Ski Internship Vs. Course – The Big Debate

The popularity of ski instructor internships has soared in the last few years and its always a difficult decision trying to decide which is the best path to follow, Course or Internship. One gives you a fantastic season on the snow with all the focus on training and having fun, the other comes with the responsibility of that all important guaranteed job. This article will help answer some questions we often get asked about internships and ski instructor courses – and hopefully help you decide.

1) What is the difference?

Ski internship or course – you’re all part of the same team!

Not so much in the first few weeks!   When you start an internship,  you take part in one of our 3 week Level-1 instructor courses. You’ll receive all the same benefits as those on a regular course (hotel accommodation, meals, lift pass etc) – as well as being introduced to your new employer. The only real difference is during the first few weeks you’ll be set up with a bank account and Social Insurance Number. Once you have taken the level 1 ski instructor exam this is where things start to change. You’ll first move into staff accommodation and shortly after start working for the ski school with your guaranteed job. Once in staff accommodation, you then begin paying rent for your room and purchase your own meals.
On a long course, after the level 1 exam you remain in the hotel and continue to train towards Level-2. You’re still on the meal plan and all main costs are covered so you only need to budget for your extra spends, this all means no worries and just time on the slopes skiing with your course buddies.

2) Is it cheaper to do an internship or a course? 

The upfront cost of a ski instructor internship is cheaper than a typical 11 week course but you have to think about what your getting overall.

A full season ski internship costs £5400, whereas an 11 week ski instructor course costs £7725.

The price difference is £2325 but that covers your  accommodation, meal plan and weekly coaching package for the remaining 8 weeks of your stay.

For the intern things are a little different. Once working the intern is responsible for paying for accommodation and meals, this cost is usually between £500 – £1000 per month, depending on your accommodation and choice in food. So at the end of the 11 weeks those on the course and those on the internship have pretty much paid out the same amount of money. The bonus for the interns is they didn’t have to pay for it up front and after the 11 weeks they still get to stay on and work and ski until the end of the season.

3) I’m on a Gap Year, what looks better on my university and job applications? 

Both a ski instructor internship and course will give you a head start on applications. You receive professional ski tuition on both, and have the opportunity to come away with an internationally recognised qualification. The only difference is that on an internship you will have been paid for your work experience, whereas on a course you will have volunteer hours as a ski instructor. A benefit of being a trainee on a course is that you can shadow a wide range of lessons, from beginner to advanced whereas interns will predominantly get experience teaching beginners and low-level intermediates.

4) I want to work in Canada long term – what’s my best option?

A course is probably the best option. On a ski instructor course you don’t need a work permit, so your first winter in Canada is spent on a holiday visa.

You can then apply for a working holiday visa. A Canadian work visa lasts for two years, so there’s no need to use it up during your training year. This gives you the maximum amount of time out in Canada to work.

5) I want a guaranteed job – can I get this on an internship or a course?

We have limited intern places because we offer a guaranteed job upon level 1 qualification. However this doesn’t mean you aren’t highly likely to get a job if you do a course. Winter Sports Company have great working relationships with several ski schools, and we always help trainees find work. If you want to work in Canada, Japan or Europe after your course we have very good contacts to help you find a job.


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