It's a BIG decision... Let us help
(NB: This advice primarily relates to our 11-18 week instructor courses).
These days there are ski instructor courses operating at dozens of resorts around the world. It's easy to get overloaded with information with different companies offering conflicting advice. Deciding to do a season is a big step, so it's crucial that you not only choose the right course but that you spend it at the best resort for you.
We've chosen the best resorts in the world to run our courses
Nonstop Ski & Snowboard is one of the longest instructor training companies and have been providing premium courses in Canada since 2002. When we started Nonstop, we were fortunate enough to have the pick of the Canadian resorts, as there were very few training providers at the time. After some 'hard work' researching many resorts in Western Canada, we handpicked three that had the perfect terrain and vibe: Fernie, Banff and Red Mountain.
Following the success of our programs in Canada, we searched the globe for other similar resorts that would fit our course standards, which lead to our expansion to Porters in New Zealand and Serre Chevalier in France.
Each of our resorts is amazing in its own unique way, and whichever one you choose, you're guarenteed to end the season saying 'I was in the world's best resort!'
What did we base our resort choices on?
- TERRAIN - In all the resorts, we looked for the most varied, challenging and interesting terrain in Western Canada. Terrain that will challenge and excite you even at the end of the course.
- APRES SKI - Some towns have lots of clubs and bars, while others serve up entertainment in the form of friendly local pubs. What works for you?
- THE TOWN - Depending on what you prefer, each resort offers something a little different... a vibrant hive of activity or a sleepy charming Canadian town, you choose!
- SNOW - It's a no brainer. Do we really need to mention that ALL the resorts are renowned for amazing snow? (Sadly this isn't the case for every Canadian ski area, so make sure you do your homework!)
Good times on the mountain
And off the mountain!
Check out how our resorts compare...
Fernie, BC, Canada
Terrain- Fernie has five great bowls to explore. In general the mountain is steep with some great off piste terrain. The variation of the terrain in Fernie means you are constantly challenged to adapt your technique in order to accommodate whatever the mountain throws at you. Fernie has great trees, gullies, moguls and some awesome steep groomed runs for those hard and fast carving days.
Apres Ski- Fernie has some great bars and pubs which regularly host live bands and DJs. There is usually something going on every night of the week if you want to head into to town, however a great thing about Fernie is the community feel and the open house party culture. Before long you will be getting wind of the local party where you'll meet other seasonnaires and travellers.
The Town- Fernie is a great blend of an up and coming ski town, and a traditional charming Canadian mining town. Not yet overrun with tourists, there are still plenty of Fernie locals who have lived in town all their lives. They are very welcoming and it is not out of the ordinary to get a smile and a 'hey' as you stroll down the mainstreet, which goes a long way to making you feel at home and like a true Fernie resident.
Snow- 'Legendary Powder' is the phrase used to describe Fernie. If snow fall history is anything to go by then Fernie is a pretty safe bet to get the powder experience. The geography of Fernie means snow laden clouds are frequently trapped by the mountains and when Fernie has a powder day it ranks up there with the world's best places to ski. Lots of snow means a good base so even when the snow isn't falling, the whole mountain is usually still accessible and there is often really nice snow to be found up high.
Is Fernie for you? Fernie is great for anyone who is looking for a nice blend of great riding and evening activity. It is not a party town like Banff, but still has some great social gatherings of locals and seasonnaires at least twice a week, sometimes more. If you are looking for a well rounded resort that offers up a bit of everything, Fernie is the place for you.
Banff, Alberta, Canada
Terrain- The amount of skiable terrain on offer on our Banff course is phenomenal. In fact it's the largest combined ski area in North America. Each week you will train at three different mountains, meaning you will never have the chance to get bored. Banff has some great wide open bowls and some awesome steep skiing, not too mention three separate terrain parks for those freestyle riders!
Apres Ski- Banff has heaps of great bars and clubs to keep you entertained. Big name Djs, bands, comedy acts and more regularly role through town to entertain the locals. With lots of resturants to choose from you can change it up on a regular basis and keep things interesting when not eating course meals. There are three ski hills that are serviced by Banff and that means throughout the winter there are a lot of seasonal staff in town, making Banff a great place to go for a night out.
The Town- Lying amongst some spectacular peaks, Banff has a very special feel to it when you walk around. Arguably as popular as Whistler you expect to feel overrun with tourists, but as soon as you arrive you quickly soak up the great atmosphere and vibe of Banff. The streets have picturesque lighting that adds to the magic when the sun goes down and by day you can see the amazing scenery that is visible from every angle.
Snow- Banff has cool temparatures which is great for snow conditions. When it snows the powder days are epic and when it doesn't snow the groomers are fast and fun! Banff has a long season so you can really take advantage of the snow and spend a great season in Canada.
Is Banff for you? Banff is a great location to spend a season if you want to have an all out blast day and night. The young vibe around town and the plentiful options for a night out makes our Banff course very popular with 'gap year' students. If you are looking for a true mountain life experience maybe look at one of the quieter resorts such as Fernie or Red Mountain. If you are looking for a course that serves up the quintessential winter season experience, i.e. party hard and ski harder then Banff could be the place for you. Do not let the party vibe put you off if you are older than a gap year student however. There are some great restaurants and evening entertainment that does not revolve around partying like it's 1999 as well!
Red Mountain, BC, Canada
Terrain- Quite simply the terrain at Red Mountain is second to none. It's steep and challenging with more variation than you can shake a ski pole at! At Red you have the option of skiing a full 360 degrees around the mountain, meaning you can either stay on the sunny side all day, or head to the cooler side when the spring snow hits. Due to the extreme terrain of Red, we can only accept people who have been riding for a minimum of five weeks and are comfortable to be pushed in steeper terrain.
Apres Ski- The apres ski in Red mountain is served up in the slope side bar where they regularly have live music to entertain people after a great day on the hill. The entertainment in the evening is down in the town of Rossland where there are a couple of great local pubs, which also serve tasty food. There are some great nights arranged throughout the season with bands playing and the odd DJ as well!
Snow- Red Mountain is very similar to Fernie with regards snow fall. When the powder days arrive at Red Mountain, there is really no better place to be and the low numbers of people on the hill mean you can usually lap fresh line after fresh line all day long!
Is Red Mountain for you?- The town of Rossland is smaller than any other resort we are based at. It is very much about you and the mountain life when you come on our Red course and would suit people looking to get away, live in the mountains and really focus on skiing. For those looking for more of a party atmosphere you may want to consider our Banff course. It's worth stating that of all our past participants, it's probably those that went to Red Mountain that are most passionate about the town/resort they chose - Red really gets into your soul!
Serre Chevalier, France
Terrain – Serre Chevalier is known by a select few as “France’s best kept secret”. Although it is the third largest ski resort in France, it doesn’t attract the massive crowds that you’d expect in the big name French Resorts. The mountain has everything, with a high proportion of intermediate and advanced runs, as well as several parks and boardercross trails. There is also a massive amount of off-piste, with an abundance of perfectly spaced Larch trees.
Après Ski – Although the villages of Serre Chevalier aren’t quite as wild as some European resorts, there’s always some classic French après on offer, with drinks deals and local bands. There are then a few bars that liven up late into the evening and into the early hours.
The Town – Serre Chevalier comprises several small villages, each one quintessentially French. They are a social melting pot of local French residents and overseas seasonnaires. As part of our instructor course, you’ll train alongside French locals, so will be introduced to a social scene that isn’t normally as readily available to foreign nationals.
Snow – The weather in Serre Chevalier is freakishly good! Not only does it have an extremely high average annual snowfall for Europe (over 600cm), it also boasts 300 days per year of sunshine. So you can expect your fair share of bluebird powder days.
Is Serre Chevalier for you? European resorts are filled with overseas seasonnaires, but in Serre Chevalier you have something different. Partly because you’ll mix far more with locals and partly because you’ll be doing such a unique and amazing course in a resort that isn’t excessively overrun with holiday traffic.
Porters & Club Fields, New Zealand
Terrain – As well as having great pistes for training, Porters is known as a free-skiing resort and is home to the longest and steepest off piste itinerary in the southern hemisphere. There’s also a great terrain park for freestyle junkies. We also visit 6 more of the surrounding Club Fields, so you’ll get to explore a huge variety of free-ski terrain.
Après Ski and Town – Our New Zealand course has a very close-knit vibe. You’ll stay in the local town of Springfield, where you’ll quickly become part of the friendly community. The Springfield Bar is the perfect place to chill out and enjoy a beer and you’ll be able to properly let your hair down when the group take weekend trips to nearby Christchurch.
Snow – Although New Zealand isn’t famed for the kind of fluffy champaign powder you can expect in Canada, it still has amazing off piste conditions, and there is no better place in New Zealand if you want to ski fresh lines.
Is Porters for you? This area is ideal if you want to experience the action sports capital of the world, while also living in a close knit local community. This is the ideal course for those wanting something that’s a little different to the norm.
If you are still undecided which resort is right for you, please give us a call on +44 (0) 207 720 6500 or drop us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be happy to offer you some guidance.