So you're thinking about being qualified being a ski instructor, what a smart idea! Life starts right here, but before you can dive head first into the ski industry you need to work out how you are going to qualify, and who's going to assist you with this awesome journey! There is always plenty of choices and possibility out there and it's not always that apparent which is the appropriate solution for you.
Before you start getting confused about all of the different options you can choose from, the first thing to get straight is why you want to qualify as a ski instructor. Everyone will have their own personal motivations, but there is certainly one constant, there truly is no better lifestyle! Your work place is the mountains, you live the outdoors lifestyle, say good bye to the office and computers, and open your world to a better way of life bombing it around the mountains teaching people how to ski!
There are a handful of factors that need good consideration. Are you a good enough skiier to qualify? Which resort do you want to base yourself in? Which system do you want to qualify under? Do you commit to a full ski instructor course, or contact the governing body directly and arrange it through them?
You will get assessed on your skiing technical ability, along with many other elements from your mountain knowledge, ability to critically review other skiiers, and your demonstration skills. If you are a good vacation skiier i.e. confident on red runs (European resorts), and able to take on black runs, and think about oneself an outgoing persona, then chances are you have got what it takes to make a great ski instructor, having a reliable base knowledge to climb through the ranks, and enroll in a training program to take your skiing to instructor level.
When choosing which resort you want to do your training in the simplest factor to consider is will you enjoy spending a full season there? It's easy to get confused with qualifications and the like, but at the end of the day the resort you choose will also become your home for the full season. You will quickly become part of the furniture and develop friends and relationships that will see you through a good length of time you have in the ski industry. For example Basecamp run ski instructor courses from Val d'Isere and Mribel in France, and Banff in Canada. Each resort and town has access to World Class skiing terrain, and is home to a buzzing and lively ski community which will enable you to carve a handful of crucial connections in the ski world.
There are several internationally accepted ski instructor qualifications around the globe, all acknowledged with the ISIA, the global 'holding' organization. However, the options normally get narrowed down to BASI for the European resorts, and CSIA in the Canadian resorts. People can often get quite bogged down when making a choice which qualification to select and it is extremely important to remember that these are just the first qualifications, you aren't set in one particular system for a lifetime. You are able to move your qualification from one towards the other (at moderate expense), so your best choice is to pick which resort you need to devote a time in, that company, choose the qualifications on offer there and be eligible. If at the end of the season you decide that you intend to be employed in different resorts or wish to be certified within a different system you will be able to have a quick "equivalence" course at the beginning of the following season. Ski coaches are continually investing in their qualifications, and gaining a growing number of certificates, making this quite typical.
A lot of the above can boil down to which ski training company to use, and who runs the best ski instructor courses. All ski training organizations are based in different resorts, and many offer a range of qualifications. The benefit of going through a training organization (such as Basecamp) is that the ski courses on offer will take you through all of the different criteria that you will need to be eligible for the qualification (such as training course, first aid and avalanche training etc) and not to mention first class ski training that will put you in the best possible position to pass the course. You will also be training with a number of like minded people, all starting their journey in the ski industry. The ski industry is a small world and it ticks on "who knows who", so you immediately have a large pool of connections to fall back on. Not only in your fellow course participators, but also in the organization itself with the trainers, and company directors. Basecamp, for example, has been training instructors for over 10 years, and they pride themselves on connecting their past and current clients with opportunities in the ski industry.
The price tag on the full Level 1 and Level 2 instructor courses may initially seem high, but ski resorts are expensive places and once you put together the numbers you will find that the courses are in fact fantastic value for what you get. It is very important to make sure you have spoken at length with the organization to double check what is and is not included in the course package, as you need to manage your finances right and do not want to find yourself short changed in resort!
In short if you do your research, talk to the companies, talk to people in the ski world, and you will quickly find who runs good courses. Check to see how long a company has been established and ask to speak to some past clients. All these points will help you make sure you have done your thorough research and put you in a great position to make an informed decision tor world as awesome as possible. It certainly will not be one that you'll regret