How to become a ski instructor in South Korea: Korean Ski Instructor Certification
If you’ve been to a ski area, you have probably noticed those people with cool uniforms and outstanding skills on the snow. Most of those people are ski instructors or have had experience in teaching skiing. The rigorous training ski instructors go through allows them to look so stunning on the slopes.
If you want to learn more about becoming a ski instructor in Korea and what the process of getting a Korean ski instructor certification is like, this blog post is for you!
Korean ski instructor certifications are issued by the Korean Sports Association, Korean Ski Resort Association, and Korean Ski Instructors Association (KSIA). KSIA is the only association that is recognized by the International Ski Instructor Association.
KSIA issues level 1, level 2, and level 3 certifications and selects 20 demonstrators that represent the Korean Ski Instructor Association every year.
To be a ski instructor, the level 1 certification is the first certification you must get. Applications are frequently held at multiple ski areas during January and February. There are many application opportunities throughout the winter season, so you are often able to get a time and day that works best for you. A trained level 3 examiner conducts the process, and you will be tested on your ski instruction practices, understanding of ski skills, and practical skills such as snowplow turns, stem turns, basic long turns, and basic short turns.
You will get scored for each category, and those who get an average score of above 70 will pass the level 1 certification, the first step to starting your journey as a ski instructor.
You must have the level 1 certification to apply for the level 2 certification. There is an annual level 2 test between the end of February and the beginning of March that lasts for 2 nights and 3 days. The first day consists of an opening ceremony and theoretical lecture, the second day includes a practical test on snow for three skills and a theoretical test, and the third day will test the other three practical skills.
Theoretical tests are conducted through written tests that test your knowledge on skiing techniques, ski mechanics, ski injuries, and teaching methods. You can pass with an average of 60 points, so the passing rate of the theoretical test is relatively high.
For the practical skills, you will be tested on stem turns, progressive long turns, gate, standard short turns, combination turns, and mogul (bump). Five judges will score you, and the highest and lowest scores will be removed from the average, so your final score will consist of the three middle scores. Every year, about 800 contestants apply and 15% to 25% of applicants pass the test. The level 2 certification is not considered to be an easy certification.
Like the level 2 certification, you must have the level 2 certification to apply for the level 3 certification, and there is one annual application that happens a week before the level 2 tests. You must pass both the ski run test (1st part) and the teaching/oral exam (2nd part).
The level 3 ski run test is conducted at the same time as the annual Ski Skill Championship. The qualifying round tests your carving long turns, combination turns, and short mid-performance. The quarterfinal round tests five skills which include mogul and gate turns. To pass the practical exam, you must get an average score of at least 90 points on turns, combination turns, short mid-performance, and mogul and also be in the top 75% for gate. On average, if you place 150th out of approximately 600 applicants, you can get the level 3 certification. However, getting above 150th place is not easy because you are competing alongside Korean representative demonstrators and other level 3 certification holders.
Once you pass the ski run test, you can go on to the teaching/oral exam. The judges and approximately 5 other test takers will be with you on the snow. The judges will look at your safety, skiing, and technical analysis skills. You will also have to pass tricky tests such as communication skills and technical demonstration skills. Every year, about 10 to 20 applicants get the level 3 certification. During the 19/20 season, 17 people passed the test.
These KSIA level certifications are accredited by Canada, the United States, Australia, and many countries in Europe that are a part of the ISIA. If you are interested in starting a career as a ski instructor or to test your skills, trying for the ski instructor certification may be your perfect next step!
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