New Zealand Certificate in Introductory Snowschool Instruction (Applied) (Level 4) (Ski) or (Snowboard)

Undertake ski instructor training or snowboard instructor training to work teaching or assisting beginner skiers, telemark skiers or snowboarders within a snow school environment as an entry level instructor or teaching assistant.

About the programme

Practice your skiing and snowboarding skills in the heart of the Southern Alps and gain an entry level professional snowsport teaching qualification, while actually working in a snowschool environment.

This is New Zealand’s only opportunity to gain work experience while earning your qualifications from Cardrona’s top trainers, many of whom also actively examine for the NZSIA and SBINZ. 

Initially, you’ll do classroom-based learning which will introduce you to the fundamentals of teaching and the snowsports environment. You will then start to shadow ski or snowboard instructors/lessons and develop your skills on-snow through work-based learning. At this stage, you’ll sit the NZSIA (Ski) or SBINZ (Snowboard) Level 1 industry award. 

During the final part of the programme, you’ll further develop your skills within the snowschool environment so you can teach a range of beginner students on your own. 

The cost of this programme includes mountain transportation five days a week, a staff season pass and the NZSIA/SBINZ Level 1 exam fees. Students with advanced skills may opt to also train and sit their NZSIA Snowsport Instructors Level 2 (at an additional cost). 

Graduates will be able to teach or assist beginner skiers or snowboarders within a snowschool environment as an entry-level instructor or teaching assistant.


The programme will consist of classroom, and self-directed, online learning followed by the practical application of those skills.

The 17-week programme of study consists of three courses:

1. Snowsport Instruction & Snowsport Industry Induction (10 credits)
  • Primarily classroom-based with some time spent at Cardrona Alpine Resort. 
  • Introduces you to the fundamentals of teaching and the snowsports environment and the concepts you will practice within the snowschool. 
2. Instructor Beginner Snowsport - Ski OR Instructor Beginner Snowsport - Snowboard (25 credits)
  • Shadow ski or snowboard lessons and develop your skills on-snow through work-based learning at Cardron Alpine Resort.
  • You will also be assessed for the NZSIA (Ski) or SBINZ (Snowboard) Level 1 Industry award during this course. 
3. Snowsort Instructing within a Professional Snowsport School (25 credits)
  • Further develop your skills to enable you to teach a range of beginner students independently.

Programme specific risks

You must be aware that the practice and teaching of snowsports can be physically and mentally demanding and require a good level of health and fitness. Risks will be outlined in more depth during the programme.

Further study options

Graduates may pathway to the New Zealand Certificate in Advanced Snowschool Instruction (Applied) (Level 5) with strands in Ski, Snowboard, and Telemark, and optional strand in Business Development. This qualification also provides a pathway to more specialised qualifications in the field of alpine operations.

A change for 2023 enrolments

When you apply to study with Otago Polytechnic in 2023, you will be enrolled with Te Pūkenga, the new national network of vocational and applied education in Aotearoa New Zealand. You will learn in the same way, in the same place, and with the same people. The great news is that this enables us to share skills and knowledge across a network of passionate education providers, to better help you succeed. Enrolling in programmes that start in 2023, means that you will graduate with a Te Pūkenga qualification.


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.