Lessons on the Road to Passing the Level 3

by Ali Macgrain

Attaining the level 3 had long been a personal goal of mine, ever since I did my first season in the USA. The road was a long and arduous one, but that made the success all the sweeter!


Along the way I met some truly inspiring individuals who coached me not only to become a better skier, but a better instructor and arguably, a better human being and to them, I am truly thankful- Dave Mannetter, Mark Spieler, Finlay Torrance, Robin Connors, Penny Askew-Maxwell & Eric Tanner, I mean you!

I would like to share the lessons that I learnt along the way, so hopefully, your pathway is shorter, quicker and generally less circuitous than my own…

Commitment to training is vital- rolling a private lesson and having the guest return is a fantastic feeling, both emotionally and financially, however, in hindsight, they may have not been my wisest decisions!

Using teaching time to work on movement patterns- looking back, so often I did not utilize my teaching time effectively to ingrain movements from previous training sessions and subsequently, it took longer to build the muscle memory.

Realizing that every training session included a sample teach- every clinic was actually a fantastic example of how to structure a lesson (teaching model, VAK, teaching styles, etc), how to build a progression (whether that be a simple to complex or a gross to refined movement) and the “what”, “why”, “where”, “when” and “how” of it all.

Days off were a luxury I could not afford.

Attending training on dull edges was a waste- learning how to tune my own skis and how to keep them sharp was invaluable to my development, skill and my bank account.

Utilize every educational resource possible- reading every manual from PSIA is a given, but there were concepts and teaching from other teaching systems’ manuals that really resonated with me. Furthermore, the PSIA Movement Matrix is an incredibly useful tool, for movement analysis, visualization purposes and understanding the necessary movement patterns. In recent years, I have combined my watching of the Movement Matrix with YouTube and social media.

Giving myself a realistic timeframe to pass- committing to sitting the exam before I was ready put me under additional stress and was detrimental in the short and medium term. Instead, speak to your trainer and together, decide when is appropriate for you.

Do a Southern Hemisphere winter.

Surround yourself with a good group of people who are training for the same exam- motivation and drive can take a beating along the way, but with a good support network you can encourage each other, keep spirits high and keep striving towards that end goal.


All your hard work and perseverance will pay off too! Best of luck!