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  • ESF Le Grand Bornand

Ski School Levels

To book your ski school we will need to make a note of your ski/board level in order to confirm your lessons with the relevant ski school. If you are not sure what level you are, or just wish to double check, please have a read. We advise that you pick the level most relevant to you and don’t overstate or under compensate, although sometimes it can be possible to move groups once you are there, it would be better you were in the right group in the first place.

Below are the level boundaries set by the Ecole du Ski Francais. 99% of our lessons are run by ESF; although a couple are run by European Ski School but the levels would primarily be the same. Piou Piou & Ourson are awarded at ski Kindergarten level for the little ones (usually ages 3, 4 & 5). For older children (normally from 5 or 6 years), they go straight from beginner/Flocon level to 1st Star level skiing. Adults are usually from 12yrs old. For snowboard levels, usually the minimum age is 8-10yrs old depending on resort.

Ski Levels - Children

BEGINNERS – your child has never skied before or has completed his ‘Ourson’*. He will start the week at kindergarten, according to his level and then moves on to open slopes. A skipass is normally necessary at this stage but it does depend on resort.

1st STAR PREPARATION – your child can take a drag lift and has the ‘Flocon’*. He can snowplough on green slopes. He will begin to learn the method of parallel turns.

2nd STAR PREPARATION – your child will have ‘1st Star’. He can ski with ease on gentle slopes. The method of parallel turning will be perfected.

3rd STAR PREPARATION – your child will have ‘2nd Star’. He can turn parallel on blue and red slopes with ease. The idea of this level is progress with all situations such as slalom, speed control and achieve a black run.

BRONZE STAR - your child will have ‘3rd star’. He will be able to make wide and narrow turns with ski parallel. Comfortable with all kind of sideslipping.

GOLD STAR – giant slalom, timed. Use of technical and high speed turns over varied terrain.

INTRODUCTION TO COMPETITION - your child will have ‘Gold star’. Need a very satisfactory technical level to go for competition.

INTRODUCTION TO GRAND TOURISME - you can make short turns in mogul fields, steep slopes in all conditions and types of ski area.

GRAND TOURISME – you can make short turns in mogul fields, steep slopes in all conditions and types of ski area.

Ski Levels - Adults

BEGINNERS – you have never skied before and have never taken a drag lift. You will learn to become familiar with equipment, balance, snowplough turn, speed control and use of ski lifts.

LEVEL 1 – you have skied for one week, can take a drag lift and ski on green slopes. You will learn the art of sideslipping.

LEVEL 2 – you can turn parallel on blue slopes but do not yet feel confident on red slopes. You will perfect basic side slopes and high speed turns.

LEVEL 3 – you can turn parallel on all types of slopes except in powder. You will perfect high speed turns and experience all types of snow and terrain.

*Ourson – is able to do snaking snowplough turns, stop using snow plough, put on equipment and has used some lifts.
*Flocon – holds the ‘Ourson’ and can control his/her speed, retains his/her balance while sliding faster with skis parallel both across and down the slope, on both skis or from one ski to the other, over smooth terrain on a gentle slope. Can brake and stop and is starting to be able to sideslip.

Snowboard Levels - Adults & children

BEGINNERS – never ridden a snowboard before. You will learn changing direction on both sides of the fall line. Direct line facing down the slope, normal foot or fakie.

LEVEL 1 – one week’s experience. Linking wobbly front and backside turns. Has completed the snowboarding starter level. Is starting to be able to change direction, can move along by sideslipping and can get up off the ground.

LEVEL 2 – two or three week’s experience, attempting first tricks and jumps. Holds the Level 1 snowboard. Can complete a series of frontside and backside turns on a green piste, can stop by sideslipping and can sideslip diagonally forwards then backwards and use a ski tow.

LEVEL 3 – experienced rider, perfecting skills in the snowpark. Holds the Level 2 snowboard. Can snowboard on blue and red pistes and also in the snowpark, can easily complete a series of turns on blue pistes with little sideslipping. Is starting to be able to complete fakie turns on green pistes and can do ollies and also sliding and jumping 180° rotations.

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