We've had some great feedback from previous courses over the years.
Please let the testimonials scroll through to see what past trainees have to say...
"I joined the Niseko Academy training programme a little late for Winter 2010, but Brian made me feel welcome straight away, and seemed willing to move heaven and earth to make sure I had a good time. We were a mixed crew, boys and girls from 17 to 46, skiers and snowboarders, and based in the same (amazing) chalet, and all got along well.
The riding in Niseko is awesome (this was a return trip to the resort for me). The ambiance is pretty relaxed, and we would meet up (skiers and boarders) and hit the park or just shred before and after our training. Both Brian and Keith love the mountains and it really shows in their lessons. Despite the serious business of teaching us how to teach, they both made sure we had fun, too, with impromptu 'use the mountain terrain' competitions, and ripping the pow after the biggest dumps. Teaching-wise, the guys know their stuff; they bring your riding on as well as making sure you can construct a lesson, use video analysis techniques, and make you practice lessons on your peers!
We weren't just in the one place either - we also had a few away days. One was to the amazing Snow Festival in Sapporo (think the biggest snow sculptures you've ever seen), and then there were the trips to the neighbouring resorts, Moiwa and Rusutsu, just to play in the powder between the trees. When I left my riding had come on leaps and bounds, and I had even qualified! If you're looking for something beyond the normal, a bit of adventure whilst qualifying as an instructor, I can thoroughly recommend these guys. And did anyone mention that Niseko is the most consistently snowy resort in the World?"
"As a very mature candidate for Niseko Academy, and a very intermediate skier, it was with some trepidation that I booked this ski instructor course. At every stage however, Brian took time to answer my questions and allay my fears. Once in Niseko, personal attention to detail ensured that we all had a most enjoyable and productive time. With students of varying abilities and with very different learning styles, the Trainers' professionalism was challenged and found not to be wanting. The course was tailored to meet our individual needs. The avalanche training course was an enlightening addition to an already full timetable.
Away from the pistes, our accommodation was first class; modern, beautifully furnished and equipped with the height of modern Japanese household technology. The personal touch extended to supermarket shopping trips (great fun when everybody is keen to try different things), a trip to the Sapporo Ice Festival and various restaurant visits. All this gave us a real taste of Japanese culture."
"I had a really great time participating on this ski instructing course. It had everything that I needed: learning how to ski properly, how to teach, drinking and socialising with friends, and spending time in the Japanese hot springs in my free time.
The dedication and seriousness everyone took towards improving their skiing skills is one of the major reasons why the course especially suited me. Before the course begun, I had very minimal experience in skiing, but as everyone was so focused on the learning at hand, it gave me confidence in improving my own skiing skills.
The course was very physically intensive, and I felt my body crying for the first week! But this was quickly overcome by the enjoyment and satisfaction that I felt from the course. The course trained me not only physically and mentally, but also has taught me the importance of safety for myself and others in something as intense and potentially dangerous as skiing. The experiences that I have garnered from this course are ones that I will treasure and reflect upon in my day-to-day life. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and am extremely thankful for these experiences."
"I achieved my SBINZ Snowboard Certificate Level One and Two through Niseko Academy during the 2009-2010 northern hemisphere winter. After picking up the snowboard during a school snow trip when I was 15 years old, I have always wanted to pursue some sort of career in the snowsport industry. I had a lot of friends asked me for tips, which made me think it would be a great idea for me to become an instructor. I wanted to spend a season in Japan after hearing about the amount of snow they receive each year and hopped on to Google on what was on offer in the land of the rising sun.
Niseko Instructor Training Academy was on the top of my list as they offered the whole package, all at a very reasonable cost! From the start of the course to the end, Brian and Ari made me feel at home and there was always a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. I was fortunate enough to have met new friends and great characters and learnt so much about the Japanese culture. The course allowed us a lot of flexibility for us to do what we wanted such as exploring the Niseko United resorts, snowmobiling, hiking backcountry, travelling to Sapporo for the ice festival, cultural experiences, as well as partying till the cows came home. We had experienced instructors who were very clear and precise when explaining and demonstrating exercises, as well as pointing out common mistakes and improving our riding skills. Although there were serious aspects to the whole course such as the training and examinations, the crew from Niseko Academy made the whole process very exciting, humorous and motivating.
I am still in contact with the friends I have met during the course and will head back to Niseko any chance I get. Big thank you to Brian and Ari, Stubbsy and Ricky for giving me a memorable experience."
"Having skied for over 15 years I considered myself pretty competent and was unsure how I would find the NZ course format and standard. In reality, the learning experience was absolutely fantastic. The NZ programme breaks skiing down into simple elements and the coaches at the Academy manage the class well so that everyone is being pushed and learning fast. My skiing is now very different and I'm a much more capable all-round skier. The insight I gained into efficient technique is so rewarding and something I can take with me for the rest of my days on snow. In addition to the coaching, Niseko Academy provide great support in making the most of your time in Japan. Having lived and skied there for years, they are a wealth of information and happy to share it.
The Japanese powder experience really blew my mind. It is deep and light beyond your wildest dreams. Having coaches offer advice on where to go and how to improve was a huge benefit to reap the rewards. I loved my time there and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who loves being on the snow."
"I was interested in becoming a snowboard instructor and wanted to take a year off from school and do some travelling too. When I found out about Niseko Academy I knew it was the perfect programme for me. I was almost instantly sold, what better way to get instructor training than in the worlds' best powder and be able to experience one of the worlds' richest cultures?
The instructor course was one of the best decisions of my life. Not only did I become a qualified instructor, but I became a much stronger rider and a more technically sound snowboarder. The Trainers were very nice and highly skilled at what they do. Niseko is a great area, it has a small ski town feel with Japanese culture and is not to far from the bigger cities like Otaru and Sapporo, plus it's right at the bottom of the ski resort. Living in Hirafu was a great experience, I had lots of fun times going to onsens, eating some great food, meeting lots of interesting people (partying), and riding the deepest powder ever. I will definitely be coming back again."
"After travelling on the inaugural 2011 Powder Detours trip with Keith and Brian I knew there was no better place or people to train with to become a snowboard instructor. Not only are they the best at what they do on the snow fields, they make sure you feel at home as soon as you arrive and are more than happy to help out in any way possible to make your stay is best experince possible. Then there is the mountain itself; the snow is bottomless, almost lighter than air and barely a day goes by when you aren't making fresh tracks. Somehow towards the end though, you start wishing for at least one bluebird day!
Doing the 13 week work placement programme gave me so many advantages. Having real life teaching experience made the exams a breeze, as well as opening huge work opportunities by giving me a foot in the door with ski schools here in Niseko. It also gave me extremely valuable work experince needed to apply for other ski schools around the world. So if you get the chance sign up for the 13 week course, you will not regret it... I cannot speak highly enough of the experience you will have training with Brian and Keith, so much so I will be returning next season to train to get my Ski Certification and also work for the ski school I did my work experience with!"