If you’re serious about training and qualifying as a ski instructor you’ve probably noticed there are a multitude of different course options to choose from. Some providers offer training only, others offer training and qualification and some include all of the above, but with the addition of guaranteed job once qualified!
Without doubt the easiest way to transition into working as a ski instructor is to look towards a ski instructor course with a guaranteed instructor job offer. Sometimes referred to as a ski instructor internship, these courses are the most popular, and for good reason.
Ski instructor internships usually kick off at the very start of the winter season. There are a couple of reasons for this, firstly it means trainees get to maximise the length of the season and be in resort for longer. Secondly, the ski schools are able to offer employment to the newly qualified instructors in time for the busy and lucrative Christmas period.
The courses generally start towards the back end of November or early December, depending on location. As with most level 1 training courses, there is 3 weeks of instructor training followed by a 3-5 day exam.
We look for candidates with at least 4 weeks of ski experience, you should be a comfortable parallel skier on both intermediate and advanced terrain.
The job guarantee is offered on the provision that you pass the level 1 exam. We’re confident, with such a high pass rate, that our selection process and comprehensive on-snow training package is unrivalled in the industry.
Once certified, you can expect to have some in-house and additional training within the ski school, but largely you’ll be ready and raring to start your new instructor job.
Working as a ski instructor is often viewed as being one of the most sought after and satisfying jobs around. When compared with other resort employment it certainly stands out. It allows you the freedom to be on the snow everyday, to enjoy the best snow conditions, improve your skills, and meet new people from all walks of life.
As a newly qualified (Rookie) ski instructor, your job will be quite varied. You can expect to teach basic beginner lessons to a mixture of children and adults. The lessons could be in a private or group setting with the duration anywhere between 1-3 hours per session. Some clients may book lessons for full and consecutive days, which is a great way to build up a rapport and really bond with them.
A typical day usually starts at 8:30am with morning line up and roll call. Morning lessons are issued to the instructors and run between 9:00am-12:00pm. Instructors then get an hour for lunch before afternoon lessons are issued and run between 1:00pm-4:00pm.
The majority of ski instructors are paid on an hourly basis for the lessons that they teach. Generally there is also a slightly different base rate of pay when in work but not actually teaching lessons. On rare occasions you might find a school that offers a guaranteed amount of teaching hours, but this is not the norm. It can be difficult for ski schools to forecast workload due to conditions, peak and off peak periods and last minute bookings.
Realistically, working as a first season instructor is not a move that is going to allow you much of a disposable income. However, it is important to remember that the job offer is only the starting point. As with going to university, or qualifying for another trade, you will always start at the bottom, and with time and experience will work your way up. Wages are usually enough to look after yourself in resort, to cover any staff accommodation costs and living expenses.
You can learn more about instructor wages here.
It is important to understand what the guaranteed job offer entails and what benefits a course like this provides:
An offer of employment before you arrive – Positions for many ski resort jobs are competitive and highly sought after. First season instructor employment is unheard of, unless you qualify through an instructor internship programme. What’s better than the security of having a paid job lined up in a reputable ski school, your accommodation organised and a guaranteed wage to look forward to before you even start the course?!.
Real time instructor experience – The employment component of the instructor internship is a fantastic opportunity to experience what life is like as an instructor, and for many it will be the first steps into a rewarding career in snowsports. Rest assured you will be supported throughout the process and quickly adapt to the new work/life balance.
A longer season – The majority of ski instructor training courses run between 4-12 weeks in duration, whereas an internship runs for up to 5 months! Most people want to max out the time they can spend in resort and enjoy the benefits of a full winter season, not just a limited number of weeks.
Networking – The snowsports industry is a small and tight knit community. Instructors are often offered employment for future seasons based on connections they have made whilst working in the role. The employment phase of an instructor internship is a fantastic way to network and give yourself a great chance of future job opportunities.
Every instructor course and snowsports school has slightly different employment/contract terms. The main differences (and what to ask about) are: Length of contract, part or full time employment and the remuneration package. You might be expected to complete a resort interview pre-course and adhere to the terms laid out in any job descriptions or employment contracts.
There are many great resort destinations around the world where you can complete the instructor internship course. It is a fantastic opportunity for gap year students (school and university leavers) to do something constructive with their time post study. The courses are also very popular with those looking to complete a sabbatical or a complete change of career. The most sought after destinations tend to be Canada and Japan. Canada for its laid-back lifestyle, world class tree skiing and larger resorts. Japan for its famed snowfall, culture, friendly society and its growing popularity on the international snowsports scene.
You can learn more about our ski instructor courses with guaranteed jobs by checking if you’re eligible on our website.