Deciding On A Ski Internship

I’m Sean, and in 2022, I joined the Winter Sports Company on their level 1 internship program at Panorama Mountain Resort in Canada. This was a massive decision for me as I had just finished school in the UK, and I wasn’t sure what my next step would be, but after some thought, I decided a year out from school was a good idea. My skiing experience prior to this internship was limited as I had only a few weeks in the mountains, but I did live close to a snow centre in the UK, where I used to ski regularly, which benefited me. I decided to do an internship mainly because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do as a long-term career, and I hoped this experience would give me more time and inspiration for what I might like to do down the line. Is University Right For Me?


Choosing The Winter Sports Company

Many companies offer a service product to the Winter Sports Company. Still, I don’t believe any of them put in as much effort or care for their customers as much as Rik and Emma demonstrate, and I know everyone on my internship thought the exact same. The Winter Sports internship was cheaper than other providers and offered more. Our program included extra days of training and bolt-on programs. The Winter Sports Company has many courses at many different locations, so this decision took some time. However, I was certain that I wanted to be away from home for a prolonged period, and I wanted to work, so I knew the internship was the right course for me as it ticked both boxes. Check out our locations.

CSIA Level 1 Training And Exams

When I arrived in Canada with the group, we all spent a few days in Calgary before heading to Panorama, and this was an excellent time for the group to get to know each other and get over the jetlag. These few days were well spent, and I really enjoyed the first few easy days we had. They also gave us a head start on what to expect with the weather!

The next few weeks at Panorama were full on. We had training six days a week and they were full days, but this was one of the most enjoyable times of the season as we had early access to the mountain. The resort doesn’t officially open until a week later. The training we received was amazing, and it sets you up for your season of teaching. You get an insight into what a good ski instructor looks like, as some of the best instructors were teaching us. We also got video feedback on our skiing, which helped me massively as it shows exactly what you’re doing wrong and right when skiing. Once our training concluded, we then had our exam, which went smoothly. We knew what to expect as this was thoroughly explained throughout training, so we were all very prepared, and there was nothing unexpected.

CSIA Level 2 Training

The work throughout the season had its challenges, but it was incredibly rewarding, as anyone who has taught skiing will understand. There were days when you got a challenging group or someone who didn’t want to ski, but once you saw the progression from these skiers, it made the whole job worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed my teaching experience throughout the season, and I loved the variety of lessons that I taught, from beginners who had never seen snow to some skiers who could ski the majority of runs. Being on snow every day teaching is also valuable for your own skiing and development. As a result, you feel far more prepared for your level 2 exams. Even though you don’t have to go for your level 2 in your first season, the majority of us on the internship program did. With our internship programme, we get eight days of level 2 training in addition to the level 1 training. The ski school also delivers regular level 2 training.


Ski Season Socials

Most ski instructors worked the same hours, allowing us to socialise outside of work. You would be finished by around 4:00 PM so you had the rest of the evening to do activities together. This is a really nice time to relax after a day’s work, so many people would head to the bar up in the resort, take a hot tub, or if the local hockey team were playing, we would go to that. Some of us became huge hockey fans of the local Invermere team, the Rockies, and we would attend every game they played at home. This became one of my highlights of winter. The local bar in Invermere (Ullr bar) would do musical bingo on a Tuesday, so this became another good socialising event that lots of Panorama staff would go to. There were big money prizes on bingo nights! As well as their bingo nights, the weekends in Ullr bar would be jam-packed and always have DJs and live bands throughout the winter. In a small town, there was plenty to keep us busy. Getting the Most out of your Season


Ski Season Accommodation and Living

Our accommodation was incredible and certainly not what you would expect when signing up to do a ski season. When I envisioned ski season accommodation, I thought it would be pretty basic and low-level; however, the accommodation we received was superb. We lived in Panorama Resort for the first two weeks while training, and this is where we got our meal plan, which was two meals a day. Then, once training was done, we moved down into Invermere. We lived in a great location in Invermere that was walkable to all areas around, which was convenient as there are parts of Invermere that are far out, so we lived in a great spot. The apartments we all lived in were modern and spacious and a 5-minute walk to the shops, so we couldn’t have had better accommodation. Our rent was also very reasonable.

Plans For Next Ski Season

I thoroughly enjoyed my season, and looking back, I really wouldn’t have changed anything. I wasn’t sure if I would achieve my level 2 when I first came to Canada, as at the start my skiing was a long way off level 2 standard, but after over 120 days on snow, I am delighted with how my skiing came along and I’m so happy with my level 2 qualification. This whole experience wouldn’t have been possible without the Winter Sports Company, so I am very grateful for the experience they gave me. I enjoyed my first season so much that I will return for the 23/24 winter season! I hope this helps provide you with a feel for what a season in Canada is like and how much fun it is, and I fully recommend going for this opportunity if you have the chance. Your On-Snow Guide To Panorama Ski Resort



Inspired to become a ski instructor? Take a look at some of our most Frequently Asked Questions.

What Are The Levels Of A Ski Instructor?

There are 4 Levels of Ski Instructor accepted by the International Ski Instructors Association (ISIA). Level 1 instructor course teaches a basic introduction to skiing and assumes the instructor can parrallel ski. An introduction to children is often introduced at this level. Level 2 concentrates on more advanced techniques and allows you to instruct intermediate skiers. Level 3 Is a much higher certificate, centering around advanced technique on challenging terrain in all conditions. . Finally most governing bodies except the New Zealand system have a Level 4 is the final level allowing the instructor to teach any level of skier.

Is It Expensive To Become A Ski Instructor?

Gaining your basic ski instructor certification, with the correct existing skills, costs as little as $480 or £350. However, achieving those skills, should you need training, can cost considerably more as accommodation, lift passes, transportation, and food must be factored in whilst training and completing your exams. These costs can be in the region of £3500-£8500 for your Level 1 or Level 2, depending on the quality and duration of the programme.

How Much Do Canadian Ski Instructors Get Paid?

A typical salary ranges from $17-19 as a Level 1 ski Instructor to $19-22 as a Level 2. A level 3 instructor can start to make a good living with more hours and a higher wage of $23-28, depending on the resort. Private lessons and tips will help increase your take-home pay. When you reach fully certified Level 4 standard, you can maximise your earning potential and hours and become a sought-after commodity. This level will significantly increase your employability and offer many other gateways to earn a considerably well-paid salary.

How Quickly Can You Become A Ski Instructor?

If you are a capable skier, simply attending a three- or 5-day course and examination will entitle you to become a level 1 ski instructor upon successful completion. If you still need to gain sufficient skills, then a standard timeframe to train to this level can be around 3-4 weeks for Level 1 and another 5-7 weeks for Level 2. The Level 2 exams are completed within six days after the preparation and training.