It’s fair to say that the majority of skiers, and ski instructors for that matter, are alpine skiers. This means that traditionally, you use a lift pass, get taken up the mountain and then ski down, perhaps on a piste, perhaps not. And maybe within that you’re a racer or a freestyle skier? Well if this site is for “ski instructors” as one group then we can’t miss out Nordic and Telemark skiing, and their instructors. Firstly, what’s the difference between the two?
Technically Nordic skiing might be described as any form of skiing where the back of the boot isn’t connected to the ski and so Telemarking might come under that term rather than being a separate term. However, in some countries, Nordic skiing is another phrase used to describe cross-country skiing, which is a big sport in the Scandinavian countries. You ski on long, thin skis with softer more shoe-like boots that clip in at the front and have much longer poles than in traditional alpine skiing. You ski and skate in specially prepared tracks both uphill, downhill and on the flat. You can compete in Nordic skiing, just as a race, or in the biathlon, which combines Nordic skiing with shooting.
A number of countries have Nordic ski instructing courses:
- BASI (insert link): BASI have three Nordic ski instructing levels. Nordic Level 1 is one of the options for your second discipline to achieve your BASI Alpine Level 3 (ISIA).
- CANSI: the Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors (CANSI) has two Nordic instructor Levels that you can train for. CANSI Level 1 is one of the course choices for your CSIA (insert link) Level 4.
- PSIA (insert link): PSIA offers three levels of Nordic ski instructing exams, commonly known as Cross-Country or Track (when differentiating between Telemarking).
- APSI (insert link): APSI Nordic have four Nordic instructing levels, with a fifth to train as a Nordic instructor trainer.
Telemark skiing is a technique that combines Nordic skiing with alpine skiing and is experiencing an increase in popularity at the moment, this style of skiing originated in the Telemark region of Norway. A Telemark turn is characterised by one ski advancing further than the other through the turn, usually with exaggerated bending of the knees (compared to Alpine skiing). This style of skiing is usually recognisable by the free-heel turns, where the skier is able to (and does) lift up the heel of their outside ski during a turn, but it is possible to do a Telemark turn in regular ski boots and bindings. Telemarking works both on and off-piste.
You can train to become a Telemark ski instructor:
- BASI (insert link): BASI have three Telemark ski instructing levels. Telemark 1 is one of the options for your second discipline to achieve your BASI Alpine Level 3 (ISIA).
- PSIA (insert link): PSIA run three Telemark ski instructing levels under their Nordic programme.
- CANSI: the Canadian Assocation of Nordic Ski Instructors (CANSI) have three levels for Telemark ski instructors. The Level 1 is an option for part of your CSIA (insert link) Level 4.
- APSI (insert link): APSI have four levels of ski instructor qualifications for Telemark ski instructors, as well as a fifth level to achieve Trainer status to teach other Telemark instructors.
- NZSIA (insert link): NZSIA have three levels available for Telemark ski instructors.