A season in the heart of the Rockies with three resorts on your doorstep, a bouncing party town and an adventure-loving atmosphere. Exclusively and only with Nonstop, you’ll ride the Big 3 with pro coaching across all three Banff resorts: Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Mount Norquay.
Perfect for a gap year or aspiring instructors looking for a route into the industry, this course is open to all skiers and will massively transform your skills, wherever you begin at. Weekly pro coaching rotates between resorts based on snow conditions and objectives, with days off for freeriding, away trips and extra certs. You’ll ski everything from piste to powder as we boost your all-mountain riding and in preparation for your CSIA Level 1 and 2, plus get to take part in our exclusive Assisted Teaching program, where you will be guided in teaching travelling school skiers.
Based in the heart of Banff National Park, we love Banff for its incredible scenery, party vibe and varied slopes. The collective ski area is huge with three resorts close by, each one with unique appeal, from wild tree runs to freeride lines and finely-tuned freestyle terrain. We’re all about maxing out your winter and a season with Nonstop isn’t complete without our epic events organised by your host and the jam-packed schedule of weekly adventures we lay on. We call it our MORE Program, and they’ll be everything from road trips to resorts like Revelstoke, to avalanche safety training and snowmobiling with your whole crew.
Get ready, it’s gonna be a one to remember.
You’ll love this course if: you’re up for an unforgettable season as part of a gap year, you’re keen to live in lively party town with access to incredible adventure, you’d like to meet a ready-made group of shred pals.
Banff is unique, home to a bouncing town and three varied ski areas – Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Mount Norquay, collectively known as the Big 3. Between each, there’s powder, steeps, trees, open faces and parks, plus mega views everywhere you turn. Every week you’ll ride all three resorts, which we rotate between depending on the snow, weather and kind of terrain we want to ski.
Lake Louise is the largest of the Banff trio with 4,200 acres of terrain, made up of four faces. There’s a real mix of slopes, long top-to-bottom runs and the remote back bowls are our go-to for freeride lines and steep slopes.
Sunshine Village is the highest of Banff’s resorts with sprawling terrain. The deepest snow is usually here, with 30ft falling on average each winter. There’s huge scope for adventure, with the legendary Delirium Dive zone giving access to gnarly backcountry descents.
Mount Norquay is the local gem and closest to Banff town, with glorious groomers, tree-lined trails, bumps and steep pitches to really challenge your skiing. Head to Norquay on a powder day, as there are never any crowds.
Set within the bounds of a wildly beautiful National Park, downtown Banff boasts a great nightlife scene and a big selection of shops, bars, restaurants and hangouts. There’s bowling, a cinema, ice rink and gyms plus regular live music, party nights and rail jams throughout the season. With Irish pubs, sports bars and clubs, there’s something for just about any kind of evening.
One of the top features of this course is the pro coaching by our CSIA experts. We combine improvement coaching, instructor training and freeride clinics to furnish you with all the skills you need to become an instructor and pass the CSIA assessments. You’ll develop your technical and freeride skills, learn about mountain safety and be taught how to teach others.
With a varied schedule no week is the same, but pro coaching typically takes place four days per week, to hone your skills in fun sessions. You’ll be riding all three Banff resorts as we clock up mileage in all types of terrain. We’ll be using video analysis throughout and supporting the on-snow training with workshops in ski biomechanics, injury prevention, how to get a job as an instructor and more.
We arrange ski groups by ability and general attitude with no more than 8 skiers per coach. You’ll be introduced to your first week’s pro who will quickly start analysing your technique and helping you achieve your goals on snow. Each week you’ll rotate between instructors, so you benefit from all their different styles and insights.
The course is split into two phases. The first part of the course beds you in and prepares you for your Level 1. We then up the ante and move onto the Level 2. Before of each exam phase, we lay on a private one-on-one session with a pro to prime your skills and gear you up for success. After passing the skiing and teaching elements of each exam, you’ll be fully equipped to teach, with a Level 2 opening the door to a world of teaching opportunities.
For those of you who have no designs on teaching and do not want to follow the Level 2 pathway, you will receive additional coaching instead to focus on your personal riding.
If you've set your sights on becoming a ski instructor, we give you the best possible opportunity to succeed. The program will fully prepare you for the CSIA Level 1 and 2, as well as offering park instructor or race instructor certs.
Level 1 in introductory and allows you to teach in Canada, while the Level 2 will qualify you to work in ski schools around the world, from North America to New Zealand, Japan and Europe. We also give you a whole load of extra skills and practical advice that will set you on the path to success.
You can achieve the following qualifications:
The added extras on our courses can’t be hyped up enough. A season with us is all about immersing yourself into mountain living. We’ve made a fine art out of weaving the most epic local adventures into your schedule and each week we lay on an activity or trip as part of our MORE Program.
Our Banff course has tons of options. Cat-skiing is a big hitter for powder-junkies, where we lap untouched backcountry with a snowcat as our ride. Legendary mountain and stop on the Freeride World Tour, we road trip to nearby Kicking Horse for a day of steep and deep. There’s also dog sledding excursions through Banff’s sweeping mountains, a bonfire in the wilderness, plus socials like team hikes to nearby peaks.
With some included and others optional, you can add as many extras as take your fancy. We include $250 of credit for you to use on the activities of your choice. Here’s a sample.
Our accommodation at Irwin's Inn is located centrally a few minutes from the centre of Banff. Irwin's features queen beds, en-suite bathrooms, cable TV and wifi. Our group takes over most of the hotel and in addition to soaking in the hot tub we have our own large common room for chilling out with friends, watching a movie or playing table tennis. You'll also benefit from a gym, swimming pool, laundry, and ski tuning workshop.
Typically you'll receive 20 hours coaching per week over four days. This will vary on some weeks to allow time for exams etc. Your days off are for free skiing, consolidating what you've learnt and other activities. The maximum group size is 8 people per pro but typically they are even smaller.
Unique to Nonstop, you'll be given a Ski Big 3 season lift pass, so you can ski as much as you please, as all 3 of Banff's incredible resorts; Lake Louise, Sunshine Village & Mount Norquay.
Come out early or stay on after, your lift pass will cover you.
The package includes the cost of the fee for the CSIA Level 1 and Level 2 assessment.
Unlike most other courses offered, the Level 2 exam fee is included in the cost of your course, so there's no need to find $1000 part way through your Banff experience.
If you have any desire to instruct in the future, especially outside Canada, then you will need that Level 2 qualification.
If you do not want to sit your Level 2, during the exam sessions you will receive additional coaching. If there are an insufficient number of people to run the extra coaching, you will receive a refund of the Level 2 fee.
You have the option of staying in a triple, twin or private room at Irwin's Mountain Inn, with facilities including:
You'll be treated to a hearty breakfast at El Toro five days per week. Options include coffee/tea, juices, cereals, toast, pastries, yogurt, fruit, as well as hot items like eggs, beans, sausages, hash browns or bacon.
Enjoy a nutritonally balanced & filling meal at El Toro four evenings a week.
If you arrive with the group flight (or land before), you can join the Nonstop transfer to the resort. All your transport within the resort is taken care of, just don't forget your gear.
Your host will ensure your course runs smoothly. They'll be on hand 24/7 for a chat, laugh, or to solve any problems.
You'll get two 90 minute private coaching sessions during the course, one before your Level 1 and another before your Level 2.
Throughout the program our coaches will make the most of technical video analysis to help with your development.
Throughout the course we run regular technical talks on subjects like biomechanics, looking after your gear, and injury prevention.
You'll be given an 'Instructor Starter Kit' booklet with a directory of ski school contacts, receive a seminar on 'Working as an Instructor', and be given constant advice from our coaches.
Each week your host will organise team socials and après for all the group to get involved in.
You'll be able to get involved with many winter activities and experiences during your time with us, from cat skiing to ice hockey. We'll give you $250 worth of credits to use on the activities of your choice.
You'll have the opportunity to gain the following additional qualifications:
Come out before the course begins or stay on at the end. You'll have a season lift pass so it's just a case of booking extra accommodation.
1% of revenues support environmental non-profits, including Protect Our Winters
These things are not included in the package:
We appreciate there are a few operators available in Banff; here’s why you should only consider booking with Nonstop
3 resorts: Nonstop are the only company that will train you in all three resorts; Mt Norquay, Sunshine Village & Lake Louise. Each resort offers unique strengths and will have different snow conditions throughout the season; only by being able to explore all three are you guaranteed to enjoy the best that Banff (and the season) has to offer.
Accommodation: The hotel we use is on Banff Avenue – the main street in town. It’s less than a ten-minute walk to all the bars and clubs so nightlife access is easy, yet you can still get a good night’s sleep! All our guests in the hotel stay in queen sized beds in rooms with an en-suite – unlike other companies that only pack you into bunk beds in hostels.
Coaching: With 17 years of experience, and over 40 11-week courses under our belt, we’ve delivered more instructor training than anyone else. Our ski coaches are the best in the business and will completely transform your skiing. We have a maximum group size of 8 skiers: 1 instructor. We have regularly spotted our competitors with as many as 10 in one group; not cool!
Social: When 50 passionate skiers from all over the globe come together to spend a winter in Banff, the friendships and shared experiences are nothing short of epic. We guarantee that some of your life’s best memories will be made with your course mates in Banff.
Care: we recognise that for many of our Banff clients, this will be their first extended trip away from home. We have experienced staff in resort that are on hand to ensure your stay with us is as smooth as possible. They are accessible 24/7, so you’ll be in good hands.
Extras: With Nonstop, it’s not all about ski coaching: we put a huge emphasis on enjoying as many Canadian mountain experiences as possible and organise a massive program of activities, away-trips, courses and socials to make this the richest, most enjoyable, winter possibl. Find out more.
Exams: Last pont.. with Nonstop, your Level 2 instructor exam fee is included in the course package saving you $1000 compared to other training providers.
We provide inclusive airport transfers at set departure times from Calgary airport; these are available on the advertised start & end date of the course. Banff is extremely well serviced by a public transfer operator so if you want to arrive on an alternative day, no problem!
Our Banff course attracts a much lower average age compared to our course in Fernie. In a typical year, we expect 90% of clients to be aged 18 – 21. This might have something to do with the fact Banff boasts some of the best nightlife in Canada & the legal drinking age is only 18. Just a hunch!
We do not recommend this, and we don’t have any examples of past clients who have managed it. In other words, no! This experience should be treated as a once in a lifetime winter to purely focus on your skiing / riding & having as much fun as possible. You would need a working holiday visa in order to work – most people only ever get to have one of these (lasting for two years), so you should save yours for when you may be working as an instructor in the future.
During the course we host a seminar that will help prepare you for work in the industry; you’ll hear from former clients that are now living the dream as instructors. Beyond the course, we’re always on hand to offer support on applications and we’re regularly contacted by snow schools looking for new recruits each winter. It's not possible to work as an instructor in Banff immediately after your course.
Absolutely not! Most of our clients in Banff are simply looking to have the best time of their lives, both on and off the snow! Achieving the CSIA level 2 certification serves as a bonus & justification for all this fun; whilst also keeping the doors open to work as an instructor in the future!
As a ballpark figure, we suggest having a budget of $250 - $300 per week to cover your spending money. By preparing packed lunches for the mountain and cooking your own meals at the weekends, you can certainly make your budget go further. Between coaching 4-days per week, free skiing & the activities available on the MORE programme, we keep you busy. For many people, how much they spend will really come down to night time habits.
We look forward to speaking with you.