Spend 11 weeks living in Whistler and gain your CSIA/CASI Level 1 and 2! This is our most inclusive programme ever – including everything a keen skier or snowboarder needs to become a snow guru! Not only can you learn to become a ski or snowboard instructor, you can also train for the AST (Avalanche Skills Training) Level 1 and 2 in the stunning Whistler Blackcomb backcountry.
Duration: 11 weeks
Dates: November, January and February each season (Feb course includes BASI Level 2 for skiers)
Arrival day: Saturday
Return day: Saturday
Eligibility: Good level of fitness and confidence skiing/boarding is required
- Receiving the best instructor training in a phenomenal resort
- Becoming a professional instructor ready to find employment at almost any snow school in the world
- Enjoying a great social life with others who share your passion for snowsports
- Gaining BASI, as well as CSIA, qualifications on our February ski course
This is the most inclusive Whistler instructor programme available, with no hidden fees.
For 11 weeks, you will be working with professional instructors, who will provide detailed teaching and allow you to shadow and learn from them each day. You will cover a various aspect of skiing or boarding; from bumps and slalom to off-piste and steeps on each day of the course.
In addition to the CSIA or CASI Level 1 and 2 training and examination fees, this course is packed full of additional extras that will help make you a more professional instructor, including:
- CSIA Teaching Children Module (skiers only),
- Recreational Avalanche Course – AST 1 and 2
- Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing Level 1 (skiers only)
- Snow Park Training
- Customer service
- Injury prevention
- Equipment tuning
- Boot fitting
This in-depth instructor training course will lead you to become an advanced snowsports instructor, ready to work at almost any ski resort in the world. You’ll meet like-minded friends, enjoy a great social life and live in one of the most beautiful places in the world – life doesn’t get much better!
The skiing has been excellent and the local staff here have been great in helping me set up and settle into the programme – Cameron
The BASI Level 2 is available for skiers enrolled on the February course. This is a great addition to our standard 11 week course, not only will you be CSIA Level 1 and 2 certified, but also BASI 2 – fantastic for your ski instructor CV!
NB This part of the course takes place at the same time as the AST 2 and CADS training, so you will not take part in those elements. You will also need to arrive in Whistler with a valid First Aid certificate to be eligible for the BASI course.
You must feel comfortable skiing or snowboarding down red runs in Europe or blues in North America. Your skills and technique will dramatically improve over the course of 11 weeks!
- Stay in a centrally located chalet with other participants on your course
- Accommodation is located in either Whistler Village, Alpine or Creekside, all locations are within a short walk or bus ride of the lifts
- Rooms vary from single to quad share and prices vary. Premium, standard and self-catered accommodation available to suit your budget. Contact us to discuss your requirements
- Accommodation has a living area, dining area, storage rooms and a sun deck. If you are in self-catered accommodation, you will have access to a fully equipped kitchen
- WiFi is included
- Choose from catered or self-catered accommodation
- If you opt for the catered option (located in the Village or Alpine), the chalet host will lay out the provided continental breakfast daily and hot dinners 6 days a week (everyone caters for themselves on Sundays). This is beneficial after a long day skiing on the slopes and means you get a guaranteed hot meal
- If you opt for self-catered (located in Creekside), the kitchen is fully equipped so you can cook and prepare your own meals. There is also a supermarket close by where you can buy food
We have been working closely with our partners in Canada and keeping an eye on the current travel restrictions to ensure we have the most up to date information and give you peace of mind. Please see the links below for more information.
- See our Covid-19 updates
We expect there to be small changes to the program in order to accommodate restrictions in place at the time of travel. These may include:
- social distancing
- accommodation amendments
- private transfers instead of groups
- proof of a negative Covid-19 test upon arrival (taken within 72 hours before travel)
- wearing masks and other protective clothing
- extra health and safety measures
Depending on when you are due to travel, some of these may become obsolete. We advise to be prepared for a quick turnaround of travel arrangements and having back up options should changes need to be made.
Airport: Vancouver (YVR)
Arrival day: Saturday in Whistler. It is advisable to arrive in Canada on the Friday before the course begins on the Saturday, to get over jet-lag, buy any equipment needed and pick up your ski pass.
Departure day: Saturday
- Access to your own personal ‘My Oyster’ account – our online portal where you can find out much more about the program and manage your booking
- Dedicated contact time with an experienced destination manager to discuss the project, answer any of your questions and for us to find out more about you
- Help and advice from our UK office before arrival and whilst you are away
- In-country support
- Pre-departure information covering medical, safety and project advice
- Financial protection: ATOL (if we book your flights); IPP (if we don’t book your flights)
- Thorough orientation on arrival
- Accommodation (see the ‘accommodation’ section above for details)
- Advice on visa requirements
- Oyster plants a tree in Africa with TreeAid to help reduce the impact of global carbon emissions
- CSIA/CASI Level 1 and 2
- CSIA Teaching Children Module (skiers only)
- Recreational Avalanche Courses AST1 and AST2 (AST2 is not available on the February ski course, where the BASI2 is taken instead)
- CADS Level 1 (skiers only, is not available on the February ski course, where the BASI 2 is taken instead)
- BASI Level 2 (February course for skiers only)
- Snow park training
- Over 20 hours of professional training per week
- Whistler Blackcomb Season Pass
- Training given by CSIA/CASI Level 4 instructors
- Small groups to maximise your training
- Weekly feedback from your pro
- Lift line priority
- Video analysis
- Extra training (customer service, communications, injury prevention, risk assessment, boot fitting and equipment tuning)
- Resort rep available 24/7
- 6 dinners and breakfasts per week (if in catered accommodation)
- Off-snow and evening activities
- Equipment and store discounts
- Job finding assistance
On your return:
- Welcome home pack
- Certificate of Recognition (on request)
- References (on request)
- Flights – as an ATOL bonded company, Oyster can book flights for you
- You need a valid passport that meets the requirements of the country you will be travelling to
- Insurance (covering your time with Oyster and any planned independent travel)
- Any costs associated with changing your return flight date if you need to
- Independent travel costs
- Home country travel costs
- Spending money for additional trips, food and entertainment
- Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) before heading to Canada. This costs $7 and is valid for up to 5 years
- Food costs (if you choose the self catered option)
- Valid First Aid certificate (if you are taking the BASI course). 2 day/12 hour course is minimum requirement
For a guide to the day to day breakdown of the course, check out our sample itinerary.
Please note, this is a guide only and the exact day to day itinerary may change.
It is no wonder that Whistler is consistently voted one of the world’s best ski resorts. Snow fall is consistently excellent and socially, it is an amazing place to meet skiers and snowboarders from all over the world. If you want to dedicate time to improving your own skills – there really is no better place to be.
The CSIA and CASI Level 4 instructors on this course have been training people for over 20 years. They are dedicated to helping you to improve your skiing or snowboarding, but in addition they want to ensure that you are fully prepared for life working as an instructor on the slopes. Each week, you will receive training from a different instructor, providing you with the best overall knowledge and a variation of skills.
This course is ideal for people wanting to take a gap year or a career break looking to spend quality time on the slopes. On completion of this course, you will walk away with new friends, great memories and qualifications that will open doors into a career in winter sports coaching.
If you are looking for an all-inclusive professional ski or snowboard instructor training course, this is for you. This course is ideal for those looking to further, or begin, their career in the snowsports industry and will provide impressive experience for your CV/ resume.
Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 – This course is run by fully qualified backcountry guides. The AST Level 1 is run over 2.5 days, including a trip into the backcountry. The course covers the basics of travelling on avalanche terrain. You will learn about the different types of avalanche formations. You will also learn how to prepare for a trip and how to forecast an avalanche using decision making tools to assess slope conditions. At the end, you will be assessed on what you have learnt and their will be examined practical sessions on companion rescue and travelling techniques.
- Difficulty level: Moderate to challenging
- Terrain: Simple to Challenging
- Total Distance: approx. 8-11 km. per day
- Elevation Gain: approx. 650m + per day
Avalanche Skills Training Level 2 – This advanced course will build on what you have learnt in the AST Level 1. This part of the course is comprised of 9.5 hours classroom time and a minimum of 3 days out in the backcountry. You will become familiar with filtering tools to help plan additional provisions that will lead to safe travel. You will also learn about danger ratings and the Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES) that will help you identify the techniques needed to travel across certain terrains.
The instructors in Whistler are confident that by the time you take your Level 1 exam, you will be a confident parallel skier/snowboarder. You will experience skiing or snowboarding on all terrains and in all snow conditions. On completion, you will be qualified to teach children aged 12 and under, and beginners, how to ski/snowboard. The course combines teaching methodology with technical skills. It will also give you the customer service skills needed to be successful in the snow sports industry.
Included on the Level 1 certification course:
- An introduction to CSIA skiing/ CASI snowboarding and teaching methodology
- Strategies to develop skiers/ snowboarders from entry level to intermediate using the skill development method
- Techniques and strategies for effective assessment and development
- Personal feedback on ski/ snowboard performance
- Interactive preparatory online module
There are two different options for the completion of your CSIA Level 2. You can choose to participate in a Teaching Children module or an introduction to All-terrain skiing module. The choice is entirely yours. Your choice may depend on your future instructor plans. However, if you are unsure, we would suggest that the introduction to all-terrain skiing would give you a more rounded experience by the end of the season.
Incorporated into the CSIA Level 1 is learning how to teach children. All-terrain skiing is not really touched upon in any of the compulsory elements of Level 1 or 2 so this is an ideal time to learn more.
Here is a summary of both options:
Teaching Children Module
- Develop your understanding of how children develop both mentally and physically at different ages
- Build your toolbox with tactics for various age groups and skill levels
- Learn practical approaches for safety and class control
- The indoor component focuses on communication with children
All-Terrain Module – Introduction
- Learn how to recognise terrain opportunities and use the terrain as a teaching tool for entry level to intermediate skiers
- Explore methods and approaches to introduce skiers to bumps and varied terrain
- Develop your own skiing skills as you match technical objectives with terrain situations
CADS stands for the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing. Skiers will learn how to adapt their teaching methods and equipment to cater for those with disabilities.
The CADS Level 1 is only available for skiers.
All of our instructors are CASI/CSIA Level 4 instructors and we are confident of their ability to help you to improve. They will only put you forward for an assessment if they think you are ready.
Oyster Worldwide is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as an Introducer Appointed Representative of Global Travel Insurance. Our status means that we cannot advise you on insurance. This needs to be your decision.
For many years we have acted as an ‘introducer’ to the policy that has been tailored to meet the needs of Oyster Worldwide participants.
The policy that we have with Global Travel Insurance can cover people on our ski and snowboard instructor programmes.
There is a reason why Whistler is so popular. The winter in Whistler is perfect for a ski season. Temperatures remain below 0 for the majority of the season, resulting in amazing snow. Even when the village warms up, the temperature on the mountain can still be as low as minus 20 degrees.
If you book the catered chalet option, you will receive 6 dinners and 6 continental breakfasts each week. These meals are worth over $1000.00 for your entire 11 week stay so it is great value. If you are catering for yourself, you will need to bring money to cover food.
For expenditure that does not include food (or ski/board equipment), we would recommend taking a minimum of £70-£100 a week to get involved with trips and nights out.
Credit cards are advised for emergencies, as well as enough cash to see you through the first few days, there are ATM’s in the village.
Before heading to Canada, you will need to get an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA). There is a simple online form and the cost is $7. It lasts for up to 5 years on the same passport.
When entering Canada, you will get a tourist visa.
Check out our blog to find out more about the Canada eTA.
Most people book with Oyster as individuals and meet the rest of the group on arrival in Whistler.
We will certainly try to arrange for you to live with a friend if you want to travel together. Just give us as much notice as possible.
You should visit your doctor or travel nurse to find out what vaccinations you will need. It is likely that only your routine vaccinations will need to be up to date.
Winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding, take place outdoors and on the mountain. With adventure sports, there is an inherent risk to you. You can minimise this risk by following the mountain rules and taking adequate precautions. You should always follow safety advice from instructors and we recommend always wearing a helmet. Whistler is a very safe village, but we advise that you keep valuables secure. When you are out, travel in groups and let others know where you are going.
We have three accommodation options in the Whistler area, all are close to the town and lifts (either a short walk or bus ride away). We have accommodation in Creekside, Alpine and the Village.
You will be staying in enjoyable and cosy chalets sharing with other participants, either in single, twin, triple or quad rooms. A usual charming chalet will include shared rooms of high quality, fantastic living areas with comfy sofas and T.V – there is even a separate dining area, storage area and a sun deck. If you strike it lucky, you may even get a room with a balcony.
There will be a garage where you can store your skiing gear. There will be a chalet host to help answer any questions you might have. Food will be served at your chalet, for those taking the meal option. A deposit of $300 will be taken at the start of your stay and returned if the property has not been damaged and has been maintained.
The accommodation is located in either:
- Peak Chalet – this is our newly renovated chalet with large bedrooms. All rooms are catered. It is within walking distance of the village. This chalet offers quad, triple, twin and single rooms.
- Alpine Chalet – this is our standard catered chalet offering quad and triple rooms. It is located in the Alpine area, a 10 minute bus ride from Whistler. It is very close to the Whistler Rec Center where there is a gym, swimming pool and fitness studios. There is also a grocery store very close by.
- Creekside chalet – this is our more budget self-catered option. This offers quad and triple rooms, in more of a university dorm-style. The great thing about this chalet is its proximity to the Creekside Gondola, just a short walk from your front door!
If you opt for the catered option, you will have a cook provide continental breakfast and hot dinner 6 times a week. Breakfast is served from 7:30 to 8:30 am. There will also be kitchen facilities so you can cook and prepare your own food. There are supermarkets where you can buy food.
Breakfast will include cereal, toast, fruit and tea/coffee.
Dinner will be a hearty meal, usually around a theme. There’ll be pasta nights, Mexican nights, burger nights, pizza nights and roast dinner nights, for example.
Day-to-day, you will be supported by our partners in Whistler and the instructors that will be coaching you. You will have the support of a group of like-minded individuals and any issues that come up, can be resolved in Whistler.
Tory is our representative in Whistler. She lives and works out there and has been involved with Oyster since 2004. She deals with our partners and helps ensure you get the best possible experience away. During your stay, your main contacts will be your instructors and staff, yet have no doubt that you will have 24 hour support from Tory in Canada and Oyster back in the UK.
You will get free WiFi provided in your chalet so you can take a laptop/mobile/tablet with you. Most cafes, bars and restaurants offer free WiFi.
You should take an ‘unlocked’ mobile phone with you to Canada (or you can buy a cheap Canadian one) and purchase a local ‘pay as you go’ SIM card. This is useful for contacting the representative and the rest of the group as local calls are very cheap.
You can buy international phone cards to call the UK for $10+tax from any supermarket/phone shop this will give you hundreds of minutes to use any way you like, including calling home.
Whistler is in the West of Canada, on Pacific Standard Time and is 8 hours behind GMT (GMT -8).
Canada, like the US, operates on 110V, 60 cycle electric power. You should bring an adapter with you that has a two pronged (flat) plug.
Ski and snowboard! Your ski pass is valid 7 days a week so you can spend every day on the slope if you want. We would definitely recommend taking some rest days and exploring the other fun activities available in Whistler.
Evenings are free and 2 days a week will be rest days. During the rest days, it is expected that the chalet is cleaned. There’ll be a rota of jobs to complete.
You should be mature and understand that you will need to take responsibility for yourself – don’t worry, our selection process will ensure that you are suitable!
You will get to know the team in Whistler really well during the first few days, when you will receive a thorough induction and course-related training. Day to day you will be under the supervision of your instructor whilst on the lessons.
Staff at Oyster’s head office and in-country will be responsible for your safety and welfare while you are on the course. This will start from the moment you check in to your course accommodation in Whistler to the end of the course when you leave. Before and after these times, you will be outside Oyster’s responsibility and should make sure that you act safely and avoid risk. This is also true if you choose to leave the project, ski or snowboard during your time off. We will give you plenty of guidance and advice about this.
Many participants arrive a day earlier in Whistler and stay in a hotel or hostel for the first night. Please note that you are responsible for your airport transfer and accommodation during this time.