The Big Debate

The popularity of ski instructor internships and snowboard instructor internships has soared in the last few years. However, it’s 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 instructor courses – and will hopefully help you decide.


group of instructors cheering

What is the difference?

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 that you’ll be set up with a bank account and Social Insurance Number during the first few weeks. 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 start working for the ski school with your guaranteed job shortly after. Once in staff accommodation, you begin paying rent for your room and purchasing 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 spending. This all means no worries and just time on the slopes skiing with your course buddies.

Is it cheaper to do an internship?

The upfront cost of a ski or snowboard instructor internship is cheaper than a typical 11-week course. Still, you have to think about what you’re getting overall.

An entire 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 interns, things are a bit 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 of 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 upfront, and after the 11 weeks, they still get to stay on and work and ski until the end of the season.

I’m on a Gap Year, what looks better on my CV?

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 recognized 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.

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

A course is probably the best option. You don’t need a work permit for a ski instructor course, 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 you don’t need to use it during your training year. This gives you the maximum amount of time out in Canada to work.

I want a guaranteed job – can I get this on 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, it just unlikely to be that winter. Winter Sports Company has excellent working relationships with several ski schools, and we always help trainees find work. In addition, if you want to work in Canada, Japan, or Europe after your course, we have excellent contacts to help you find a job.