WHAT SKI & SNOWBOARD QUALIFICATIONS ARE ON OFFER?
We offer a variety of qualifications from Canada’s leading associations: CASI, CSIA, CSCF and CAA. More information on snowboard and ski instructor qualifications can be found here, whilst additional information about avalanche skills training is here.
DOES ALLTRACKS GUARANTEE THAT I’LL PASS THE EXAMS?
We can never give a guarantee that everyone will pass. However, for Level 1 examiners are really looking for a positive approach, enthusiasm and a willingness to improve. Clearly you will need to demonstrate reasonable technique, but anyone who works hard should be confident of achieving their Level 1 after the thorough instruction ALLTRACKS offers.
Level 2 is more difficult, and examiners are looking for a far better execution of the drills and a greater understanding of skiing or snowboarding technique. However, people who arrive as strong intermediates will stand a very good chance of achieving Level 2 at the end of 11 weeks. Historically, the majority of people on our courses do pass – but you will need to work hard!
ARE THE INSTRUCTOR QUALIFICATIONS INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNISED?
CSIA and CASI Level 1 allow you to instruct in Canada, and whilst people do instruct elsewhere with these qualifications (we’ve had a handful of ex-ALLTRACKS Level 1 guests go on to work in Switzerland), we wouldn’t recommend you plan for or expect this.
With the CSIA or CASI Level 2 (available on our 11 Week Ski Instructor Course and its snowboarding equivalent), you should be able to work more extensively, including Canada, USA, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and some parts of Europe (although this is limited).
Regardless of what anyone claims, it continues to be problematic for foreigners to work within the French system. Be wary of anyone who promises instructor qualifications that allow you to work anywhere. At the same time, you can be confident that the qualifications you gain with ALLTRACKS are the genuine article and the recognised gold standard in Canada.
WILL YOU GUARANTEE ME AN INSTRUCTOR JOB?
We cannot give an absolute guarantee that we will find everyone a job as an instructor after their course. However, we do our utmost to find any suitable past student a job as a ski or snowboard instructor if they wish. Alltracks Academy has good contacts and we can help with CVs, applications and general information as part of your course.
Since we launched back in 2007, we’ve trained more instructors than any other company in Whistler, and as such have a good relationship with the Whistler Blackcomb Snow School. If you are looking for a job, please alert one of the team as early as possible, ideally before the course even begins. We’ll do everything we can to secure your dream job. However, please do bear in mind that it will require a positive and enthusiastic approach from you to be successful.
For those wishing to work in Canada, a visa is generally required and we advise you to apply for this as early as possible. Please contact us for honest advice if you are interested in doing a course to begin a career as a ski or snowboard instructor.
HOW EXPERIENCED A SKIER OR SNOWBOARDER DO I NEED TO BE?
ALLTRACKS welcome skiers and snowboarders from intermediate level and above – from those who’ve already done a number of seasons to those that have just been on a few holidays. As a business, we don’t like turning people away, but we believe it’s in everyone’s best interest to maintain a minimum ability level for each course.
Thankfully, the continuing popularity of our courses means we maintain a number of training groups so you should ski or board with people of a similar ability. More information about ability standards can be found here: Alltracks Ability Standards
WHAT ARE THE ALLTRACKS ACADEMY INSTRUCTORS LIKE?
Every single member of our carefully-selected team is a fantastically-experienced teacher and an awesome skier or snowboarder. They’re also great people – we make a point out of recruiting our coaches on the basis of their friendliness and personality as much as their experience.
The ALLTRACKS Head Coach is Guy Hetherington – officially ranked in the top 5 instructors in Western Canada and an inspiration to ski with. You can find out more about Guy and the rest of the ALLTRACKS team here.
WILL I GET A SEASON PASS?
Most people on an extended course of 4-11 weeks gets a full season pass that you can use any day of the week for both Whistler and Blackcomb mountain. This also means that if you want to arrive early or stay on after the course, your pass will be valid – just let us know and we’ll help you make the arrangements.
I WANT TO LEARN FREESTYLE – WHAT ARE THE FACILITIES LIKE?
The freestyle facilities in Whistler and the instruction available are truly some of the best in the world. If you have not yet cracked your first 360, don’t worry – this is the ideal place to learn. Many professional skiers and boarders call Whistler their home, which makes chilling out on a Saturday watching them hit the park one of the highlights of being in this amazing resort.
There are parks designed purely for those taking their first steps – the rails and jumps might not look as impressive, but this is the place to learn in a safe and welcoming environment. When you’re ready to advance, there are plenty of parks where you can go as big as you like.
Freestyle is best learnt at a controlled pace from people who know what they’re doing, and Whistler is set up to do exactly that. Check out the Whistler Blackcomb Terrain Parks page for more.
IS IT ALL LESSONS OR ARE THERE OPPORTUNITIES TO FREESKI?
Lessons generally take place Monday to Thursday, which leaves Friday and the weekend to ski or snowboard with friends. Before you arrive in Canada you’ll receive a course schedule with details of training and exam days, so you’ll know exactly when your free days are in advance.
On 11 week courses, 1:1 private sessions take place on two separate Fridays in the second half of the course. Training is deliberately full-on and you will be worked hard. They are great fun, but so is riding in a more relaxed manner.
Although you are free to ride every day if you wish, most people go up the mountain five to six day each week, leaving a day or two to chill out in the chalet, relax at a local cafe and enjoy everything else the town has to offer.
WHAT’S THE FOOD LIKE?
We offer hearty, nutritious meals or you can self cater. We will happily cater for vegetarians and others with specific dietary requirements as best we can, but please let us know before the course begins.
WHERE DO I STAY?
You’ll stay in comfortable, well-located private chalets or condos. It means you truly have a place to call home, put your feet up and relax for the duration of your stay. All the accommodation has wifi and some even have hot tubs. More information about our Whistler accommodation can be found here.
DO YOU OFFER FINANCIAL PROTECTION?
Yes, ALLTRACKS is ATOL-bonded which provides financial protection for our customers. Our ATOL number is 9411 and we are one of the very few ski & snowboard course providers to offer this level of security.
Although having an ATOL bond does cost ALLTRACKS a significant amount of money, we know our customers appreciate the piece of mind that this financial security gives you. We are delighted to be able to offer this security whilst still keeping our prices really competitive. More about our financial security practices can be found here.
DO I NEED A VISA?
From March 2016, the visa requirements for visiting Canada are changing. Foreign Nationals from most Western Countries need to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). Our advice is that you obtain one even if you are visiting Canada before March 2016. It is a quick, simple process that is done online and only costs $7 CAD. It is essentially a pre screening screening service and may make your entry into Canada quicker.
For more info: http://www.canada.ca/eta
You will need a visa if you are planning on working during your stay.
If you wish to take an internship course you will need a working visa. Be aware that working visas are in demand and often get booked well in advance.
The best option in nearly all cases is to apply for a working holiday permit via the International Experience Canada (IEC) programme, which typically allows you to travel and work in Canada for up to one year. Choose your nationality on this page for further information.
In some countries, you can make an IEC application via an independent organisation who charge an additional fee to help you with the application process. In the UK, try BUNAC, and in Ireland check out USIT.
Many other countries have similar ways to apply and we have had people from all over the world join our courses. Note the the above information may be subject to change and it is your sole responsibility to ensure that you have any necessary visa.
DO I NEED INSURANCE?
Yes. It is mandatory for everyone to have comprehensive insurance that covers all aspects and activities of the course. ALLTRACKS does not sell insurance but we can provide a list of some insurance companies people have used in the past.
Whilst we hope people avoid injuries, it can happen. There is an course leader for the duration of every course and the duty representative has a mobile phone on 24/7. If you do hurt yourself, Whistler has advanced medical facilities and the course leader will help liase with the medical centre and your family back home.
WHAT’S WHISTLER LIKE?
We find it incredibly difficult to do Whistler justice in words – the place is just awesome. Combine the biggest ski area and most sophisticated lift system in North America with huge snowfalls, a variety of terrain and a cool, vibrant town and maybe you think you’re a getting a rough picture of the place. But you’re not.
So much more than the combination of its parts, in our view Whistler combines the scale of European resorts with the snow reliability and functionality of other North American resorts. There are other places where you can do an instructor course – and some of them do have some great skiing available – but they come up a bit short after a couple of weeks. Going to a resort for a week or two can be an enitrely different proposition to an extended visit.
For further information, head to the skiing in Whistler page.
WHAT DO WE DO AT THE WEEKENDS?
There is normally no coaching on weekends – this allows time to freeride with your mates and to get involved in the other things the area has to offer. This can vary from a simple trip to the movies to a weekend in Vancouver, one of North America’s coolest cities.
Additionally, there is a climbing centre, sports centre with swimming pool, and heaps of bars and cafes which together boast North America’s best après-ski.
WHAT DO WE DO IN THE EVENINGS?
After a full day on the slopes, we know people are going to want a filling and nutritious meal. Guests and ALLTRACKS staff often eat together as a group in a relaxed atmosphere, enjoy the food and telling stories of the day’s heroics.
After that, you’re free to watch a DVD enjoy a hot tub – which we have in most accommodation – or head to the bars for a few beers. It’s really up to you.
DO I NEED MY OWN EQUIPMENT?
Yes – skiers need skis, bindings, boots and poles and snowboarders need a board, bindings and boots. If you’re buying new equipment for the course, we would recommend gear designed for all-mountain use as you will be riding all the terrain available.
As part of the course, you’ll receive discounts at the best equipment shops in Whistler so it’s advisable to wait until you reach the resort. But if you have your equipment already, or you want to buy it at home, that’s fine too.
WHAT CLOTHING & EQUIPMENT SHOULD I BRING WITH ME?
As far as mountain wear is concerned, you’ll be issued with a full kit list once you book. As all our accommodation has wireless internet available, many guests bring laptops or tablets.
Laptop or not, do try to bring a camera. You’ll make some really good friends on your ALLTRACKS course, surrounded every day by some of the most stunning mountains on earth – it would be a shame not to have a few snaps to remember it all!