Why moving to the Alps to be a ski instructor needs careful planning

Posted on 04 February 2014

Owners of ski homes with aspirations to pack in the nine-to-five day job one day and move to the French Alps to teach skiing should ensure they have all the necessary qualifications before realising their dream.

Cases of British and other foreign visitors to the Alps being apprehended by the French authorities for being seen to instruct skiers without the necessary paperwork or qualifications are not uncommon.

For many Brits, the best place to start your journey to becoming a ski instructor in France is the British Association of Ski Instructors (BASI). BASI, which is part of the International Association of Ski Instructors (IASI), offers courses that will prepare you for being able to instruct in ski resorts around the world. The good thing is you can do BASI courses at ski schools throughout the Alps.

However, note that different countries have different laws governing foreign instructors and France has some of the strictest regulations. For example, doing the BASI option, not only must a British person have at least a BASI Alpine ISIA Level 3 badge but they must also reach a high level of slalom skiing and complete a specified course within a certain time, which is called the Test Technique. Only holders of the BASI Level 4 badge can work independently and take their own clients out on the mountain. Once you have your Level 4 Qualification, you will need to apply for full French Equivalence for the region that you are going to work in to be able to teach independently or with a ski school.
For holders of BASI Level 2 badges, another option is to train as a ‘stagiare’ within an approved ski school to reach the required level. Or join the French Ecole du Ski Francais system and train as a stagiaire at a ski school holding the Centre de Formation status, bearing in mind you’ll still be required to pass the Test Technique.