I.S.I.A. (International Ski Instructors Association) meeting, Budapest, October 2011-10-10
Minimum standards and members off piste security modules.
A very quick visit for me to Budapest this week. I am lucky to represent B.A.S.I. at this important meeting.
Firstly, Budapest is a wonderful city, vibrant and very grand. The old buildings from the Habsburg empire and then the regal buildings from the recent communist rule. A trip to Heroes Square shows the imposing feeling of times past and the entrance shown here to the Parliament building shows off it’s powerful designs of past times.
The ISIA committee organised a visit to the Parliament buildings and a viewing of the crown and one of the internal government rooms where all National major decisions are made. Decorated in gold leaf..all 60 kg of it makes you wonder at all the intricate work which has gone into this building. 700 rooms make this construction pretty large!
However, we were not here just for the splendours of the city, we were there for our meeting….
Nations present were, Germany, Ireland, UK, Poland, Italy, U.S.A. Argentina, Japan, Solvienia, Finland, San Marino, Andorra, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Holland, Romania and Hungary.
2 days of presentations and discussion on the important topics of safety and the minimum standards to be adopted for all countries who are members of I.S.I.A. This is a vital issue for the association as we are all striving to qualify excellent ski instructors. It is widely known that keeping the standards of newly qualified ski teachers is paramount as this has a direct correlation between tourist satisfaction and as such return rates for resorts and ski schools.
The policing of the standards within I.S.I.A. needs to be addressed and assistance should be given to those Nations who may not be at the level just yet.
B.A.S.I. is already complying with the I.S.I.A. standards. This is not only looking at the skier ability both teaching and technical aspects but at how the associations deal with the administration of the candidates, hours logged, courses attended, etc.etc.
The topic of security/off piste mountain safety has also been on the agenda. Presentations were made by a number of nations and their approach to this subject. Some are just about to incorporate the modules and others have them already implemented. Each Nation is slightly different in their approach, however, all are aimed at ensuring the ski instructor has the right tools for ensuring the safety of clients when venturing on to areas outside of the designated runs.. I.S.I.A. does have specific guidelines within the remit of off piste security. We do not train ski teachers to be mountain guides and therefore we do not award qualifications for guiding clients off piste in glaciated areas, overnight stays in mountain huts and do not promote the use of rope work only introduce the scenarios within a course so as to give the ski teacher an understanding of the processes involved in rope rescue and safety. The ideas of Germany and the Nederland’s are to incorporate a ‘FREERIDE’ module which would incorporate mountain hazards and snow safety, but not so much on ski touring. This ‘FREERIDE’ modules a good idea I feel and has relevance in our profession.
In summary, BASI and the Irish association are, in my opinion, ahead of the game in ensuring standards, course content, across the board, and Mountain safety issues. BASI members should be proud of our achievements.
Until the next ISIA meeting….farewell from Budapest.