If you’re here then you’ve probably already decided you want to become a ski instructor and why; the chance to escape the 9-5, having the mountains as your ‘office’, and the chance to enjoy the beautiful white stuff 24/7! Even if you don’t plan to work as a ski instructor in the future, embarking on a ski instructor course is a great way to take your skiing to the next level.
BASI, the British Association of Snowsports Instructors, is the national training and grading provider for professional snowsport instructing and coaching qualifications. It is the most widely accepted qualification for British (and other nationality) snowsports instructors teaching across the globe.
But how do you become a ski instructor and which is the best ski instructor course for you?
If you perform the search “how to become a ski instructor”, Google will return an array of different responses -the diversity of which will probably only add to your confusion! The simple answer is that there are numerous ways to become a ski instructor and you need to find the right path for you.
Starting your research into how to become a ski instructor can seem daunting, but we are here to help you navigate the wood from the trees and find the best solution for you. Becoming a ski
instructor is the best decision you’ll make, so hopefully our guide will make the research process simple so that you can start training as soon as possible. There are three main decisions to make when you first decide to become a ski instructor;
- Deciding where you want to work
- Choosing a qualification system
- Choosing a course based on your current level
It really is as simple as that.
Three Choices to Make When Deciding to Become a Ski Instructor
Deciding Where to Work
Choosing which country you will eventually want to work as a ski instructor is the first important decision you will have to make. This is because each country has its own qualification system, and some countries even have multiple qualification systems.
If you only ever want to work in Canada for example, then you will choose a CSIA qualification but the downside of this is that CSIA qualifications are not recognized across Europe so you would not be able to work as a ski instructor in European ski resorts.
Not all ski instructor qualifications are recognised in every country, so you will need to first choose where you want to work so that you can choose a ski course to fit your future plans. Having to re-train due to poor prior planning sucks!
Choosing a Qualification System
If you want to fully qualify in a ski instructor course that allows you to work anywhere in the world then first things first; your ski skills are going to have to be second-to-none. Watch this video to see what technical level you need to be at to embark on a ski instructor course.
The role of a Ski Instructor Association is to train and examine trainee ski instructors, ensuring their qualifications stay valid and that they meet each of the various international requirements. Every nation will have their own Ski Instructors Association and, whilst there are subtle differences between each of them, they all operate in essentially the same way.
If you want to work across Europe, then you need a qualification from a European provider like BASI (British Association of Snowsport Instructors). BASI is the national training and grading provider for professional snowsport instructing and coaching qualification, and is the most widely accepted qualification for British (and other nationality) snowsports instructors teaching across the
One of the best things about the BASI qualification system, (as opposed to embarking on a gap year intensive course which proves very costly!), is that you will be able to teach after you complete each level. By doing this you can gain experience by real-life ski instructing as you progress which is an invaluable asset to your ski instructor qualification. Once you have chosen your qualification, it is time to select a ski instructor course.
Choosing a Ski Instructor Course
If you are thinking of becoming a ski instructor then understanding what you can do with each level and where you can work is key. Within the BASI system, there are four different levels of ski instructor qualification. Each level you complete opens up new doors to more interesting and varied work in an increasing number of countries around the world.
BASI Levels1 & 2
- The BASI Levels 1 and 2 courses are aimed at trainee instructors who are just starting out
in their ski sports career.
- BASI Level 1 The BASI level 1 course qualifies you to work on dry ski slopes and indoor ski
centres in the UK. In some countries where there are no legal requirements for ski
instructors to hold a formal qualification, then you may find that you are able to get
employment there too.
- BASI Level 2 With your BASI level 2 qualification you are able to teach in a mountain
environment on marked runs. This qualification is very well-recognised, and the only
country you can not legally work with a BASI Level 2 is in is France.
BASI Level 3 & 4
- BASI Level 3 With your BASI 3 course you are able to teach on and off piste within the resort boundaries. Your BASI level 3 qualification earns you your ISIA stamp (but still does not qualify you to work in France).
- BASI Level 4 The BASI level 4 qualification is the final part of your puzzle! With your BASI 4 you are able to work in France and teach on and off piste, regardless of the resort boundaries. The only limitation is you can not guide people off piste on glaciated terrain (this privilege is reserved for high mountain guides only). The BASI level 4 qualifies you for the ISTD award and is among the highest recognised qualifications in snowsports instruction.
Decisions Made… What do You Need to Get Started
The world of ski instruction is competitive so to have a real chance at succeeding in becoming a ski instructor, you really need your BASI Level 2 qualification at least.
The BASI Level 2 is a gateway qualification and is recognised all over the globe. With your BASI 2 under your belt you should find it easy to find work during the peak weeks and support yourself as you continue through the season. At this stage, you should also have a basic understanding of the
language of the country in which you wish to teach.
In order to make a real career in ski instruction, you need to achieve your ISIA award. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect… BASI Level 2 Exam
For more information about the BASI system and where you can work with each qualification check out the insider’s guide.