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Doing CSIA-1 and getting a job at Big White

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi EpicSki.

I'm interested in working for a season at Big White with some friends over the 2010-2011 ski season. First I'll tell you a bit about myself. I'm a 20 year old Australian male studying Electrical Engineering and Physics. In case it helps for any visa issues, I'll just mention that I also have British citizenship although I have never lived there. I've been skiing for about 15 years, but I don't have a local mountain so I haven't been able to ski every season since I started. I have, however, been fortunate enough to have been skiing in Australia, New Zealand, France, Austria, Switzerland, Japan and the USA.

I think I'm a competent skier, but to give you a slightly more objective evaluation of my skiing I'll refer to this post: http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/28112/psia-skier-levels#post_314843 I think I would be about a level 8 according to the descriptions. I'll happily ski any run on the mountain, but I'm not sure how to describe my technique since the last time I had skiing lessons was when I was 13 years old. I really enjoy skiing with someone who is able to tell me how I can improve and I take advantage of any opportunity I get to improve my skiing.

I would really like to get a job as a ski instructor, this is something I have been wanting to do for a few years now and I was very excited to hear that some of my friends were trying to organise doing a season at Big White. I have previously done some research about becoming a ski instructor in Canada and it seemed as though completing the CSIA level one course was the best route to go.

The issue I have is that I really have my heart set on becoming a ski instructor, but I believe that I would need to have an employer sponsor my application for a work visa and this may be hard to get since I haven't yet completed the instructor training course. For the same reason I would understand that a ski school might not want to give me a job offer until I have completed the CSIA level one course. This is another issue as I would be a long way from home and could only support myself for so long without a job.

Does anyone know if ski schools ever sponsor someone for a work visa before they have their instructor qualifications? Do they give people a job on the condition that they pass the relevant courses? I have also heard that some places don't hire international workers themselves and will only hire people through programmes such as http://www.owh.com.au/ Does Big White have a policy similar to that, or may I have some luck by sending an e-mail to the ski school and communicating with them directly?

Thanks for any advice you're able to give me,
       Fourier
post #2 of 9
You can get a working holiday visa, so you will not need to be sponsored by an employer. http://www.whpcanada.org.au/introduction.shtml

As for the qualifications, you shouldn't have too much trouble, CSIA1 doesn't require too high a standard of skiing.

Why don't you try and get a qualification whilst in Australia? That'll help with getting jobs overseas, I don't know how tight the hiring procedures are at Big White. I have had friends get jobs at Whistler and Sunshine in the same way as you want to do, but smaller schools may not be so easy to get into.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply Jim!

Not needing to be sponsored by an employer greatly simplifies the process for me. I live in Perth, so unfortunately I won't be able to get any qualification while in Australia as the nearest ski resorts would be 3000 - 4000 km from here.

Maybe a ski school would be able to offer me a position other than ski instructor, I know there are more people required to make a ski school function than just the instructors. If I could get another job while I'm getting my CSIA level one certificate, I might be able to transfer to ski instructor on the condition that I pass the course. I'm going to do a bit more research and then I think I may just jump in and e-mail the Big White ski school.

Regards,
    Fourier
post #4 of 9
Contact Dave Tattrie the Snow School director at Ski Wentworth (www.skiwentworth.ca for contact info).  He hired two instructors from England this year and they took their CSIA 1 after coming over.  I believe Dave and the director before him have done this a number of times - usually for skiers from England...  he shoul dbe able to let you know how that was done...

Regards

Mike
post #5 of 9
Hey Fourier,

Big White and Silver Star are Australia-central in Canada! I suspect if you call them up they can give you some helpful info on applying for a job, getting a visa, etc. In fact, odds are pretty high whoever answers will be Australian! http://www.skisilverstar.com/home_showSection_ID_141.html and http://www.bigwhite.com/index.php?fuseaction=home.showSection&ID=145

CSIA level 1 is the minimum to work at halfway decent ski schools. Once you take your level 1, you're insured for teaching with a ski school. Otherwise you'll just be helping kids on and off the magic carpet all day. I'd strongly recommend getting the 1 immediately, then the 2 as soon as possible. If you do ski at a level 8, and if you can communicate effectively, this should be easily attainable. You're also miles more valuable with a level 2. I've been casually offered jobs solely based on my level 2 and a brief ski around. 

Also, if you can bear to part with your friends (or to convince them of a different destination), consider Silver Star. I think it would be a better fit if you're looking for major skill progression. Their staff is focused on developing themselves and their instructors, the terrain's just as good, you're closer to a city (Vernon), the snow's often considered nicer, and my family's from there ;) Big White is nice, but in my humble opinion the real hardcore ski school is Silver Star. They just have the most level 4s. I've taken both of my instructor courses there and have nothing but the highest praise for them. 

Best of luck!
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies. Sorry I took so long to get around to replying, but things have been very busy here. We had a big storm come through which did a lot of damage with some fairly large hail stones. Electrical surges also managed to take out my router and a few other things around the house.

Thanks for the encouraging words Metaphor, I'd really like to work towards a level 2 while I'm there if that's possible, but there's quite a few hurdles before I get close to that stage. Sticking with my friends is something I'd like to do, but from what I've heard Silver Star is reasonably close and I'd love to be able to see the resort there as well.

The visa application fee seems to be AU$160, quite a bit cheaper than I thought it would be. I think the way forward is to send the e-mail to the ski school and if their response is encouraging I'll apply for the visa.
post #7 of 9
 Hi Fourier

I work at Silver Star as an Instructor great place to go if you can. Level 1 courses are scheduled around twice a month but can be run on demand I would imagine that this would be the same over at BW.

Distance wise it's around a 2 hour car ride between the two hills and as a worker you receive a dual mountain pass allowing to ride/ski for free at the other hill, so getting here shouldn't be a problem. The training team at BW are good and headed by Josh Foster a CSIA level 4 and demo team member, really good teacher and of course a phenomenal skier. 

Metaphor_ is right however about the training at the star...2 new level 4's this winter to add to the 6 or so who regularly teach there.

If there's anything I can help you with please PM me

Rolo
post #8 of 9
One thing to remember is that you can be a level 9 skier, be able to ski chutes, ice, moguls, powder, but not have level 9 form.
You may want to think about having someone film you skiing, just your form on a intermediate groomer, and post it up here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourier View Post

Hi EpicSki.

I'm interested in working for a season at Big White with some friends over the 2010-2011 ski season. First I'll tell you a bit about myself. I'm a 20 year old Australian male studying Electrical Engineering and Physics. In case it helps for any visa issues, I'll just mention that I also have British citizenship although I have never lived there. I've been skiing for about 15 years, but I don't have a local mountain so I haven't been able to ski every season since I started. I have, however, been fortunate enough to have been skiing in Australia, New Zealand, France, Austria, Switzerland, Japan and the USA.

I think I'm a competent skier, but to give you a slightly more objective evaluation of my skiing I'll refer to this post: http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/28112/psia-skier-levels#post_314843 I think I would be about a level 8 according to the descriptions. I'll happily ski any run on the mountain, but I'm not sure how to describe my technique since the last time I had skiing lessons was when I was 13 years old. I really enjoy skiing with someone who is able to tell me how I can improve and I take advantage of any opportunity I get to improve my skiing.

I would really like to get a job as a ski instructor, this is something I have been wanting to do for a few years now and I was very excited to hear that some of my friends were trying to organise doing a season at Big White. I have previously done some research about becoming a ski instructor in Canada and it seemed as though completing the CSIA level one course was the best route to go.

The issue I have is that I really have my heart set on becoming a ski instructor, but I believe that I would need to have an employer sponsor my application for a work visa and this may be hard to get since I haven't yet completed the instructor training course. For the same reason I would understand that a ski school might not want to give me a job offer until I have completed the CSIA level one course. This is another issue as I would be a long way from home and could only support myself for so long without a job.

Does anyone know if ski schools ever sponsor someone for a work visa before they have their instructor qualifications? Do they give people a job on the condition that they pass the relevant courses? I have also heard that some places don't hire international workers themselves and will only hire people through programmes such as http://www.owh.com.au/ Does Big White have a policy similar to that, or may I have some luck by sending an e-mail to the ski school and communicating with them directly?

Thanks for any advice you're able to give me,
       Fourier
 
post #9 of 9
Hey Fourier,
Getting a working holiday visa is definitely the way to go if you are not already qualified. Most Canadian resorts require a level 2 and some experience before they will sponsor you for a visa. On a working holiday visa you can get a job as a lifty or something at the resort and then make the switch to ski school later if you are successful on the the level 1.
Good luck!
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