What to look for in a course?
There are now so many gap providers offering ski and snowboard instructor programs it can often be hard to pick which one to go with. When spending ten weeks away from home and spending in the region of £7000, it is important to know what you are getting for your money.
Courses should include at a minimum: a decent amount of coaching from experienced coaches, ski school experience, half board accommodation, transfers, level 1 and 2 exam fees, season lift pass, in resort support, first aid course and an avalanche awareness course.
“One of the most important things to look at is the hours of on snow coaching. We provide over 200 hours in our 10 week courses, but some companies may provide as little as a 100! Make sure you check when researching your courses exactly how much training is included” says Harry Steel – Altitude Futures Coach.
Most companies will include accommodation for the course as well with catering but check whereabouts the accommodation is. Is it in town or a half hour drive away? Seasonal Lift Passes and Transfers from the Airport are commonly included as part of the package as well as equipment deals, pub discount cards and free clothing. Is the company you are looking at a ski school or a tour operator? Many gap providers are tour operators who outsource the coaching to a third party ski school. There is nothing wrong with this, but if you’re within a company who are primarily a ski school, you know they have the experience in the industry, the best coaches to pick from as well knowing what make a good instructor! They are also likely to be able to offer you work after the course whereas a tour operator may not.
Another good thing to check for is the qualifications of the coaches. Are they qualified within the system you are training towards? For example, it is hard to coach with completely French qualified instructors if you are taking the BASI (British Association of Snowsports Instructors) qualification at the end of the course. As well the coach’s qualifications check to see exactly what exams are included in the course. If you want to use your qualification to teach on snow, you will need a minimum of a level 2 to get a job.