reason. When you want to move with precision and at speed you need to be able to rely on your equipment. It’s important to realise that all the advice below relates to training for the BASI Technical Level 3 and 4 exams rather than the earlier exams in the system. We strongly advise you to invest in your equipment wisely, scrimping on equipment to save money is often a false economy as it means you won’t ski as well. To put things into context our trainers will renew their skis every year to ensure they can demonstrate to the required level. If you are planning on training with Skivo Academy then our sponsors Blizzard and Dynastar kindly support our students and offer reductions in price.
What sort of ski should you be looking for your ski instructor exams?
You should certainly aim for the more expert end of the ski range. A piste ski is the best choice as this will allow you to demonstrate what is required for the BASI Level 3 and BASI Level 4 course. The ski should enable you to carve your long turns and ski your short turns with performance. The skis should be a maximum width of 80mm. Wider than this you risk lowering your performance.
Studies have also shown that wide skis put large amount of strain on your knees when used on the piste. Wide skis are great for off-piste but aren’t great for demonstrating your best turns on the piste.
Depending on your height, weight and strength you can alter your selection. We have found that people have most success on a ski that is between 14-18m radius. The reason for this is you will be able to carve long turns without staying in the fall line for too long. This means that you will be able to control your speed a little easier. In addition, it will allow you to blend a little more edge angle into the turn making the short turns look higher performance.
Unfortunately, the stiffness of the ski is not something that is universally measured however the stiffness of the ski is very important. Too stiff and you will struggle to influence the radius of the turn by bending the ski. Too soft and you won’t be able to hold an edge when you’re carving, and the ski won’t feel stable. The correct stiffness of ski is something that is relative to the individual. It depends on your weight and strength. If you’re heavy and strong you will want a stiffer ski, likely with a race plate (this will help stiffen the ski up).
For your BASI 3 we would advise that you suggest that it is better to be softer rather than too stiff. When you are looking at skis and trying to figure out which are the stiffest, generally they go up in stiffness the more towards the top of the range you go with the FIS race skis being the stiffest.
As skis age they tend to get softer and lose their rebound. If you are embarking on ski instructor training we would suggest using a new ski as you commence your training.
Choosing Ski Length
We would suggest that you use a ski that is in the region of 160-180cm depending on your height. We think it’s best to use a ski that is roughly the same size as you or up to 10cm longer.
The longer the ski the more stable it will feel at speed but the trickier it will be for short turns.
We suggest buying a good quality ski, historically that has meant an element of wood in the core. Some top of the range skis now have technology that may work as an alternative and include titanium to help stiffen the ski up.
You are going to be looking at the more expensive skis. They are likely going to be the top one or two skis in the piste performance range. From a shop they will cost £700+ with bindings.
We can really help with reducing the cost of buying the skis as our sponsors kindly support us so if you’re looking at Blizzard & Dynastar then we can help save you a lot of money.
Examples of skis for BASI 3 and BASI 4 Training
We have selected examples of the skis that are suitable for the BASI 3 and 4 qualifications from our partners.
Blizzard Firebird Firebird WRC WC Piston
This is the top of the range Blizzard piste ski. It has a wood core and sandwich construction which is generally considered the gold standard for a performance ski. This ski has a plate on the ski which makes it the stiffer option. It is built like a world cup ski in terms of construction but softer than the skis used on the World Cup. We have found this ski to be an excellent choice.
Size - Radius
170cm - 16.5m
175cm - 17.5m
Blizzard Firebird HRC WC Piston
This is the hybrid ski, it sits somewhere between a detuned GS ski and a detuned Slalom ski. It’s wider than both and comes with a world cup construction.
Size - Radius
158cm – 13m
166cm – 14.5
174cm – 15m
Softer Blizzard Option
If you are lighter or smaller then a softer option may be more suitable. The Firebird WRC and HRC with FDT race plate are the same skis with a different plate which make them 10% softer. The softer options are available in the same sizes as the above.
The Dynastar Master skis are a great ski, historically they have been pretty stiff, however we have heard that they are an excellent ski this year. They do now offer them with a Konnect binding setup which makes them a bit softer if you’re lighter.
Dynastar Speed Course Master GS
169cm – 15m
173cm – 17m
Dynastar Speed Course Master SL
173cm – 14m
A softer option for the smaller and lighter skiers is the…
Dynastar Speed Zone 12 TI
This is a softer and very slightly wider ski, this is probably the easiest to ski of the Dynastar skis that we would suggest and we have had people sit up their Level 4 on these skis. This ski is softer than the 2 above
166cm – 14m
174cm – 15m
Conclusion on Skis for your BASI 3 & 4 Exams
Choose your ski wisely! Of course, if you have any questions then please contact us. The main thing is to buy a ski that is going to set you up to have the best chance of improving. The list of skis above are all capable of doing the job. This list is not extensive, there are other brands that offer similar skis that are of excellent quality!
Remember to match up the right height of ski with your height. We would advise that if you struggle with short turns then get a ski that would complement that area better ( a shorter radius ski). This should enable you to improve this area without creating an extra hurdle for yourself.