BASI Level 4 Technical Exam Tips and Advice

As with all training it is good to know what you are aiming for in order to be able to tailor your training correctly and it therefore makes sense to know what you are getting yourself in for when you sign up to the BASI Level 4 Technical Ski Exam. In our experience there are lots of people that enter into this exam very underprepared and hope they will pass with a bit of luck. However the approach can be and should be more logical, here we will give you some advice and tips as well as taking a look at the performance indicators and actions.

If you are thinking about training for you BASI Level 4 Technical Ski exam it is likely that you have successfully passed your Level 3 exam and may be looking at the BASI Level 4 Training or trying to look at how the Technical exam fits in with the rest of the BASI Level 4 ISTD Qualification.

We should look at what is required to pass the exam and work towards it in a well structured manner. As a start you should know the criteria for the exam, below we have given an in depth look. From this you should be able to gauge where you are at, whether you need to train more on specific things or whether you're ready to let rip and be one of the few people that pass the exam.

You may be surprised/overwhelmed at the below, but we shall try to explain and simplify where necessary. Think of this as an in depth look at the criteria at each of the strands for level 4. The below are called PIA's or Performance Indicators and Actions. These are given to you when you do the course but there is no harm in knowing them before as you should have an idea of where you are at with regards to the level before you entertain the thought of doing the exam.

Below are the Performance Indicators and Actions for all of the Strands in the BASI Level 3 & 4 Technical Exam.

There are PIA's for all of the strands at level 3 and 4. It may seem a lot when you first look at it, but once digested it should seem logical. Think of the Performance Indicators as what the examiner would like to see you demonstrate. And think of actions as the way to be able to do them. Incase you weren't sure we highlighted the Green as good points and you should avoid the Red Points.

 

To start it is probably best to look at just one of the strands and understanding all of the information in that strand rather than just reading all of the bullet points for all of strands. Take your time to understand the links between the performance indicators and performance actions. Once you have read the points for a whole strand, take stock of your own skiing, what are the areas that you excel or that need improvement. Form a plan of what you would like to improve and then work out how to improve them. 

Performance Indicators and Actions - Long Turns (Level 3/4)

PERFORMANCE INDICATORS - What we want to see...

  • Two clean lines in the snow (unless the task is otherwise)

  • Tighten or open the radius of the arc as required by skis, terrain and task

  • 2 skis parallel throughout the turn

  • Skis take a different line to CoM from the top

    of the turn

  • Consistent speed, carried across the hill

  • Controlled speed

  • Have a clear exit from one turn to the

    next that carries speed from arc to arc

 

Discourage

  • Skidded turns, unless task specific

  • Relying on the side cut of the skis – park and

    ride turns

  • Divergent/convergent skis

  • Corridor, radius or arc length which don’t

    match the task

  • Increase in speed down the hill throughout the run

  • Turns that are so slow the CoM is unable to diverge from the line of the skis

 

PERFORMANCE ACTIONS – what performers can do to achieve the desired outcomes

Tactical

  • Use appropriate radius and arc length to control speed – set a corridor and a number of turns

  • Correct approach to account for equipment and snow conditions e.g. steep, fast piste use rotation

    above the fall line to help tighten the radius, clean carve the remainder of the turn, GS skis wider corridor, SL skis narrower corridor.

  • Throughout Turn Build Work Release

  • Build pressure and release progressively through manipulation of edge angle

  • Limit active rotation unless the task is to steer/smear/drift/stivot the top of the turn

  • Feel pressure predominantly on the outside ski

  • Steer skis across the line of the CoM in transition, this inevitably builds edge angle at the top of

    the next turn

  • Release the edge angle/pressure, progressively towards the end of the turn

  • Movements flow throughout the run. The lower and upper body move in different but coordinated ways. The timing of these movements results in the separation of the line of the skis and the CoM. These movements happen from one turn to the next, not within a single turn.

  • As the skis and CoM diverge after transition, stretch the legs to keep the skis in contact with the snow, taking care to control the tipping of the upper body. This creates a platform through which the skier resists and manages the forces within the turn.

  • Re-centre the CoM fore/aft over the feet in order to work effectively

  • Allow the large powerful joints to be deep inside the line of the skis. Use the lower joints to

    moderate and fine-tune the edge and rotation.

  • The hips follow the direction of travel of the CoM of the skier, this sees the hips fairly square to the skis through the high load phase of the turn

  • Keep outside leg long during high load phase with load through the middle of the ski

  • Develop lateral separation as the ski is fully loaded

  • Make an accurate pole touch to help with timing, separation and flow

  • Carefully control vertical movements in transition to keep skis on the snow and to be effective

    early in the next turn

  • Leg flexion may be required to facilitate lateral movements of the legs and upper body in transition as the load is released

Chec

Performance Indicators and Actions - Steeps (Level 3/4)

PERFORMANCE INDICATORS - What we want to see...

  • Rounded turns unless very narrow

  • Rhythmical line

  • Confident to show airborne and on snow

    turn initiation

  • 2 skis largely parallel with consistent stance

    width throughout

  • Use the terrain to help flow

  • Speed reflecting the technical difficulty of the terrain

  • Have a clear exit from one turn to the next that carries speed from arc to arc, unless very narrow

 

Discourage

  • Traversing

  • Turns which do not match the terrain

  • Divergent/convergent skis

  • Uncontrolled speed

  • Looking for so much security that the skier

    almost stops after each turn

 

 

PERFORMANCE ACTIONS – what performers can do to achieve the desired outcomes

  • Some use of line to control speed rather than excessive skid or check

  • Use the terrain to help turn initiation

  • Use terrain to help control speed e.g. up the side of a gully to slow down

  • Use both edge and rotation to manage pressure within the turn to maintain a rhythmical, flowing descent

  • Use accurate flexion/extension of the legs to manage pressure resulting from terrain

  • Use rotation combined with some edge through the second part of the turn to create some grip and allow the ski to move along its own length

  •  Employ a deliberate lack of pressure at the top of the turn to facilitate rotation of the skis

  • Be prepared to initiate the turn by rotating the upper body down the hill, this is rotational separation

  • Use a strong pole plant to help with timing, separation and flow

  • Be solid and steady on the downhill ski, lateral and rotation separation will help with this

Performance Indicators and Actions – Short Turns (Level 3/4)

PERFORMANCE INDICATORS - What we want to see.....

  • Rounded, symmetrical line

  • Limited/accurate corridor for skis and terrain

  • 2 skis largely parallel, consistent stance width

  • Skis travelling along their length from the fall line

  • Skis take a different line to CoM from the top of the

    turn

  • A speed that allows skis to take a different line to CoM

  • Have a clear exit from one turn to the next that carries speed and momentum from arc to arc

  • Consistent and controlled speed through the run

 

Discourage

  • Zig-zag or J-turns

  • Divergent/convergent skis

  • Uncontrolled skids or down stems

  • Loss of ski/snow contact

  • Overly wide or narrow corridor

  • Too slow

  • Speed checks at end of turn

  • Increase in speed down the hill

    throughout the run

 

PERFORMANCE ACTIONS – what performers can do to achieve the desired outcomes

Tactical

  • Control speed with line and skilful skidding through the arc rather than excessive skid or check at the end of the turn

  • Correct approach to account for equipment and snow conditions e.g. bullet ice aim for precision and less speed, GS skis make turns with greater vertical distance, SL skis more towards slalom end of the spectrum

  • Be clear on the most effective mixture of the steering elements to achieve the desired type of short turn (slalom, grippy, punchy etc.)

  • Be clear on the corridor, radius and arc length for the run

  • Throughout Turn BUILD WORK RELEASE

  • Build pressure and release progressively through manipulation of edge and rotation

  • On steeper terrain the skis can be light through the top part of the turn, edge and rotation are still

    used to prepare the skis to be loaded

  • Feel more pressure on the outside ski through the middle/end part of the turn

  • In transition release the skis on a line which crosses that of the CoM, this will inevitably build edge

    angle in the new turn

  • Keep skis on the snow even though they may be light in transition

  • Movements flow throughout the run. The lower and upper body move in different but coordinated ways. The timing of these movements results in the separation of the line of the skis and the CoM. These movements happen from one turn to the next, not within a single turn.

  • The lower body will move more laterally than the hips and shoulders – this is lateral separation

  • Steer the skis more across the hill than the upper body – this is rotational separation that will be more

    apparent than in longer turns

  • As the skis and CoM diverge after transition, stretch the legs to keep the skis in contact with the snow, taking care to control the tipping of the upper body. This creates a platform through which the skier resists and manages the forces within the turn.

  • Re-centre the CoM fore/aft over the feet in order to work effectively

  • Keep outside leg long during high load phase with load through the middle of the ski

  • The hips follow the direction of travel of the CoM of the skier, this sees the hips fairly square to the

    skis through the high load phase of the turn

  • Carefully control vertical movements in transition to keep skis on the snow and to be effective early in the next turn

  • Leg flexion may be required to facilitate lateral movements of the legs and upper body in transition as the load is released

  • Use a strong pole plant to control the upper body, aiding the separation through transition

Performance Indicators and Actions – Variables (Level 3/4)

PERFORMANCE INDICATORS - What we want to see.....

  • Rounded turns unless very narrow

  • Rhythmical line

  • Tighten or open the radius of the arc as

    required by task or terrain

  • 2 skis largely parallel with consistent stance

    width throughout

  • Skis take a different line to CoM from the

    top of the arc

  • Use the terrain to help flow

  • Consistent speed

  • Ski to the minimum speed appropriate for

    the snow conditions e.g. in deep snow you need enough speed to prevent the skis sinking

  • Have a clear exit from one turn to the next that carries speed from arc to arc.

​​

Discourage 

  • Overly skidded turns

  • Zig-zag turns/traversing

  • Park and ride turns

  • Divergent/convergent skis

  • Skiing too far round the arc

  • Such a slow speed that the there is no performance to the turns

  • Uncontrolled speed

 

 

PERFORMANCE ACTIONS – what performers can do to achieve the desired outcomes

  • When starting a descent, ski the fall line to generate enough speed to make the first turn

  • Use line to control speed rather than excessive skid or check

  • Use the correct approach – radius and turn shape would be different in deeper snow where the

    snow itself slows you down, allowing the skier to spend more time in the fall line

  • Use the terrain to help turn initiation

  • Use terrain to help control speed e.g. up the side of a gully to slow down

  • Use both edge and rotation to manage pressure within the turn to maintain a rhythmical, flowing descent

  • Use accurate flexion/extension of the legs to manage pressure resulting from terrain

  • Be prepared to pressure the inside ski more than you might on the piste.

  •  Manipulate the pressure fore/aft on the skis to allow the pitch of the ski to change when turning in deep snow. The skis should pitch up through the end of the turn, reaching their highest point during transition and should pitch slightly down as the skis enter the new turn.

  • Allow the body to flow down the hill by separating laterally and rotationally. This helps to balance against the outside ski and prevents the skier from getting trapped too deep, too late in the turn – travelling too far round the arc

  • In deep snow turns can be initiated with the upper body. You don’t need the “platform” that is required on the piste and can afford to get the skis away from the body more freely.

  • Use an accurate pole plant to help with timing, separation and flow

  • In deep or awkward snow it often helps to narrow the stance width

Performance Indicators and Actions – Bumps (Level 3/4)

PERFORMANCE INDICATORS - What we want to see...

  • Fall line descent

  • Two skis taking the same line

  • Skis on the snow unless deliberate

  • Ability to switch inside, outside and direct line

    in open bumps and in rut lines

  • A consistent speed

  • Use of line and skid to control speed

  • Vary speed as the terrain dictates

  • A flowing descent

  • Use of impact to control speed should

    be deliberate and not an unavoidable default

 

Discourage

  • Traversing

  • Uncontrolled air time

  • Inappropriate line for the terrain

  • Using the inside line on every turn

  • Too slow

  • Stopping

  • Side slipping down the line

  • Speed without quality

 

PERFORMANCE ACTIONS – what performers can do to achieve the desired outcomes

Tactical

  • Match the method of speed control to the terrain: line, pressure control, skid, scrape, check

  • Use line as much as possible to control speed, within a fall line descent

  • Adapt to the snow conditions and terrain. Consider: are the bumps soft/hard, how big are they?

    Can you change lines? Can you easily get out of a trough? Can you avoid the trough?

  • In spaces between open bumps make turns, don’t go straight

  • Look for ways to use the terrain to help steer the skis

Technical

• If skiing a direct line use rotation late in the turn to check as the skis come over the col
• When skiing a round line use rotation gradually throughout the arc to control speed avoiding a

scrape down the fall line
• Ride the banks when skiing a round line, the skis may be tilted, but the edges are not necessarily

engaged. Lateral pressure may come through the base of the skis as much as the edges
• Manipulate pressure to control speed e.g. maintain pressure as the skis impact the face of the

bump to reduce speed or apply pressure on the back side to speed up. Engage the tips of the skis

after the turn to get them back on the snow
• The skis move laterally, vertically and fore/aft and will not always remain underneath the skier. • Spread the pressure more evenly between two feet than in piste skiing especially during impact.

There will still be dominance on the outer ski during turns.

Steering Elements

Body Management

  • Use a narrow stance to facilitate speed of movement (agility) and aid simultaneous edging and rotation. It will also ensure that both skis will hit similar terrain at the same time

  • Depending on the line affect rotation in different ways. E.g. feet and legs provide enough fast but range-limited rotation on the direct line. A more rounded/outside line will require the hips to rotate with the skis as well.

  • Active fore/aft positioning of the feet to facilitate vertical movements of the legs. The feet should not be trapped behind the hips as the skier impacts the bump because this inhibits leg flexion. The feet need to be back under the body to allow the tips to re-engage with the snow after the bump.

  • Flexion and extension match the terrain and turns laterally as well as vertically

  • The timing of flexion and extension movements will affect the degree, duration and location of

    pressure in the run. This will have an effect on speed.

  • Use a strong, accurate and symmetrical pole plant to aid stability and timing

  • Calm, upright upper body, strong core; soft, agile legs working underneath vertically, laterally,

rotationally.

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