The Ski and Snowboard School based at CairnGorm Mountain has just successfully completed a re-validation process by The British Association of Snowsport Instructors (BASI) to retain its BASI Approved Centre Ski School Kitemark. Operated by Mike Shepherd, the school is currently the only Snowsport School in the UK to have met this quality standard set by BASI.

Commenting on retaining the Approved Centre status, Mike Shepherd said, “I am very pleased that The Ski and Snowboard School (operating on CairnGorm Mountain) has again been inspected, and exceeded the standards required to be accredited through the new BASI Approved Ski School Scheme, which also gives accreditation through the Adventuremark Badge and Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) quality badges. It is really good to see that BASI has recognised this need to help develop a culture of quality, and to help not only snowsport schools to become more customer focused, but create a quality kitemark for the public seeking snowsports tuition. This will help to drive up the quality and standards of delivery of ski and snowboard instruction throughout the UK and Europe. This accreditation will reassure customers, and teachers bringing groups, that they are getting real educational value in a safe environment. I look forward to continuing to work with BASI in the future to continue to develop this scheme, and ensure that in the future all UK and European ski and snowboard schools meet or exceed these standards”

BASI has a responsibility to ensure that organisations involved in offering snowsports instruction are consistent in the quality and delivery of their end product.  Whether a member of the public buys lessons from an indoor snowsport centre, dry ski slope or ski school in the UK, they should be guaranteed and assured a recognised level of service.  The BASI Approved Ski School Scheme that offers Approved Centre status is an initiative to develop recognised standards of teaching and customer service, both nationally and internationally within the snowsports industry.

Most leisure industry sectors are becoming more legislated and with an endorsement from the recognised industry body, consumers know that they are buying into a product that meets with their expectations.  Such aspects as customer care, health & safety policies, quality of equipment for hire, booking and registration facilities, and most importantly the employment of suitably qualified instructors are closely scrutinised during the inspection process to ensure a consistent quality standard.

The BASI Approved Centre scheme has been designed to comply with the standards set by the AAIAC (Adventure Activities Industry Advisory Committee) for such approval schemes and should allow successful centres to attain the requirements of the new Learning Outside the Classroom Badge. This quality badge will allow schools, teachers and other group leaders to identify those snowsport schools that offer a high quality learning experience to their clients.

Applications are invited from other interested parties that wish to achieve the BASI ‘kitemark’, and service providers will be subject to an inspection visit by a qualified BASI inspector who would measure the effectiveness of the organisation against recognised criteria to assess standards being delivered before consideration is given to any award which may be issued.