WHY AND HOW TO BECOME A SKI INSTRUCTOR

03. June 2018

What do you need to know if you are thinking about doing the training for a ski instructor? This article will tell you why our slogan is “Skiing is the best job in the world!” and give you the answers to your questions.
It will tell you all you need to know about the system in the snow sports instructing industry.

Why would you want to become a ski instructor?

Here are some common answers from instructors:

-          Because I LOVE skiing.

-          Because I’m outgoing and I love working with kids.

-          Because I like to be in the mountains and breathe fresh air all the time.

-          Because I like meeting a lot of new and interesting people.

-          Because I have been skiing since I can remember and this is the best job I can imagine for myself.

-          Because it’s better to ski all day than to sit in an office.

 

The first reason should be something from above and then you can start thinking about:

-          The generally good salary (especially if you compare it to other starting jobs for a young person).

-          The fact that ski instructors get a lot of admiration and attention in the resorts.

-          The fact that skiing all season will keep you in good physical condition.

-          The fact that you can do what you love the most and get paid for it, etc.

-          That you will travel more and get to explore ski resorts all over the world.

-          It will widen your horizons like nothing else!

What skills does an instructor need to have?

GOOD RIDING SKILLS: A ski instructor needs to be a good skier. You should be at least an average skier before you do the ski instructor’s training and build your technique from there.
OUTGOING PERSONALITY: It helps a lot if you are an outgoing and chatty person. The best ski instructors are good in animating kids and showing them a really good time on the slopes.
EVERYTHING EXTRA: Knowledge of foreign languages, empathy, kindness, experience in other sports instructing, being professional and punctual, etc.


I want to become a ski instructor, how do I start?

It depends where you are from. Most of the world’s skiing countries have associations that are the governing body for all the certifications in the snow sports instructing. There are countries that divide skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing.
Some countries have more than one certification system. You can find the systems of different countries in Snow Recruiter’s
“Certification systems” page.

There are many organizations that offer ski instructor’s trainings. Ask for the governing body of the certification that is going to be the result of your training.

Usually there are several levels of certifications and additional “modules” that you can do extra or they are already included into the program. You should make sure that your chosen certification system is in one of the international institutions.

ISIA – International ski instructors association

ISIA is an organization that connects 39 countries in the standards of their highest qualified ski (and snowboard) instructors.
What is that in real life? When you get to the highest level of certification in your organization (that is a member of ISIA) you will be able to obtain ISIA mark or ISIA card and work in any of the co-member countries without anybody asking what kind of training did you go through and doubt if your riding skills are good enough.

MoU – Memorandum of understanding

MoU was signed by 11 countries. Its goal is to recognize the professional ski instructors who have successfully completed the nationals trainings to the highest level plus Eurotest (GS race) and the Eurosecurite test which is a ski guide/ freeride course.
*You can work in France and Italy (some regions) only with their national certification or MoU.

IFSI – International federation of snowsport instructors

IFSI is connecting 21 countries standards not just for fully certified, but also for lower level instructors. That means you can work in these countries even if you are not fully certified.

 

JUST A GAP YEAR IDEA OR A CAREER POSSIBILITY?

GAP YEAR: All you need is the first level of certification in the country where you would like to spend your gap year and you don’t need a lot of skills and be very experienced.
CAREER: The better skiers who do it long term continue the training and get higher qualifications while instructing.

Mostly all ski schools need both: lower and higher qualification instructors for different clients. Higher certification results in higher paycheck.

 

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET CERTIFIED?

The training for each level usually lasts for about a week. It consists of theory of snow sports and practical part on the snow. After passing the exam you normally have to do an internship.
It is wise to do the instructors training in the beginning of the season so you have the time to finish everything and can progress to the next level at the start of the next season.
So yes, it takes some time to get trained, certified and experienced enough to teach independently but it pays back quickly – not only in money but also in the enjoyment of your new profession!

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

The cost depends on the organization, location and level of training.
Just remember: it will pay back if you plan to do it for at least one season and it's a good second job opportunity at any time in your future.

CAN I START TEACHING RIGHT AWAY?

Yes, you can. As soon as you complete your training and get your certification (some trainings include internship offer that will lead you to your next job).

HOW DO I FIND JOBS WHEN I AM CERTIFIED?

You are welcome to register on Snow Recruiter and apply for jobs!

Here are the job vacancies right now!

Ski schools can contact you through the portal or you will be recruited by your friends who are already working as ski instructors.

THE START OF YOUR SKI INSTRUCTING CAREER

When you actually start working on snow, you will probably start with teaching beginners – lots of fun, but not much distance skiing. If the managers will see that you are a good skier, you will be upgraded to higher level clients. You will have more choices after gathering some experiences and upgrading your certification. Like in any career out there.

Bigger ski schools have divided their business into two main groups: children and adults (and “private” which contains both). It depends what suits you better.

Hint: there is more work in the children’s department.

So don’t hesitate to enroll in a ski instructor training program – you will not regret it!

Skiing is the best job in the world!

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