Ever wanted to lead a group rather than follow one? Our quick guide to instructor courses.
There are courses available all over the world that can earn you a qualification that can open doors and make it a realistic prospect to develop a career as snowsports instructor.
Each country has its own qualification system, and while there are many similarities, each governing body will have its own peculiarities. The most important thing to consider is where you want to end up teaching, as different qualifications will allow you to teach in different countries.
Ski Club members are entitled to substantial discounts on instructor courses with most of the top providers.
Here are some FAQ's to provide you with a little more info, compiled from the questions we get asked in the Ski Club office each season.
1. How good do I have to be to take an instructors course?
For most 12 week courses, you’ll need to be able to meet the standards required by the British Association of Snowsports Instructors (BASI):
- Ski parallel confidently, coping with a variety of conditions
- Completed 8 weeks skiing on snow
- Able to ski black runs in parallel, making rhythmical turns close to the fall line at a steady pace
- Confident skiing off-piste
For intensive two-week courses, you’ll need a lot of experience on snow, and be very confident in your skiing or snowboarding abilities.
2. What are the different instructor qualifications that I can get, and what do they mean?
BASI, along with the majority of national governing bodies, have four distinct levels of qualification:
- Level 1 Instructor (for those wishing to teach on artificial slopes)
- Level 2 Instructor (for instructors wishing to work in a snowsports school and generally acknowledged across Switzerland, Austria, Andorra and North America)
- Level 3 ISIA (International Ski Instructors Association) allows you to work in France for 3 years as a ‘stagiere’ or trainee and widely recognised worldwid
- Level 4 International Ski Teacher Diploma (ISTD) includes requirement to complete Euro Speed Test and is the highest level of certification worldwide
Other qualifications that are widely recognised include:
- Canada CSIA (Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance)
- Canada CASI (Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors)
- USA PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America)
- USA AASI (American Association of Snowboard Instructors)
- New Zealand NZSIA (New Zealand Snowsport Instructors Alliance)
- Slovakia SAPUL (Slovak Association of Professional Snowsports Instructors)
- Australia APSI (Australian Professional Snowsport Instructors)
- Ireland IASI (Irish Association of Snowsports Instructors)
3. Where and who can I teach once I have passed?
Level 1 qualification from most associations allows you to teach beginners in most countries. You need to accumulate a certain number of hours teaching on snow before you can attain a higher level and teach more experienced skiers and riders.
France is the exception. It is extremely difficult to teach skiing and boarding in France as they have very specific rules and regulations concerning other nationalities. If you want to teach in France, you must be aware of the necessary experience required, be an extremely competent skier or boarder, and appreciate that it may take a few years to gain all the qualifications including the Euro Speed Test.
Ski/snowboard instructor training companies
The following companies offer Ski Club members substantial discounts (up to 25% or £500) on instructor training courses, and operate in resorts around the world. Visit their individual websites for further details on course dates and locations. Many offer BASI courses as well as qualifications from the national governing bodies where the courses take place.
In addition to these providers which offer discounts to Ski Club members, there are many more organisations offering instructor training programmes and courses.