Waking up to mountain views and fresh snow every day doesn’t sound like a typical day in the office, but it could be your new 9 to 5.
Becoming a ski instructor is one of the most rewarding and life-altering things a person can experience, and there’s no better place to start than Niseko, Japan.
Located within the Niseko Volcanic Group in Hokkaido and compromising of four inter-connected resorts, the aptly named Niseko United is ranked as one of the best ski areas in the world. With an exciting range of tree runs, easily accessible off-piste, wide powder bowls and diverse terrain parks, skiing here will never become monotonous. Niseko also boasts multiple long runs (including a 900m vertical), and boasts the biggest half-pipe in the region; it’s no wonder Niseko is host to a variety of FIS (Federation of International Snowboarding) events.
The only thing more alluring to ski fanatics than its terrain is Niseko’s renowned slackcountry/backcountry. If you’re not keen for the hike, you can catch a snowcat or helicopter to some of the best powder you can imagine. Seasonal winds obtaining moisture from the Sea of Japan create optimum conditions for snow cloud formation at Niseko, allowing 15 metres of light, dry snowfall on average annually. On the flipside, the weather during winter remains pretty grey (you can’t get snow like that with constant blue skies), but Niseko is equipped with three separate gondolas and hooded lift chairs to handle any weather situation.
However, the best thing about Niseko isn’t the pow or diversity of runs- it’s the night skiing. The mountain maintains the largest lit area in the country, with the light shining through the trees creating a whole different skiing atmosphere. Lifts stay open until 8:30pm every night of the week, from mid- December to late March; so you have plenty of time to shred under the stars when you are not working on your internship.
Need further persuasion?
Niseko is also known for its vibrant village life, and has a huge range of activities, restaurants, bars (check out Hirafu for late-night drinking), and surprisingly good shopping on offer. There are natural hot springs (onsens) to soak your aching body in after a long day of skiing, too! Niseko makes it easy to live a big mountain lifestyle while you become an instructor. Internship courses in particular are perfectly poised to take advantage of this nightlife. Grouping you with a bunch of other interesting and outgoing people who are always keen for a beer, game of pool or a late night dance.
There’s no need to fear the language barrier, either, as most of the staff are English- speaking and all signage on the mountain is bilingual. Plus, you could take the opportunity to expand your skills off the snow too, and learn some Japanese if you’re that way inclined.
Put yourself on the path to becoming a fully-qualified ski instructor: you’ll not only provide yourself with an amazing way of life and skills for a dream career, but you’ll be giving others much-needed alpine enjoyment.
If you’re sick of the everyday and looking for a change, do yourself (and your mental health) a favour- get qualified on the slopes of Niseko.
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Author Credit to Jessica Ansell.