Skiing is a popular sport in Switzerland. Almost one in three Swiss people goes skiing. According to the Federal Office of Sports, skiing is one of the most popular holiday activities for Swiss people.
There is a wide range of possibilities in the skiing regions. Even in international comparison, the Swiss do not have to hide. A recent survey of almost 40,000 skiers shows that various ski resorts will also make it into the top ten for 2020/2021.
The Swiss Snow League (SSLE) and Swiss Snow Academy (SSAC) programs were created by the Swiss Ski School to help ski and snowboard beginners get started in snow sports according to a fixed step-by-step program. Many Swiss ski schools already use this practical system, which aims to awaken and deepen the fun of skiing and snowboarding in a playful way.
As the program is divided into several levels, even beginners, advanced and professionals can join the Swiss Snow League at the desired level to learn or refresh new skills, tricks and rules of conduct on the piste. The levels of the Swiss Snow League are in turn divided into sublevels, all of which must be reached to complete the respective level.
If children have already learned skiing and snowboarding from their parents or in a ski school without Swiss Snow League program and would like to join the program or if they are returning to winter sports, it is recommended to choose the Advanced Level. For ski and snowboard pros, on the other hand, the advanced Swiss Snow Academy is of particular interest, because there they go into unprepared terrain accompanied by an experienced coach, learn freestyle and freeride tricks, hone their personal techniques and practice competition situations.
The progress of each participant will be recorded in a Snow League booklet. As an incentive and reward for the successful completion of the Swiss Snow League, a medal beckons after each completed level! Once the Swiss Snow League is successfully completed, you are ready for the Swiss Snow Academy. You can recognize in which ski school the Swiss Snow League program is applied by the red symbol with the white L.
The levels of the Swiss Snow League for skiers
If possible, your offspring should start the Swiss Snow League from scratch, but of course some of them are already beyond the level Swiss Snow Kids Village and can enter at a higher level.
But how do you find the right level for you and your children? Here is a description of the individual levels, divided into the colors green, blue, red and black, so that you can better classify your skiing skills and those of your children.
Level 1: Swiss Snow Kids Village Ski
suitable for children from the age of 3 In the first level of the Swiss Snow League, children are familiarized with the snow and ski equipment. First attempts at walking with skis are made, first with one ski, then with both, and climbing the slope is practiced. Furthermore, parallel falling lines and braking are learned.
Finally, the change of direction from the fall line is taught. A professional ski instructor is always available to help the children, who can take them by the hand if they feel unsafe. The Swiss Snow League mascot Snowli is also always in on the action. As an award for the successful completion of Level 1, the prospective beginners receive a medal.
Level 2: Beginner – Blue League Ski
suitable for children from the age of 4 or 5 and for adult beginners Once your child has successfully completed the Swiss Snow Kids Village level, the Beginner level follows, which is divided into three sublevels. The sublevel Blue Prince/Blue Princess deals with the details of the ski equipment: How is a ski constructed? How do you find the right size of skis and ski poles? How do you clean the binding properly before use? After the theory, we go to the slope, where we practice climbing with steps and stairs, as well as plowing and braking.
From snowploughing, we finally switch to parallel skiing with changing. In the course of this level your child will become more and more relaxed on the skis and can learn the first tricks. The Blue Prince/Blue Princess level is followed by the Blue King/Blue Queen sublevel, which starts with the safe use of ski lifts, such as the drag lift, chair lift and gondola, depending on the types of lifts available in the selected ski area. On the descent, the skiers will immediately practice slant skiing and some new tricks.
Also lateral sliding, parallel skiing and the first easy jumps over gentle waves are learned in the Blue King/Blue Queen level. Then the prospective Kings and Queens are ready for the blue slope, the easiest of all slopes in a ski area (medium difficulty slopes are marked with red and difficult slopes with black). The final sublevel before your offspring is awarded the medal for the level Beginner is the Blue Star.
Here the children first learn the important rules of conduct (FIS rules) that must be followed when skiing on the slopes to avoid accidents and collisions with other skiers. The kids can practice how a slalom runner feels by swinging in the mini pole forest. The children will have a lot of adventure on the course and in the hollows and waves.
Switch riding in V-position and controlled directional changes are also a new challenge. When all the skills learned are finally in place, it’s off to the blue track, where the plough swinging is further deepened.
Level 3: Advanced – Red League Ski
suitable for all age groups If a child has already learned to ski with his or her parents or at a ski school without the Swiss Snow League program, he or she can still join the Swiss Snow League program at any time. Most children, teenagers and re-starters start with Level 3: Advanced, which starts with the sublevel Red Prince/Red Princess.
However, lateral entrants to the program should already be familiar with the FIS piste rules, mastering plough turns and parallel turns, which are part of the beginner level. Also advanced skiers who want to ski and enter the program again and again should start with the advanced level and not with the expert level, because here special techniques can be properly learned or deepened.
Important for the start of a carefree day on the slopes are the warm-up exercises, which the new advanced students are taught in a playful way right at the beginning. How to brake in parallel, for example, when going to a ski lift, how to step on the curve and not glide, and even how to waltz with your skis, i.e., how to ride in a loose circle when descending the slope, are part of the learning program in the Red Prince/Red Princess sublevel.
At the beginning of the sublevel Red King/Red Queen it is about correct behaviour in the snowpark and on the piste. The short turns on the blue piste and the skating on flat surfaces are also deepened, through which one can progress faster with the help of the poles. A highlight for all advanced students is jumping over artificial hills, where basic air skills are taught.
In addition, the parallel turns, which have already been practiced several times, are deepened and executed in different radii on the blue slope. The Red Star sublevel is the crowning and at the same time the conclusion of the Advanced program. Exciting is the initial information about the landscape, nature and the forest, which should teach the Advanced students to treat the environment with respect. If the beginners have practiced parallel short swinging in the miniature pole forest, it is already a challenging pole course at the advanced level.
Other new skills are the sliding parallel swing and swinging with one leg. All exercises are performed on the blue slope. Once the new techniques are in place, the final part of the course is on the medium-difficult slope marked in red. Again a medal was waiting for you after successfully completing the advanced level.
Level 4: Expert – Black League Ski
suitable for absolute ski pros If you have been skiing or snowboarding on blue and red slopes for many years and would like to join the Swiss Snow League program, you should still start with the Advanced level, as this gives you the chance to learn some new tricks and to deepen special techniques.
In the Expert level, which only consists of the sublevel Black Prince/Black Princess, you will go into detail when you learn the correct material and equipment preparation, ski the difficult slope (black slope) for short turns with stick use and practice jumping over a box in straight and fifty-fifty style.
A special highlight is skiing in unprepared terrain. The last technique concerns the cut parallel turns (carving) on the blue slope. However, experts only receive the gold medal after completing the following Swiss Snow Academy.
The levels of the Swiss Snow League for snowboarders
Level 1: Swiss Snow Kids Village
suitable for children from the age of 3 The children are familiarized with their snowboard equipment and with their first attempts on snowy terrain. In Level 1, the offspring will first learn the one-legged riding (One-Foot) on the flat, which should train balance as well as the feeling for the snowboard. This is followed by two-footed riding (fullbase) on a gentle slope.
Other techniques include sliding in the fall line and alternating full base and sliding, which is also practiced on a gentle hill. During the entire training period, the snowboard beginners are supervised by a professional snowboard instructor and by the mascot of the Swiss Snow League, the hare-like Snowie. After completion of the first level, the kids receive a medal as an award.
Level 2: Beginner – Blue League Snowboard
suitable for children from 5 or 6 years of age and for adult beginners Important for every winter sportsman are the rules of the ski slopes (FIS rules), which inform about the correct behaviour on and off the ski slopes in order to prevent accidents and collisions with other skiers. After the theoretical part you will go to the practice area in the Blue Prince/Blue Princess sublevel and you will learn how to slide in the traverse, practicing the control of the edges.
This is followed by the deepening of the alternating fullbase driving and sliding driving. The correct handling of the lifts is also essential, so you will learn how to get on, ride and get off safely on a practice lift. Before you start the next sublevel, it’s time for the sliding turns. The Blue King/Blue Queen sublevel starts with the warm-up units that every snowboarder should do before going on the piste.
Turns, loose waltz turns and one of the most important basic movements in snowboarding: The wheelie, which serves as preparation for spectacular tricks. The two legged jump on the piste is exciting and requires some courage. When you go through the Blue Star sublevel, you will be informed about the correct behaviour in the snowpark right at the beginning. Then follows the practice with switch jumps, fifty-fifty jumps over a box and the speed check.
Blue Star participants are usually already so fit on the snowboard that they can perform jumps over smaller obstacles at the end. When the Blue Star program is finally completed, you can look forward to a blue medal.
Level 3: Advanced – Red League Snowboard
suitable for all age groups In level 3, the offspring learn how to ride safely and dynamically in a snow park and on the piste. As in Level 2, three sublevels must be completed in Level 3 in order to successfully complete the Red League. The start in the sublevel Red Prince/Red Princess is a theoretical unit in the form of a small freestyle encyclopedia.
This is followed by learning everything from simple stretching and bending turns to the Powerslide and the 180º turns on the blue slope. Like the Red King/Red Queen sublevel of skiers, the Red King/Red Queen sublevel of snowboarders, information about landscape, forest and nature is an important part of the training program. On the piste, carved turns are learned and relaxed slides are practiced.
A challenge of a special kind is for the advanced snowboarders of the 180º-Ollie, where the body turns in the direction of travel. They also start with first jumps over gentle waves at Red King/Red Queen level. The sublevel Red Star contains detailed information about the Swiss Snow Academy, because unlike the Swiss Snow League for skiers, the Swiss Snow Legaue for snowboarders does not have an expert level. When snowboarding, the experts are immediately brought to the Swiss Snow Academy for snowboarders.
But the Red Star sublevel for snowboarders is a real challenge and typical snowboard tricks like fronside turns and board slides are learned on the blue slope. Straight-Air-Basics are also part of the program of the Red Star sublevel. If you have successfully completed all points of this advanced level, you can look forward to a red medal and can immediately register for the Swiss Snow Academy.
Swiss Snow Academy
Successful Swiss Snow League graduates get the finishing touches in the professional program of the Swiss Snow Academy. The SSAC also has a section for skiers and a section for snowboarders. Under the guidance of experts, personal strengths are fostered, weaknesses worked on and, especially among snowboarders, individual style is encouraged.
Riding is done both on and off piste and in snow parks. A special feature of the Swiss Snow Academy program for skiers and snowboarders is the training for competition situations.
In the first section, race techniques are learned in a given course, followed by freestyle tricks in the snow park and finally freeride runs in unprepared terrain. This also includes learning the correct behavior in emergency and dangerous situations, such as avalanches or thunderstorms.
After successful completion of this challenging program you have earned the gold medal! Every participant of the Swiss Snow Academy can obtain a Swiss Snow Academy Card and thus benefit from attractive offers from the Swiss Ski School and participating partners. For example, with the Swiss Snow Academy Card you save 20% on ski passes in some Swiss ski areas and can be a spectator at the spectacular Ski World Cup Lauberhorn for free.