How to Becoming a Ski Instructor in Ontario

Would you like to become a ski instructor in Ontario? You must determine two things before you consider becoming a ski instructor:

#1 – Are you a teacher? Do you truly enjoy seeing a student’s eyes light up as they begin to grasp the task that you are teaching them?

#2 – Do you have a passion for snow skiing or snowboarding?

If you can answer with a strong, “YES!” to both of the above questions then you are ready to pursue a career as a ski instructor.

Step One

The best way to get an idea of what it will be like to be an instructor is to meet an instructor and to learn directly from them.  Visit your favorite ski resort and setup a private lesson. Private lessons will give you a chance to sharpen your technique and learn more from someone who has been training others for years.

Ski, Study, Ski, Study…Repeat!

You get the idea.  If you are serious about becoming an instructor, it is imperative that you train at it as though it is a job and not just a hobby.  If you truly love skiing, chances are you are already eating, breathing and drinking all things skiing.  Now however, it is time to be intentional about what you are studying and how you are doing it.  Here is a list of “ski student study habits” that you should be doing:

  • TAKE NOTES! As soon as you leave your ski lesson, write down everything you learned and record your notes carefully. Record teaching techniques your teacher used that you really liked and record things that you did not like as well.
  • TEACH YOURSELF. Practice the things you learn from your ski lessons, but practice them very carefully, paying attention to every aspect, especially the little details.
  • STUDY INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS.  Search YouTube and the web for ski training videos.  Learn both the skiing techniques and study the teaching techniques that the instructors are using.
  • STUDY BOOKS.  Download e-books. Go to the bookstore. Go to the library. Find, read and study as much material as you can on the all things skiing, from biology to psychology and everything in between.
  • STUDY MAGAZINES AND PODCASTS. Magazines and podcasts are exceptional ways to stay up to date with the latest changes in technology.

Step Two: Understand the Certification Process

To become a certified ski instructor and open the doors to instruct at multiple locations, you must obtain your certification through a program governed by the CSIA.  A multitude of resorts and schools that offer skiing lessons require that their instructors be CSIA certified. The Canadian Ski Instructors’ Alliance (CSIA) insures that ski lesson curriculum meets specific safety and quality standards across Canada.  There are four levels of CSIA certification.

Level 1 CSIA Certification (Cost – about $500)

The Level 1 program takes three days to complete and includes the following components:

  • An introduction to CSIA skiing techniques
  • An introduction to the teaching methodology of the CSIA
  • How to use the Skill Development Method to progress students from entry level to intermediate level skiers
  • Learning strategies and techniques for effective evaluation and evolution of skills
  • Assessment and feedback of personal ski performance
  • Understanding effective customer service workshop
  • Understanding effective strategies and techniques for teaching children

For more information about this level of certification, read the CSIA Level 1 Certification Course Guide.

Level 2 CSIA Certification (Cost – about $500 + Electives)

Level 2 focuses on the following:

  • Strengthening of your situational teaching skills
  • Improvement of your understanding of the ski industry and the role of ski instructors
  • Addition to your knowledge base of teaching methods
  • Sharpening of technical understanding and development
  • Honing of guest service skills

The Level 2 CSIA Certification program is a modular program that includes an education credit requirement.

Module 1 – A two-day training course
Module 2 – A two-day assessed training course
Module 3 – Electives

Learn the ways that you can earn elective credits.
View The Level 2 Certification course guide for more info.

Level 3 CSIA Certification (Cost – about $1000)

Following the successful completion of Level 1 and Level 2 Certifications, you can pursue the advanced Level 3 Certification.  This certification, like the Level 2 Certification, is a modular, credit based program. The Level 3 program includes the following components:

  • Understanding group dynamics
  • Honing effective communication
  • Lesson planning strategies
  • Strategies and effective teaching methods for working with advanced students
  • Advanced terrain skiing teaching and methodology training
  • Valuable methods for analyzing and developing your students
  • Mountain safety workshop

Learn more about the Level 3 CSIA Certification.
Read the Level 3 Certification Course Guide for more.

Level 4 CSIA Certification (Cost – about $1200)

If you are truly dedicated and determined, you can achieve the very rarely obtained CSIA Level 4 Certification. This is an expert level and usually takes years to prepare for, including the completion of levels 1-3 certifications.  In addition, at least one of the “Element Certifications” is also required before pursuing this certification. (See “Other Certification Elements” below.) This certification lasts 6 days and includes 4 separate days of exams.  Level 4 Certification adds the following components to your professional ski instructor toolbox:

  • Developing techniques and strategies for teaching experts
  • Developing techniques and strategies for teaching instructors
  • Perfecting assessment and development skills at all levels of skiers
  • Perfecting skiing and methodology on all terrain for all levels of skiers

Learn more about the Level 4 CSIA Certification.
Read the Level 4 Certification Course Guide for more.

Other Certification Elements (only one of the following required for Level 4 Certification)

CSCF Development Level
CSIA Snow Park Certification
CASI Level One
CSGA Pre-course
CANSI Level One
CFSA Club Coach Workshop

Learn more about the other certification modules and elements.

Why should I get certified beyond the Level 1 Certification?

With each successive certification, your potential for advancement increases exponentially.  The number of instructors who have advanced certifications decreases with each new level of certification.  Simply stated, the higher you go the more money you can earn and the more opportunities you will create for yourself.  Do not settle for just a Level 1 Certification when you have the potential to become a Professional Level 4 Certified Ski Instructor!

CSIA Accredited Ski Instructor Schools

It is not an easy task to become an instructor.  It takes dedication and determination.  If you are serious however, you can do it!  This is you can become a ski instructor in Ontario and it is well worth the journey!

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