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01 January 0001

Below are some of the main questions we get asked about our gap year courses and living and working in Whistler Canada. If you can't see the answer to your question here please do not hesitate to get in touch with us by calling 023 8020 6977.

What qualification will I get at the end of the course?

Depending on the course you will gain CSIA Level 1 (and 2) or CASI Level 1 (and 2). This is an internationally recognised qualification and will enable you to teach around the world.

Read more about ski & snowboard qualifications

In what countries will I be able to teach?

As a qualified CSIA or CASI instructor you will be able to instruct in New Zealand, Japan, Australia, South America, Austria, USA, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. France is the exception to the rule and you need to be recognized by the International Ski Instructors Association. In order to be recognized by the ISIA you must be certified as a level 3 CSIA instructor.

Do I need a VISA?

Most nationalities require no visa to attend one of our ski or snowboard instructor training course in Whistler. UK passport holders can enter Canada on a 6 month tourist visa which is issued upon arrival. A valid work visa is required if you plan on working once the course has finished or staying longer than 6 months. These are often released in Dec/Jan, and are limited to approx. 5000. If you are not a UK passport holder then please check with your local embassy.

Learn more about applying for your Canada visa

What will I earn when I have qualified?

The average salary of a ski instructor is around $8-$12 per hour. On average a ski instructor works 6 hours per day, 6 days a week. Accommodation is often provided by ski schools so you might not have to find this additional living cost. The accommodation is normally basic but very affordable and in a convenient location in the resort.

What about finding a job?

We will help successful candidates on completion of the Instructor Training Program, and may be able to arrange work with Whistler Blackcomb Ski & Snowboard School, provided that you have a valid Canadian working visa. We have strong contacts with the snow school and can introduce you to the right people to help you get started. In addition to the work visa, to be able to work or do work experience candidates must have:

  • Social Insurance Number (SIN or proof of application) - we recommend you arrange this when you arrive in Vancouver (or other major Canadian city), as you cannot apply for this in Whistler and it must be done in person.
  • Bank account in Canada - this can be easily set up on arrival in Whistler with Scotia Bank, TD Canada Trust or North Shore Credit Union.
  • A Criminal Record Check (CRC) - best to get one of these from your local Police Station before you leave for Canada. If you wait until you get here they are much more expensive (over CAD$100) and can take up to 6 weeks to process. This means if you want to work for the Ski & Snowboard School, then you cannot work until you have your CRC approved.

During the course we also provide you with loads of information on how and when to apply for visas and jobs as well as hosting a seminar on gaining employment. It will give you useful insider knowledge on how to get the best jobs available. Once working for a ski school you will receive ongoing training from more experienced instructors. These sessions will help you prepare for further qualifications and keep your teaching skills up to date.

How much skiing/snowboarding experience do I need?

You need to be able to ski basic parallel turns on red runs or comfortably snowboard down a red run. The courses will challenge you both on-piste and off piste and include a mountaineering course lasting several days in the backcountry.

How fit should I be?

The fitter you are on arrival the more you will enjoy course and the less likely you are to injure yourself.

How long is the ski season?

The ski season is from approximately mid-November until mid-April. Some years if the snow is good lifts may stay open a little longer.

Do I need my own equipment?

No, you don’t need it but it is recommended! If you need to purchase new equipment we strongly recommend to buy it in resort when you get there. Not only is it much cheaper, if any problems occur with boots or skis you can deal with this straight away. Many shops in Whistler offer significant discounts with a season long pass.

Will I learn how to service my skis or board?

As part of the courses we provide a maintenance seminar. You will be taught the principles of ski/board design and construction, plus tuning and maintenance techniques including base preparation, edge sharpening and waxing.

Where is my accommodation located?

We offer several different properties throughout Whistler but the majority of our customers choose to stay in the Alta Vista Chalet which is catered 6 nights per week. The Alta Vista Chalet is located half way between Whistler and Creekside, a short bus ride away from the Creekside lift (bus pass $70p.m). We do offer other accommodation on a self-catered basis in Creekside, please ask for further details.

Are there any other costs?

  • Flights are not included in the price or the transfer to resort. Most people like to combine their trip with other adventures.
  • Getting from the airport to resort is not included. You can book the bus through Ridebooker for £69 (approx £37) and the bus drops you right by the Alta Vista Chalet.
  • Unlike most companies we do provide breakfast everyday as well as dinner 6 days a week. Lunch is an additional cost as is spending money whilst in resort.
  • You may decide to purchase a monthly bus pass (depending on accommodation). Bus passes cost $70 per month and run on a calendar month basis. If you arrive near the end of the month you  can buy a day pass until the 1st of the month.
  • Insurance: Snow Academy believe that safety is paramount, it is therefore our No.1 priority for all students attending our courses. It is compulsory for all students to be covered for accident and sickness whilst attending our courses. Before the course starts we will require a copy of everyone's insurance certificate so we know that everyone is fully insured before arrival in resort. We offer a policy with Infinity Insurance solutions. Find out more.

How can I book and pay?

To book all you need to do is get in touch by phone or email. We can then take your details and get your booked on your gap year course. Alternatively you can call us or even pop into the office if you are local to Southampton, Hampshire.

Tel: 02380 206 977

Email: [email protected]

As we have limited places available we ask for a £500 deposit in order to secure your place which can be paid via bank transfer or over the phone. Please contact us for more details.


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