There are now so many options when it comes to choosing a ski instructor course to gain your first qualifications, it can be difficult to decide who to train with and in which country!
Where are ski instructor courses offered?
Ski instructor courses are offered all over the world, most notably in the European Alps including France, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy as well as in Canada and the USA, New Zealand, Australia and even Japan and South America. It remains probably most popular, perhaps due to the number of courses on offer, to undertake a ski instructor course in Europe, Canada or alternatively New Zealand if you are looking to qualify during summer in the northern hemisphere.
What type of courses are available?
One of the most popular routes for new instructors is to enrol on a gap course, which will likely be an all-inclusive course that gap course to obtain your first qualifications. The qualifications you gain is likely to depend on the country you choose, but it’s important to be aware of what qualification you will gain and where this qualification will be recognised. For example, in Canada the system is CSIA, in New Zealand it is NZIA and the British qualification body which are often the courses run in English in Europe is BASI. There are many others still, including IASI which is the Irish system, and also PSIA for North America.
Which country to train in is an important decision. For example, if you wish to go to Canada to train and to also work in Canada for the foreseeable future, the CSIA system may be well suited to you.
At Altitude we use BASI, which is extremely popular and recognised worldwide meaning work opportunities are great if you wish to work in different locations in the future. The only caveat to this is France, where you need a level 4 qualification to work as an instructor which is the top level in BASI and also pass a speed test known as a Euro test , but in France this is the case whichever system you follow.
What will my course include?
Gap courses provide you the level 1 and 2 qualifications within a 10-week course, within whatever qualification body the course runs in. As you will usually qualify in February depending on your course start date, this gives you the opportunity to work afterwards too. It’s worth checking out hat other work students have gone on to do after undertaking the course, and whether there are any opportunities within the ski school to work afterwards, especially if this is important to you.
Ski schools running gap courses will provide lots of on snow training, your accommodation and food (usually on a half-board basis), your lift pass and other bonuses like socials and branded clothing. All this is included in one package, making it easy to organise especially as you are usually doing this from your home country. Most importantly they provide an incredible experience and it’s a great way to ensure you’ve got everything covered and organised as well as insuring you have support in-resort should anything happen.