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Find a Career in Snowboarding — What’s it Really Like to be a Snowboard Instructor?

29 May 2016
Two boarders lying on the snow

Deciding to become a snowboard instructor isn’t always the easiest career decision. It’s definitely a long way from the standard 9 to 5 and the seasonal nature of the sport can often encourage a complete lifestyle change. And if you’re female, sometimes a career in sport can feel even more challenging, but if you love life on the piste, there’s more than a ‘snow load’ of reasons why a career as a snowboard instructor could be for you.

Female snowboard instructor, Stephanie Morris uncovers the reality of a career in snowboarding and the many reasons it’s the best decision she’s ever made! And if you’re sold by Stephanie’s journey to becoming a snowboard instructor, book your UK snowboard instructor course today. 

Having been an Instructor since 2012, Stephanie now has a great deal of snowboard instructor qualifications in the bag and experience treaching in resorts in Italy, Japan and Austria and on The Snow Centre’s indoor slope.

How Stephanie decided to become an Instructor:

“I remember feeling inspired by my instructors when I was a teenager. I had said to my friends and family, that I liked the idea of instructing. Unfortunately, they were a bit negative about it, and said it is not a proper career, just a job for a student. They told me I was too young to make a serious decision about my career.
So, instead I went on to spend many years working as a fitness instructor and a lifeguard. And where I could, I occasionally took a week off to go snowboarding. I rarely felt satisfaction from my fitness instructor role and desperately wanted to travel and see more of the world. At 27 years old, I made the decision to follow my dreams and start a new adventure as a snowboard instructor.”

How Stephanie became an Instructor:

“A good friend, had passed the British Association of Snowsport Instructors (BASI) Level 1 Snowboard Course at The Snow Centre and gone on to train on a gap year course abroad, run by Snowboard Coach also through BASI. He said it was a brilliant course and he highly rated it. 

I booked onto the Level 1 BASI Snowboard Instructor course directly through The Snow Centre — It ran for 5 days only 11 miles from my home in Rickmansworth and allowed me to teach on UK slopes. I had in my mind — that if I were to be successful passing the Level 1 course, I could consider training for the Level 2 instructor course as the next step. The level 2 qualification gives you an instructor licence to teach on the mountain. I met people of all different ages on the Level 1 course at The Snow Centre and many of them were planning to do the Level 2 course abroad too this immediately boosted my confidence and I felt excited about becoming an instructor”

Before becoming an instructor: 

“Being slightly older, I had a bit of life experience which helped me throughout the journey to becoming an instructor, but I find even as a qualified instructor, I'm still gaining confidence and learning new things.
It is a huge responsibility looking out for people up on the mountain, so you need to keep things like your first aid skills and mountain knowledge up to date. First Aid training is necessary to keep your instructor licence valid. You have a huge duty of careas an instructor, with the potential to work with a group of up to 10 adults or young children, so you need to be sensible and safe at all times. If I had gone into snowboard instructing when I was 16, it could have been quite a challenge and I don't believe I would have managed as well as I have. However, I was quite a shy kid and I've worked alongside many younger instructors who do a fantastic job.”

The best and worst things about being an instructor:

“The greatest thing about being an instructor is meeting so many amazing, interesting and inspiring people. I've travelled and explored places I just wouldn't have ever seen if it wasn't for the job I do. There are some really beautiful places out there!
Seeing my pupils making progress is so extremely rewarding and watching people enjoy a new sport that I have such a big passion for, is a fantastic feeling.

The lows that can come with the job, are usually to do with feeling far away from friends and family if you’re working abroad rather than at a UK centre. And not being able to share my experiences with loved ones can make me feel a little lonely. Some days it can be tough to get up and go out to work in harsh weather and cold conditions, but for me it beats sitting on a poolside in Watford watching people lane swimming at 6.30am. The highs of the mountain lifestyle definitely beat the lows.” 

Advice for anyone looking to become an instructor: 

“Before deciding to become an instructor do a little bit of shadowing at your nearest indoor centre or dry slope. You will learn so much from watching an instructor or coach run a snowboard lesson.
An instructor needs to be extremely patient, willing to help anybody of any age, gender and ability. They need to adapt to using different teaching styles, as not everybody learns in the same way. They must also be able to build an individual's confidence up with a good level of encouragement. Ultimately, a snowboard lessons should be about having fun.

By doing the Level 1 Instructor Course at The Snow Centre you will learn loads, so I'd say accept the challenge and set yourself some goals! You can ask the instructors at The Snow Centre if you are unsure whether you are ready to take an instructor course. We will guide and give you tips on what to improve on. On your course make sure you show confidence, let your personality shine, and speak clearly. Remember everyone has to start somewhere. Let the journey begin!”

For more information on becoming a ski or snowboard instructor visit The Snow Centre’s Instructor Courses page.

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