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How good do you need to be, to be an instructor?

The short answer is: very!

The more helpful answer is: it varies. And, there are things you do to meet these levels.

Level 1 skii or snowboard instructor

As a Level 1 ski or snowboard instructor, you can teach beginners in the country that you received your qualification.

You will need to be able to perform short, round parallel turns on a blue or easy red piste without traverse. You’ll need to use a variety of corridor widths; show the ability to maintain a constant speed; and understand how to achieve effective posture and balance. When it comes to longer turns, you will need to be able to cleanly carve the last two thirds of your turn on a green or easy blue piste without traverse too. There is more detailed information on how good at skiing or snowboarding you need to be, for Level 1, here.

Level 2 skii or snowboard instructor

As a Level 2 instructor, you can teach intermediate skiers in most countries around the world apart from France.

In addition to the skills that you need to achieve Level 1, to achieve a Level 2 qualification you will need to be able to perform perfectly balanced, rounded and linked turns in a variety of conditions, on a blue or red slopes. You will also need to be able to control your balance and speed while performing balanced turns on a steep red or black piste. Additionally, you will need to be able to perform continuous, linked, skidded turns in easy bumps. Here, you should have the ability to stay in a narrow corridor, staying at a constant speed with balanced posture. There is more detailed information on how good at skiing or snowboarding you need to be, for Level 2, here.

Level 3 skii or snowboard instructor

As a highly-skilled Level 3 instructor, you can teach advanced skiers on all levels of terrain.

To go beyond Level 2 and achieve Level 3, your standard of skiing or snowboarding will be approaching expert level and you will have clocked many teaching hours. (The number of hours required will vary depending on the governing body). You will have to be an accomplished off-piste skier or snowboarder as there is a Mountain Safety element to the qualification. In addition to your skiing or snowboarding skills, you will need to be proficient in a second language to the level that you could teach a lesson or explain an emergency on the phone. There is more detailed information on how good at skiing or snowboarding you need to be, for Level 3, here.

Level 4 skii or snowboard instructor

As an elite, Level 4 instructor, you will be able to teach all abilities of skiers and snowboarders, as well as teaching other instructors, and trainee instructors, in any country in the world.

A Level 4 ski or snowboard instructor is the best an instructor can be! You’ll need to be incredibly skilled skier or snowboarder to achieve this level, with very little room for improvement having achieved your Level 3. You’ll need to pass a Speed Test so you’ll need to be comfortable downhill-skiing on a racing piste. In addition, you’ll need to be accomplished at all off-piste activities like touring/skinning, navigation and glaciology. Off the snow, there’s even a written research project to do!

There is more detailed information on how good at skiing or snowboarding you need to be, for Level 4, here.

How good do you need to be, to do a ski or snowboard instructor course?

Of course, the best way to get to these levels of skills is to undertake some training. So, the question you should be asking, isn’t “how good do I need to be to be an instructor?”, it’s “how good do I need to be to do an instructor course?” Again, the answer is: it varies. For example, our ski instructor courses and snowboard instructor courses demand different levels of existing skills:

SnowSkool Banff - how good do you need to be?

This course requires a minimum of three weeks ski or board experience. In practice, this means the ability to ski/ ride down a blue run with good speed & control

SnowSkool Big White - how good do you need to be?

This course requires a minimum of three weeks ski or board experience. In practice, this means the ability to ski/ ride down a blue run with good speed & control

SnowSkool New Zealand - how good do you need to be?

This course requires a minimum of six ski or board experience. In practice, this means the ability to ski/ ride down a red run with good speed & control

SnowSkool France - how good do you need to be?

This course requires a minimum of 10 weeks ski or board experience. In practice, this means the ability to ski/ ride all on-piste terrain with good speed & control

SnowSkool Zell am See - how good do you need to be?

This course requires a minimum of 12 weeks ski or board experience. In practice, this means the ability to ski/ ride all on-piste terrain with good speed & control

A final note on ski fitness

You level of skill and commitment to becoming a ski or snowboard instructor is the most important thing. However, your fitness will have an amazing effect on how well and how long you can ski/teach/train for, as well as injury prevention.

Getting fit before a ski or snowboard instructor course will really help you out. Try to maintain full-body fitness throughout your teaching career too. Focus on cardio, lower body and core strength, and some yoga/flexibility work to improve upper/lower body separation.

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