Who doesn’t want to become a snowboard instructor? Spend your winter on the mountain, ride a lot, drink a lot, laugh a lot, and meet a lot of amazing people.
We totally understand all these, and that’s why we became snowboard and ski instructors, too.
I am Aspen, an APSI certified snowboarding instructor, NZSIA ski instructor, together with Andrew Armstrong (Andy), an evaluator of the Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors (CASI) Certification.
Andy has been teaching snowboarding for 14 years, and he spent most of his time on training and evaluating snowboard instructors. In this article, we will provide you with tips and steps to become a snowboard instructor.
Let’s ride together!
The CASI System
CASI (Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors) is one of the qualifications recognized by the International Ski Instructor Association (ISIA). This means, with a CASI cert, you can teach in the US, New Zealand, and more.
CASI is one of the most popular snowboard instructors associations in the world, it is simple, effective, and provides you with a detailed blueprint to become a great snowboard instructor.
How to Become a Snowboard Instructor – Detailed Steps
Let’s take a look at how we become snowboard instructors!
Step 1: How Good are You at Snowboarding?
Sound like this is a very subjective question. Quite a number of riders think that because they have been snowboarding for many years, they are good. This, however, is not always true. If you haven’t gone through proper training, it is very easy to pick up bad habits.
These bad habits will make your riding much less efficient. According to our experiences, many riders think they snowboard better than they actually do.
The best way to assess your standard is to book a lesson or video analysis session with a snowboarder, or even better, an evaluator of snowboard instructors.
Then, you can develop a training plan for the level 1 exam. For example, these are the riding requirements of CASI level 1:
- Able to ride on blue and a bit of groomed black terrain comfortably
- Control your speed and direction at all times
- Create a controlled round turn shape in the snow
- Show you have the basic skills necessary to demonstrate the maneuvers required to your future students
Step 2: How Good are You at Teaching?
So now you are equipped with the necessary riding skills, you need to be able to teach a subject to someone too.
Most ISIA approved exam courses, including CASI, are designed to provide you with all necessary tools to teach different levels of riders, from first-timers to advanced level riders, in all different types of terrains. And you will learn all these in varying levels of instructor training.
You should ask yourself, are you a person who is willing to spend your time with a group you have never met before? And do you have the patience to teach them, even if they are struggling to learn?
Sometimes you may spend your whole day on the beginner slope, teaching first-timers how to wear their boots, adjust their helmets, check the kid’s gloves, or just teach them how to walk in their snow equipment. Are you patient enough to do this?
One tip is, if you can make a whole group of strangers smile, feel safe and learn safely in your lesson, then you are already one of the best instructors out there!
Step 3: Practise and Study
Under the CASI system, you need to pass both the teaching and riding sections to become a level 1 and 2 instructors.
For riding, there are some mandatory maneuvers that you need to complete alongside various other riding assessments. These maneuvers can be challenging and require a good amount of practice to be comfortable performing them while on course.
Unfortunately, we often see candidates fail to perform these tasks comfortably because they have not been practicing enough before joining the course.
If you want to pass your exam, we strongly encourage you to take a look at the pre-course study material offered by CASI, such as riding standard video, technical reference guide, course guide, so you understand what will be expected of you during the course.
For sure, booking a lesson or video analysis with a CASI high-level instructor or evaluator would be a great help.
Step 4: Take the Level 1 Course
After spending enough time practicing and studying, you can sign up and participate in the level 1 course. CASI Level 1 course is a three days assessment course.
Just don’t treat the course as an exam. Treat it as a development tool. It’s a great learning tool, and by following the steps, you will understand the whole concept and be on the path to becoming a great snowboard instructor.
As an evaluator, I have been running snowboard instructor courses for many years. I am confident that everyone who participated in the courses had developed and come out of it better than when they started. Even if you are not successful the first time, there is always the next course to take and improve more, just never give up!
Here are some commonly asked questions about becoming a snowboard instructor.
How much does a snowboard instructor make?
Pay scales vary pretty drastically depending on your global location and level of certification. Pay for level one instructors is usually the lowest. However, for places that host many international tourists, instructors who speak more than one language can often receive better pay.
As you progress through the levels, the base rate does get better, but also remember you can only work 4 to 6 hours per day in most resorts, so daily rates can still be lower compared to an 8-hour non-teaching job.
How much does a snowboard instructor make an hour?
It depends on your level and experience. In BC Canada, you are looking at around $12-$35 per hour base rate. In Japan and China, it’s about a $15 – $40 base rate.
Is it hard to become a snowboard instructor?
It is not hard to become a snowboard instructor, as long as you are willing to learn and have the right attitude. However, there is more. Winters are only 4 to 5 months long, so you need to think about generating livable income.
Some instructors will fly to the southern hemisphere and teach over there from June to September, or some may teach something else such as water sports or mountain biking during summer.
What is a Level 3 ski/snowboard instructor?
A level 3 instructor has put years of dedication into the snowsports industry and developed very high-level skills, both as a rider and a teacher.
Usually, a level 3 instructor will begin their journey of becoming a trainer and evaluator of instructors.
It is a very fulfilling certification to attain, and it opens many doors to lots of cool job opportunities. Since I became a level 3 instructor, I have been very fortunate to have the chance to travel the world to host instructor training courses.
What is a full cert instructor?
Holding the CASI level 4 certification is often referred to as being a full cert. Some people regard being not only a level 4 instructor but also a level 4 evaluator, as a full cert. It is basically the highest level of certification possible.
I hope this brief and simple guide opens up the snowboard instructor world for you. It’s a very fulfilling career that comes with both challenges and fun.
Our ski school offers different ski and snowboard instructor courses, and you are welcome to contact us if you have any questions!