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desperately seeking ski instructor courses.

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
Ok, guys I want all the advice I can get on this topic.

1. I want to take my level 1 exams next season and ideally in the US, west if possible.
My question would be whether any of you could reccommend any courses which offer training for these exams (i.e both the theoretical and practical side of it.) Do they have ski instuctor camps???

2. Here in England, a company offers courses all over the US. It is sold a sort of package that includes accommodation, ski pass, 3 months tuition, level 1 PSIA (and 2 if I want) exams etc.. but it is really expensive....they put you in nice condos and give you half board.

I am not bothered about luxury, I want snow and sensible tuition.

I guess I would also have go through an initial test to determine if I am even suitable to train for the exams....more info on that if you have it..

I know this is quite a tall order but it is something I have been trying to organise for 2 seasons already so I would appreciate any info.

Spinheli, I know you work in Mammoth. Would love to know if you could help me. It would be nice to go back to an old haunt!

Well that's about it for now

Come on, sell your home mountains!

[ May 08, 2002, 09:38 AM: Message edited by: cheeky carver ]
post #2 of 45
Since I just went through the process I think I can give some insight.

Unless there is something new happening in PSIA, you have to be employed and sponsored by a ski school or resort in order to even apply to take your exams. I have not seen any "instructor camps" for level 1 or 2. The training you will require for level 1 and 2 is the exam prep courses and what ever experience you can get teaching.

Many of the skischools have a trainer or training coordinator so they would be responsible to get you what ever training you need. In my case I had to keep asking for clinics, etc. Sign up for the exams myself (with the SSD's blessing of course) and attend as many in house clinics I could. Then you take a exam prep clinic and the exam. A lot of the exam includes teaching segments so if you don't have the teaching experience it's hard to learn this part.

If you get employed by a ski school PSIA now offers a "portfolio path" to level 1. This process is done all in house (ski school) and would chart your progress as an instructor through the year. skiing, teaching and other skills would be evaluated through out the season with records being kept all season. When you reach a certain proficiency, the trainer can "give you your pin". I'm sure there are some "exams" that go along with this.

So best bet is to plan on teaching either part time or full time at a resort and pursue your certs this way.

CSIA does run instructor camps.
post #3 of 45
There was a girl on here before Christmas, called Het. She went to Whistler for a 6 week course. I haven't heard from her since. If you wanted to, you could contact Dave Watts at the Daily Mail Ski & Snowboard mag, or some of the ones at the Ski Club of GB, although they'll probably push you to do the British exams.

PM me if you want further info.

post #4 of 45
Have you considered being trained in PMTS?

Every instructor I've ever talked to raves about it. Their students love it and they're making more money because their teaching skills are vastly improved.

post #5 of 45
dchan said: Unless there is something new happening in PSIA, you have to be employed and sponsored by a ski school or resort in order to even apply to take your exams.

This is a surprise. In Canada the CSIA is offering Level I certification by taking a 3-day exam. The exam can be taken at several local hills throughout the winter. I never got the impression that you have to have a sponsor or that you have to work at a resort in order to take the exam (of course, PSIA is different than CSIA). I was considering taking the Level 1 exam next winter, just for kicks. Here is some information about the course (remember that this is for CSIA - the Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance). Note that the schedule will only be available in the fall.

Basic Questions

Course Details
post #6 of 45
There is no teaching experience requirement or ski school affiliation/approval to take a Level I exam in PSIA. You have to have a ski school director's signature "nominating" you to take the Level II. I'm not certain about the experience requirement. To take Level III, you need the signature and a statement that you have at least 60 hours of teaching experience.

I think every division offers at least two opportunities for non-affiliated individuals to sign up for Level I exams each season.

The best bet for someone with no experience would be to seek employment at a resort with a strong training system. Probably difficult to arrange. I'd look into working at one of the Midwestern ski hills near a metropolitan area. Like where Pierre, eh! toils. You'd get plenty of experience at one of those and a fair shot at some good training if you sought it out.
post #7 of 45
Yep, if you've got 3 months set away to do this, then you might as well do it as an employee of a ski school! Of course, the next question ot ask would be who offers plenty of training? (I could tell you who doesn't...)

It is fairly easy to get sponsord for a working visa to the US, especially with the Eastern US resorts. as you head to the major Western resorts, you find your work options tend to have a lot to do wiht small children!

US hills usually get busy at Xmas, then fall into a slump for January, then start to pick up in Feb, and go crazy in March. So that'd pretty-well fit your time frame, and in January a lot of people use the spare time to attend training.

In Canada they've been running these courses for tourists to get certified for some time now, but I haven't heard of it being done in the US (which doesn't mean it isn't done).
If you have 3 months to spend on this, I'd really recommend you do it the traditional way, from within a ski school.
post #8 of 45

It sounds like the "tuition" part of the package would also include being an instructor.

Just from memory, but I had to document and have a sign off that I had at least forty hours of instruction experience and a sign off by the SSD prior to being a L1 candidate.

You will probably have a four day course on becoming an instructor that will enable you to teach at that particular mountain...... after you have shadowed/interned with a senior instructor.

The PSIA web site has all of the requirements.
post #9 of 45
SCSA-You really do sound like a broken record.

I would be suspect of any company making the offer described. As stated, to take the level I cert test one must be employed as a full or part time ski instructor and have fulfilled a variety of requirements associated with working in that capacity. Check out the PSIA-RM website;


Yes, anyone can go take a PMTS course and they will take your money. You will become an expert skier, you'll make much more money than a PSIA cert, you'll find yourself making new friends, you're teeth will be whiter, you'll have rock hard abs, your sex life will improve 97%.....

[ May 08, 2002, 06:28 PM: Message edited by: Rusty Guy ]
post #10 of 45
Kneale- I just saw your post and checked the PSIA-RM website. I thought there was a teaching requirement for level I and you are correct. It does say a signature is required from a SSD verifying employment.
post #11 of 45
I don't think I ever said anything about teaching experience requirement, Only that it is very helpful in getting past the teaching segment. I found that because i did not have a lot of time on the hill teaching my teaching portion of the exam was real tough. Luckily the examiner saw I was trying and that I understood the concepts pretty well so I got a pass but not with a great score. As we did MA or progressions he could probably tell I was thinking and processing ideas instead of just having them at the ready.(experience here would have helped a great deal)

As I went through the discovery process at the beginning of the season I first looked at if I could get "certified before applying" to a school. The feedback I got was if I could find a SSD or some other instructor to take me under his/her wing, I might be able to sneak into a few clinics, even take the exam prep clinic however to take the L1 exam, I would need to be activily teaching and a signed off by a ski school director. (I guess volunteer at a daycare would qualify) but P in Psia is "Professional" so they expect you to be activily teaching. For most people that means at a Ski School either part time or full time.
post #12 of 45

I don't know why you go out of your way to harangue me, but I sure wish you'd knock it off.

How come you just don't ignore me? Why you always wanna fight?

You've said a thousand times you don't like PMTS - I think we all get it.
post #13 of 45
I havn't conducted a CSIA I in years...but it was 3 days and almost every ski school has at least one session a season...why? Cause if you ain't level I in Canada, you don't get to work...God if we could only get to that point here. It was one of the considerations when Lev I was discussed....insurance premiums EH?!?!
Herr SkiProfessor,TomB....is it still the same? I am too lazy to look it up at snowpro.
post #14 of 45
SCSA- I simply get tired of your claims about PMTS.

Let's start with your claim that it enables instructors to make more money.

Let's proceed to PMTS making someone a better instructor.

I would like you to justify the things you say.

I don't like PMTS. Why? Probably because of some of the things that have been said here. In fact, I really don't know all that much about the teachings. What I do know I don't agree with. I don't like the idea of lightening a foot and I don't agree with a skier having "a stance foot". So, do I like it? No I don't. If you are going to say it's the answer I am going to disagree.

Lastly, I really don't think you have a whole heck of a lot of room to talk about haranguing.Do we need to pull a few of your threads out of the archives about the teachings of PSIA?

So, back to my original point, how will PMTS make an instructor more money? The only way I see is if a ski school offers an hourly pay raise for one of the PMTS cert levels.
post #15 of 45
Rusty, c'mon!

All I'm doing is repeating what instructors have told me - really. How many of them? 10 or 15.

I wish you'd separate your feelings about me and really go out and do the investigation yourself. Then, come back and post your views - we'd all be interested to hear them. I really was going to finish the training (I made it 2 out of the 4 days) but my back gave out. I just can't stand in one place for very long, so there's no way I'd ever be able to teach.

As far as me ranting and raving about the state of ski instruction, yes it's true. But, look a the bright side. Before I came along, no one was asking any questions and no dust was being stirred up. Now, look at all the positive threads we've been a part of. I mean, I'm seeing some pretty smart stuff going on. I had to cause a big stir to get the motion going, but now, it's all about positive direction, don't you agree? I have to believe that the ski instruction business will be better off.

I don't know why the two camps can't get along. At the Loveland training, I talked with a few very nice gang members - it was a pleasure to meet them.

I just don't see anything wrong with recommending PMTS training to those here. I've tried not to be a walking-typing-infomercial and I agree that I once was.

Now as to your questions, I'm not qualified to answer them. And unfortunately, there's only like 3 certified PTMS instructors here (a few more than that in the world ), so it might be a while before anyone answers your questions.

But I can tell you this. I've known HH for a while now. We hang out sometimes and I talk with him often. Him and Diana have a burning desire to provide skiers with a better product and ski instructors with better teaching skills. As an entrepreneur, I really admire them and I'm proud to say they're one of us.

That's about all I can say.


[ May 08, 2002, 10:45 PM: Message edited by: SCSA ]
post #16 of 45
Well, I hope this helps.

The class that you're looking for exists. It appears that this website needs some updating, but here's a synopsis of a previous ski instructor level 1 training class: www.skinastc.com/education.htm

The North American Ski Training Center has THE BEST Ski instructors and training programs. The people who work there are really amazing. And a very cool bunch too.

There's probably someone around here who can tell you more about the area in which that class is located [img]smile.gif[/img]

Before you attend anything, join PSIA and get the exam manuals. Use them to become familiar with what they are expecting, and to learn and practice the skiing standards before you blow your dollars on a trainig class.

As for getting certification, the PSIA / western requirements are:

1. sign up and pay your dues
2. attend a 1 day prep clinic
3. Take the one-day exam

Make sure that you sign up for the events early. I don't think that you'll have any problems getting into the exams. Here in the western division, there is no prerequisite to attend any clinic or any level 1 exam.

From www.psia-w.org:

As a registered member you are recognized both Divisionally and Nationally. You will receive a New Member packet which will include a PSIA-W/AASI-W membership card and Event Calendar. A subscription to The Professional Skier and/ or The Pro Rider from the National division is included with your membership. In addition, you are welcome to attend all PSIA-W/AASI-W events such as Educational Events, *Certification Events and the Spring Convention, as well as National education events. You may also purchase educational and professional material at discounted prices.
Certification: The certification levels are as follows:

┬║Certified Level I (must be 16 years of age)

┬║Certified Level II (must be 18 years of age)

┬║Certified Level III

*If you are a registered member and not employed at a PSIA/AASI member ski school, the requirements are the following:

-After passing the Level 1 Certification, you must work 20 hours at a member ski school and be verified by that ski school director in order to receive your Level 1 pin. If you do not complete the 20 hours, you will receive a certificate only.

-You may only take Level I certification; if you would like to take Level II or Level III in subsequent years, you must be employed at a ski school.


By the way, I think that anyone who wants to pass any PSIA exam NEEDS to buy the "Mountain high snowboard exam manual" I'm not kidding! A snowboard book!
This is the cliffs notes for all PSIA exams. It covers all of the useful information in building progressions, understanding technical points like physics and biomechanics and also for actually preparing to attend the exam. It is the most useful book I have ever seen published on the topic of teaching snowsports, bar none. Despite being a smaller, pocket-sized handbook, this thing has been more useful than any other single publication going all the way up to level three exams.

Good luck, and have fun [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #17 of 45
I was trying to remember the address yesterday, but here it is...
British Association of Snowsport Instructors

They don't teach PMT, PMS, etc, just about how to ski, and how to instruct.

post #18 of 45
SCSA- Fair enough.
post #19 of 45
I forgot to mention that in PSIA, it's the individual divisions that actually do the certifying and set the rules for their geographic area. There IS some variety in general rules regarding eligibility for exam participation, so your best bet is to go to contact the division serving your location.

I think most divisions have little more requirement for Level I than that you pay basic dues and sign up for the event.

I believe every division has events with a name similar to "introduction to ski teaching" that are open to anyone. In some divisions, taking that program may qualify you for taking the Level I exam subsequently.

Some divisions require successful completion of the written test before allowing you to take the on-snow portion. Some require a ski school director signature and actual employment before getting the Level I pin and some award the pin at the event.

I'm certain EVERY division requires experience and a ski school director's signature to take the Level II and III exams.
post #20 of 45

Is this course that you're thinking of through the International Academy? If it is, they're a good group to work with. They have courses throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, and this summer in New Zealand. We operate a program at my home ski area, Lake Louise. This season the success rate was great on the level 1 course and pretty good on the level 2. We found that the delegates that were the most successful were the ones that really applied themselves(there's lots of partying! ). It's a 12 week program here, after 6 weeks you do the level 1, then after 12 weeks total you can do the level 2. We will be hiring several of the successful level 2's to work with us next season.


The word on the street is that the level 1 will be a minimum of 4 days next season. There are already a few places that are operating with a 4 day format, Whistler has 4 and 5 day options. Course content will be the same, just a bit more detailed. Level 2 and 3 standards are also being reviewed. The level 3 course may become closer to the 4 with a five day course and three days of exams later in the season. Don't quote me on that because it's not finalized yet but that's what's on the table. I would imagine the PSIA will be looking at their courses for next year as well given the fact that the ISIA is pushing very strongly towards "full-cert" instructors having more off piste credentials such as avalanche courses etc. To be a "full-cert" in several countries right now you have to have an avi course. Not a bad idea if you asked me.

Also you still can't work in this country without a CSIA cert. Nobody that I know will hire you without it. Not just for insurance either.

[ May 09, 2002, 09:04 AM: Message edited by: Ski Professor ]
post #21 of 45
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reponses...I have got a lot of info to trawl through!!

I have been literally swamped with work since yesterday which is why I haven't had time to reply yet

Firstly, I didn't know you could sign up to a ski school and then take your exams....I imagined in the US that you would have to be certified before they let you teach or even belong to a ski school-for legal reasons (i.e sueing!)

In Europe you can do a similar thing. You sign up with the ski school. They take you out for the first few days and show you the ropes and then they let you start teaching. When they think you are ready, they let you take the exam. I was going to do this in Garmisch last year.

I would still like to try in US or Canada, as many of you have suggested.
If i choose to do it independently of any organisation, the problem is that a) I need to find out about lodgings and
b) I am not an American citizen and I don't know how long you can hang around as an alien till they throw you out (need work permit etc)

So I'll have another read of all you replies and then might ask some of you for telephone numbers of your preferred resorts, if you have them!

Who knows, may be this year I can get my ass in gear

PSIA...PMTS....I have sparked yet another debate...which camp do I choose???

To be honest, I wish there weren't such antagonisism surrounding the sport. Healthy debate and competition usually fuel creativity and great results often ensue.
It's the constant bickering that I worry about. I ski because it makes my heart beat faster, beacause the feeling and freedom I get outdoors is unparalled. I loathe offices. I loathe many things that 'normal' people crave -great shops etc...what drives me every morning to get out of bed and be the first to get those tracks is desire and passion...
I think the bickering gets in the way of the pleasure some times...people forget that skiing can be a pure pleasure experience no matter which school you follow....
Yikes I think that's enough ranting for one session. Sorry
post #22 of 45
In fact, in PSIA_RM, you DO NOT have to belong to a school to take LVL 1. You may register as an unaffiliated member, and take the exam. Here's the catch-. You may pass, but you will not be awarded a certificate or a pin, until you do become a member of a school. But it may be the foot in the door that is needed to getting a job. You can NOT sit Lvl 2 or 3 unless you are a member of a school.

Ant was correct that visa's are not as difficult to get as they once were. But she also stated accurately that in the Rockies, count on that visa limiting you to working with children. But again, your foot would be in the door, you'd have access to training, and be eligible to go for your Lvl 2 or 3.

As SCSA has suggested, PMTS could be an option, but look at it pragmatically.
1) PMTS is not recognized by many schools, so it has limited benfit in getting you a job.
2) PMTS is not recognized as a certification as per the US Dept of Immigration and Naturalization for the purpose of obtaining a work visa
3) PMTS (I'm guessing) is virtually unknown outside the US, therefore will again have limited value in getting a position in Europe or the Southern Hemisphere

Occasionally, various divisions of PSIA will host training seminars, and even exams on the snowfields at Mt Hood during the summer, but usually require previous membership in one of those divisions.

Good luck with your future goals! :
post #23 of 45
cheeky - Here at Mammoth we have had International Academy courses for the last several years. Yes it is pricey, but it is a really good program. Last year, we used the supervisors/trainers to coach it, so I got to take a group out two days a week. It was a blast, a super fun bunch of people. Everybody passed thier exam, and then did an "apprenticeship" and got some real teaching. Of course, we did lots of skiing improvement, and tons of just plain skiing. There are a couple of Academy graduates on the site, hopefully Steve B or someone else will pipe in about the program.

There is also the possibilty of Cerre Coso Community College resuming their ski instructor courses next season. If this happens, it is about $13 for a week long class, for CA residents. In the past these classes were super popular, and fun. The instructors were all PSIA clinician/examiners, and very well organized. I took the Level III course, and found it to be extremely helpful preping for my exam. We will have to wait and see, as the college really dropped the ball on this one.
post #24 of 45
Originally posted by cheeky carver:
In Europe you can do a similar thing. You sign up with the ski school. They take you out for the first few days and show you the ropes and then they let you start teaching. When they think you are ready, they let you take the exam. I was going to do this in Garmisch last year.
Cheecky, I think that your sentence holds true but for one minor detail: Europe-Italy
(that's the minus sign)

The way I experienced the system here (around 11 years ago, and no, I did not make it)
is : Take the exam first, without cert you'll not find a job.
I wish it has changed, alas I fear not.
post #25 of 45
Yep, I was skiing with Spinheli during January and February of this year (the boss wouldn't let me stay for March ). It's an expensive course - but I consider it good value for money especially regarding the level of instruction that was available daily.

I don't know anything about your circumstance but student visas are alot easier to get than regular visas, and if you can gain some teaching experience on a UK slope (albeit nothing like snow : ) you might find an apprentiship in the US/Canada easier to attain.

Good luck.


[ May 09, 2002, 01:45 PM: Message edited by: sjb5 ]
post #26 of 45
Originally posted by Ski Professor:
To be a "full-cert" in several countries right now you have to have an avi course.
The upcoming Australian requirements for full cert are scary. Amoung other things, like having to be certified in another discipline (boarding, tele, adaptive), you must also be able to teach in two or more languages. Yuck!
post #27 of 45
Thread Starter 
RE International Academy.
Yeh this is the one I was thinking of doing but it is expensive. I just have to figure out if I think I think it's a worthwhile investment.

It's something I have wanted to do for ages and it's time to stop making excuses. Plus if I am in US or Canada next year I will be a little closer to more of my fellow bears!

Right back to work for me...I've got a lot of money to earn now!
post #28 of 45

Your post is kinda heavy towards not recommending PMTS. I think, that's unfair.
post #29 of 45

Besides. You know as well as I do that one can have all the certs on earth. If they can't ski or teach a lick, they're useless.

So telling someone not to take a course that most certain will at minimum; a) improve their skiing, b) make them a better teacher, is in fact not only unfair, but poor advice.

So I'm upgrading my last post.

[ May 12, 2002, 12:27 PM: Message edited by: SCSA ]
post #30 of 45
Read VSP's post again. He doesn't say don't take PMTS, He just points out some disadvantages to "only" having PMTS training. I would suspect that most of the upper level instructors would tell you that Any additional training will enhance teaching/skiing. I suspect that if you went to almost any ski school they would recognize PSIA certs. PMTS schools would probably give you better base pay for PMTS certs but a lot of other schools will still want PSIA, CSIA or one of the Europes certs.. If 2 people applied for a job at the same school (generic) and had all the same experience, certs, and interviewed at the same "quality" and the only difference were one had PMTS certs as well, I would hire the one with PMTS. Anyone that activly goes after more training to make themself a better teacher would be more valuable in my book.
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