Snowboard Instructor Systems - CASI, APSI, AASI, NZSIA & more

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Hey Crew,

I was just asked to answer the differences between 2 Instructor systems that I’m a part of:
CASI - Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors
&
APSI - Australian Professional Snowsports Instructors

And it seamed like a pretty big question so I thought I would make a new thread for it and any other countries system that people have questions about. So please ask away and I will answer as best I can or ask friends from that system for answers and get back to you.

First off, I’ll let you know what I am.
I’m CASI level 2 (half way through level 3)
CASI Park 1 (Park Instructor)
CSIA 1 (Canadian skiing level 1)
And I’m about to do APSI Coach 1 (coaching is for young athletes as opposed to instructing which is for all general public/schools etc)

 
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So to start us off - The question I was asked was “The difference between CASI & APSI”

I’ve been a CASI instructor since 2009 and only just joined APSI this year. So my opinion may be a little biased wink
But I have worked for Perisher for 6 seasons so I feel I have a reasonable understanding of the APSI system and intend to become more involved in it as I go. I’m not here to slag on any ones system, just to share my honest thoughts on them.
So I hope the other instructors chime in on this too so we get a good overview of the whole thing.

SO!!! Here’s some info that most people never get before they are already a part of a system.

- APSI & CASI both have 4 main levels of certification and are considered equal by ISIA (international standards).
1 is the lowest, 4 is the highest and often referred to as “Full Cert”.
Becoming full cert means you are seriously committing to this as a life style. I hear people often compare getting your level 4 to getting a PHD because it takes a similar amount of time (or in most cases longer than that).
But don’t let that scare you off. If you’re generally interested in teaching and are passionate about boarding you will do fine.

- Both have side certifications:
CASI has Park Instructor level 1 and 2 certs. (I’ll do a write up on this stuff later)
and Canada has a coaching system outside of CASI to do coaching courses as well. People will say one is better than the other, however I am doing both because they are 2 different things. One is for being a Park Instructor and one is for Coaching.

APSI doesn’t have Park Instructor certs. All their freestyle is within their main levels. Compared to CASI which has park 1 which is a step between CASI 2 & 3. And Park 2 which seems to be a step between CASI 3 & 4.
It does however have 3 Coaching levels (which again are a separate company but run through APSI)

- An Overview of CASI & APSI.
CASI (as far as I know) was the first system to break away from the skiers and go solo. The Canadian skiers are called CSIA.
APSI is still one big organisation for the skiers and snowboarders. (Nothing wrong with that, they are just a bit more traditional, I believe some of the differences between the systems are for this reason).

To describe them simply I would say CASI has more Freestyle involved in it’s system. APSI seems to be more dedicated to the basics of Snowboard and a bit more Free Ride based.
So if you’re more of a Freestyler, you may like CASI more. If you’re more of a Free Rider you may like APSI more.
But that’s a very general statement. Use all the information you can get to make the right choice for you. And please ask any questions you may have.

Peace
Andy   ollie

 
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Thanks for sharing, Andy.

What I’d like to know is, when can someone attempt to pass the level 1 APSI course?

When I was instructing in Australia back in 2006, the APSI level 1 was then equivalent to a CASI or AASI level 2. Also, you weren’t allowed to even attempt the APSI level 1 until you had a full season of teaching under your belt. So basically, there were a whole bunch of instructors teaching in Australia, who didn’t even have a certification - which I strongly disagreed with.

Has this changed? When did this change? From what you’re saying, it definitely has changed, which I think is a good move. These points are very important to know for those considering becoming instructors.

I definitely agree that APSI is more traditional and even more “rigid” in their technique (narrower stances, directional stances etc.). At the time I was exposed to APSI, they didn’t seem to have adapted as well as CASI to the more widely accepted and modern styles of riding. Again, I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but I certainly prefer the CASI style of riding and teaching (I may also be biased).

It would be great to get some APSI instructors on here to give their point of view. Andy, any of your Perisher teaching buddies want to chime in?

 
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Yep then APSI system chenged a few years ago.
The entry level cert that you got when you started is now the level 1 cert. The old level 1 cert is now their level 2 cert and so on.

So if you want to be an APSI instructor:
1. Do the hiring clinic for an Australian Snow Resort at the end of this season or the start of the next.
If you get hired:
2. You will do a level 1 course (the cost is absorbed by Perisher & probably other resorts)
3. You will then do your level 1 exams. It will cost you $260 ish I think.
4. If you pass your exams you will have you APSI level 1s and a job with the resort.
*This is how it works in Perisher*

To do your level 2s in APSI or CASI you have to have a certain amount of teaching hours under your belt as a level 1 instructor. Like Rider said a whole season teaching full time is recommended. I really recommend it myself to get your level 1 skills on lock before moving on to the harder stuff. However there is an exact amount of hours required which you can look up if you were only able to teach part time it would probably still be okay after a season of teaching.

 
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Could you please give a quick overview of what is covered in the courses and required to pass the exam.
How long are the courses and could you attempt to define the skill level required for level 1 and level 2

 
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How long should someone be riding before attempting a level 1 course?

I’ve only been riding half a dozen times but I surf daily and skate when I’m not surfing, so i don’t think it will be difficult to get - proficient -

 
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The riding skill required in level 1 is pretty basis. It’s more about how well you can get up in front of a class, and demonstrate the skills with good technique, and explain it the right way. You don’t need to be a very experienced rider to pass level 1, as long as you can present the material very well. They are looking out for your teaching skills, not necessarily your riding skills, although they do test you on both. Level 2 is a different ballgame, but most importantly, you do need time for the level 1 material to sink in and become automatic in your riding. Also, having some teaching experience before attempting the level 2 course is important.

 
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CASI LEVEL 1 STANDARDS


CASI LEVEL 2 STANDARDS

 
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Andy Aitken - 03 September 2013 06:23 PM

Yep then APSI system chenged a few years ago.
The entry level cert that you got when you started is now the level 1 cert. The old level 1 cert is now their level 2 cert and so on.

So if you want to be an APSI instructor:
1. Do the hiring clinic for an Australian Snow Resort at the end of this season or the start of the next.
If you get hired:
2. You will do a level 1 course (the cost is absorbed by Perisher & probably other resorts)
3. You will then do your level 1 exams. It will cost you $260 ish I think.
4. If you pass your exams you will have you APSI level 1s and a job with the resort.
*This is how it works in Perisher*

To do your level 2s in APSI or CASI you have to have a certain amount of teaching hours under your belt as a level 1 instructor. Like Rider said a whole season teaching full time is recommended. I really recommend it myself to get your level 1 skills on lock before moving on to the harder stuff. However there is an exact amount of hours required which you can look up if you were only able to teach part time it would probably still be okay after a season of teaching.

Thanks for that info. I’m really happy to hear they’ve changed their system in Australia. I hated how they would hire “instructors” with absolutely no experience or certifications, then throw them in the deep end at the start of the season, with classed packed with 10+ students. The poor instructors had absolutely no idea what to do, and it reflected do badly on our industry and profession. The worst part was how the APSI guys would try to defend this approach. It just made no sense to me.

 
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For anyone wondering what you will need to be able to demonstrate for CASI level 1, please see this thread. I wrote these articles more than four years ago now, but the material is still exactly the same. Everything up to and including “Basic Turns” is what you’re expected to be able to demonstrate and teach. This is honestly the complete overview of CASI level 1. If you can become familiar with this material, and understand what I’ve written, you should have no problems passing level 1.

 
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900steve - 03 September 2013 09:18 PM

Could you please give a quick overview of what is covered in the courses and required to pass the exam.
How long are the courses and could you attempt to define the skill level required for level 1 and level 2

Those are some pretty big questions, but I’ll do my best to sum it up for you.

The CASI Level 1 course is 3 days. The CASI Level 2 course is 4 days. But the preparation to pass your level 2s is a whole season of in house training and a pre course etc. So not really 4 days.

APSI is similar. Level 1 is a 3 day and Level 2 is a 4 day.

To take on the level 1 course you should be at least a solid Intermediate Rider. ie able to make your riding look smooth and consistent on green and blue runs. If you can at least do that then they should be able to teach you how to do all the demonstrations well enough to teach Beginner to Novice classes. Do study the material and practice teaching your lessons at home before day 3 of the course.

The level 2s you can worry about after you get into the industry and can get some in house training for it.

Hope that helps shaka

 
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One other thing I should point out about Instructor Exams - THIS IS NOT TAFE.
A lot of people show up with the expectation that they can just pay their money and as long as they show up to every day of the course and exam they will leave with a cert. This is not the case.

Don’t let me scare you out of it. Just please be prepared to train hard and study hard and know that this is like trying out for a sporting team. They are testing your ability to ride and to teach and if you are below their standard then they will fail you.
It’s not the end of the world if you do fail. You can retest and maybe pass next time. Or you can pass first go if you train yourself up for it.

I just want you guys to be ready and understand how it works.
If you feel like teaching is for you, and your riding is good enough, GO FOR IT!

 
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Perfect. I new they were very open questions but between your summary covers what I was after.
Rider’s videos and links are awesome do the same, very comprehensive.
Thanks!

 
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900steve - 04 September 2013 08:18 PM

Perfect. I new they were very open questions but between your summary covers what I was after.
Rider’s videos and links are awesome do the same, very comprehensive.
Thanks!

Your very welcome Steve. Keep us posted if you decide to take your level 1s or feel free to ask any more questions about it.
We’re not just here to give advice. We love to hear your experiences too!

 
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I’m definitely going to take my CASI this winter while in whistler. Are there many job opportunities in say perisher for a level 1 instructor?

 
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Andy Aitken - 04 September 2013 09:06 PM

Your very welcome Steve. Keep us posted if you decide to take your level 1s or feel free to ask any more questions about it.We’re not just here to give advice. We love to hear your experiences too!

Will do, im sure many questions will be asked over beers throughout the season and will report back

ilolwhat - 04 September 2013 09:09 PM

I’m definitely going to take my CASI this winter while in whistler.

Same, quite high on my list of things to do. Let us know when you are, be good to compare notes…