Ski Instructor Course with Guaranteed job?
This has to be one of the most popular options for a ski instructor course and why not? An entire season where you become qualified and start working for the ski school all before Christmas. It all sounds pretty fantastic, or does it?
We have an honest look at what it’s really like to do a Level 1 Ski Instructor Internship and some of the pitfalls to look out for.
This article also applies to SnowBoard Internships
Getting the Visa
First off you’re going to need a Visa that allows you to work in your chosen destination. Many countries have Working Holiday Visa’s and if you’re between 18 – 30 then your options are good. There is a typical amount of paperwork and process’s to follow but The Winter Sports is always on hand to help.
Canada has a lottery style system so even if you join the pool late you still have a chance of receiving a visa. Sadly this also means you may not receive one, so it’s good to have a back up plan. There are ways to improve your chances, like joining the visa pool the minute it opens. The more times your name is in the draw the more chances you have of getting an invite! You can also contact BUNAC, who not only give great advice but are also classed as a Recognised Organisation. Being RO means they have a limited number of Canadian visa’s available to their clients. There is an extra fee but if you want to guarantee a visa this is the best way to do it. Also by joining the RO system it can extend the age limit up to 35 for UK residents.
New Zealand for UK residents is very welcoming and there are no limits so you should always be able to get a visa if you are under 30 and fit the requirements.
Check out our Visa Page for more info:
Even though a Ski Internship package comes with a guaranteed job you will still need to have a successful interview with the ski school. Not everyone tells you this and although reasonably informal it’s good to be prepared. It will normally take place over the phone, 2-3 months before you arrive. The ‘interview’ is to make sure that your the right type of person to fit in with their school. Being that anyone applying for a Ski Instructor Internship is mad about skiing, wanting to instruct and super keen then this is rarely an issue. The Winter Sports team are always on hand to discuss and help prepare you for the interview.
Your First Weeks
You will typically be flying out for the very start of the season. Joining you will be any of the early ski instructor course clients and you will start your experience as part of a larger gang.
Training normally takes place over 3 weeks and finishes with your Level 1 exams, in Canada’s case all before Christmas.
During this period your accommodation and meal plan are covered as well as all other necessities such as lift pass and training. Extra time will be put aside to sort out any necessary paper work for your employment such as bank accounts and permits. Other than that it’s just like doing a normal Level 1 ski instructor course.
So this is where things start to get real, no time to sit back and relax! Having passed your Level 1, you will now be qualified as a ski instructor and be an official employee of the ski school. You will move into staff accommodation and have your work orientation and Ski school uniform provided.
With the Wintersports you will know from the beginning which resort you will be working at, with the majority of Interns qualifying and working in the same resort. The Ski school will then roster you into the work schedule and you will start taking your own groups. Average hours over the season are between 15 – 20 per week but are resort dependant, some weeks can be quiet and others super busy. This is a real job and you have to adhere to the ski school’s rules of conduct. If you keep turning up late don’t expect them to be sympathetic just because you are part of an internship program.
Well you may be swimming in Powder but you probably wont be in money! Entry Level Ski Instructors do not earn much, it’s as much an experience as it is a job. The work helps you to stay out on the mountain for the whole season, sure you’re working but you also have a good amount of free time.
Pay varies between resorts but in Canada is normally between 13-16$ for an entry level Ski Instructor. At the end of the month you should earn enough to cover your rent, food and basics, although that does depend on your lifestyle! When going for any Internship position it’s best to take some savings with you. Surviving on just your Ski Instructor wage can get a little boring although it is possible.
Staff accommodation can be simple but it’s warm, comfortable and most of all a lot of fun. Working and living with your fellow ski instructors makes for an amazing atmosphere but be prepared for limited personal space. Accommodation should be arranged by your internship provider before you arrive and at Winter Sports we always make sure this is the case.
- A guaranteed instructor job
- Fast track into the industry
- Gives you more on-the-job experience
- An entire season not just weeks
- Real life experience
- All important reference for future Ski Instructor employment
- Initial lower cost to join.
- You need a Working Visa – not always guaranteed
- Budgetting money
- Job commitments – can’t just take a day off if the powder is great that day or you enjoyed yourself a bit too much the night before!
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