Here at SnowSkool we are used to answering all types of questions, so we thought we'd make it easier for you to get the answers to the most common ones, see how nice and helpful we are to you!?
What age must I be to take a SnowSkool course?
Although you can sit the instructor qualifications of AASI/ PSIA, BASI, CSIA/ CASI and NZSIA/ SBINZ at the age of 16, SnowSkool imposes a minimum age of 17 years old for the SnowSkool Banff, SnowSkool Three Valleys and SnowSkool New Zealand courses and 18 years old for the SnowSkool Big White and SnowSkool Big Sky courses. The minimum age is reflective of the type of people that join each course and the culture of that resort.
How much skiing/snowboarding experience will I need?
Rather than get bogged down in technical detail, SnowSkool recommends different amounts of ”on-snow experience” for different SnowSkool courses. The SnowSkool Big White course offers more days tuition than any other course and so we can take skier and snowboarders with as little as three weeks on-snow experience. On the SnowSkool Banff and SnowSkool Big Sky courses, we recommend more than four weeks on-snow experience. Moving up, we suggest that you have spent at least 6 weeks on-snow for the SnowSkool New Zealand course and 9+ weeks for the SnowSkool Three Valleys course. The different levels of experience are simply a guide as individuals will progress at different rates. The course recommendations differ according to a number of factors including the amount of tuition days each course includes, the amount of additional qualifications/ shadowing each course requires and the perceived difficulty of the examinations.
Everywhere looks amazing. Which resort is the best?
All courses are amazing…and you can be sure that all have resorts have been selected because they offer the best snow, the ideal terrain and a sizeable pool of top-notch instructors. All courses lead to instructor qualifications that can lead to employment as a ski or snowboard instructor. These elements are a given! Beyond that, we suggest you pick the type of experience you want from your SnowSkool Course. If you want to get into a life-long career as an instructor, we recommend you go for the France course which offers a universally-respected qualification (BASI). For a great nightlife, pick the Banff course which draws a younger crowd to a vibrant town. If you want to live on the slopes in serious luxury then Big White is the place to head! If you're into the big mountain experiences with lots of snow, lots of terrain and lots of vertical, then the place for you is Big Sky in Montana, or, if you want a bit of everything; luxury apartments, a great night life and the added value of extreme sports then a season down in New Zealand has got you covered!
What is an instructor's pay and lifestyle like?
It is hard to give a accurate figure in terms of pay. Some resorts pay more than others and there is obviously the addition of tips in North America which can range from a few bucks to an expensive watch (or even a car). As a first time instructor you will be probably looking at around $15 an hour in the US and Canada, €20 in European resorts and AU$18 down in Australia. And you should hope to work for 25 hours or more per week.
As for the lifestyle…well you’re getting paid to ski or snowboard! Being an instructor is a great way to indulge your passion for your sport, live in the mountains and keep fit. You will make lots of friends, get subsidised accommodation and be respected throughout the mountain. But it’s not all glamour…sometimes you’ll spend more time picking snotty kids off the deck of the nursery slopes but what do you expect as a rookie? And, at the end of the day, it’s all good…
What do the qualifications mean?
Earning a level 1 ski or snowboard instructor qualification means you are able to teach skiing or snowboarding within a Ski & Board school to a pre-determined level – that levels depends on which country you work in. If you obtain the level 2 qualification, you should be prepared to teach all sorts of lessons – a seventy year old snowboarding for the first time, a thirtysomething struggling to perfect parallel turns or a bunch of kids intent on going under-the-rope to ski the trees. You’re an instructor…adapt! If you get your race coach or freestyle qualifications, you will be even more useful (and therefore employable) to a Ski & Board School
Can you recommend an insurance company?
SnowSkool cannot recommend insurance companies for boring legal reasons. It's down to you to make sure that you have the right cover for you, make sure you are happy with your cover and don't just go for the cheapest price!
It's a lot of money in one go. Can I pay in instalments?
Of course, we don't expect anyone to pay for everything up front. Once we have received your booking we will send through a payment schedule to split up the payments into more manageable chunks…and, if required, we can tailor your payment plans to suit you as an individual
When I'm qualified, how easy is it to find work?
Once you have your level 2, the thing you need to do is decide where you want to look for work. SnowSkool's Instructor Recruitment Database is on hand to help SnowSkool graduates to get in touch with Ski & Boards schools throughout the world. If you are an EU citizen and want to work outside Europe, the main difficulty is securing a work visa but once you have that, you are a lot more attractive to employers.