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How to become a Ski Instructor

Have you ever dreamed of being a ski instructor? If so, then this blog post is for you! Here we’ll explore how to become a ski instructor, from the necessary skills and requirements, to the best way to get qualified. So whether you’re just curious about becoming a ski instructor, or are already on your way to making your dream a reality, read on for everything you need to know!

Do your research

Find out what kind of training or ski instructor qualification you need.

Whether you’re looking to teach skiing in Europe, Canada, the United States or elsewhere around the world, research is the key to making sure your ski instructor qualifications and certifications meet local requirements and regulations.

Taking the time to find out which qualifications are required in each country will ensure that you’re well prepared for any opportunity presented to you as a ski instructor, wherever it might take you. Not all qualifications are recognised worldwide, and the different governing bodies don’t always let you convert your qualification.

Researching the difference between the British Association of Snowsports Instructors and the Canadian Ski Instructors alliance or other governing bodies ahead of time can help ensure you have an unforgettable experience where every day brings new challenges and thrills as you help others develop their skill on the slopes and you don’t need to worry about having to re-qualify.

So take some time and do your homework – this is the start of an amazing adventure, and you need to make sure you’re going in the right direction.

Ski Instructor giving a lesson

Get some experience

Volunteer at a local ski school to see if you enjoy teaching.

If you’ve always wanted to see if teaching skiing is the right fit for you, there is no better way to get started than by volunteering at a local ski school or dry slope. You’ll get the chance to experience the rewarding feeling of teaching people a new skill and helping them become as passionate about skiing as you are.

You can start building experience as a ski instructor and connect with coaches, ski instructors, and mentors that could help further your career. Being surrounded by like-minded people can help you fast-track your career. Nothing beats advice and guidance from those already in the industry and on the same journey as you.

Attend a ski instructor course

This will give you the skills and knowledge to teach others how to ski.

Attending a ski instructor course is the best way to make your dream a reality. Ski instructor courses provide aspiring ski instructors with the necessary skills, techniques and exams to become qualified ski instructors.

These courses take place in ski resorts worldwide and on some artificial slopes. They are incredibly popular with young people and can be a great way to do a season while earning internationally recognised qualifications. Most courses are between 8 and 11 weeks long and focus on achieving the BASI Alpine Level 2 qualification or the local equivalent.

Depending on the course you choose, the package can include everything from training, accommodation and catering all the way through to exam-only packages for more experienced skiers.

Our team can help you find the perfect course for you.

Ski instructor skiing bumps

Start teaching

Once you’ve got your first qualifications, you can start delivering ski lessons.

Starting your career as a ski instructor is an exciting time. You can share your passion for the sport with others and help them grow in the process. To start with, you’ll mainly teach beginners, children and those learning to make parallel turns. Teaching at this entry level is incredibly rewarding. You’ll see quick improvements and can impart valuable skills that will give your students a great foundation for confidently hitting the slopes. Not to mention all of the friendships you’ll make during each lesson.

Keep Training

As a ski instructor, it’s important to continue you build on your existing skills and qualifications.

There are multiple levels of ski instructor qualification, so even once you’re qualified, there is always more to learn.

Progressing through these higher-level qualifications requires a mixture of teaching experience and a better skiing level. It’s normal for new ski instructors to join teach and train programmes that mix paid and work and personal performance training as they work towards the top level of ski instructor qualification.

Each qualification you earn will open the door to new and exciting opportunities such as teaching advanced-level skiers, teaching people to ski off-piste, coaching racers and eventually training new ski instructors.

You’re also paid more as you progress to these more advanced ski instructor qualifications. So you get to teach a greater variety of students and earn more while doing it.

Have fun

Skiing is supposed to be enjoyable, so make sure you’re enjoying yourself while training and teaching.

Teaching skiing is an amazing experience that lets you create special memories while working in the best office possible. You can share new experiences with others and pass on wisdom while teaching them how to ski.

That’s why it’s important to make sure that even though you’re teaching someone else how to ski, you don’t forget to have fun yourself.

A little downtime and skiing for yourself are essential – being a great teacher doesn’t mean sacrificing your own enjoyment of skiing.

Ski instructor in powder

How good do you need to be to become a ski instructor?

To join a ski instructor course, most ski schools will insist that you can make linked short turns on a red run without gaining speed or losing control. If you can do this and carve on blue runs, then you will be in a good position to start training and become a ski instructor.

With the different qualification levels, you don’t have to ski perfectly from day one. You can earn your entry-level qualifications first, then train towards the more advanced coaching qualifications.

With the right coaching and support, anyone can train to become a ski instructor.

How much can you earn as a ski instructor?

A ski instructor’s salary varies depending on the country you work in, your qualifications, and the competition in a ski resort. Some countries, like France, require a very high level of qualification before you’re able to teach, and as such, wages are among the best in the world.

How long does it take to become a ski instructor?

A Level 1 & 2 ski instructor course normally takes 10 weeks and is a great way to start your career. This can be a great way to spend a gap year, but you may find you have so much fun your gap year never ends.

Very experienced skiers and ex-racers can achieve their level 2 or equivalent within only 4 weeks with the right training and exam plan, but this is the exception, not the norm.

Becoming a fully qualified Level 4 or equivalent ski instructor generally takes between 3 and 5 years.

skiing parallel

Do I need to be able to speak a second language to become a ski instructor?

No, there are ski instructor courses and exams in almost every language, and you can earn your level 2 or equivalent qualification without a language exam. However, ski schools and employers will prefer instructors who speak two or three languages, and you’re often paid more if you speak multiple languages. You must sit a second language exam to get some qualifications, such as the BASI Level 4 certification.

How to apply for your first ski instructor job

The best way to get your first job as an instructor is by completing an instructor course with a ski school. Schools have to be able to trust their instructors not just to teach children and beginners but to keep them safe. If you’ve spent time coaching an instructor and have trained them yourself, it is far easier to place your trust in them.

Don’t panic though, if you’re applying to work with a school you’ve not trained with a few tweaks to your CV and application can make a huge difference.

  • Adapt your CV for each school or ski resort you apply to.
  • Elaborate on why you love ski instructing
  • List all your experiences, especially if you’ve taught on dry slopes or artificial slopes. You have to be a really imaginative instructor to teach in these environments.
  • Talk about your aspirations for the future. Becoming a ski instructor is a journey, and schools love to be able to develop young instructors.

Becoming a ski instructor is a great way to spend your winters, especially if you love being in the mountains, but it’s not as easy as just putting on some skis and hitting the slopes. You’ll need to research and ensure you’re getting the proper training and ski instructor qualification for your area. Once you qualify, you can start giving lessons and sharing your love of skiing with others. Becoming a ski instructor is a journey. You’ll need to continue sitting exams for a few years to become fully qualified. Most importantly, skiing is supposed to be enjoyable, so make sure you’re having fun too!

Ready to become a ski instructor? Chat to one of our team today.