Our Level 3 ISIA Instructor Courses: An Overview

The BASI Level 3 holds the ISIA (International Ski Instructor Association) stamp and is regarded as the highest level of ski instructor qualification in many parts of the world. It is a big step up from the BASI Level 2 and sees trainees move away from a single exam into modular assessments. Your efforts will not go unrewarded, however, and those holding this qualification can really make a career out of ski instructing. But what does it take to get your ISIA and what are the different training routes that can get you there? Here’s an overview of our ISIA instructor courses. 


instructing kids ski school

Before you can book let alone sit the technical element of your BASI Level 3 you must complete at least 200 hours of teaching. This block of time working gives invaluable experience as a ski instructor which you can bring into everything else you do towards your ISIA.

Once this prerequisite element is taken care of you can start working your way through the 6 other modules that make up the ISIA.

Technical: This technical exam follows a similar pattern to the BASI Level 2 exam but is made up of a 5 day assessment on purely the technical elements of your skiing. Including central theme, short turns, long turns, steeps, bumps and variable.

Teach: Again this element has similarities to the earlier exam and is aimed at better equipping you to “make a difference to learner”. A solid grounding in ski theory is essential for this as you will be required to use appropriate teaching strategies to improve the learner and will be assessed on your understanding, delivery and safety.

Getting Fresh Tracks in Verbier

Coach: The BASI Coaching Course aims to give instructors the skills to adapt their knowledge of skiing to the ‘competition environment’. Including course setting (both according to FIS rules and for varied training needs) programme planning and technical ability.

adaptive skiing

Second Discipline: This can be be a really cool element of the ISIA and requires you to improve your knowledge and skill set as you develop in another discipline. This could be by taking the BASI Level 1 in Snowboarding, Nordic Skiing, Telemark or Adaptive (teaching skiing to those with disabilities).

Second Language: Do not underestimate this test which has held back many a trainee who focused solely on technical training until this point. There is a good reason we include French lessons in our BASI 1 and 2 courses! This test is a 15 minute conversation in either French, German, Spanish, Italian, Norwegian or Japanese, aimed to determine the trainees ability to communicate in the given language and their skills to report an accident to native rescue services. Even if you have completed every other element of the ISIA you cannot go on to book any level 4 exams without this so get those school books out people and start revising.

Mountain Safety: This 6 day course aims to train and assess instructors on their ability to lead parties off piste. Along with a written element you will be assessed on your avalanche awareness / mountain awareness, transceiver searching, group management, map reading and basic navigation, personal skiing performance off-piste, fitness and skinning/snowshoeing.

Sam Taylor digging a snow pit checking for avalanches with BASI 1 and BASI 2 instructor trainees

BASI Level 3 Training Courses

As you can see the jump in what is required of you is considerable between the BASI Level 2 and 3 and so most people need some really focused training to get them there. Because of the number of modules included the level 3 often takes more than 1 season to achieve, but the good news is as you are already a ‘seasoned seasonnaire’ and BASI level 2 qualified instructor you can work while you train.

We cater all of our ISIA training courses to allow for this, but there are a number of ways to approach this:

Fast Track Train Only CoursesThese train only programs are run in Verbier and the 3 Valleys. With focused training Monday to Friday you can the chance to work at the weekends – transfer driving is a popular and potentially lucrative way to do this. We also have a break in training over the school holiday periods meaning that trainees can work as an instructor for at least 6 weeks of the season.

The rest of the time they are free to focus on their own development, particularly their technical skiing, teaching and mountain safety.

ISIA Work and Train Programme: Our St Anton work and train programme was so popular in it’s first year that we had to add a second training team and still could not offer places to all of the applicants. And it is not hard to see why. This course gives you the opportunity to be employed by New Generation working for at least 10 hours and week throughout the season while also training every afternoon. In the busy school holiday weeks you instruct full time, meaning you can earn money doing what you love, build up experience and train hard all at the same time. Working as part of an enthusiastic team pushing themselves to improve is also a great motivator!

ISIA Prep Weeks: Because of the time it takes many people to complete all of the Level 3 modules and the great variety of routes to get there we are also aware that some people are not looking to commit to a full season of training. For those looking for that final polish to make sure they are at the top of their game going into the tech exam we run prep weeks in the 3 valleys. These courses are coached by a BASI trainer and lead directly into the Level 3 tech exam in the same resort. Meaning you can not only get the feedback you need on your skiing but get to know the resort where you will be assessed as well.

So there you have it – the ISIA is no piece of cake but there are plenty of training routes to support you to get there and it is so worth it when you do…