Do I need to Speak Japanese ?
Courses are delivered in English, so reasonable fluency in English would be an distinct advantage. No Japanese language skills are required, however picking up a few basic phrases will make your stay much more fun and endear you to the locals
What level do I need to be to join a course ?
Instructor courses are designed to improve your skill sets to instructor certification levels. To reach these levels we recommend candidates should at least be comfortable on intermediate trails when they join the course. Course durations are set in consideration of the typical amount of training time to reach the required certification standards. Please get in touch if you are unsure if your skiing or riding level is sufficient to join an instructor certification course. Many candidates take advantage of pre-course training if they are not confident in their level or have not been on snow for some time.
Do I need to have teaching experience ?
No formal teaching experience is required. If you have experienced the satisfaction of helping someone learn something or improve their skills, then you will know why teaching can be so rewarding. Training will be provided to help you be able to present fun, safe, highly effective lessons.
How fit do I need to be ?
The fitter the better! The amazing snow and fun terrain are addictive and you will want to be out using your new found skills every day. If your fitness is not that great, you owe it to yourself to make an effort before the course begins so you can make the most of what the course and Niseko have to offer. We are happy to advise on a suitable fitness programme if required.
What training will I receive on the course
The instructor training course coaching is based around the concept of ‘efficiency of movements’. The premise is that there is no right or wrong way to ski or ride, but there is a continuum of efficiency of movement. The more efficient your movements (get your physics 101 book out) the easier it is to get down the hill, still standing and without too many face plants on the way down. Have you ever wondered how some people make it look sooooo easy? That’s how – efficiency of movements!
A variety of techniques are used to improve your efficiency of movement, including the introduction of the theory, lots of on-snow exercises, freestyle and powder coaching, video training, imagery training. Oh, and of course plenty of time throwing yourself around in Niseko’s famous soft powder!
By understanding efficiently of movements and with training on analysing your own and the movements of others, you will have a great basis from which to be able to formulate a cunning plan – the keystone of any highly effective and professional lesson. We will show you how to present a fun, safe and effective lesson that meets the goals of your students and keeps them coming back for more from their ‘guru on the snow’.
Where will I be staying ?
Accommodations are based in the ski village of Hirafu at the base of the largest of Niseko’s four linked ski resorts, Niseko Grand Hirafu. Hirafu is one of the liveliest ski resort villages in japan with plenty of bars, restaurants and shops.
Fast Track Internship candidates will initially stay in the village before moving to staff accommodations when they start work.
Can I book a single room ?
Our standard rates are based on twin share rooms, so a single supplement will apply.
If required plese request a single room when you send in your booking request.
What are the meal arrangements ?
Meals are at your own cost. Lunches will usually be taken on the mountain or near by, but bringing pack lunches is also an option. Accommodations have fully equipped kitchens if you want to prepare your own dinners, however eating out is big part of experiencing the local culture and enjoying your time in Japan, so we recommend you budget for some evening dining.
I wish to find my own accommodations . Can I still join a course ?
Sure, no problem! We are happy for candidates to source their own accommodation. We will discount the accommodation component from the course fees
Will I need a visa ?
For citizens of the UK, Australia and New Zealand, and many other countries a visitor’s visa will be issued on arrival in Japan, valid for at least 90 days. Citizens of some other countries may need to apply in advance for a visitors visa – read more here. Candidates on internship programs will need to apply for a working holiday Visa – read more here.
What are the snow conditions like ?
Niseko receives an average of over 14 meters of snow every winter season (18 meters in 2013-2014 season) – that’s more than double the average snowfalls in famous European resorts such as St Anton or Val d’Isere and 4 meters more than Whistler. It’s not just the amounts of snow that are amazing but the consistency of snowfall for regular pow days. Often it snows 28/29 out of 31 days in January!
What is the ski resort like ?
Niseko Hirafu is the largest of the four linked resorts that provide 45Km of runs accessed from 30 lifts/gondolas. The vertical drop is 900 Meters, with a mix of groomed piste and off-piste runs. There are many gated access points to some of the best ‘side country’ off-piste bowls and tree runs in Japan.
Do I need Insurance ?
Yes. We strongly recommend you take out comprehensive travel insurance to cover all eventualities whilst you are away from home. Japanese medical facilities are well funded and on par or in advance of Western counterparts. You will be expected to pay for any treatments received and claim a refund from your insurance provider. Please make sure you are covered for winter sports and in particular ‘off-piste’. The COVID situation is constantly evolving around the world and policies vary between countries, regions and even airlines. Please ensure your policy covers for any required treatments for COVID, potential isolation requirements, and potential loss of pre booked elements of the course you are joining.
What flight options are available ?
There are numerous options depending on your point of origin. If you are flying from Europe or Australasia, most flights will fly directly to either Tokyo or Osaka (close to Kyoto).
Direct flights are also available from Hong Kong, China, Korea, Russia and Guam – great if you are coming from the countries listed but if not and you are coming from Europe it presents another option if you want to stop in another country on the way.
What equipment should I bring ?
You will be required to ski or ride in a variety of conditions and terrain, from the beginner hill to deep snow in the off-piste. Versatile all mountain equipment is the best option. We are happy to help you find gear in Niseko as part of your orienation tour.
It snows a lot in Niseko, so bring good waterproof warm clothing (multiple layers are recommended). A helmet is also highly recommended. Goggles for low light conditions (rose tints seem to work best) will help you on the heavy snow days when visibility can be limited.
Do I need back country equipment ?
If you have your own avalanche transceiver, probe and shovel, please bring them with you as there is plenty of opportunity to head out into the side-country in Niseko, however this is not mandatory. Avalanche equipment will be made available during the 2-day avalanche course.