We recently received this great story from one of our instructor training program (GAP Program) partners. Canadian resorts across our country are host to many excellent programs geared towards becoming a certified CASI snowboard instructor. There are many to choose from, and each of them provides training with their own flair from top-notch CASI instructors and current course evaluators. Thinking of becoming a snowboard instructor? Check out Scott’s story below, do some research, and take the leap!


MY JOURNEY FROM SCOTLAND TO INSTRUCTING AROUND THE WORLD!

Originally from Aberdeen in the north of Scotland, Scott Beacom got his first CASI qualification in February 2014. In a few short years, his life has changed completely having worked seasons as a CASI qualified snowboard instructor in Australia, New Zealand, Japan as well as back in Canada. Here’s his story …

In 2013, I returned from my annual winter holiday in the European Alps. I had been working for the same engineering firm for 10 years since leaving school and something just didn’t feel right – it felt like I needed a change! I loved snowboarding and had also held a pipe dream that I would somehow be able to pursue a career working as a snowboard instructor. Without really believing that it would be possible, I started to look into the possibility of gaining my instructor qualifications and launching a career in the snow sports industry. At the age of 27 I thought, if I was going to do it, now was the time!

As I started to research the possibilities, I began to realise that working as a snowboard instructor might be more than just a pipe dream. The option was there to “go it alone” and just turn up and sit the instructor exams but, having grown up on one week of snowboarding a year, I thought it best to book onto an extended training course and fully commit to this plan.

Even then it didn’t really narrow things down, as there were a whole host of course options! However, I quickly realised that Canada was the place I wanted to go. Having spent my formative years riding the ice and slush on a hill in Scotland with the rain blowing in sideways, it is fair to say I was pretty excited about the possibility of going to Canada! Gaining the CASI qualifications was also a big factor in deciding on Canada. I knew that the CASI qualifications would give me an excellent foundation for my career in snowboard teaching, a clearly defined pathway to progress my career, membership in a huge community of fellow instructors instructing in a common way, and the chance to work internationally with a hugely well-respected qualification. Having set my parameters and after further research, I booked onto an 11-week snowboard instructor course at Big White, BC, through a company called SnowSkool.

I arrived in Big White at the beginning of January 2014 and I knew right away that I had made the right decision. I just loved the vibe around Big White and loved that every day I was on the hill doing something I loved. I was in training five days per week with our CASI instructors and I was able to quickly hone my skills on-piste, in the powder and in the park. I was also able to get to know our instructors and speak to them about a career as a snowboard instructor. By the end of my 11-weeks in Big White, I had obtained my CASI Level 1 and Level 2 snowboard instructor qualifications as well as my CASI Park Instructor Level 1 – I also felt sure that this was the career for me.

However, no matter how badly I wanted a job as an instructor, I still had the small matter of finding a job! This is where why my 11-weeks with SnowSkool in Big White paid off – it was almost like they had been “interviewing” me for 11-weeks and I was lucky enough to land a job back at the Ski and Board school at Big White. Although I had the qualifications and received excellent induction training from Big White I still remember how nervous I was for my first lesson – I had five beginner snowboarders looking at me for guidance on my first day and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to speak, let alone show them how to snowboard!

But, of course, my training and vocal chords kicked-in and the lesson went well – as, I think, the majority of lessons I taught in that first season did. So I was off and running … and when people asked what my job was, I could proudly tell them I was a snowboard instructor! I couldn’t quite believe it, myself!

Now, 5 years later I can not only tell people that I am a snowboard instructor, but I can tell them that I am a snowboard instructor who has worked in Australia (at Thredo for 2 seasons); Canada (at Big White for 1 season and at Whistler-Blackcomb for 2 seasons); New Zealand (at Mount Hutt for 1 season) and Japan (at Niseko in Hokkaido for 1 season). Before joining the SnowSkool program in Big White, I had never left the UK – when I now look at that breakdown of the past five years, I struggle to believe it. It looks pretty tiring too but I guess when you are doing what you love, it is not a drag at all! On top of working as an instructor, I have added additional CASI qualifications to my CV – I have achieved my CASI Level 3 Snowboard Instructor qualification and been signed off as a CASI Level 1 evaluator. I have also got my CSCP Intro to Comp and AST Level 1.

And what does my story tell you … it tells you that no matter where you come from in the world, go for the CASI instructor qualification which, I believe, provide the best qualification framework for teaching snowboarding. Then with a bit of hard work and dedication, those qualifications will not only give you an opportunity to develop a career in snowboard instructing but the opportunity to work internationally and experience new cultures and ways of teaching. I have had a blast and you can too!


 

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