Once you’ve high-fived yourself for deciding to become a ski instructor, the next step is choosing where to train. This can depend on several factors, like: where you’d most love to spend a winter, where you plan on working afterwards, and what time of year it is.
Options range from Canada in the north to New Zealand in the south, with each place serving up a different vibe on and off the hill. Wherever you choose to train, all the qualifications we offer are recognised worldwide. If you have your heart set on working in a particular country, gaining your qualifications there may help you land a job but there’s no hard rule – it really depends on the resort, the snow school, and how much they want to hire you.
North America and Europe are the most popular places to train thanks to their varied mountains and great snow. For the broadest training and best job prospects, we rate Canada and France as the best options.
Canada is home to some of the softest snow and most legendary terrain on the planet. When you train here, you’ll be pushing your all-mountain skiing to the limit, with waist-deep powder and avalanche-controlled off-piste on your weekly agenda. Everything within the resort boundary is open to shred: huge bowls, steep faces and epic ridges are part of the canvas. On a Nonstop course, you’ll train for qualifications with the CSIA or CASI – two of the world’s most prestigious instructor bodies.
Canada’s mountain culture involves everything from backcountry touring to ice hockey. When you’re not on the hill, you could be snowmobiling, cat skiing or skating on a frozen lake. The off-snow vibe varies between resorts, with super friendly locals wherever you go. You’ve got laid back mountain towns where it’s about hanging out in funky bars and getting involved in local rail jams, while bigger hubs have a massive choice of entertainment options, bars and events.
We run our courses out of Fernie in British Columbia and Banff in Alberta. Our 11 week Fernie course has been going since 2002 and is the most popular course out there. As one of the first course providers to operate in Canada, we handpicked Fernie for its quiet slopes, great community feel and epic powder. Banff is our other base: located in the heart of a national park, you train across three ski areas with one of the world’s coolest mountain towns as your home.
Qualifications available: CSIA/CASI
Employment prospects: CSIA/CASI training is the best choice if you want to work in Canada. You can work worldwide (excluding France) with CSIA/CASI Level 2, and you can apply for entry-level instructing jobs in Canada with CSIA/CASI Level 1.
With famous resorts, world-class terrain and buzzing alpine villages, France is a fantastic place to spend a season and get your foot in the door for European jobs. In France you can train for qualifications with BASI, the British system, or for the infamous Test Technique – a tough French slalom exam.
France is known for its mega resorts, varied slopes and post-ski social scene, so you’ll never be short of something to do. The coaching is full-throttle and will have you gate training and clocking up teaching hours. Off the hill you can look forward to a great nightlife and fuelling yourself with a mountain of croissants.
Anyone can train in France but, to gain employment here, you need to work your way through the gruelling French system. One option involves getting your BASI Level 2 first, followed by the Test Technique and a trainee teaching period working towards your BASI Level 4 ISTD qualification. Another route is to enter the system directly through the Test Technique. From here, you can carve out a career as one of the world’s highest-paid instructors.
We’ve partnered with a top BASI Training Centre in Val d’Isere to expose you to some of the best instructor training going, where you’ll work towards BASI Level 1 and 2. Val d’Isere is home to 300km of varied slopes and world-famous hangouts like La Folie Douce. We also run an intensive 20-week courses in Serre Chevalier designed to prepare advanced skiers for the Test Technique, with fitness, slalom and off-piste training all part of the process.
Qualifications available: BASI / Test Technique
Employment prospects: BASI is one of the best options if you want to work in Europe, and one of the few systems that give you a route into France. You can work worldwide (excluding France) with BASI Level 2. With BASI Level 1, you can apply for instructing jobs in UK snow centres and dry slopes. To teach in France you need BASI Level 4 ISTD.
Winter down south runs from June to October. Gain your qualifications here, and you can slide straight into a northern hemisphere job. Your options include New Zealand and Argentina but, for the best overall experience and job prospects, we’ve selected NZ for our Nonstop training program.
New Zealand has some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the southern hemisphere. While you won’t get the same level of powder and terrain as Canada or Europe, NZ has some fantastic freeriding and the long and uncrowded slopes are a great platform for developing your on-piste performance and overall technique. This gives you an excellent foundation for instructing, plus the snow parks will have freestyle fanatics hooked.
You’ll train for qualifications with NZSIA/SBINZ, which opens the door to worldwide employment. NZ has an amazing outdoor culture, so you’ll be training alongside a load of like-minded outdoor lovers. Down on the South Island, non-ski activities like skydiving, glacier treks and lakeside barbecues are pretty standard. And towns like Queenstown and Wanaka have stacks of bars, restaurants and live bands to bounce to. When summer arrives, you could explore more of NZ’s landscapes or head around Australasia.
With the longest vertical rise in the Southern Lakes, we base our training at Treble Cone – during an 11 week instructor course, you could clock up 180,000 vertical meters of skiing here. Treble Cone also has some of the best freeride terrain in the country, with natural half pipes and open faces.
Qualifications available: NZSIA/SBINZ
Employment prospects: NZSIA is a good option if working in New Zealand is your goal, or you want to go straight into a northern hemisphere job. You can work worldwide (excluding France) with NZSIA Level 2, and apply for entry-level jobs in New Zealand with NZSIA Level 1.
Training in Argentina offers a totally different experience. There are three main ski regions here – Mendoza, the Lake District (Patagonia) and Ushuaia. Resorts vary massively in terms of size and character, from small and basic, to big and modern. Argentina’s terrain can be wild, with jagged spires, double-black diamond chutes and extreme heli-skiing. Most ski instructor courses take place in Cerro Catedral, near Bariloche – South America’s biggest and most developed resort.
The national Argentinian instructor training system is AADIDESS, but most course providers here will follow BASI qualifications – in our opinion, this a better bet for worldwide employment opportunities.
The vibe is laidback, both on and off the snow. Post-ski, you could be tucking into a steak with chimichurri sauce, learning Spanish, or learning how to tango in a nightclub. When winter’s done, stick around to explore more of Argentina or strike-out across South America.
Qualifications available: BASI
Employment prospects: AADIDESS is recognised internationally from Level 3 upwards. For the best career prospects, it may be better to find a course provider that offers BASI training – where you’ll be able to work worldwide (excluding France) with a Level 2.
North or South?
Whether you’re looking for deep powder or southern hemisphere shred, we’ve a course for you. Browse through our ski instructor courses / snowboard instructor courses and get in touch with our team for more advice on the best locations.
We look forward to speaking with you.