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How to Become a Snowboard Instructor
Want to become a Snowboard Instructor?
When a week away on the slopes doesn’t quite cut it anymore, there is a way to make that snowy dream last longer. Embrace your skills and passion for snowboarding and take a snowboard instructor course. Like many others who have turned their ultimate hobby into a career, you can too.
There are many routes to qualify as a snowboard instructor. Questions you may ask include which qualification should I go for, which country should I do it in and am I good enough? Decisions about where you want to work and up to what level you would like to teach will determine the snowboard organization you go with.
Which Snowboard Qualification is best?
The four most recognized snowboard associations are:
- CASI (Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors)
- NZSIA (New Zealand Snowsports Instructors Alliance)
- AASI (American Association of Snowboard Instructors)
- BASI (British Association of Snowsport Instructors).
Each awarding body offers 4 levels of qualification. Level 1 allows you to teach beginner and novice skills on the mountain, however, BASI level one only allows you to teach on artificial slopes. Level 2 allows you to instruct intermediate and advanced snowboarders. Levels 3 and 4 are far more technical and include instructor training.
Once you have reached Level 2 with one of these organisations you will be able to apply for jobs in most snow resorts around the world except France, where you’ll need to qualify as a ski instructor, probably easier to choose somewhere else! Although you can apply for jobs with a level 1 qualification it’s highly advised to aim for the level 2 before applying to be competitive with other applicants.
The Next Step – Choosing a Training Course
In Canada, instructor training courses start around 3-4 weeks for a level 1 qualification and up to 12 weeks for a full comprehensive training program and is recommended when aiming to pass the level 2 exam. The level 1 is a straight forth exam (step by step) and easily achieved in the 4 week period but the level 2 exam is a huge step up requiring more dynamic riding and refined technique and teaching skills.
Starting price for the 4 week Introductory Course can range from $6500-$7500 CAD up to $15000 for a 12 week course. How long you need to train to pass each exam will depend on your currently ability level and how quickly you pick up the training and teaching concepts.
I’ve Passed my Exams – Time to Apply for a Job
Once you are qualified its time to apply for a job. Applying for a snowboard instructor job comes early in the season generally months before the job will start. Occasionally you can roll up to a resort and be lucky applying for a job but this is not the norm so be organised. North America hiring can start as early as June or July and Southern Hemisphere as early as February. Competition can be fierce but the lifestyle is worth it so make sure to stand out in your application and interview whether it be in person or via skype/video call and get references from your snowboard instructor course evaluators.
How much will I get paid Teaching Snowboarding?
In Canada, a starting salary for a level 1 certified instructor is between $12 to $15 per hour plus tips, but the benefits make up for the seemly low wage. A free lift pass, access to affordable staff accommodation, in house training for further levels and endless days on the mountain. After a few seasons under your belt your hourly wage will increase with experience and further qualifications. Progressing onto level 2 can increase your pay by a further $2 to $6 – and it doesn’t stop there! You can continue to move up towards level 3 or 4 the highest, or obtain various other certifications such as freestyle, avalanche awareness and becoming a snowboarder trainer.
Many resorts will reward an instructors for repeat clientele with an extra hourly rate and having guest request you for private lessons will also guarantee you a regular income. If you impress a family with your teaching they can come back year after year and most private lessons in North America will end in a nice tip.
Teaching Snowboarding in Other Countries
Being a qualified snowboard instructor can open doors to working all around the world but in order to work you must first apply for a working holiday visa. It’s much easier to get hired if you already hold a working visa as many resorts will not give you an interview without first seeing that you are legal to work. Each country will have requirements when applying for a working holiday visa so make sure to head to each countries Immigration website to see what is needed to apply. Most will have a working holiday program and requirements such as applicant must have no previous criminal convictions and can include age restrictions (generally must be aged between18-30/35 years of age)
With a little hard work and a lot of fun you too can live the dream, train to be a snowboard instructor and escape the rat race!
For more information on becoming a snowboard instructor or available training courses email us at snowboard [at] pro-ride [dot] com
Pro Ride Snowboard Camps, run “for Snowboarders by Snowboarders”
Proudly the only Snowboard specific program in Whistler Canada