So you’re interested in training to become a ski instructor in Canada? If so, this article provides a little insight into the qualifications you’ll be going for. We have also spoken to Andrew McGregor who is an ex-SnowSkooler and a qualified ski instructor in Banff, Canada, so if you want a personal account of what life is like working in Canada like take a look!
Firstly, who’s in charge? Well, the whole system is regulated by the Canadian Ski Instructors’ Alliance – or CSIA for short. They set the standards, organise the exams and provide the examiners. Within the CSIA system, there are four levels – imaginatively named Level 1 through Level 4. Here’s a quick run down of the different levels …
Level 1 Ski Instructor Course
The Canadian Level 1 ski instructor exam is a 4-day course open to those aged 15-years and older. Skiers are expected to come in as competent parallel skiers and will need to be able to demonstrate their abilities on diverse terrain and in a variety of snow conditions.
In terms of ski teaching, the course provides a basic introduction to ski teaching. Candidates will need to show that they understand and can put into practice the entry-level teaching techniques and methodologies of the CSIA. In particular, the exam will focus on how they work with children to introduce them to skiing.
Candidates who gain their Level 1 ski instructor qualification are certified to teach beginner skiers up to intermediate parallel skill level.
Level 2 Ski Instructor Course
The Level 2 certification is a 5-day course open to advanced skiers who have successfully passed their Level 1 ski instructor qualification. Candidates on the Level 2 exam are expected to step-up and improve their understanding of the teaching techniques and methodologies of the CSIA. The focus will be on terrain adaptation, fast-track to parallel, safety and class management. To achieve this, the exam combines practical ski teaching methods and technical development – it also requires candidates to demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of guest service skills.
Candidates who gain their Level 2 ski instructor qualification are certified to teach skiers up to intermediate parallel ski level.
Level 3 Ski Instructor Course
After completing the Level 2 ski instructor certification, the next step is obviously … you got it … Level 3! The Level 3 exam lasts for 5 days plus 2 extra days of exams – and is open to those who have successfully passed the Level 2 ski instructor exam.
The teaching techniques and methodologies of the CSIA will be drilled even more and candidates will need to improve their situational teaching skills. Candidates will also be introduced to instructor training. During the course, candidates will work on strategies to improve and perfect the skiing skills of advanced skiers.
Level 4 (ISIA) Ski Instructor Course
It’s at Level 4 that people start to look at you with awe and almost a sense of Godliness … The Level 4 course is tough (very tough) and has a very low pass rate – which, in some respects, is quite reassuring! Its aim is to further enhance the abilities of already experienced instructors and develop the next generation of ski school directors.
The Level 4 course is split into two parts – the mid-winter portion (6-days) that presents the material and the exam (4-days) which allows for a period of training and development. The mid-winter portion focuses, for approximately 50% of the time, on teaching and instructor training, with the remaining 50% of the time focusing on expert skiing skills. On the four day exam course, candidates will face a number of ski “race-offs” and a teaching evaluation.