The Season Workers Guide: Ski Instructor Courses to Avoid

This is the second in a series of help articles for anyone considering a ski instructor course as part of a gap year or new career. The series is brought to you in conjunction with Educating Adventures, a leading snow sports training organisation. You can read other sections in the snowsports training series here.

What to avoid / watch out for

The main focus of this guide is to show you the inside secrets of the ski & snowboard industry in order to provide you with a smooth entry into your field of choice. For this reason the first mistake you can make is signing up for a program that will not guarantee you a job! Most programs provide great training and certification opportunities. However, many fall short when it comes to ‘real’ on the job experience or even better – a job as an instructor for the full season. It IS possible to have minimal experience and come through a program having obtained an instructing qualification (or two!) as well as a job instructing - all in the same season. This is the ultimate set up and you should not settle for anything less if this is your goal.

Don't pay over the odds for your course

Compare program options to determine what is on offer and the components included in the package price. As commented on above it is important to lay out the program options you are looking at, including all the inclusions and exclusions. It is more important to look at what you want out of a program rather than a price you want to pay. Some programs will offer on the job training AND the chance to earn money which will help offset the amount you pay upfront.

Look out for hidden costs

You do not want to get caught short when funding your training program. As there are many costs involved we advise drawing up a budget. Be sure to include all costs - program fees, flights, insurance, equipment and living costs. And include income you will earn if doing an internship program. You will find a helpful budget planner at the back of this guide to help you in your planning.

Have a good look into the course venue

The location you are going to is one of the most important factors to consider! If you want to ski or ride deep powder, hit up great parks, or get your tree skiing fix then you should ensure the destination you choose will offer the best chance of this. You should talk to others who have been there, look at photos or videos and consider other resorts that are close by to where you will be training or working.

The best way to learn, improve and develop your skiing or snowboarding skills is ‘on the job’ experience. It is for this reason that many qualification organisations do not allow people to sit more than one certificate level without practical instructional work experience. Working as an instructor also provides valuable experience for any job you may go on to do. A written reference from an employer at an international Snow Sports School will go a long way to assist here.

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