There’s no one reason for becoming a ski instructor, but if you’re motivated by a few of these ‘ski instructor pros’, you’ve built a pretty good case for a career on the snow.
Consider a career as a ski instructor if:
It’s an obvious one, but you do need a passion for skiing to effectively inspire those you teach. You’ll also need that passion to help keep yourself motivated and to stay in the ‘know’ with the latest skiing techniques and coaching methods.
Not obvious to everyone, but if you’re going to become a great instructor, enjoying the ‘people’ element of teaching skiing is really important. A ski instructor is required to work with all kinds of different people, at varied skiing abilities. From the adults to the children, the brave to the afraid, and the first timers to the advanced skiers, if you’re considering a career in skiing you’ll need to be able to work with them all, and more. Having a passion for people and communication, as well as a great knowledge of your sport will help you become a great ski instructor.
Ski instructor positions aren’t known for huge salaries, but they are known for having perks of the job. Whether you’re working indoors or on the mountain, or on a dry slope — when working as an instructor, you’ll often benefit from a free lift pass, a free instructor ski jacket and pants, use of the ski school lift line, and if you’re working on the mountain, a free goggle tan too.
Great ski instructors who love their jobs, often enjoy helping the mum of two build her confidence on the nursery slope, as much as teaching the teenage adrenalin junky to tackle steeps. For these instructors, bringing value to another persons progression and enjoyment is all the reward they need.
If you’re a lover of Snowsports, you’re probably not phased by the cold, but how do you feel about waiting around in below freezing temperatures for a fallen beginner or two. Can you hack teaching on the mountain whatever the weather, or is indoor instruction a better bet for you?
As a ski instructor, there’ll be days when your students listen to exactly what you say and accomplish exactly what you hope they will, but there’ll also be times when your students don't listen, or they listen, but for one reason or another they’re still not able to master any of what you’re trying to teach them. Do you have the patience to allow them to advance at their own rate, are you able to change your approach to help them learn?
Hopefully, if you’re thinking of becoming a ski instructor, the idea of being a positive part of someone’s holiday, on-snow experience or fun day out is something you’re interested in. You know everybody has different skiing goals, and you hope to help all your students reach theirs, while having some fun along the way.
While it’s not necessarily true that you’ll be out of work in the summer, there is definitely two seasons to the life of a ski instructor. For instance, indoor centres or dry slopes host ski lessons all year round. However, the slopes might be busy and the lessons could be fully booked in the winter, but this is not likely to be the case in the summer, and the average ski instructor will often find their lessons are that bit quieter.
In resort, ski instructors can only work while the lifts are open, so if you choose a resort with a short season or a ski area without a glacier, the work will dry up quicker. Due to this, some mountain ski instructors work very hard in the winter and take a few months off in the summer, while others chase the winter snow to the other side of the world to find work.
If you’ve ever spotted someone in a ski instructor jacket, and thought, “They’re an instructor, they’ll be really good,” you’ll know what we’re talking about when we say putting on the uniform provides you with a certain level of respect.
An important part of wearing the ski instructor jacket, badge or label is taking pride in knowing you have a great understanding of your sport. That said, it’s also fundamental to never forget that there is always more you can learn from your students, other instructors and by furthering your experience on skis.
If any of these reasons get you itching to qualify as an instructor, perhaps its time to become a ski instructor. Qualify indoors this summer and be teaching by next winter!