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Cscf L1

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Sorry if this isn't quite the right place, seems the most appropriate though.

Last season I passed the CSIA L1 course, however, disappointingly, have yet to use it in practice. My plan is for that to change, as I hope to be in Canada (probably Whistler) to get a season of instructing in for 08/09.

I have been looking at the CSCF L1 with great interest recently (with the group running courses in Andorra). A large part of the reason is so that I can get experience in the gates, and additionally so that I can generally progress my skiing/professional knowledge. I'm sure that there are a few on here who have this (or know great details of it), and was interested in people's input.

Ideally I would be looking at taking the first part of the course this spring, so that I would then, hopefully, be able to get involved with a club next season to move from trained to certified (some people who know me would probably say I'm certifiable anyway... .

Anyway, some things I'd like clarified. What sort of standard skier is required to realistically have a chance of successfully completing the L1? Would it be fair to assume that passing the CSIA L1 indicates that, at least in all probability, the skiing is probably up to it? Also, is it worth it (as a qual in its own right, and as part of the ladder to higher things with the CSIA/CSCF)? Finally, is it likely to have a positive impact on my own gate skiing?


Of course, any other thoughts on the course (inc types of things covered) would be hugely appreciated, as would general musings from coaches of other associations/federations.

Many thanks in advance.
post #2 of 25
Hi there, I took my cscf level 1 last winter, and I'll tell you what i remember. There are probably people on this board that are cscf facilitators (or whatever they are called) who will be more knowledgeable but here it goes ...

Originally Posted by skisimon View Post
I have been looking at the CSCF L1 with great interest recently (with the group running courses in Andorra). A large part of the reason is so that I can get experience in the gates,
we did almost no gate work in our course. a few stubbys and that was it. If yours is like mine, you will do very little gate work - it will be focused more on the fundamentals of skiing and working with little kids. In the racing related bits we did do tucks/tuck turns and starts (which was hilarious to watch the non-racers learn

and additionally so that I can generally progress my skiing/professional knowledge.
you will get lots of feedback on your skiing, and it will have a different focus then your CSIA level 1. IMHO opinion a higher level of skiing is required for the coaching levels.

What sort of standard skier is required to realistically have a chance of successfully completing the L1? Would it be fair to assume that passing the CSIA L1 indicates that, at least in all probability, the skiing is probably up to it?
I'd say if your skiing ability is up to level 2 CSIA than you won't have to sweat. If its not at that level, I'm not saying you won't pass, but it will be a lot more stressful for you. Being able to carve your turns on a blue run - maybe that's a good standard? Again other may know more.

other odds and ends:

our final exam was a run of short radius, a run of medium radius (GS), and a mix. We also did a fake coaching session for a skill. Oh I just found my 'report card'.
So they were looking for, skill wise:

ON the GS turns:
- stability in all planes, side cut both skis, separation and angulation skills, link turns w rhythm, movement, speed, left right symmetry, manage speed with turn shape and type, glide between turns, carve in fall line

ON the short radius turns
- same as above plus upper body/arm discipline,pole plant for timing

I'm sure if you posted a video of yourself here people could tell you if your skiing was up to snuff pretty easily.

Hope this helps!
post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your input.

Originally Posted by sarahmskis View Post
I'm sure if you posted a video of yourself here people could tell you if your skiing was up to snuff pretty easily.
That sounds like the best excuse to book a last minute deal for next week that I've yet heard!

Just had another look on the website of the group I'm looking to use and they run the course over 6 days instead of the standard 3 days, which sounds good.
post #4 of 25
The last I knew, a minimum CSIA Level II is required to do the CSCF Level I. You may want to check into this....
post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks; just checked, but the only prerequisite is that participants are 15 years old (and presumably can ski a bit...)
post #6 of 25
There's no pre-req for either the CSIA or CSCF level 1. It's a fun course, if you're comfortable on your edges and carving then it shouldn't be a big issue skiing-wise, but if you felt the CSIA 1 was challenging, then you may have some trouble. In general, the skiing required of a CSCF level is closer to the next step up in CSIA levels (ie CSCF 1 is closer to CSIA 2 skiing, etc), but that's not an exact rule.

My advice is just go out and do it! It's generally a fun course and you can start your learning from it.
post #7 of 25
I would highly recommend the CSCF 1 course. It would be a great addition to what you have started with CSIA 1 certification. As noted elsewhere, the CSCF 1 course usually doesn't involve actual gate training, but it is very much race performance oriented, and will help you with racing. As long as you are comfortable with skiing fast, and are interested in learning, it would be a great training experience even if you're not quite ready to pass first time through. The Andorra sessions are staffed by excellent course conductors from both the CSIA and CSCF.

The skiing standard is a big step up from the CSIA 1 course, most notably in terms of the expected ski performance. A common student mix in our area (southern Ontario) is CSIA Level 2 instructors and 15/16 year old kids who have been racing for half a dozen years or so. Most of the CSIA 2 folks do well: they have to push themselves on the skiing part, but they have a good teaching background which helps them pick up the coaching content. The racer kids easily meet the skiing standard, but will usually have more to learn for coaching.
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks CI/mm, sounds like I've got the response I was hoping for ( ), go and do it - if I pass, then that's fantastic; if I don't, I'll doubtless still have improved my skiing and coaching/instructing skills no end. I'm more comfortable carving than anything else, so hopefully I'll be able to develop that.
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
Well, just got back from the 6 day course. And I passed.

Really interesting course, certainly improved my skiing, and being 6 days instead of 3 we were able to do some gates as well as ski improvement. £320 for a week of training with a WC coach is certainly great value!
post #10 of 25
Originally Posted by skisimon View Post
Well, just got back from the 6 day course. And I passed.
post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thank you. Just looked back up at your previous post and it really rung quite true. Big step up from the CSIA L1 I last did. Being the course in Andorra we didn't have any of the kid racers. The group I was in was made up of me (CSIA L1), four with CSIA L2, two with CSIA L2 who were taking the L3 the next week and one CSIA L3. With the exception of the L3 and me they had all been instructing in various parts of the Pyrenees all season. It was quite obvious too, my skiing was fairly dreadful by comparison at the start of the week. Anyway, hopefully this will be a good stepping stone to nailing the CSIA L2 as early as possible next season, when I should hopefully be out in Whistler.

Now, in a cheap ploy to up my post count, I shall post a day by day log I made of the course, for any interested parties.
post #12 of 25
Thread Starter 

CSCF LI (Soldeu, Andorra) - Day 1

Day 1 (of 6)

We looked at session planning: IWACC
  • Initiation/Introduction
  • Warm-Up
  • Activation
  • Cool-Down
  • Conclusion
We briefly thought about the introduction and what's included - talk about what's in the session, potential for ideas from kids and keeping it short (also mention time frames to keep them focused).

We spent the morning considering and (essentially) doing a long warm-up. Stopping to discuss factors that would affect the warm up for kids between 5 and 11 (which is what the L1 is aimed at). Physiological and psychological factors were discussed. We did a number of exercises that are good for warm-ups (general - to get the blood flowing and the muscles warm) and predominantly ski specific drills (for balance and activation).

After lunch we did a session to improve our skiing. My main faults were:
  • A lack of patience (steering a little when the edges didn't immediately grip) which meant my train lines weren't quite perfect - just wait another second and the edges will do all the work, leaving the standard issue tracks.
  • And a narrow stance - I worked on really extending the outside leg and it worked, I felt much more comfortable at speed and even managed to carve a couple of turns down a black.
Following our ski improvement we looked at the cool-down. A non-directed chance for the kids to just ski some easier terrain at their own pace, putting into practice the skills worked on in the session and reducing intensity before some stretching and a re-cap of the session (in the conclusion).
post #13 of 25
Just be prepared, at your CSIA L2 - to be doing lots of low performance steered turns, as opposed to predominantly edged turns as you have been doing on CSCF L1
post #14 of 25
Originally Posted by veeeight View Post
Just be prepared, at your CSIA L2 - to be doing lots of low performance steered turns, as opposed to predominantly edged turns as you have been doing on CSCF L1
CSCF 1 used to be a prerequisite for CSIA 3, to help get candidates prepared for the performance jump from CSIA 2 to 3. Not a bad progression, IMO.
post #15 of 25
Congrats, good luck working towards your level 2!
post #16 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hopefully I can get CSIA L2 very early next season (where's the fingers crossed smilie...) I might also try the CSCF L2/DL six day course in Andorra at the end of the season too, it would be interesting at least, even though I probably wouldn't pass it.
Originally Posted by veeeight View Post
Just be prepared, at your CSIA L2 - to be doing lots of low performance steered turns, as opposed to predominantly edged turns as you have been doing on CSCF L1
: I am actually quite worried that after a week with Chris Hillier I'll just crank it over, 'go deep' and race past the course conductor... :
post #17 of 25
Thread Starter 

CSCF LI (Soldeu, Andorra) - Day 2

Day 2 of 6

First off today we did a warm-up. We discussed appropriate terrain for warm-ups, preferably so everyone is contained and the coach can watch and give feedback to everyone.

Then we moved onto some more development of our own skiing, with an emphasis on edging, and with that inclination and upper body separation (leading to angulation).

We played with initiating the edge by just rolling our ankles (a little tricky) and then just inclining (no lower leg/ankle movement or separation). It was suprising how much more solid this felt, even whilst trying to eliminate angulation. This was all good because it meant we started to 'feel' what action/movement does what - the results of the individual components of a turn.

Moving on from the inclination (now with ankles/knees) we looked at being able to get the hips much lower to the snow by separation. Getting angulation was the key, we concentrated on getting this without losing our 'stack' (i.e. keeping the body aligned - don't let the hip drop!). We also discussed the appropriate times during the turn to introduce separation. A couple of these runs were videoed, including some long carved turns with a focus on angulation on a black.

After watching the video and having a working lunch, we focused on tactics. Trying to work on being able to ski a direct/fall-line as opposed to wider/rounder turns which lose momentum on a flatter slope. Whilst doing this we looked at skill analysis from a coaches perspective and we did a little coaching. Skill analysis includes:
  • Observation (view from different positions - above, behind, below, side)
  • Evaluation (comparing expected/desired performance with actual)
  • Diagnosis (TTPPEE teepee)
  • Prescription / Coach Intervention
For observation, Chris stressed that a coach is not looking for a particular 'style' of skiing (i.e. not interested if it is elegent, or the body shape is this or that), but are looking for good bio-mechanics. This is done by concentrating primarily on the skis and how they are performing, this indicates whether the bio-mechanics are right.

Teepee shows the possible categories of reasons that could be causing problems - deciding on the correct one affects whether your solution will work:
  • Technical
  • Tactical
  • Physical
  • Psychological
  • Enviroment
  • Equipment
Prescription, as you would expect, is coming up with ways to solve the problem (i.e. drills/exercises to give the athlete a feel of what should be happening). Coach Intervention however is more general feedback - well done, that's not right etc, if it's not right, tell them but let them try and come up with something to help (they my try something else that gives them a better feel), it also gives the opportunity to facilitate the athlete to help themselves.

Then we did a quick cool-down on our own and met up for the evening's theory session.
post #18 of 25
Tell Chris he needs a haircut .
post #19 of 25
Thread Starter 
I might have mentioned it a couple of times...
post #20 of 25
Thread Starter 

CSCF LI (Soldeu, Andorra) - Day 3

Day 3 of 6

Boy was today good. Awesome stuff and I really felt it coming together, the feeling of being solidly on an edge all the way from the start to the finish of the turn was something I hadn't truly experienced. It was orgasmic...

We spent most of the day doing ski improvement, as we have the time to on the 6 day course.

We again looked at the warm-up. This time considering how to have it running. It can be beneficial to allow the athletes to decide their own warm-up, providing feedback as appropriate, as opposed to a group wide generic one. Why? Not every skier will need to work on the same things.

We looked at ways to tackle steeper terrain where pure carving is the domain of a very select few. As part of this we discovered the difference between railing (being on edge but having no real control of the size of your turn) and pure carving (again being on edge, but having the skill and ability to alter your turn as appropriate for external factors such as terrain and other skiers).

We moved back onto medium terrain and did some video. Then another working lunch whilst discussing the issues seen on the video. (I couldn't believe the difference in my skiing from yesterday to today on the same terrain).

After lunch we did a few more runs and looked at coaching ourselves by selecting a few drills to practice for the elements of our skiing that needed work on (having watched the video). Having got the edging sorted, I started to concentrate on greater separation between upper and lower body.

Then we moved into cool-down and came off the mountain (eventually - my cool down went on for a while I was having so much fun!).

Our 'homework' was to start thinking about what we were going to do in our coaching sessions tomorrow.
post #21 of 25
Thread Starter 

CSCF LI (Soldeu, Andorra) - Day 4

Note about today. Owing to CSCF rules (regarding liability) whilst doing training in gates (even brushes) whilst on courses, I wore a helmet for the first time today. I may well have been converted: it was no-where near as restricting as I thought it would be and I didn't really notice it, however, I don't think I'd where one on days like today unless I had too - boy did I get hot with it on.

Day 4 of 6

Today we did some work in a slalom(ish) course. Using three bushes arranged horizontally for each turn, we had available three different lines to take: direct, wide or in between. After setting up the course (wey hey, got to use a snow drill! ) we did a quick warm up.

We discussed tactics for skiing the course: what the advantages and disadvantages of each line were. The main things we considered were the speed gained/lost on each line and the ability to make wider turns without steering. In particular, when working on the outside/wide line, we considered what the best turn shape is and what the skis should be doing as you pass the gate.

The warm-up most of us had done hadn’t been of much use for what we were doing, so we looked at the importance (particularly on race day) or warming up appropriately for the course – for us that meant lots of quarter turns down the fall-line, whereas most of us were doing drills and skiing much wider turns. We also thought about doing drills both in and out of the course and that often, despite having set up a course, it can be more fruitful to move the athletes out of the course and get them doing drills whilst free-skiing alongside the course (one less thing to be distracted by).

Another working lunch then followed, with more video analysis – something which I can’t overstate the effectiveness/usefulness of. It really is fantastic for your skiing to see yourself, actually see what is wrong, discuss causes and possible solutions, and then head straight out on skis again with it right at the front of your mind.

After lunch we moved into our coaching sessions. We went through four of the group before heading in once the snow started to get slushy. We saw a number of coaching styles, all with good and bad elements. This meant we were able to discuss these and pick out the good examples.

The main things we considered regarding the coaching were: feedback given by the coach (keep it short and to the point – you’re not instructing), skill analysis, tactics to get around drills that aren’t working for someone, keeping it fun and motivational, demo skills, and the introduction of the session (including shifting emphasis for different athletes who may have different issues).

Then a quick cool down (today I wanted to get in as it was getting a little too warm!).
post #22 of 25
I skied with Chris Hillier at Hintertux in October - We were the first group to do the CSCF1 as part of the Alpine Performance Module we have to do on the way to the BASI ISIA standard. A good man and a good course ... we combined it with work on our own high-level skiing.

Well done on passing - it helped me a lot in both my teaching and skiing, I can tell you that!
post #23 of 25
Thread Starter 

CSCF LI (Soldeu, Andorra) - Day 5

The course is now essentially over, having covered all the necessary issues regarding coaching. However, today we turned it up a notch and skied GS as opposed to slalom.

Day 5 of 6

We did a fairly long warm up, wanting to get really balanced for the ensuing training. Using brushes, Chris set up a GS course down a not inconsiderble red run. I darted into it part way through the warm up and couldn't hold on beyond four gates. After finishing my warm up I skied the whole thing top to bottom - this demonstrated to me how much difference a good warm-up can make.

On longer radius skies it was interesting to see people who were carving superbly on slalom skis suddenly start steering and not having the patience (balls) to wait for the edge to grip.

Most of this morning session was focused on tactics (with very little technical pointers). We tried skiing different lines, seeing how different the high and low ones were to use, and how much speed is lost in different phases of the turn using these lines. Then we focused on getting a good line, split virtually 50/50 above and below the gate - removing the need to ski across the course at any point owing to a nice diagonal line. We also looked for a good visual indicator of this line - the skis facing virtually down the fall-line as you ski past the gate. To help improve our line, Chris added brushes just above and below the gates to indicate where the best line was. Using these certainly helped some of the group.

Today we did more runs with video, but watched our runs whilst out on the hill before our next attempt.

After lunch we kept it short, due to deteriorating snow and did a couple of runs. I coached my session and apparantly did very well (I suppose all that leadership training with the RN had to come into play at some time! ). My short session was focused on improving the group's feel for carving on GS skis, especially on steeper terrain, as a few of the group lost their edging ability in the gates when they hit the main pitch.

Then we entered cool down!

In the afternoon session we did a fairly in-depth look at tuning skis and had an introduction to freestyle by the freestyle course conductor, who will be spending tomorrow afternoon with us.
post #24 of 25
Thread Starter 

CSCF LI (Soldeu, Andorra) - Day 6

Day 6 of 6

With the course content truly covered, and the conductor crocked, we had a slightly different day.

The course conductor for the freestyle instructors' course took us for a warm up, looking at the ways that those in the park warm up, and how elements of their warm up is hugely beneficial for those warming up for a race training session. We did buttering, ducky turns, telemark turns on alpine gear (I got a bit of praise from the conductor, although I was honest enough to admit that I'd been telemarking just a couple of weeks before) and considered hugely exaggerated movements as a warm up tool.

Then we did some more GS type gates with brushes. I did the day on slalom skis to force me to be more smooth in my motions (forcing it on a GS course with R10 skis would have shot me back up the hill...) It was also interesting to 'feel' the difference and adjust my skiing for the equipment and turn shape - something Chris wanted us to experiment with given the length of the course.

In the afternoon we acted as guinea pigs for those on the snowpark course. They taught us about jumps and we gave the jumps a go. We got to consider how the park can be used for racing athletes (i.e. preparing those moving into SG/DH for jumps) and they got a real practical group to teach.

And that was about it.

Boy it was hot though in the afternoon, hiking up the hill in the park to do each jump. It was good fun though, and when I 'popped' a little too much off a jump and realised how high I'd gone I did bottle one of the landings...
post #25 of 25
Thread Starter 
Sandgroper61, yes, Chris is a great guy to ski with and learn off. I think his involvement in the updating of the BASI system can only be a good thing, and I've heard from a couple of other guys that have done BASI courses with Chris, also with very positive experiences.
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