- There are no academic entry criteria for this programme.
- 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.
- You must submit a logbook detailing your outdoor experience, particularly snowsport riding/skiing experience, and any formal instruction. Download the Excel version or PDF version.
- You'll need to complete a conviction declaration, and provide two references (who are able to provide evidence of your good character, your personal attributes, and your appropriateness to undertake the programme for snowsport instruction).
- You'll also need to have an interview.
English Language requirements
- If English is not your first language, you must provide:
- New Zealand University Entrance OR
- Overall Academic IELTS 5.5 with no individual band score lower than 5.0 (achieved in one test completed in the last two years), OR
- Acceptable alternative evidence of the required IELTS (see here for NZQA proficiency table and here for list of recognised proficiency tests).
If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes.
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.
Pathways to this programme
If you don’t meet the entry requirements, there are a number of snowsport instructional programmes available worldwide that will provide the base and intermediate level riding/skiing skills required to gain the level of experience necessary to teach others.
Additional information and costs
A jacket and pant uniform* is generally provided while training or working. 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.
You are responsible for providing your own accommodation arrangements in Wanaka. Prices can vary greatly depending on the accommodation type but, as a guideline, you can expect to pay $150-$250 per week for a room.
Additional NZSIA awards such as the Children’s Teaching Certification and Instructors Level 2 may be earned at an additional exam cost.
*Please note: You will be supplied with a Cardrona uniform for the duration of the programme for working in the ski school. This uniform will have to be returned at the end of the programme.
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.
Depending on the level of experience you bring to the programme, you can expect to spend approximately 40-80 hrs of self-directed study prior to the practical sessions and then 36-40 hrs per week of training or work for up to 17 weeks in duration.
You will study
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.
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.
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.
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.