A snowboard instructor teaches snowboarding techniques to people of all ages, abilities, and experience levels. He or she may work at a ski resort or snowboarding school, or provide lessons on a private, contracted basis. Most instructors offer both one-on-one lessons and group training courses. Many snowboard instructors work part time or seasonal hours, using the money earned from giving lessons to supplement their income from other jobs.
Many snowboard instructors focus on teaching beginning and intermediate riders. An instructor may inform a class of beginners or an individual student about choosing the appropriate equipment, maintaining the safety of one's self and others, and practicing basic techniques. Fundamental abilities such as learning to balance and stop are often taught at the beginning of training programs. The instructor usually rides alongside new students to help them hone basic skills and build confidence.
Instructors who work with more advanced students are usually very skilled snowboarders who can identify problems and opportunities for improvement in a person's form. An advanced instructor maintains the focus on safety while fine-tuning a rider's technique and style. He or she may videotape a snowboarder in action, and replay the tape to diagnose small problems. Through example and oral instruction, the teacher explains the issue to the student and monitors his or her progress. Often, an advanced snowboard instructor will specialize by teaching a particular type of riding, such as freestyle, half pipe, or downhill.
To work as a snowboard instructor, a person must typically become certified by completing training courses and passing exams administered by a nationally accredited institution. In the United States, snowboard instructor training and certification are facilitated by the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (AASI). Training may last anywhere from four weeks to two years, depending on the level of certification a teacher wants to obtain. Level one certification qualifies a snowboard instructor to teach beginners, level two allows a professional to work with intermediate riders, and level three grants an expert the privilege of training advanced athletes. Many other countries have certification requirements similar to those set by the AASI for new instructors.
Due to the increasing popularity in the sport, there is a strong need for qualified snowboard instructors around the world. Beginners rely on skilled instructors to provide them with accurate information about basic techniques and safety. More advanced riders can benefit greatly from instructors' tips and advice on form and style. With enough experience, some people choose to lead snowboard instructor training programs, where they educate new instructors on how to teach snowboarding skills to others.