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Alpine Level I Certification Guide


This is a guideline for ski instructors, ski school director/trainers, and PSIA-NRM clinicians to educate, guide and give an understanding of what to expect during the PSIA-NRM Level I process. 

The Process

The Level I certification process has been organized so that there can be some practice time between the education the instructors receive and the time they are evaluated to determine if they have reached the standards for Level I certification (reference the PSIA National Alpine Certification Standard). To become Level I certified an instructor must:

  • You must be a current member of PSIA-AASI NRM or other division. If you are a member of another division, you must seek permission from your home division before participating in the event. For more info on membership go to the NRM membership page.
    You must be employed by a snowsports school, club, or other recognized instructional program. Your snowsports school does not need to be a member of NRM.
    You must have attained 10 hours of on-snow teaching experience.
    You must successfully complete a Level I evaluated clinic, including written test. A passing grade on the written test is 75% or better.
    You may take the Level I event before you have met the employment and teaching requirements. Upon successful completion of your Level I event, you have one full year to meet them for Level I certification.
    Once you obtain Level I certification, you are required to obtain 6 educational credit hours every 2 years in order to maintain your Level I status.

Evaluated Clinic

The evaluated clinic is a two-day clinic in which participants will be taught and coached on the material outlined by the national standard for Level I certification. They will be evaluated on their teaching, skiing, professional knowledge and personal mastery of the material that they are being coached on throughout the two day clinic. This is an interactive clinic that requires participation in discussions on and off the hill. Candidates should be prepared to lead a group through some basic ski instruction scenarios provided by the clinician.

It is not expected that Level I candidates will have in-depth knowledge and experience in each of the areas of competence listed in the national standards. It is expected, however, that candidates will be able to demonstrate basic competence and knowledge in all of these areas.

Outline of the Evaluated Clinic

Based on the location of the clinic, snow conditions and weather, as well as the experience and technical knowledge of the group, the order in which things are covered will vary. The following information provides an outline of everything that will be covered in the two-day clinic, and gives you an idea of what you will see over the course of two days.

What to Expect During the Evaluated Clinic

  • Discussion of Level I national exam standards
  • Review PSIA-NRM Level I tasks - with discussion and clarification of why they are used
  • An overview of all manuals, the ATS and the skiing model
  • Written test (multiple choice)
  • Skiing activities including demos, tasks and free skiing on green and groomed blue terrain.
  • Teaching scenarios relevant to instruction of students in the beginner/novice zone.

SKIING

Skiing activities should be performed as if the candidate were leading a student down a slope and enjoying the terrain. Clinician will work with instructors to blend balancing, rotary, edging and pressure movements to demonstrate appropriate skill blending through the demos and tasks. Skiing will be evaluated on green and blue groomed terrain.

Level I Skiing Tasks: (complete task list 2009 version)

  • Wedge change-ups
  • Foot steered turns
  • Sideslip with a stop
  • Wedge christy garlands
  • Stepping out of a straight run

Demos:

  • Wedge turns
  • Wedge christy turns
  • Open parallel turns
  • Dynamic parallel turns

TEACHING

Assessing and then understanding a student's profile is critical to the success of guests, particularly at the beginning level. As such, the options for developing a teaching plan for beginning skiers is quite broad and is dependent upon appropriate selection of activities (Stepping Stones) that will lead to the development of a skilled blend of movements. In real life, you must prepare for any student and be ready to offer coaching and solutions specific to the guest's profile, skills and background.

At the evaluated clinic, you will be asked to explore different learning styles and methods of teaching to each learning style. One example of a teaching segment you may be asked to perform is teaching to transfer, for example teaching a basket ball shot and how that can help at a wedge turn level. Other examples are blind teaching, deaf teaching and team teaching. You will only have to teach skills or tasks in the Beginner/Novice zone. In front of the group, you must demonstrate awareness of a basic teaching progression (i.e. introduce an activity, develop that activity, offer feedback, and summarize).

Throughout the 2-day clinic the clinician will give examples of teaching segments and help develop your movement analysis skills. Examples of questions you will be exploring are:

  • What skill movements are necessary to do a gliding wedge?
  • Is there one skill movement that we can begin with to work towards performing the goal?
  • What is a task that would help develop that skill movement?
  • How can we build on that task?

PROFFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE

  • Identify how your lesson activities relate to the development of the four fundamental skills (in a very basic sense).
  • Demonstrate an awareness of good safety practices relative to all lesson activities and to your own personal skiing within the group.
  • Describe how to change lesson activities in consideration of student age, the weather, or snow conditions.
  • State the basic options, solutions, and benefits that modern ski designs provide.

Organizing a clinic

In-House Clinics*

If a Snowsports School has an authorized division clinician or examiner on staff, the school may be eligible to hold an "in-house" clinic for its staff. There is a flat fee (charged to the school, not participants) for these events. Contact the NRM office for more information (406) 581-6139 or info@psia-nrm.org.

Divisional Clinics*

If a Snowsports School does not have a qualified clinician on staff, a NRM division clinic may be scheduled and staffed. The fee for this event could either be a flat fee to the snowsport school or a per participant fee. Contact the NRM office for more details and/or to schedule an exam at your area (406) 581-6139 or info@psia-nrm.org.

*As stated earlier, PSIA-AASI membership is required prior to participation in a L1 exam.

Resources needed prior to the clinic