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Too newbie for CSIA L1

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Newbie last season. Self taught (reading and video) and enjoying every moment of skiing. Can comfortably go on edges (carve) and do wide and narrow turns on up to a single diamond slope. Improving daily. However I can't do those beautiful parallel turns one does on straight skis! And can't handle mogul runs.


Envisioning a life changing skiing career ahead. (I am 43). Thinking of attending CSIA Level 1 this season. Too early? Rushing into it? Your thoughts please. Sign up deadline is in 7 days.

post #2 of 17

Skid, as you are self taught you need to know what you are doing right or wrong, The evaluation you get from attending a clinic for  a level 1 tryout is invaluable at your state of skiing and it is also a bargain compared to private evaluation.


Go for it and good luck but look at it as a learning experience rather than being disappointed if you do not make level 1.



post #3 of 17




CSIA level 1 is for people who want to teach. It's basically a course for how to teach. Some may say it's presumptuous to think you can teach others after only 1 season of experience. But the worst that can happen at this point is that they say you're not ready. With your level of enthusiasm, exposure to the "how to teach" side of skiing should be both fascinating and helpful to your skill growth. Sign up!

post #4 of 17

Do it.  It's a great experience.


You'll spend a lot of time in the wedge. The intent is to learn how to teach a never-ever. Even if you don't pass, you'll learn a lot.



post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

Just the push I needed. Signed up for a mid March course! Thank you all.

post #6 of 17

Good choice, you are gonna love it.


Hint: Remember during ski improvement sessions that advice given to others is for the others.  Only advice given to YOU is for YOU.  Otherwise you can try to do ALL the advice and end up doing NONE of what you were told to do -- not good....


post #7 of 17

Go for it!! Great way to improve your own skiing, attend as many sessions as you can in order to improve. I got back into skiing three years ago after a 20+ year absence. Completed my CSIA L1 last year and just did my CSIA L2 this year.

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

Reporting back!


I failed the skiing competency part. It was too much for a skier with roughly 20 ski days under his belt. It was a great experience for me, except when we had to ski down the steepest double at Owls Head. I have improved but still have issues with speed control and being thrown to the backseat.


For any one who is thinking of doing it, go for it.



post #9 of 17

I continue to be amazed at the low standard required to be a Level I CSIA instructor. These are the people who will be unleashed on beginners. Talk about "the blind leading the blind". It does not give the public a lot of confidence to see these instructors on the hill so I really do not understand the logic behind all this.


post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 


post #11 of 17



You should not be amazed. Yes we'd prefer to have ski gods teaching all of our beginners. Yes, more skilled and more experienced pros do tend to provide better experiences for beginners and do tend to get better results than those with less skills or experience. But new pros have to come from somewhere. The point of a level 1 cert is to start new pros off on the right foot. It says they have the skiing skills and the teaching skills to provide a quality learning experience to beginners. This may not necessarily be the best quality, but it is enough quality to get the job done.


It may be helpful to understand the certification process as a roadmap instead of a stamp of approval. The things one has to do to get certified make one a better pro. But the main point of certification is that it provides a process for learning how to improve one's skiing and teaching skills and a road map for continuous improvement, especially after certification is obtained. This is most true for the level 1 cert. With that in mind there's a huge benefit for getting those who are enthusiastic about teaching, but who need the most help, into the program. Level one cert does not say much about one's skiing or teaching proficiency, but it says a lot about one's commitment to improve and their chances of being successful.


When I teach rookie pros who have no certification, (using the road map analogy) I have to teach them what a mountain is versus a road or a lake or a point of interest. After pros get their level 1 cert, I know that they know what all of those map elements are, that they have a road map and have actually unfolded it and read it. Now I can start teaching them about this mountain and that road and that lake and know that they have some context and a means of connecting the dots for what I present to them. With certification, I can communicate much more efficiently and effectively during staff clinics.


The fact that skid did not pass because he was not good enough to ski a double black with proficiency means that the skiing bar for level 1 is still relatively high for teaching beginners. If you want to set the bar higher than that, then you better start figuring out where the next batch of top pros is going to come from. Because I hope to retire soon and I need someone to take my place. The system is not perfect, but it does work.

post #12 of 17

If those lower level instructors do not teach, how will they learn? 


I have no trouble with a level 1 teaching a "Discover Skiing" lesson.

post #13 of 17



Excellent post, we all had to start somewhere. By attending the sessions and skiing with other instructors your skiing and teaching abilities improve amazingly. So lets not discourage the newbie's of the world who want to give it a shot. I did and both my kids are going to be instructors, one is now and one next year. They both have learned so much that I would have no problem with them teaching beginners as they would pass on their love for skiing and have the lesson recipients hooked!!

post #14 of 17

It's probably the best introductory course available, especially for the money. 




You are way ahead of where you would be without it I am sure.  At least you know a LOT of drills that will improve your skiing.


Good luck next time!

post #15 of 17

Now I'll add the flip side of the argument. In the US, PSIA initially only had full cert (what is now level 3) and associate cert (level 2). There is certainly a valid point to be made that certification implies a certain level of skill. There is no denying that level 1 represents a low level of skill. One of the arguments against establishing level 1 cert in the US is that it would cheapen the upper cert levels. This is a valid concern. 


post #16 of 17

Regarding the effectiveness of level 1 instructors: 


Having passed the level 1 at the end of last season, I'm pretty confident I can get someone skiing in a wedge within a couple of hours and pick out some good drills for major technique flaws. Given that most lessons are Discover Skiing anyway, that really fits the needs of ski hills. Am I the best skier out there? No way! Can I get someone wedging down a green? Definitely. Can I teach them as quickly as a great level 4? Probably not. Can I help them enjoy skiing? For sure! 


One of the guiding principles of the CSIA is to provide a safe and vibrant mountain experience to its guests. Even if a level 1 can't promote maximum development, we can get at least some improvement happening (lots for never-ever skiers) and get people interested in the sport.

post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 

December 30, 2010.


Retested and received my certification. What started as little curiousity has become more of a commitment. I intend to ski as much as possible, understand, improve and enjoy the sport...

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