Verbier's variable terrain, lively apres ski scene, and young but influential international clientele make this little Swiss ski town a perfect playground for your ski instructor training. Besides the great quality of life, many of the resorts' schools offer high-quality ski instructor training courses. Let's dive in what to look out for when signing up for a course.
Ski Instructor Qualification
Let's start with qualifications. There are three main factors that you need to consider when deciding which program to pursue:
The countries you would like to work in
The qualifications that are recognized in those countries
Finally, choosing the right course based on your goals
If you want to work in Switzerland take notes. Swiss Snowsports association recognizes and accepts various international ski instructor qualifications like British (BASI), Irish (IASI), Canadian (CSIA), Austrian (ÖSSV), Swedish (SSLF) or New Zealand (NZSIA) as long your diploma is equivalent to Level 2 qualification.
With one of these qualifications in your pocket and a bit of teaching experience under your belt, you will be able to land the job of your dreams at one of the local ski schools. In Verbier, you have two options, either pursue the British (BASI) qualification at one of the international training courses or pursue the Snowsports qualification in a traditional Swiss way - in German or French.
In addition to qualification recognition if you are not an EU national you must consider your right to work in Switzerland. Learn more about Visa and work permit requirements here.
BASI Level 2 ski instructor courses
Completing the level 1 & 2 training will take you anywhere between 10-12 weeks consisting of 140+ training hours and exams. During this time you will also gain 70 hours of teaching experience ideally shadowing an experienced instructor.
Once you successfully passed the BASI level 1 & 2 exams, you will be able to instruct beginner skiers and have the knowledge, ability, and understanding to safely teach up to and including parallel standard on marked pistes.
You can learn all about BASI here.
Swiss Snowsport Qualification
The first step in becoming a qualified ski instructor is to complete the formation week (ZA). Completing the admission training will allow you to enter the modular training system and work toward completing the federal certificate. The road to federal certificate consists of several modules and is divided into levels aspirant, instructor, and snowsport instructor. You can choose the sequence of modules yourself. The minimum duration of training up to the professional examination is two years. The courses and exams are held in French or German.
Whilst obtaining the ski qualifications can be expensive, all Swiss cantons will support you financially in completing the snowsports instructor modular training.
If you are considering relocating to Switzerland and getting integrated into local community, obtaining a Swiss Snowsport diploma is a very good start!
To sum up, Verbier is a fantastic base nest to spend the winter season as a gap student, or with a longer-term goal to become a fully certified ski instructor. There are courses for everyone; younger, older, qualified, and complete beginners.
Snow Family Team