New To Ski

17 Reasons To Become A Ski Instructor? (& 5 Not Too)

by Emily Nicholls | Updated: October 27th, 2022
Mayrhofen Kids Ski Instructor

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There is no such thing as the ideal job but becoming a ski instructor has to come pretty close. So, what are the advantages? 

Being a ski instructor is a unique job that offers plenty of privileges. You will get countless opportunities to travel and see some of the most beautiful locations in the world, all the while getting paid to spend your days on the slopes.

Working a ski season as an instructor is enviable work. Plenty of job satisfaction, working in beautiful surroundings, and meeting new people are just a few. Read on to discover some of the other attractions.

1. You Can See Your Effort and Hard Work Paying Off

Being a ski instructor isn’t just about having a good time but it’s an opportunity to gain internationally recognized qualifications that can be used around the world, doing something you love.

There are plenty of opportunities and in a time when an economic crisis is looming, we all need the best breaks we can get.

Achieving your goal of becoming a ski instructor shows that your efforts have paid off and you can feel that sense of achievement from all your hard work.

2. It Can Pay a Decent Wage

Instructor

Some ski instructors actually get paid quite a decent wage. However, it must be said when you are just in your first few seasons the pay won’t be that great.

The first few years might feel like a grind but think of it as an investment, enabling you to build up good relationships with clients & the ski school as you build your career experience.

This is where your potential to earn will really take off.

3. Job Satisfaction

What is more fulfilling than helping a small child experience their first ride on a chairlift? Or helping more experienced skiers develop their technique. If you love working with people and helping them to accomplish their dreams then this is the job for you.

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As an instructor, it is your passion that helps you to bond with people who share similar aspirations. Job satisfaction is incredibly important and is something that is a big perk for ski instructors.

4. It Teaches You To Be Adaptable (and patient)

Ski instructor 2
Photo by David B. Gleason under CC BY-SA 2.0

As well as turning into a proficient skier or snowboarder, you will also acquire other important skills that can be used further down the line in your career. You must think on your toes, be patient and develop a good rapport. 

If you are working with a pack of untamed children you will need everything you have got. You will need your best communication skills, good organization, and plenty of creativity, to be able to tame the little darling children but still keep the fun element there.

You may even become a part-time life coach, as you encourage them in their endeavors. You’ll appreciate the little things in life, like finishing a good lesson and warming up inside with a coffee and a biscuit. 

5. The Lifestyle

Resort towns are brimming with laidback, friendly, dedicated, and energetic individuals. Everybody knows about après ski, and it’s true there is a large party culture in many ski towns. Nothing beats a night out in an alpine village pub – there’s always plenty of atmospheres to make it memorable. 

The instructor lifestyle extends far beyond a night out though, it is a way of life and it is all about the community who live for the mountains and the lifestyle.

However, more often than not you will come across some of the most socially responsible in these resorts. They are proud of their community, they care about their environment, the natural beauty, and the other people in the community.  

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6. The Opportunities To Travel

Being a skiing instructor provides you with far more opportunities to travel compared with other jobs. You can follow the seasons around the world and treat yourself to a sunnier climate between winters.

The choice is varied including North America, Europe, New Zealand, Japan, and many other skiing destinations. It is a chance to sample other countries and cultures while doing the thing you love – skiing.  

For some, hopping from one winter destination to another wouldn’t suit everyone, but if skiing is your passion, chances are you would be in your element. 

7. Beautiful Mountains

Warth Schröcken

Skiing acts as a great leveler; when you’re spending your days on vast mountains you can feel small and insignificant, so it’s a chance to get some perspective on life.

Looking at some of the most stunning scenery in the world and knowing the mountains have existed for millions of years really makes you think about your own brief time on the planet. It is a chance to explore the beauty of these surroundings and discover some of the hidden surprises. 

From breathtaking sunrises with the sun beating against your face to the cool of sundown, the mountains are constantly changing. 

8. For The Street Cred

Then there are plenty of similarities between skiers and surfers. Skiers use mountains and surfers use waves but both have an adventurous spirit, taking on nature and taming her. There is something very admirable about being adventurous and fearless. 

However, with great power comes great responsibility and at the end of the day, clients put their trust in their instructor. It is your job to build up your student’s confidence while calming insecurity and fears.

Watching your students progress is an incredibly rewarding experience and you will see them improve and grow, all the while discovering just how enjoyable skiing is. 

9. Making Friends

adult ski lesson
Photo by Freddie Phillips under CC BY 2.0

Instructors often say that one of the best experiences of a season is meeting new friends and colleagues with similar interests. The seasons will fly by as you bump into your closest friends again, forming lifelong friendships.

Socialising is also a chance to bond with people from different walks of life. Of course, saying goodbye after a fun season together is never easy, but without a few downs, we would never be able to enjoy the ups. The social side of the instructor lifestyle is a big plus. You will always have people to vacation with after your season.

10. Top Training From Top Trainers

As an instructor, there are always continuing opportunities for personal development, upskilling, and sharing tips among colleagues, since these things lie at the heart of the life of a snow sports instructor.

However, snow schools also have assigned training sessions to make these benefits even more accessible for staff throughout the whole season.

The training sessions have a variety of objectives, for example, helping to prepare for exams, tips for teaching, and elevating your riding to a higher level. They are usually associated with specific clinics in the park, racing and freeride, and many more. 

This extra support will make you feel valued and improve your confidence, which can be quite rare in today’s workplace. You will also get the best training from the top trainers around.

11. You Get To Do What You Love – Lots

Imagine being able to do what you love day after day and being paid for it. The amount of time you can ski, your passion, is worth every penny. There are always opportunities to improve your skiing and make more friends at the same time. 

12. You Get To Inspire Other People

ski instructors
Photo by Chris Darling under CC BY 2.0

One of the most beautiful things in life is sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm with other people. Imagine being the person who taught someone a lifelong skill that will add value to their life for many years to come.

Becoming a skiing instructor does just that. This can be taken two ways – you get to inspire other people to continue skiing and embrace the lifestyle and adventure, but you also get to be the inspiration for other people.

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They can observe your dedication to skiing and perhaps that will inspire them to do the same. 

13. It’s A Continuous Learning Environment 

Many jobs today have little continuous learning once you have learned most of the job. If you think about working in a supermarket, in an office job, or in a factory the chances are most of the time you won’t be learning anything new.

It’s different with a ski instructor job though where you will constantly be working on your own abilities and techniques. You’ll be deciding on how best to communicate with them or working on improving your own coaching methods. 

Some of the most rewarding jobs are those where you constantly learn about yourself, as well as the job itself.

14. Lots Of Perks

Other than skiing the entire day, and having a wonderful day every day, you get a free lift pass, and ski uniform, as well as discounts all over town, and the pay is still decent.

Being a ski instructor generally pays better than other resort jobs and the career development aspect also makes it unique. In addition to this, the more qualified and experienced you become, the better compensated you will be. 

15. One Long Vacation

Campo Felice
Photo by Simone Ramella under CC BY 2.0

You might have been on a long vacation to the mountains and experienced how extraordinary it is but most people are lucky if they get away for just two weeks of the year. Living in a resort long-term has a few additional advantages to just visiting for a couple of weeks.

As an instructor living in a resort, you’ll get to know the area really well, the best eateries in town, the best place for a pint, and you will get to know the people. Not to mention some of the best skiing. 

16. Get To Know The Best In The Industry

While wearing the ski instructor jacket or badge gives you a certain prestige, being part of the snow school staff means that you will be getting to know some of the top people in the industry.

You will get a chance to draw on their experience and expertise. It is a great opportunity to learn from them, and for most other normal jobs this isn’t possible. 

The Cons – Reasons Not To Become a Ski Instructor

Instructors await
Photo by Ruth Hartnup under CC BY 2.0

1. It’s Tiring & Hard Work

Whilst there are many pros to becoming a ski instructor it has to be said as with any job there are some downsides. Expect to be tired after working six days a week and particularly if you are getting carried away at après ski. Keeping energy levels up during the season can be tricky. 

2. You can Get Home Sick

Being away from home can also be challenging to begin with. Expect to miss family celebrations and get-togethers with friends and occasionally get homesick. As fabulous as it is adventuring around the globe, sometimes we just want a taste of home. 

3. It Can be a Struggle To Keep Patient

Another con is that not every lesson will go to plan and even the best of us struggle to remain patient sometimes.

You may be working with a new beginner as they attempt their hundredth unsuccessful plough turn and keeping your motivation and patience may prove difficult at times. 

In the beginning, you do need to put in a lot of work to learn about the staff and resort, so you can work effectively. You always have to keep thinking ahead as well, it is never a static job. That means making sure your CV is up-to-date and networking to cultivate new job opportunities.

4. It May Take Away Your Love For Skiing

Becoming a ski instructor can be one of the most rewarding jobs out there with endless opportunities to take to the slopes while getting paid for doing something you love. But it could also turn your passion into a repetitive job, taking the fun out of your love for skiing. In a sense, too much of a good thing.

You might love to ski, but do you love dealing with people all day? This can be challenging for you if your personality is more introverted and you don’t thrive off all-day interaction.

5. It Requires an Investment of Resources

You have to budget to become an instructor, courses and training cost money and you’ll need some savings or your parent’s help to get things moving. Expect to make money later down the line, once you’ve qualified and secured a job.

As with everything though, there are a few downsides and ultimately the decision comes down to you. Ready for a new adventure, then being a ski instructor just might be right for you.

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NewToSki.com is where over 1 million people a year come to learn more about skiing. I share everything I wish someone had told me when I was learning to ski. My name is Simon & I've been skiing since 2005. This winter, our family is taking a 3-month camper ski trip across the Alps. If you enjoy our articles, please join the free email club. We'd love to have you.
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