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 boils 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 will 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.

Gap Year

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 any plans to make a snowboard instructor your permanent career, the qualification becomes less important. If that is the case, where would you love to spend a season? Put into order the most important factors for you. Is it the snow, terrain or nightlife? Each resort has its one unique factor which will help you decide where you want to go. Canada is hard to beat for snow, varied terrain, and fewer people on the slopes. If you like the Après 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!
The budget will probably be your final deciding factor at the end of the day. We all love the idea of an entire season, and even if you can afford the course, don’t forget to factor in your spending money. Take some time to look at precisely what you will get with each provider. Everyone offers very similar packages but write them down, even put them on a spreadsheet 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.

Career Choice

If this is a long term choice and you’re looking at becoming a snowboard instructor, you need to consider which qualification is suitable. Although most countries have their own governing bodies’ qualifications accepted worldwide, each country tends to lean towards their system. So if you want to be based in a particular country, you are best off training and qualifying in their governing body. Once you have a couple of years of experience, you’ll find it easier to move around the world but start with and train where you initially want to work.
You also need to consider using your work Visa effectively, assuming you are moving to a new country. For example, Canada has a very favourable work visa system if you are under 35, which means you could easily have two 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 more challenging due to competition and less resort availability. As for Europe, that’s a bit of a crystal ball. If you’re coming from the UK, it’s impossible to tell what will happen. Hopefully, work visas will be available in the future, but for now, if you’re serious about becoming a snowboard instructor, you’re best to focus on Canadian and New Zealand systems.

The most popular snowboard instructor awarding bodies are recognised worldwide and will provide members with advice and support throughout their careers. Still, not all courses are the same, and the one you choose could affect your career direction. Here are handy guides for BASI, CASI and SBINZ snowboard instructor courses.

Choosing BASI – British Association of Snowsport Instructors

Career Path

  • You can achieve the BASI Snowboard level 1 qualification in many of the UK’s snow domes and dry slopes. In addition, 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 can 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.

Most Popular BASI snowboard Instructor Course

The Benefits of BASI

BASI qualifications are recognised across Europe, including France. However, working within the EU is complicated due to Brexit if you are from the UK. Your BASI qualification is accepted in Canada, America, New Zealand and Australia, although you need a working visa.
Snowboard instructor qualifications can take you across the world. But there has never been a better time for snowboard instructor employment within the UK. Britain currently has six indoor snow domes, with plans for more every year! Every snow dome has a team of instructors, and your BASI qualification is recognised from level 1.

Choosing CASI – 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 teach at all levels and train future instructors. Level 4 instructors are in very high demand and it increases your opportunity for international work visas.

Most Popular CASI Snowboard Instructor Course.


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  a ‘fast track’ into the industry. It’s an ‘all mountain’ qualification, meaning you can teach at a resort. However, you really need to aim for CASI level 2 and above to stand a better chance of finding a job internationally. European and New Zealand employers expect level 2 as a minimum in all qulifications.

Resorts in Canada can be different to those across Europe. In many cases 1 company will own and operate the whole resort. This means it can be best to train at the resort where you want to work. 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.


Choosing SBINZ – Snowboard Instruction New Zealand

Career Path

  • SBINZ ski level 1 allows you to teach beginner 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 operates a 3 level system with the option to take additional ‘speciality’ courses.

Most popular SBINZ Snowboard Instructor Course

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. So if working in New Zealand is your primary goal, SBINZ is for you.
You can train for the SBINZ during the European summertime and be qualified by September. With your Level 2 certification, you can be ready to find work in America, Canada, Europe and more.