This post is all about forthcoming changes in ski instructor qualifications, so if you are not an instructor or planning to become one it might all sound a bit complicated. Hopefully it will be of some use to those choosing an instructor or ski school as well.
The International Ski Instructor Association (ISIA) has been setting minimum standards for ski instructor qualifications for some time now. These standards are pretty high, and to be awarded a qualification with the ISIA Stamp is an achievement that usually takes several years. This stamp represents the top or next to top level in the various national sytems, e.g. BASI Ski Teacher, CSIA 3, PSIA 3 or NZSIA 2. For a more detailed explanation of ski instructor qualification levels see this post.
Up to now, the ISIA has never recognised any other qualifications, either higher or lower. This has made it dificult to compare qualifications from different countries, and have them recognised properly when working around the world. Many European countries have a top qualification that is significantly more demanding than the ISIA stamp, which they consider to be a middle level. Each system also has one or more entry level qualifications which are generally similar in standard to one another but which have no international recognition.
Earlier this year, the ISIA proposed a new three tier ISIA stamp system. This will retain the current ISIA stamp as the middle level. The new levels will be as follows:
Entry Level - for "non professional ski teachers" and entitled to hold the national association stamp. This is likely to be similar to BASI Level 2 Instructor, CSIA 2, PSIA 2 or NZSIA 1.
The 2nd Level - "the first step for Professional Ski Teachers" Recognised by the ISIA as meeting the Minimum Standards, entitled to the ISIA Stamp. This should be similar to current ISIA stamp qualifications.
The Top Level - Fully qualified Ski Teacher. At this level the curriculum must include a speed test and a mountain safety module. Entitled to the ISIA Card. This is likely to be at the level of the top European qualifications such as the BASI ISTD, French Diplome National, Italian Maestro etc.
Hopefully when these levels are established internationally it will put an end to any uncertainty about how various qualifications relate to each other, and make it easier for qualified instructors to work around the world. It might also make it easier for customers to choose an instructor.