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CSIA Level 3 focus

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I've been working on my skiing all season with a view to doing my CSIA Level 3 next season. Just wondering if there's anyone out there who has done the training, exam or both this season and could shed some light on what they found the main focuses and emphases to be including the kind of terrain they skied on. The course materials are quite general and living in the UK I don't get to speak to many people who've done it.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

 

post #2 of 15

Hi Adie,

 

As far as the teaching goes you will be assessed on 3 parts:

Technical Understanding... This is basically your skill assessment and development for each skier.

Guest Service... SAFE, Positive, professional, enthusiastic etc

& Student Centered Method... Adjusting to your teaching approach to each students' individual needs.

 

As for the skiing you will be required to perform a variety of turn shapes on a variety of terrain from green to black.

To be successful it is mandatory to pass your bump run which will be on black terrain typically with medium to large moguls. You should be able to consistently take a smooth path down the bumps (ie: strong pressure control & balance), without too much deviation from the fall line.

Shorts turns on steeper groomed terrain should show consistent speed, rhythm and some deflection of the mass.

Advanced parallel turns also on groomed terrain should be fairly dynamic show strong edging skills.

You will also be required to show some lower end demonstrations (ie: wedge turns and intermediate parallel) where you will be assessed on 3 basic competencies, being centered and mobile, turning with the lower body, balancing on the edges.

 

In all the maneuvers the skills should be blended to 'refinement' level. Which means that movements are automatic and performance is consistent and precise in demanding conditions.

 

The nice thing about having the course and exams separate is you can relax and enjoy learning while on the course and decide later if you are ready for the exams.

 

Not sure if that is what you are looking for but let me know if you would like anything more specific.

post #3 of 15

Hi Aide,

 

Don't want to put you off as the training and course conductors are great. Just a warning to be careful how much time ( and Money!) you devote to trying to get to level 3. The pass rate is very low these days, perhaps as low as 5% to 10%. ( anyone know the actual % pass rate for 2010 and 2011? )

 

Maybe there should be a level 2.5 for all the folk who are pretty good teachers and pretty good skiers but are just never going to make the level three grade; which has arguably got higher and certainly more difficult to pass in the last 3/5 years?

 

And remember, if you ask course conductors/examiners if you are ready for the course or the test they will inevitably say "well no harm in trying"..even if you don't have a hope in hell!  They get paid to run and examine courses.

 

Perhaps a cynical view,  but I think there is a disconnect in the system . It is normally abundantly clear whether you stand a chance of passing or not but course conductors and the CSIA have a vested interest in encouraging participation?

 

Snowfuntime.

post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by snowfuntime View Post

Hi Aide,

 

Don't want to put you off as the training and course conductors are great. Just a warning to be careful how much time ( and Money!) you devote to trying to get to level 3. The pass rate is very low these days, perhaps as low as 5% to 10%. ( anyone know the actual % pass rate for 2010 and 2011? )

 

Maybe there should be a level 2.5 for all the folk who are pretty good teachers and pretty good skiers but are just never going to make the level three grade; which has arguably got higher and certainly more difficult to pass in the last 3/5 years?

 

And remember, if you ask course conductors/examiners if you are ready for the course or the test they will inevitably say "well no harm in trying"..even if you don't have a hope in hell!  They get paid to run and examine courses.

 

Perhaps a cynical view,  but I think there is a disconnect in the system . It is normally abundantly clear whether you stand a chance of passing or not but course conductors and the CSIA have a vested interest in encouraging participation?

 

Snowfuntime.




Snowfuntime,

 

I understand your point of view, and no doubt you are not alone in having it.  However, what you wrote is in no way correct.  The CSIA is a non-profit organisation.  If you compare the cost of a 1 week CSIA L3 to say even a 1 day lesson with the same caliber instructor, you will see the CSIA courses are exceptional value.  After course conductors are paid, rooms are hired, advertising, insurance, etc, there is very little left over.  All money left over gets put back into the organisation, for the benefit of members like yourself.

 

As for asking course conductors their view on whether you should go or not:

 

Let me say this - we all get asked this question, all the time.  It is an incredibly difficult question to answer.  The reason is, most who do ask are borderline candidates.  Rarely is someone way below or way over the standard when they ask the question.  So it can fall either way all depending on how much they learn and improve on the course.  Some thrive under the pressure and excel, some crumble and fail.  Some just have an off week, and some have the best week of skiing of their life.  Further there is always the fall out.  If you reccomended waiting and they go anyway, and pass, you are then labelled as "unsupportive".  If you tell them to go, and they fail, then arguments like you posted above are always thrown around.  Truth is all examiners want to be supportive and they want all candidiates to do well and pass.  Failing people is no fun.

 

I know somtimes it can be frustrating, but I can honestly say it is a journey worth pursuing.  Nothing worth pursuing is ever easy, but CSIA 3 is certainly a reasonable goal for most people provided they are willing to put in the time and effort.

post #5 of 15

Hi Skidude 72,

 

Don't disagree with most of your comments. However, I didn't say the CSIA made any profit on the courses , just that they generate income and work for course conductors/examiners...and this may lead to a conflict of interest.I don't think it often is but " put a rabbit in charge of a lettuce and... the temptation is to eat it"

 

Personally I think they ( courses and course conductors) are very good value but doubt whether this would be the common view of your average poorly paid ski instructor.

 

And I understand it is always going to be a difficult question re. whether folk are likely to pass or not.

 

However, I disagree entirely with your view that   " CSIA 3 is certainly a reasonable goal for most people provided they are willing to put in the time and effort."

 

The evidence of pass rates in my region over the past few years seems to prove the exact opposite.  It is a high grade and should remain so. But not an attainable one for most level 2's. As such , perhaps more caution should be applied by course conductors/examiners/supervisors etc in who they encourage to go for the courses and certainly the exam.

 

As before, it would be interesting for the CSIA to publish , say a five year trend of no. of entrants to the exam vs no of passes.

 

Thanks for your comments.

 

Snowfuntime

 

 

 

 

 

post #6 of 15

Just out of curosity what "region" are you in?

post #7 of 15

Hi Adie,

 

I'm taking the level 3 course next week at Whistler. The materials changed this year from last year; I'll try to post a summary of the differences as they emerge in the course. I hear they've introduced "advanced competencies" or something similar as well. The course guide is here which briefly outlines each of the days: http://snowpro.com/docs/en/CSIA_Programs_Level_3_SKI_Course_Guide.pdf

 

You can find the exam standards there. However, the grade of "6" to pass a run doesn't really tell one anything. Instead check out this video of recent level 3s (from what I understand, these guys and girls got 6 on their runs): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ph31uw2_wP8&feature=plcp&context=C476bc47VDvjVQa1PpcFOvnmhbd0eiQt1xhWXExdij4j2fZn0eEXs%3D

 

To me, that level of skiing seems achievable. Note the terrain indicators are blue and black runs (presumably big mountain blue and black, rather than Mount St Louis blues and blacks). 

 

I had a hard time assessing issues in these skiers, personally, in the short radius--until I saw "awesome guy" skiing at 2:23 (Lake Louise 126). Then went, "oh right--let's get more dynamic and create more performance in those other guys." Not sure what feedback I'd give to awesome guy though, other than to try and maintain snow contact--unless his intention was to pop so much. 

 

Despite taking the level 3 course last year, I'm a bit baffled about teaching advanced parallel turns. It's all the same fundamentals as intermediate parallel turns, but "more dynamic" and "more powerful", producing more loading and deflection. And if it sufficed to just tell skiers to ski more dynamically or more powerfully, instructors would be out of jobs. biggrin.gif I'll keep an ear to the ground for exercises to help encourage advanced parallel turns (I'm thinking the knee-to-armpit exercise, and the bend-and-stretch exercise in particular)...

 

My plan is to also do the exam next year. Unless I magically make big changes in my skiing over the next nine days, in which case I'll take the exam on Monday. Either way the course will be a good learning opportunity. 

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for the information. Good luck Metaphor I hope it goes well and I'd be really interested to hear about the experience. In the clip did you mean run 126 because I was there last week and I think 126 is a double black in one of the bowls. Could it be 146 which is in the Larch area. I'd love to know what kind of terrain you do the training in.

 

I'm with you Skidude. I'm looking forward to the experience of working with some great coaches whethter or not I'm succesful.

 

I've been putting a lot of work in on my bump skiing while I was in Lake Louise as the bumps are not quite as easy to find in the Alps and I intend to put a good off season training to get in the best shape I can be. Any further suggestions, hints or observations would be welcome.

post #9 of 15

Hi again,

 

I'm in BC.

 

I think we all know that very few people are passing level 3 these days. However, I don't want to put off folk from trying for it; its a great course and for some "the journey" may be more important than getting there.For those that can afford to stick at it , both re time on the hill, courses, sessions etc and ..cash!

 

And the motivation of potential attendees is clearly important.

 

If the vast majority of folk trying for the exam are failing then either; 1  there are more folk applying in total, 2 there are more folk applying who shouldn't be, 3  the grade has got more difficult re ISIA standards etc....or more probably a combination of all the above and other factors.

 

Perhaps the CSIA should have a think about what else they can do for level 2's to keep them motivated...and on the journey/participating in the sport/instructing.EG other courses /credits like a seniors course, kids course, ski/mountain marketing/business etc etc.

 

It would be good to start with the data and the math.  What are the trends re. passing over the last  x years, nos taking, nos passing, by region, center etc.  And then some qual. research ;has the course got more difficult, why,why are so many people failing etc.

 

I hope this thread prompts some serious thoughts on these issues.

 

Snowfuntime.

post #10 of 15

I just finished the level 3 course but didn't take the exam. Some observations: 

 

The schedule says 25 hours of on-snow time, but really we got more like 16 hours. Most of that time was spent on practice teaches and fasttrack to parallel. 

The ski improvement portion was good, but far too short--it only lasted about 7h of the on-snow time over the span of five days. We actually only skied about five "ski improvement" bump runs during the whole course... :(

 

From a teaching perspective, the most helpful development this year over last year's version of the course was the introduction of advanced competencies. You can actually read the updated manual online here. Advanced competencies are in section 6.7. Prior to the course I found it hard to assess advanced skiers, but the advanced competencies toolkit makes it way easier.  The impression I got was that the CSIA's still working out exactly how to use the advanced competencies or what the definitions are (there's a lot of overlap), but here's how I've interpreted them: 

  • Strength and flow: Does the skier look strong throughout the turn? Do their movements flow? Or are they blocky and stilted?
  • Arc to arc: Is there a clean transition between turns, or is there a dead spot?
  • Loading and deflection: Does the skier create load under the ski to deflect the ski and mass, or does the skier unintentionally release the load?
  • Steering skills: Does the turning effort incorporate both pivoting and edging? Is the skier controlling the turn, or is the skier being taken for a ride? Is the steering right for the terrain and conditions?

 

Personally I didn't get the growth I was expecting in the session. My suggestion is to definitely take the course earlier in the season (we had much more on-snow time when I took it the previous year in March), then give yourself a month or more to focus on your feedback. 

 

And snowfuntime, you're right that the pass rate was low (2 out of 25 candidates passed their ski portion). However, my friend passed both portions, and based on his skiing, I have to say it's a a high but achievable standard. Level 4 on the other hand...

post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feedback and good luck when you do the exam in the future!

post #12 of 15

Hello, I took the level 3 course at the end of last season and I need to get in more mileage this season to pass the exam.

 

Does anyone know if there's a group of L2 skiiers out there who have the same goal in mind and want to ski together on the weekends ? If not would anyone be interesested in starting a group ?

 

I have been an instructor for the last three seasons but am considering taking a year off for ski improvement.

 

Just seeing if there is any interest out there.

 

Thanks,

Erick

post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by thunderball View Post
 

Does anyone know if there's a group of L2 skiiers out there who have the same goal in mind and want to ski together on the weekends ? If not would anyone be interesested in starting a group ?

 

 

Where are you?

post #14 of 15
Are you CSIA guys teaching during the season? Does your mountain not have in-house training? Just trying to wrap my head around paying so much for instructor courses. I get it for UK-based instructors teaching in Canada (although arguably a BASI would serve you better irrespective of cost), but I would think Canadians would be better off served working with in-house trainers. Our in-house training is probably about the same length, but spread out into once-a-week clinics with time between to practice and tweak, not sure if I'd be able to make a crash course work for upper level certification
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Akira View Post

Are you CSIA guys teaching during the season? Does your mountain not have in-house training? Just trying to wrap my head around paying so much for instructor courses. 

 

You must attend a course to take the corresponding exam. For the 1+2 the exam is built into the course. I wouldn't advise anyone to take the 3 course, then jump immediately into the exam anyway - you wouldn't have time to put everything you learned into practice.

 

Also, regular on-hill training (that I've attended) is nowhere near as rigorous in structure as a CSIA course. That said, it's not necessarily a case of attending only one or the other. 

 

Lastly, have you seen how big Canada is? Many of our individual provinces are as big as England. Some mountains have phenomenal in-house training; other mountains have nothing aside from regional professional development days put on by the CSIA. 

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