We understand that you’ll have questions, which is why we’ve put these detailed frequently asked questions sections together. If you can’t find what you’re looking for drop us a message, email or give us a call.
Contracts are very standard and it is possible that for some smaller schools the contract may only be given on your arrival in to resort. Other ski schools will expect a signed contract up to 3 months before arrival and will be subject to you successfully completing the SIA course and instructor exams.
You will normally be allocated accommodation and a lift pass together with ski school uniform. The contract will explain the payment system and the working hours of a normal week. It will detail your start date and will ask if you are available to work till the end of the season or if you must leave on a certain date. It may be that you are required to pay a deposit for the uniform and/or the accommodation, which is returnable at the end of the season. You must be available for work during peak season times. This is Christmas and New Year, most of February and Easter (if the resort is still open). Do not request time off during these periods!
Here is our take on things:
At SIA, we recognise and respect all National Ski Associations around the globe and we understand that they all aim to maintain high standards within the snow sports industry. We encourage students to rigorously research the information within our website, and within any other snowsports training company, associations and industry leaders to make an informed decision based on your own short and long term goals.
Systems & Qualifications Of Popular Ski Associations:
Austria: Schneesportlehrer (ÖSSV / WSSV)
Level 1: This is a National L1 Qualification which enables you to teach in controlled environments, ie. Dry Slopes or Indoor Snowslopes and in rare cases on snow when supervised by a senior instructor such as some kindergarten areas.
Level 2 (Anwärter): After you pass this exams you can teach beginner to lower intermediate adults and kids on the piste
Level 3 (Landeslehrer): This is a high qualification and allows you to teach high intermediate to advanced skiers and is divided into 3 parts – Landes 1 (pt1), Landes 2 (pt2) and Alpinkurs (mountain safety course) – after completion of these exams you are qualified as a full Landeslehrer. Snowboard Landes is not split into two parts and done as one exam.
Level 4: Diploma – Staatlich geprüfter Skilehrer
Canada: CSIA / CASI
Level 1, first qualification; after you pass this exam you can teach the basics to adults and kids.
Level 2, after passing this exam you can teach more experienced people.
Level 3, classed as a Low Level ISIA. There are additional things that must be achieved to hold full ISIA
Level 4, after passing these exams you are ISIA qualified
UK: British Association Of Snowsport Instructors (BASI)
Level 1, Instructor Qualification which enables you to teach in controlled environments, ie. Dry Slopes or Indoor Snowslopes and in rare cases on snow when supervised by a senior instructor.
Level 2, Allows you to work on the piste teaching beginners to intermediate skiers.
Level 3, After passing this you are ISIA qualified.
Level 4, ISTD and is the diploma level for the BASI.
Switzerland: Swiss Snowsport instructor (SSI)
Basic Education, you are only allowed to teach children
Level 1, first qualification; after you pass these exams you can teach beginner to lower intermediate adults and kids
Level 2, after passing this exam you can teach more experienced skier & snowboarders
Level 3, after passing these exams you are ISIA qualified
Italy: Maestri Di Sci
You have take an entrance exam, after this you have the first part of your exams. If you pass these, you have to do an internship in a ski school. After the internship you have to take the 2nd part of the exams and pass these. Then you have to do another year internship as a ski school instructor assistant. Then follows the third part of the exams, pass these and you’re a maestro di sci, an Italian ski instructor.
France: Moniteur De Ski
You have one level, similar to Italy. The standard is a bit higher and to join you have to do an entrance examination. It’s very hard to get in and your standard of skiing has to be very high.
Only once you are a ski instructor you can then qualify as a snowboard instructor.
Level 1, first qualification after you pass this exam you can teach the basics to adults and kids.
Level 2, after passing this test you can teach more experienced people.
Level 3, after passing these exams you are ISIA qualified.
The Austrian Anwärter is one of the most recognised Level 2 qualifications world wide. The highly respected, world leading alpine nation of Austria continues to maintain high expectations when it comes to it’s instructors and it is this reason why we choose to offer this qualification on all of our courses with the exception of our Canadian Instructor Programmes.
It is widely acknowledged that there are four current levels in ski instructing and generally three in snowboarding.
Many countries offer a Level 1 instructor qualification, which in Austria, does not exist as a stand alone qualification. In BASI (British Association of Snowsports Instructors) a L1 is a qualification for instructors intending to work in controlled environments, which is a fair and accurate description, mainly reserved for snow domes and dry slopes.
The mountains are not a controlled environment. This means a person with a level 1 may work in indoor snow halls, artificial slopes or in some rare cases in a ski resort where the level 1 instructor is within the sight and calling of a more senior instructor. What is clear is you can not operate independently with a group on the piste.
The Anwärter is a recognised level 2 qualification reserved for instructors intending to work in the mountains with a Snowsports School. The Anwärter fits this description perfectly as it allows you to act as a professional instructor in an open environment without supervision.
The Austrian Level 3, simply named Landeslehrer, is a process of several modules and/or courses. The first thing to note is that although L1 & 2 can be quickly achieved in one ski season, a full level 3 is considered to be a longer term goal of 3 – 6 seasons on snow. One needs to not only improve their skill level in skiing and snowboarding but also their teaching understanding and experience.
The bonus is that most systems split the way to a full level 3 meaning you can start to tick some of the boxes towards this gold standard whilst working in the industry. Some of the modules may include; a second discipline, alpine safety course, teaching module etc.
The Austrian system is no different and the first step towards full level 3 is the Landes 1 which is recognised in most of Austria as a separate qualification leading to better pay and higher level guests.
Once again in Austria this next level is not referred to as a level 3 but simply by the name Landeslehrer. This was the ISIA Level equivalence until Austria, France and Italy left the ISIA (International Ski Instructors Association). (ref. page 8)
Although the ISIA are currently looking at ways to re-integrate Austria, France and Italy back into the ISIA, at this time Austria is not a part of the ISIA and therefore the ISIA stamp is not relevant.
A concern that this would leave the Big 3 Ski Nations – Austria, Italy and France, out in the cold when it comes to working around the globe has not materialised as again, it is the quality and experience the ski and snowboard schools desire that ultimately matters.
For those that are really focussed on long term careers and want to further themselves the end goal is Level 4 Diploma, the Staatlich geprüfter Skilehrer.
One thing worth mentioning at this point is that with training, exams and together with the time you must invest, the Austrian system is one of the most economical paths to reaching level 4.
The CSIA level 1 course is an introduction to ski teaching, CSIA technique and methodology, and the role of ski teaching within the ski industry. It combines the basics of practical ski teaching methods, technical understanding and development of guest service skills, specifically addressing children’s skiing.
The CSIA Level 2 ski instructor certification is for advanced skiers who have passed the Level 1 certification. The course enables ski instructors to improve their situational teaching skills, to acquire a better understanding of CSIA technique and methodology, and the role of ski teaching within the ski industry. It combines practical ski teaching methods, technical understanding and development, and improvement of guest service skills.
Candidates will receive coaching on their skiing, teaching and people skills with the goal of reaching the Level 2 standard. They will also receive suggestions and strategies for long-term development. The successful candidate is certified to teach skiers up to intermediate parallel skill level.
The CASI Level 1 is an introductory level, designed to give successful candidates the skills necessary to begin their role as a new instructor in the industry. Beginner teaching methods, understanding of basic snowboard technique, as well as lesson planning and effective communication skills will be addressed. A L1 Instructor is certified to teach beginner snowboarders up to the Novice Turn level.
The Level 1 certification is a pre-requisite for the CASI Level 2 Instructor certification, as well as the Park Instructor course.
The CASI Level 2 Instructor certification is for any snowboarder that has passed the Level 1 certification, and has an interest in teaching more experienced snowboarders. CASI recommends that Level 2 candidates have prior experience teaching snowboarding in a snow school setting (approximately 45 hours) before attempting the Level 2 certification – This is not a mandatory requirement. A L2 Instructor is certified to teach snowboarders up to the intermediate level (skills and terrain).
The Austrian Anwärter (Level 2) with SIA starts from as little as €4.680 and yet a comparable Level 1 & 2 Course can cost as much as €9.000 with other providers, that is a huge saving that remains in your pocket. We are always happy for people to compare courses as we know that our training programmes lead to huge savings – Everyone’s a winner!
If you are looking to work your way up the qualification ladder then expect to pay some princely sums with other national systems when assuming training and course costs. Using SIA courses you could achieve Level 3 including ski Anwärter, Landes 1, Landes 2, AlpineKurs (mountain safety) and snowboard Anwärter for as little as €15,460 including accommodation, lift passes, training, exams and transfers.
It is really important for those that are wishing to be in this industry long term that they start their journey in the way that suits their future and their financing. A wise choice now will reap huge rewards short term and long term so choose wisely.
If you hold a Level 1 licence with another association outside of Austria, you will need to join the Level 2 Anwärter Course.
For those that currently hold an international level 2, you may be able join the Landes 1 course as long as you have proof of 50 hours teaching and meet certain criteria. For more information send us an email and we can discuss your options.
With all the info detailed above you might have already made up your mind as to the path which suits you best, but let’s also consider the human element. Not everyone is fixated on the facts of what is best and with that in mind let’s see which course fits your dream experience.
Ski Instructor Academy operates around the World and offers solutions for those serious in a career in the snowsports industry and for those that seek a challenge or a life changing experience.
For those looking for a course with our Job Guarantee, then our Austrian or Argentinian programmes offering the Austrian qualifications are generally the most suitable as we can offer ski school employment in Austria or Japan after your course. This is a great option for anyone who is looking to train and work in the same season.
For anyone that wants an action-packed Gap Year Experience or if you have your heart set on a season in Canada. Then we are proud to offer five awesome programmes in two of the best resorts in North America – Sun Peaks and Whistler, the two largest ski resorts in Canada with over 12,000 acres of terrain between them! We can offer 7 and 11 week all mountain courses in both resorts and an Internship Programme in Whistler all of which offering Canadian instructor qualifications.
We also have an amazing, all-inclusive 11 Week Gap Year Course in Morzine, France which will allow you to explore the French Alps whilst training and qualifying with a BASI L1 & L2 licence during the winter season.
For those that really do not have any interest in gaining qualifications you can always join our training only options that are spread across the season offering in essence a prolonged ski holiday tailored with professional coaching.
At SIA Austria we have spent countless seasons building a firm reputation with Ski and Board Schools and through the understanding of these employer’s demands we can supply exactly what they request.
- They want Level 2 trained Instructors. That’s great news for you!
- They want Ski Instructors or Dual Qualified (Ski and Board), and occasionally Snowboard only.
- They want an Instructor who has basic knowledge in the native language, which is why we encourage students to join our Anwärter course which includes basic language learning.
- They prefer Instructors who are recommended by a training company and have done more than just an exam.
- And if working in Austria they prefer Austrian qualifications.