Otago Polytechnic

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



Approx. 40 hours of theory followed by an 18-week practical application

Online theory follwed by classroom and field practical study

100 (60 + 40)
June, 2018
until start date

Please note that this programme starts in June, 2018.

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.

Undertake ski instructor training or snowboard instructor training and supply the increasing demand for qualified snowsport instructors in a growing adventure tourism industry. With your love for the outdoors and good communication skills, exciting snowsports employment opportunities may arise in outdoor adventure companies, tourism ventures or ski-fields. Hard work and experience could result in you achieving higher level positions in the same areas.

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. The programme cost includes mountain transportation 5 days per week, a staff season pass and the NZSIA/SBINZ Level 1 exam fees.

You can also earn additional NZSIA awards, such as the Children’s Teaching Certification and the Instructors Level 2. While you’re at it, gain invaluable guest service industry attributes that can propel your career into the snow service sector or easily transfer over to any number of customer oriented businesses.

Career/employment options 

Graduates will have the skills and knowledge to work teaching or assisting beginner skiers, telemark skiers or snowboarders within a snowschool environment as an entry level instructor or teaching assistant. Graduates of this qualification can also work in a variety of roles across departments within an alpine resort such as: lift operations; snow-grooming and snowmaking; snowsport equipment and guest activities.

Entry requirements

To be able to successfully engage in the learning for this qualification, a candidate must be able to demonstrate personal competence on skis or board and be able to confidently and safely ski or ride a snowboard on groomed blue terrain.

Pathways to this programme

If the prospective student doesn’t meet the entry requirements, there are a number of snowsport instructional programmes available worldwide that will provide the base level intermediate level riding/skiing skills required to gain the level of experience necessary to teach others. 

Additional documentation

A jacket and pant uniform is generally provided while training or working, but students need to provide their own personal outdoor wear at other times and a means of mountain locomotion suitable to a winter alpine environment. This may include adequate footwear, skis, snowboard and poles. The use of helmets and wrist guards are recommended and may be required by your employer. Additional NZSIA awards such as the Children’s Teaching Certification and Instructors Level 2 may be earned at an additional exam cost.

Selection procedure

After the entry level requirements have been met, selection is based on a first come, first served basis until the maximum course numbers have been met.

Additional costs

You are responsible for providing your own ski/snowboard equipment and making your own accommodation arrangements in Wanaka. Prices can vary greatly depending on the accommodation type but, as a guideline, you can expect to pay $100-$200 per week for a room.

Please note: You will be supplied with a Cardrona uniform for the duration of the course for working in the ski school. This uniform will have to be returned at the end of the course.

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.   

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.

You will study

The learning outcomes that will be achieved by graduates are:

  • Facilitate safe and positive introductory learning experiences for a range of client groups in a snowschool environment. Credits 12
  • Select, adapt and apply appropriate teaching styles and practices to plan, implement and evaluate learning experiences to meet a range of individual and group learning needs for beginners within a snowschool environment. Credits 13
  • Monitor and respond to health and safety conditions in accordance with snowschool policies and procedures to provide appropriate lesson adaptations. Credits 10
  • Provide positive snowschool experiences for individuals and groups by applying customer service, professionalism and time management skills. Credits 10
  • Apply safe teaching practices to instruct up to and including up to advanced wedge turns on skis (or linked skidded turns on snowboards or linked beginner turns on telemark skis) on green terrain. Credits 15
  • Apply knowledge of own organisation and take responsibility for own professional conduct and development while carrying out role as a member of a team in an alpine resort. Credits 12
  • Apply knowledge of the unique characteristics and operations of an alpine resort to guide own practice. Credits 5
  • Identify risks and respond to hazards while applying safe working procedures and practices within an alpine resort operation. Credits 13
  • Apply communication skills and customer service techniques to respond to the needs of alpine resort guests. Credits 10
Your workload

Depending on the level of experience students bring to the course, they may expect to spend approximately 40-80 hrs of self-directed hours study prior to the practical sessions and then 36 - 40 hrs / week of training or work for up to 18 weeks in duration. 

Programme structure

The programme will consist of self-directed on-line learning followed practical application of those skills.

Student loans/allowances

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful. 

Recognition of prior learning

If you have extensive knowledge and skills due to practical experience in this area, enquire about our recognition of prior learning process at Capable NZ. You may have already gained credits towards this qualification.

Links to useful websites

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.

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