Our 11 week ski instructor course in Fernie combines a powder-heavy resort with awesome coaching and a menu of epic mountain experiences and away-days. Famous for its funky town, deep snow and challenging terrain, you’ll be out on the hill every day developing your riding and teaching to achieve your Level 1 qualification, followed by Level 2. Central accommodation, a crew of powder-hounds, plus packed schedule of coaching, freeriding and adventure, all adds up to a once-in-a-lifetime winter. If you have less time to spare, you can also join this course for the first 8 weeks.
If you want to push your skiing to the max, Fernie is the place to go - known for some of Canada’s deepest powder, a massively varied ski area and a heap of adventurous terrain
The snow is as light and soft as you’ll find anywhere. An average of 10m falls each season, trapped by the horse-shoe shape of the mountains, so you can expect to score your share of powder days. The resort is made up of five alpine bowls - Siberia, Timber, Curry, Lizard and Cedar - and you can find everything from powder fields and gladed trees, to ridges, steep chutes and open groomers.
The town, located less than 10 minutes from the hill, is set against a stunning backdrop, and the whole vibe is authentic, laid-back and mountain-mad. Head downtown and you’ll find a collection of independent bars, restaurants and shops to whittle away your down days and enjoy the local nightlife.
This course features a blend of coaching designed to push your ability and help you land your instructor qualifications. Coaching focuses on developing your skills across the mountain with themes such as powder, bumps and trees, as well as honing in on your teaching skills. The terrain we have available to us in Fernie allows our coaches to push your progression.
On a typical week you'll receive four days of coaching from our team of pros. Morning sessions feature skills and drills, with afternoons for guided mileage and exploring terrain. Coaching groups are small and organised by experience and skill to ensure you're pushed to the right level.
During the course you'll be working towards your Level 1 and Level 2 qualifications with the prestigious Canadian Ski Instructors' Alliance (CSIA). Level 1 allows you to teach in Canada and Level 2 is recognised all over the world in countries like Japan, New Zealand and Italy.
After passing your Level 1 you can also take part in our Community Days - where you'll head to a nearby ski hill to offer free ski lessons to locals. This is a great experience and adds weight to your CV.
On top of this, you can achieve the following qualifications:
As part of your package you'll get access to our MORE program - a menu of epic adventures to make your season nothing short of unforgettable. From cat skiing in the backcountry and snowmobiling through powder fields, to avalanche safety training and winter camping, your days off will be full of new experiences. You'll have 25 credits ($250) to put towards the activities of your choice, and can top these up if you want to go all out.
You'll be given a season lift pass so you can ski as much as you please. Come out early or stay on after, your lift pass will cover you. 85% of people stay on after the course for a "12th week" and about 30% arrive a week early.
During the 11 week course you will recieve coaching from some of Canada's leading instructor trainers. The weekly schedule varies through the course but typically, coaching sessions are Mon, Tue, Thu and Fri, with Wednesdays and the weekends for free skiing, consolidating what you've learnt and the away-trips, activities and additional courses offered on our "More Program". The maximum group size is 8 people per pro but typically they are even smaller.
You'll get private coaching sessions with just you and your coach, one before your Level 1 and another before your Level 2. These will enable you to work on specific areas you want to focus on, or simply talk about upcoming exams of your future plans.
Throughout the program our coaches will make the most of technical video analysis to help with your development.
Each week you'll receive a technical talk on subjects like biomechanics, looking after your gear, injury prevention, and topics relating to becomign a successful instructor.
Unusually for this type of course, the Nonstop package includes the cost of both the exam fees for the CSIA Level 1 and Level 2 (circa $665). (Please note if you decide to go for AMP instead of level 2 training, you will get 4 days of additional ski coaching instead of taking level 2).
You'll be given an 'Instructor Starter Kit' booklet with a directory of ski school contacts, receive seminars on topics such as life as a ski instructor, job application and interview techniques, and be given constant advice from our coaches. Additionally, job interviews with the local ski school are available.
For those wanting to start a career as a ski instructor you'll massively benefit from a guaranteed interview with the ski school. Fernie is owned by Resort of the Canadian Rockies (RCR) who own many ski resorts in both western and eastern Canada. These interviews are a great practice experience and if you impress, could set you up with a job the following winter.
Unique to this course - and essential to your instructor career prospects - is a wealth of work experience. If you are serious about an instructor career then this is one of the most valuable parts of the entire course. There are two formats: 1. Shadowing a local instrutor weekly (after you have obtained your level 1) for a half day session. 2. Taking your own real-life lessons as the lead instructor. Our "Community Days" events, enable you to put your newly aquired level 1 instructor qualification to use and teach local families. It's an amazing experience that will look great on your CV/resume and will help you establish a successful career as an instructor.
You'll have the opportunity to gain the following additional qualifications:
A contender for the highlight of this course! The More Program let's you get involved with dozens of winter activities and experiences during your time with us, from cat skiing to ice hockey, from weekend road trips to photography courses. We'll give you 25 "More credits" to select the activities you want to experience. Download the Course Brochure to see the full list.
You'll be treated to an awesome breakfast at the Red Tree Lodge five days per week. Options include a coffee/tea, juices, cereals, toast, pastries, yogurt, fruit, porridge oats, as well as hot items like eggs, beans, sausages, hash browns or bacon.
Enjoy a hearty three course meal at the Red Tree Lodge four evenings a week. A soup and salad buffet will get you started, followed by a choice of healthy and filling nutritionally balanced main dishes before a well earned desert.
If you arrive with the group flight (or land before), you can join the Nonstop airport transfer to the resort. All your transport within the resort is taken care of.
Experienced, fun, welcoming, knowledgeable and local, the Nonstop hosts are central to your course experience. Your host will ensure your course runs smoothly so you can focus on achieving your goals and having fun. They'll be on hand 24/7 for a chat, laugh, or to solve any problems.
Each week your host will organise team socials and après for all the group to get involved in
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.
These things are not included in the package:
In brief, here’s why our Fernie 11-week course remains the unrivalled leading instructor course in Canada:
Snow: Fernie is famed for getting the deepest and lightest powder each winter. Fernie will make you a better off-piste skier and you’ll have way more fun. Terrain: Great snow is only as useful as the quality of the slopes it falls on and Fernie is unrivalled in this aspect; it’s a huge off-piste playground complemented by wide groomed pistes.
Scene: Fernie is a super cool, lively-but-not-spoilt-by-tourism, community of skiers who have searched and found the best skiing and snow in Canada. Incredibly friendly, you’ll soon find yourself saying hi to strangers and walking around your new home with a permanent grin.
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.
Social: When 70 passionate skiers from all over the globe come together to spend a winter in Fernie, the friendships and shared experiences are nothing short of epic. We guarantee that some of your life’s best memories will be made in Fernie.
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 possible.
Accommodation: Uniquely, we own our own 43-bedroom lodge designed specifically for Nonstop clients, with amazing facilities. Alternatively, we have the option in staying in houses like a true local (with your coursemates)
Meals: Again, unlike any other training company, we own and run a restaurant with an awesome team of chefs and a delicious and nutritious menu designed for our hungry skiers. With complete control over the meals, we’re confident our meals are the best available on any ski instructor course. Reassurance: Choosing to take an instructor course is massive investment. We not only have unrivalled experience built over nearly two decades, but our clients have shown their appreciation by voting us to victory in three consecutive “World Snow Awards”.
Skiers & snowboarders fall in love with Fernie because of the combination of awesome snow & incredible terrain. Choosing a resort with challenging terrain is so important, because you’ll only ever progress as far as the terrain you’re skiing / riding. Rest assured you’ll push yourself to the limit in Fernie. Off the snow, Fernie is a super friendly town with a chilled-out vibe, yet there’s an awesome nightlife for anyone that’s so inclined. Get in touch to learn more!
We cater for a really broad range of skiers / snowboarders on our course in Fernie and the advantage of this being the most popular instructor course in Canada is that we can have several ski groups all catered to a specific ability & confidence level. Generally, we cater from early intermediates right through to experts. If you have any doubts about your ability, you can always join us for some coaching beforehand to boost your skills and confidence. Get in touch to learn more.
One of the best things about our course in Fernie is the range of people we get involved. With around 70 participants on the course each winter, you can be confident of finding likeminded people, as well as meeting others you wouldn’t necessarily have met! The recommended minimum age is 18; however, we are open to mature & independent 17-year-olds. There is no upper age limit; as long as you consider yourself fit enough to ski most days for 77 days! The average age on our course in Fernie is 24, but each season we have people from almost every stage of life.
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. Towards the end of the course, there is the the opportunity to take advantage of an interview with Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (who own several ski resorts) if you have applied for your work visa. 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.
We provide inclusive airport transfers at set departure times from Calgary airport; these are available on the advertised start & end date of the course. For those that want to arrive early, we have a transfer available 1 week before; likewise, for anyone wanting to stick around in Fernie after the course, we have an option 1 week later. Full details are provided so you know all your options.
As a ballpark figure, we suggest having a budget of $200 - $250 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.