Off-Piste ski instructor qualifications
There are loads of qualifications from all over the world, and there is no doubt that there are a lot of excellent systems out there training ski instructors.
But here in Verbier there is a really important rule that anyone who teaches off-piste has to be a Brevet Federal.
What does that mean?
Well, it basically means that the instructor has to be top level qualified in the Swiss system.
There are a lot of ways for instructors to reach this very high level, some might study through the entire Swiss system in French or Italian or German.
Others might complete another system like the British or New Zealand system then convert by sending their paperwork to the Swiss Government. And some might start in one system then switch to the Swiss system part-way through.
But whichever route they take, a ski instructor with the Brevet has trained and taught for years, passing the very highest exams and learning everything their is to know about their industry – especially the mountain-craft and the law that surrounds off-piste skiing.
But the key thing is that without the Brevet Federal – and without the special authorisation you need to apply for after you qualify – you can’t teach off-piste.
Swiss law is very clear about who can do what. And no Brevet means no off-piste teaching.
Are there some grey areas?
Well, a few, but the trouble with any grey area is the risk that comes with it. And there are a huge range of restrictions.
The simple rule is that to do off-piste you should always book a Brevet Federal, unless you specifically have a low risk plan that’s agreed with the ski school. And that means there are a huge number of restrictions on where you can ski, the terrain and steepness of the slopes you ski, the altitude you can go to and quite often how that would effect your insurance too – not to mention the ski school’s.
So what dos that mean at Element?
At Element we have a highly trained team, with 50% already holding the Brevet Federal and the others all actively training towards this final level.
But we don’t stop once we get it though. We run regular internal training for our off-piste team, and we are also all in constant contact discussing everything from conditions on the mountain to where the good snow is to changes in the law.
So that means when you book an off-piste lesson with us you can do it in complete confidence, in the knowledge that you’re in the very safe hands of a professional who knows the rules and regulations (as well the mountain and the conditions) inside out.