How to choose the best snowboard instructor course for you
You’ve chosen to teach the sport you love and done your research, but essentially it will boil down to one question: Which is the best snowboard instructor course for me?
There are so many options, and you need to work out what you want to gain out of the experience. For each person their final goal is going to be the deciding factor on which instructor course is best for them.
Is this a Gap year or a career choice? Either option is going to push you in a slightly different direction.
This is probably not a long term career choice but something you may use in the future, or not! Many of your choices come down to whether you want to learn and earn or simply enjoy an experience, free from responsibility. A course gives you the benefit of gaining a qualification that looks great on your CV, and may come in handy in the future. An Internship gets you qualified that season and working as a fully paid instructor at your chosen resort.
It’s probably the biggest question we get asked, Internship or Course? So much so, that we’ve written a Blog dedicated to the subject! READ HERE
If you haven’t got any real plans of making a snowboard instructor your permanent career, then the ticket you qualify in becomes less important. If that is the case, then where would you love to spend a season? Put into order the most important factors for you. Is it the snow, terrain or night life? Each resort has its one unique factor which will help you decide where you want to go. For snow and varied terrain and less people on the slopes then Canada is hard to beat. If you like the huge Apres Ski scene then Verbier might be your best bet, although if you’re staying for 11 weeks or more, you might need to factor this into your budget!
Budget at the end of the day is probably going to be your final deciding factor. We all love the idea of a full season and even if you can afford the course don’t forget to factor in your spending money. Take some time to look at exactly what you’re going to get with each provider. Everyone offer very similar packages but write it down, even put it on a. spread sheet so you can compare. What looks like a cheap option may not contain everything you need or requires more money for food and living costs.
If this is a long term choice and you’re looking at becoming a snowboard instructor as a career then you need to consider which qualification is right for you. Although many tickets are accepted around the world, each country tends to lean towards their own system. If you know you want to based in a particular country, then you are best training and qualifying in their governing body. Once you have a couple of years experience you’ll find it easier to move around the world but to start with train where you initially want to work.
You also need to consider how to use your work VISA’s effectively assuming you are moving to a new country. Canada has a very favourable work visa system if your under 35, which means you could easily have 2 years to work in the country but you need to use those two years wisely. New Zealand is also a good option for anyone under 30, although work options are tougher due to competition and less resort availability. As for Europe, that’s a bit of a crystal ball for now. If you’re coming form the UK it’s impossible to tell what’s going to happen. Hopefully in the future work visas will be available but for now if you’re serious about becoming a snowboard instructor then you’re best focusing on Canada and New Zealand systems.
The most popular snowboard instructor awarding bodies are recognised worldwide and will provide members with advice and support throughout their career, but not all courses are the same and the one you choose could affect the direction of your career. Here is a handy guide for BASI, CASI and SBINZ snowboard instructor courses.
British Association of Snowsport Instructors
The Career Path
- You can achieve the BASI Snowboard level 1 qualification in many of the snow domes and dry slopes within the UK. BASI level 1 allows you to teach on artificial slopes.
- BASI Snowboard level 2 has to be taken in the mountains and many course providers combine BASI level 1 & 2. Upon completion of Level 2 you are able to teach beginner to intermediate snowboarders across Europe, Canada, America, New Zealand, Japan, Australia, South America and even Dubai.
- BASI Snowboard level 3 allows you to teach up to and beyond advanced snowboarding across the world. There is more information on the BASI website.
- BASI Snowboard level 4 gives you the highest level of employability, and you can teach up to the highest levels of snowboarding, it can take 3 – 5 years to reach this level. You need to be BASI level 4 to teach in France.
The Benefits of BASI
BASI qualifications are recognised across Europe including France. If you are from the UK, working within the EU can be considered ‘easier’ than other countries such as Canada, America, New Zealand and Australia because at the moment you don’t require a working visa.
Most snowboard instructor qualifications will take you across the world, but there has never been a better time for snowboard instructor employment within the UK – Britain currently has 6 indoor snow domes with plans for more being submitted every year! Each snow dome has a team of instructors, and your BASI qualification is recognised from level 1.
Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors
The Career Path
- Upon passing the CASI level 1 snowboard instructor course you can teach entry-level to intermediate boarders. Unlike other courses you are able to teach on the mountain as soon as you have passed your CASI level 1. Many snowboard instructor internships include guaranteed jobs as a level 1 for a full season once qualified.
- CASI level 2 gives you a more in depth understanding of technique and methodology and you can teach up to intermediate snowboarding.
- CASI level 3 allows you to teach advanced snowboarding, off piste and park. You can also train instructors in the CASI level 1 and 2 programmes and examine CASI level 1. Visa sponsorship for working as an instructor in Canada usually requires level 3 as a minimum.
- CASI level 4 allows you to develop snowboarders at all levels and train future instructors, at this level employment opportunities are greatly increased.
The Benefits of CASI
CASI qualifications are recognised internationally in Canada, America, Switzerland, New Zealand, Japan, Dubai, Australia, Andorra and much of Europe. The CASI level 1 snowboard instructor course is seen as a ‘fast track’ into the industry and is an ‘all mountain’ qualification, however CASI level 2 and above are comparable with other internationally recognised snowboard instructor qualifications. European and New Zealand employers expect level 2 as a minimum in all qulifications.
Winter resorts in Canada are different to those across Europe, some resorts and mountains are owned by companies and because the company employs all the staff on the mountain it can be easier to train and gain work within the resort. CASI qualifications are more recognised in Canada than other international qualifications, so if working within the Canadian Rockies is your ambition, then becoming CASI certified could be more beneficial for you.
Snowboard Instruction New Zealand
The Career Path
- SBINZ ski level 1 allows you to teach first time snowboarders up to low level intermediates. You can teach on the slopes as soon as you have passed.
- SBINZ level 2 progresses your career and builds on your skills as an instructor allowing you to teach intermediate snowboarders
- SBINZ level 3 allows you to teach ‘all mountain situations’. You can take the SBINZ level 3 if you hold SBINZ level 2 or an equivalent foreign qualification.
- Unlike other international qualifications SBINZ operate a 3 level system with the option to take additional ‘speciality’ courses.
The Benefits of SBINZ Snowboard
SBINZ qualifications are recognised worldwide, particularly in the English speaking world. Traditionally outside of New Zealand the minimum for employment is level 2 – although this is typical of many international qualifications.
SBINZ snowboard qualifications are more recognised in New Zealand than other equivalent certificates, if working in New Zealand is your main goal then SBINZ is for you.
You can train for the SBINZ qualification during the European summer time, being qualified by the end of September means you’re armed and ready with your SBINZ level 2 certification to spend the following season teaching in America, Canada, Europe and more.