Thinking About Becoming A Ski Instructor?

If you’re looking for a change, or wondering if being a ski instructor could be for you, you may want to know what a typical day might look like. In this blog, one of our Panorama interns gives us an insight into the day in the life of a ski instructor.

Training As A Ski Instructor

Don’t Snooze 

I set my alarm for 6:30 most days, which is a small sacrifice to pay for living the dream, I guess (you could start later, but you’d miss the morning session!!). The bus to the hill is just after 7, and after a 25-minute commute to the mountain…. caffeine. The commute is usually worth staying awake for. The views are fantastic. I typically meet other instructors for coffee in the morning; we don’t rush ourselves. Early morning in a ski resort is pretty special, and as an instructor, we get some pretty cool privileges, VIP access if you like.

 

Morning Session

My favourite part of the day, without a doubt. At 8:30, ski instructors load the chairlift 30 minutes before officially opening to the public…. first tracks and empty slopes!! This is our chance to train. We load as a group, and a training team member will deliver a session on anything from short turns to new concepts around teaching. Sometimes, we just ski, especially if it’s a POW day! The best snow, empty slopes and learning to ski better. Oh, and the sunrise over the mountains can be pretty spectacular! The best way to start the day.

ski instructors in a circle with an instructor

Teaching In the Ski School

Morning Lineup

At 9:15, all instructors meet at the base of our learning area for the morning meeting and lineup. This is where we’re given our lesson allocation for the day. Sometimes, you’ll already know in advance. The ski school leadership team talks us through the daily news of snow reports, lesson schedules, and special mentions. Often a last-minute uniform check. This can be a hectic part of the day as guests begin to arrive in what feels like a never-ending flow of people ready to take a lesson. Once your lesson arrives, you’ll be off for the day starting at 9:30.

 

AM Lessons

The day is split into AM and PM sessions, but you’re good to go if you’re teaching a full-day lesson. 9:30 to 12 is the morning lesson runtime. Each day is different, and you’ll rarely teach the same lesson over and over. You’ll teach groups, private’s, adults, kids or seasonal programs. Every instructor finds their niche, but expect to teach it all! Every day on the mountain is different, and it can be a challenge, particularly on the -25 or rainy days, but when a great team surrounds you, and you’re battling out there together, the energy is always high! I always say the worst day on the mountain is better than your best day in the office.

 

Poutine For Lunch

Maybe not poutine every day, but definitely coffee. Generally, an hour for lunch. If you’ve worked to sell some requested private lessons, it’s not uncommon for your guests to take you out for lunch—a real win. Otherwise, most instructors will hang out together in one of the coffee shops or the day lodge. The real enthusiasts can sneak in a few runs before the afternoon lineup.

 

Afternoon Lineup And PM Lessons

Like the AM, we meet briefly to discuss any issues during the morning and then move on to your PM lesson. It’s not uncommon for guests to book lessons on the day. PM lessons run from 1 to 3:30, and you’re pretty whacked after 5 hours of teaching. The afternoon is your opportunity to highlight your students’ development and give them some direction moving forward. If done correctly, you may sell a requested private lesson with the same students the following day, which means more $ for you!

Perks Of The Job

End Of The Day Tear Down And Staff Ski

Once the PM and full-day lessons are wrapped up, all instructors take 5 minutes to quickly tear down and pack up the ski school meeting area: flags, fences, ski racks, etc. Another sweet perk of the job is that once the tear-down is complete, most instructors get together to go for some fun laps at the end of the day before lifts close at 4. Your ski pass comes with the job, so you can use it even when you’re not working. We usually squeeze in 2 or 3 laps before close.

 

Après

A quick hot tub with a beverage doesn’t go a miss, especially on super cold days. We’ll often jump in the hot tubs located in the resort before heading off. Having a quick one in the bar is also a right of passage. We usually have an hour or so before the bus takes us back into town, so it’s a time for après, or if you’re sensible, you’ll get a quick tune on the skis ready for tomorrow. A Guide to Ski Servicing

 

Evening Activities 

One of the best things about working as a ski instructor is the community and people you share the season with. Most evenings, we will have dinner at a friend’s house or a few drinks at the local bar. The best part of what you’ve just heard…you get to do it all again tomorrow!

night time scene of ski resort with slopes in the background

FAQs

Have a read through some of our Frequently Asked Questions. If you have any other queries, please reach out us!

What Do You Need To Be A Ski Instructor?

All you need is a level 1 certification and a job offer! Once you’re certified as a Level 1, you can start working. Look at the Winter Sports Company if you’re interested in becoming certified as an instructor or taking a training course.

Can You Make A Living As A Ski Instructor?

You absolutely can! It’s not conventional, but instructors worldwide make a living chasing winter. You can work a summer job and then teach skiing during the winter. The higher your level of certification, the more opportunities you have to earn more money.

Is It Hard To Find Work As A Ski Instructor?

Business levels fluctuate throughout the season, so there are dips. Finding employment with a ski school is pretty easy; ski schools always look for more instructors! If you’re interested in working for a ski school, consider applying months before the winter begins. The higher your certification level, the easier it is to find work.

How Hard Is It To Be A Ski Instructor?

It’s not easy; it requires training, and it’s a professional job; however, with the right training, you’re given all the tools to prepare you to succeed. Please take a look at our instructor internships or instructor training programs!

How Long Does It Take To Train To Become A Ski Instructor?

So long as you have a reasonable starting point, you could be ready to go in just a few weeks. Most people take an instructor training course to set them up for success.