meribel ski instructor course trainees

What Is A Ski Instructor Course?

Most people have heard of ski instructor courses, or even “gap” courses. But how many people really know what it entails, why people do it or how to go about doing one? 

We thought we’d break down the concept of a ski instructor course so you can know exactly what it is we’re on about, and why people rave about them so much!

What is a ski instructor course?

A ski instructor or “gap” course is usually 10 or 11 weeks of intensive ski training and examination. If you’ve ever been on a ski lesson, it’s very similar, but instead of being taught to ski you’ll be tweaking and improving your current ability. You are aiming to reach a certain level of skiing in order to pass two exams – the BASI Level 1 and BASI Level 2 exams. However, if the trainers think you’re already at the level required they won’t leave you to chill – they’ll keep pushing you to become the best skier you can be in the time given. If successful, you will leave with your BASI Level 2 qualification and be a recognised, licensed and accredited ski instructor.

What do you do during the course?

Probably more than you’d expect! Alongside ski coaching (300+ hours on snow) you’ll be exploring all the mountain has to offer. You can expect to spend days skiing off piste, learning how to use avalanche safety equipment, hitting the park and all manner of other fun skiing. There are off-snow elements too. For example you’ll do a First Aid course, French lessons or even analyse videos of you and your fellow trainees skiing. Depending on the weather there are lots of options to enjoy the outdoors after hours, such as going sledging, or indoor activities like ice skating, bowling or just hanging out in the pub. And how could we forget the infamous end of course party!

Why do people do them?

That’s easy – they’re great fun! You get to spend months skiing with no worries about school, uni or work. It’s a break from the fast-paced life at home and a chance to spend some serious quality time outdoors, bonding with new friends and exploring a different country.

For some people this is a career-change – they’ll continue down the BASI Pathway to become fully qualified ski instructors (BASI Level 4 ISTD). There are also people who stay at BASI Level 2 and maybe teach in their spare time or Uni holidays.

However often people do a course for the experience we mentioned above – no matter what you do after a course, you’ll come away with fantastic memories, a higher enjoyment of skiing and lifelong friends too.

How do I know if I’m ready to take a course?

We recommend that you have 10 weeks of skiing experience under your belt before taking on a course. However that does vary person to person – if you are fit and/or play a lot of sports you will likely find skiing easier to pick up. The only way to know really is to ski with someone who can asses your current level and give you honest advice on whether you’re ready. We do this at our Open Days, but you can also ski with any qualified instructor in the UK or Europe who will point you in the right direction.

How do I book a ski instructor course?

It’s really easy – we have an online booking system so you can do it straight away! It is £100 to secure your space, meaning no-one else can take your slot. If you’re not sure which course is for you, try our choosing your course quiz first. Also don’t forget you can contact us anytime if you have any questions, we know it’s a big decision!