1. WHAT LEVEL SKIER/RIDER DO I NEED TO BE?
You need to be an intermediate skier / rider, comfortable making turns on intermediate trails. For skiing we recommend that you can make parallel turns, and for snowboarders you should be comfortable on your toe-side and heel-side.
2. IS THE NEW ZEALAND QUALIFICATION RECOGNISED INTERNATIONALLY?
The New Zealand Ski Instructor’s Alliance (N.Z.S.I.A.) and Snowboard Instruction New Zealand (S.B.I.N.Z.) are internationally recognised by the International Snowsports Instructors Association (I.S.I.A.). New Zealand qualified instructors are working in places such as Canada, U.S.A., Japan, Korea, Europe, Australia and of course New Zealand!
The first qualification you will train for is the Level One Certification. This allows you to teach beginner students how to make their first turns on the learner slopes. The second qualification you will aim for is the Level Two Certification, which allows you to teach students up to an intermediate level. The NZ Level Two Certification is most closely compared to the American P.S.I.A. (ski) or A.A.S.I. (snowboard) Cert II and the Canadian C.A.S.I. Level 2.
3. IS THE USA QUALIFICATION RECOGNISED INTERNATIONALLY?
The Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (AASI) qualifications are internationally recognised by the International Snowsports Instructors Association (I.S.I.A.). USA qualified instructors are working in places such as Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Europe, Australia and of course U.S.A.!
The first qualification you will train for is the Level One Certification. This allows you to teach beginner students how to make their first turns on the learner slopes. The second qualification you will aim for is the Level Two Certification, which allows you to teach students up to an intermediate level. The USA Level Two Certifications are most closely compared to the Canadian C.A.S.I. and New Zealand N.Z.S.I.A. Level 2.
4. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE LEVEL ONE CERTIFICATION AND THE LEVEL TWO CERTIFICATION?
The Level One Certification is an introductory ski or snowboard instructor qualification which provides the necessary skills to teach beginner skiing and snowboarding. The Level Two Certification is a more comprehensive qualification focused on attaining skills to instruct beginner to intermediate skiing and snowboarding. You must complete the Level One Certification before sitting the Level Two Certification.
5. WHAT IS THE SUCCESS RATE?
The success rate of our students sitting the Level One Certification is almost 100%. The Level Two Certification is a difficult exam which is why it is so highly regarded, but despite this Snow Trainers have around an 85% pass rate since we began courses in 2003. This is one of the highest pass rates of all training courses.
6. IF I AM UNSUCCESSFUL CAN I RETAKE MY EXAM?
Yes, as long as there is an exam scheduled, there are positions available and your travel dates are flexible you can retake your exam at a later date. You will have to pay for this exam yourself though, as well as any other costs such as transport and lift tickets if required.
7. IS THERE FREESTYLE INVOLVED IN THE COURSE?
Yes! Snow Trainers aim to develop you as a well rounded skier or snowboarder. Freestyle is an ever-growing part of the industry and if you go on to teach kids then you’d better know a few tricks!
8. WHAT TYPE OF ACCOMMODATION DO SNOW TRAINERS PROVIDE?
Snow Trainers’ accommodation is centrally located. You will be staying in warm, clean, well furnished lodges only a short distance from the centre of town. You will be within walking distance of local bars, shops and restaurants. Your accommodation is on a shared room basis.
If you would prefer a single room, twin room or a room for a couple then just let us know, we can also organise for an early arrival or a longer stay if you want to make the most of your season pass.
9. WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED?
Your flights, insurance, snow equipment and food.
10. WHY AREN’T FLIGHTS INCLUDED?
We don’t include flights as some people want to travel before or after the course so this gives them the flexibility to do so. Others can find cheaper fares in their home countries than we can provide and others may want to use frequent flyer points.
11. DO I NEED INSURANCE?
Yes it is essential. Make sure you get good travel insurance that covers you for winter sports activities.
12. HOW MUCH MONEY WILL I NEED?
All you need to pay for while on the course is your food and the occasional beer! If you make your own lunches and dinners you can quite easily live on NZ $35, JP Y3000 or US $25 per day, but if you like going out for dinner and partying a lot then budget for a little more.
13. WHAT SORT OF EQUIPMENT SHOULD I BRING?
All students should firstly have a warm winter wardrobe. This includes snow jackets and trousers, thermals, beanies, gloves and goggles (sun glasses will not do). Helmets are highly recommended, and if you are buying a helmet make sure you get one that fits with your goggles so there’s no gap between the top of your goggles and the helmet.
Skiers: The last thing you want is equipment that will let you down. Make sure your skis are in good condition and appropriate for a variety of conditions. Well fitted boots are a must, there’s nothing worse than sore feet when you’re trying to enjoy the best powder day of the season.
Snowboarders: If buying a new board choose any one of the more popular brands and you know it will be ok. A good guide for board length is one that comes up to around about your chin. Where bindings are concerned, no step-ins (this includes FLOW). Normal strap bindings are definitely the best, they are the most adjustable, most comfortable, can be used with any boots, and don’t restrict ankle flex.
14. HOW DO I GET TO NEW ZEALAND?
The major airlines for international and domestic travel are Air New Zealand and Qantas. You can fly to Queenstown from most major airports within New Zealand (recommended) or bus from Christchurch (6-8 hours). Other airlines also fly to New Zealand less frequently so it is worth checking out discount travel sites such as STA and Travelocity to find the best deal.
15. HOW DO I GET TO JAPAN?
Getting here is easy via the international airport in Sapporo which has flights from Australia, Europe and the USA as well as frequent connecting flights from Tokyo. From Sapporo New Chitose airport we will organise your transfer to Hirafu, Niseko.
16. HOW DO I GET TO THE USA?
Getting here is easy via the international airport in Denver. You can also fly into any other airport in the States and then catch a domestic flight. From Denver airport we will then organise your transfer to the Copper area and your accommodation.
17. IS THERE AN AGE LIMIT?
You must be 18 by the start date of the course unless otherwise agreed to in writing.
18. DO I NEED A VISA TO TRAVEL TO NEW ZEALAND, JAPAN OR THE USA?
Most visitors do not need a visa to come to New Zealand, Japan or the USA but you MUST check first. If you intend to work you will need to apply for a work visa before you leave. For more information on visas check out New Zealand Immigration, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, USA Immigration and the USA Visa Waiver Program.
19. HOW EASY IS IT TO FIND A JOB INSTRUCTING ONCE I FINISH THE COURSE?
As part of our training we provide information and advice to help our students “live the dream” once the course has finished. We have a great network of connections all around the world to help you begin instructing at a fantastic resort the following winter. We will assist you with advice and guide you through the employment application process to help you succeed in finding the job you want. In the meantime, check out our links page to see some of the awesome winter jobs available right now!