Courses and Qualifications > Instructing Qualifications

Instructing Qualifications

Snowsport Scotland offers two level of Snowsports Instructor qualification, Instructor and Assistant Instructor. Both qualifications are designed for use in the UK.

Snowsport Scotland Instructor qualifications are designed to train and develop individuals who wish to share their passion and knowledge of snowsports with new or existing recreational participants as part of a UK Snowsports School, Club or other body who oversees the activity.

These qualifications are appropriate for ski and snowboard instructors who have been directed to work with an individual or a group. They are not designed for, nor are they intended to be used as a validating qualification for independent instructors. The ‘direction to work’ will have been given by an authority (the Authorising Body) which has assumed responsibility for a risk evaluation of the intended instructional session(s) and has deemed that the person being ‘directed to work’ is a responsible and fit person. In doing so the Authorising Body assumes the responsibility for public liability. The term ‘directed to work’ is not related to payment.

The normal Authorising Body will be; snowsport schools or clubs, local education authorities*, uniformed groups and outdoor centres. Qualified instructors intending to work with other bodies, such as independent youth groups, should seek advice from the Snowsport Scotland office.

*Schools that are outwith the State Education system but are approved by HMIe, Ofsted or ETI are included in this category.

Snowsport Scotland have formalised a partnership with the Irish Association of Snowsport Instructors (IASI) giving mutual recognition of instructor qualifications. 

This recognition allows instructors from both systems to have their existing qualifications recognised at the same level to be able to access further training courses offered by either organisation and gives SSS Instructors a full pathway to qualifications with international recognition by ISIA and IVSI.

 

There are 3 levels of Instructor qualification, each with an increased remit and skills relevant to the level of students:

 

        Assistant Instructor

        Instructor

        Advanced Instructor

 

Assistant Instructor

 

Remit: To instruct novice skiers or snowboarders at UK artificial and indoor slopes as part of a snowsport school or club.

Course Duration: 3 days

Pre Course Requirements: 14 years old, able to perform linked rounded arc, parallel / gripped turns, on an artificial slope or easy blue runs.

Post Course requirements: 20 hours ‘Instructing Assistance’ within a snowsports school or club at a UK artificial or indoor slope.

Those under 16 can assist lessons under the direct supervision of a currently licensed instructor who holds a minimum of SSS Instructor qualification or equivalent, and is over 18. They will be issued a Certificate of Completion, and a licence will only be issued to an Assistant Instructor who is 16 or over and has provided all supporting documents. 

Assistant Ski Instructor Assessment Criteria

 

Instructor

 

Remit: To instruct novice and intermediate skiers or snowboarders in confined environments* within the UK as directed by an employer or Authorising Body.

Course duration: 6 days

Pre-course requirements: 16 years old, able to perform confident parallel / gripped turns and basic short turns on blue / easy red runs.

Post course requirements: 30 hours instructing assistance within a snowsports school or club working within the remit of the qualification.

Ski Instructor Assessment Criteria

*A confined environment is: an artificial slope, an indoor slope, the defined beginner’s area at the five Scottish Mountain resorts.

Those wishing to use the Instructor qualification in the Scottish Mountain Resorts have a number of options available for their qualification to be valid for use;
1. Complete employer delivered Mountain Induction Training and submit the Declaration below to the SSS office.
2. If the course is delivered and the Instructing Assistance hours are completed in the mountains as part of a recognised snowsports school this is also recognised as Mountain Induction training. 
3. Those who hold a current mountain snowsports qualification** are recognised as having completed Mountain Induction training.

** UKCP L2 Alpine / Freeski / Snowboard Coach, ASL, SBL, MSL, IASI / BASI L2 Instructor

Mountain Induction Training Declaration

Without a record of Mountain Induction training the Instructor qualification is only valid for use on indoor and artificial slopes in the UK.

Aspirant Instructors can directly access this course without having completed the Assistant Instructor qualification.

 

Advanced Instructor

 

Remit: To instruct beginner, intermediate and advanced skiers or snowboarders on all marked and patrolled slopes in the UK as directed by an Authorising body.

Course duration: 6 days

Pre-course requirements: 17 years old, hold SSS Instructor qualification or equivalent*, 40 hours logged instructing experience. These hours are required to be verified by the Snowsports School Director and logged with the SSS office by email.

Post course requirements: A Licence will only be issued to those over 18 and have all Credentials in place.

* The following qualifications are recognised as being comparable to the SSS Instructor qualification and are suitable to meet the pre-course requirements for Advanced Instructor course - ASSI, BASI L1, IASI L1, SSE L2, SSW L2.

Holders of foreign qualifications can also apply for recognition, where a decision is made on a case-by-case basis.

Advanced Ski Instructor Assessment Criteria

 

IASI Partnership

 

Snowsport Scotland (SSS) have now formalised a partnership with the Irish Association of Snowsport Instructors (IASI) giving mutual recognition of instructor qualifications. 

This recognition allows instructors from both systems to have their existing qualifications recognised at the same level to be able to access further training courses offered by either organisation and gives SSS Instructors a full pathway to qualifications with international recognition. The IASI L3 Teacher qualification meets the requirements for the ISIA and IVSI Stamps, with their L4 Teacher offering options for completing either the L4 ISIA Card or L4 Euro Ski Pro. This allows instructors to work more widely in Europe. In addition each organisation will also recognise the CPD and Refresher updates as transferable on an alternating cycle - within 6 years 1 internal course must be attended. 

This partnership also means that SSS Advanced Instructors can join IASI as a Level 2 member. This will provide them with a licence to instruct abroad as part of a snowsports school. Snowsport Scotland recognises that an agreed pathway from the qualifications offered in Scotland to potentially working in Europe, and worldwide, is an important consideration for potential new instructors and are excited to be able to offer this opportunity to all instructors starting out on the new SSS pathway. The Irish Association of Snowsports Instructors is delighted to be working closely with Snowsport Scotland and looks forward to developing this partnership in the years to come.

IASI Alpine Partnership Pathway

IASI Snowboard Partnership Pathway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mountain Safety

Snowsport Scotland offers two options for becoming qualified to work off piste depending on the location of the activity is taking place. Both pathways require those looking to work in these evironments to hold recognised snowsport Coach, Instructor or Leader qualifications and have personal experience skiing or snowboarding off piste in a variety of snow conditions to attend the course. 

There is no insurance coverage provided for Coaches, Instructors & Leaders working off piste activities beyond the resort boundary abroad, or on any glaciated terrain. Those operating in these environments should be full time professionals living in resort and carry their own insurance policy to meet the specific needs of their business.

UK Qualifications
The Mountain Snowsports Leader (MSL) course trains and assesses those with suitable experience to lead others on skis or splitboards in winter conditions beyond the resort boundary in the UK. It requires those attending to hold a mountain based snowsports Coach, Instructor or Leader qualification and the Winter ML award. It focuses on the specific skills of leading groups in the mountain environment away from pisted areas which is presented primarily during on-snow skiing sessions and is supported by evening lectures and seminar sessions.

The five days of the course focus on the specific skills of leading groups in the mountain environment away from pisted areas. Course participants may use either Alpine, Nordic or Splitboard touring equipment and in the Scottish context there is more of a leaning towards mountain touring on skis than skiing steep pitches.

This course is run by Glenmore Lodge on behalf of Snowsport Scotland and further information on the course content and course entry requirments can be found in this link: Mountain Snowsports Leader Course Overview.

International Qualifications
Snowsport Scotland and IASI (Irish Association of Snowsport Instructors) have recently extened their partnership to allow UKCP L2 Licenced Coaches and Advanced Instructors access to the IASI Mountain Safety courses for those wishing to take their group off piste. There are 2 levels of qualifications along with a Mountain Skills workshop designed to support learning and there is no requirement to join IASI to book on these courses.

The Level 1 Off Piste Security is the first qualification available in the IASI Mountain Safety pathway. Holders of this award can work off piste within the resort boundaries in the UK and abroad, where ski patrol operates, provided the snowsports school or club, and/or the laws of the country allow the activity.

The Level 2 Backcountry Security is the highest qualification available in the IASI Mountain Safety pathway. Holders of this award can work off piste beyond the resort boundary in the UK and abroad, except on glaciated terrain or where mountaineering techniques are required. The qualification is recognised internationally and forms part of the Euro Test requirements.

To book on to a IASI Mountain Safety course, please do so directly through the IASI website.

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Instructor Qualification - FAQ's

If I want to do a Snowsport Scotland Instructor or Assistant Instructor Qualification:- 

 

1. Do I need to join SSS if I am already a member of Snowsport England / Wales or BASI?  

Yes, you need to join Snowsport Scotland as these qualifications are delivered by Snowsport Scotland.

 

2. How much does it cost to join the SSS Coaching Scheme?

When you start training to be an instructor you can join Snowsport Scotland as a "volunteer coach" while you go through your training. This costs just £20. Once you have completed your training and are ready to start working as a paid instructor or coach you will need to upgrade to a full "Pro Coach" membership which costs £55p.a 

 

3. Can I transfer my UK artificial slope qualification to become a new SSS Instructor? 

Anyone who has a current ASSI / BASI L1 / IASI L1 instructor qualification can be "equivalenced" into a Snowsport Scotland Instructor qualification. To do so, they will need to attend a 1-day Alignment and Assessment course which will also count as a "Continued Professional Development" (CPD) training which will count towards their next revalidation/renewal.

To convert to a Snowsport Scotland Instructor a candidate will need to do the following things before being issued with a license:-

  • Join the SSS Coaching Scheme (using the SSS Membership System)
  • Upload an electronic copy of their original qualification certificate to their profile.
  • Provide an electronic copy of a valid first aid certificate
  • Provide an electronic copy of their child protection certificate
  • Book on to a suitable alignment course. 

4. Can I apply to transfer my foreign qualifications to an SSS Instructor?

Yes. Applications are considered on a case by case basis. Anyone who has a current foreign instructor qualification is able to apply in writing to have it recognised as equivalent Acquired Prior Learning (APL). They must then attend a 1-day Alignment and Assessment course which will also count as a "Continued Professional Development" (CPD) training which will count towards their next revalidation/renewal.

To convert a foreign qualification to a Snowsport Scotland Instructor a candidate will need to do the following things before being issued with a license:-

  • Apply consideration.
  • Join the SSS Coaching Scheme (using the SSS Membership System)
  • Upload an electronic copy of their original qualification certificate to their profile.
  • Provide an electronic copy of a valid first aid certificate
  • Provide an electronic copy of their child protection certificate
  • Book on to a suitable alignment course. 

 

5. What Alignment Courses are available

The best course to book on is the Mountain Induction Training Course. This course ensures that candidates are not only aligned to the Snowsport Scotland terminology, but they are also trained on the specific skills required to work in the Scottish mountains. The course includes assessment of technical ability. If passed, the candidate will be awarded the status of Snowsport Scotland Instructor and be eligible to work within clubs and ski schools in both artificial and snow resorts in Scotland. 

 

6. Can I transfer over to BASI or IASI's International Instructor pathways with a Snowsport Scotland Instructor Award.

Yes! If you decide you wish to pursue an international instructor career pathway your award will be recognised by both BASI and IASI and offer access into their higher level awards.

 

7. Can I convert from an Alpine Ski or Snowboard Leader Qualification to a Snowsport Scotland Instructor.

Yes. By attending a conversion course you can make this transition. Please contact the Snowsport Scotland offices for more information on this conversion. 

 

 

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