Becoming a ski instructor lets you escape the 9-5, enjoy an alpine office and do the thing that most people spend all year dreaming about every day. But how do you make this dream a reality? Here’s our complete guide on how to become a ski instructor.
Googling “how to become a ski instructor”, will return a ton of different responses -the diversity of which will probably only add to your confusion! The simple answer is that there are numerous ways to become a ski instructor and you need to find the right path for you.
Discovering how to become a ski instructor can seem daunting, these pages are not here to sell you a particular programme or course. We hope to provide you with all the information you need to make a decision about the programme that is right for you.
You also need to consider whether a Ski Instructor Course is the best option for you, or would a performance course be a better option? We have dedicated a page to this if you are unsure.
So let’s get started
There are three main factors that you need to consider when picking a qualification
- The countries you would like to work in
- The qualifications that are recognised in those countries
- Choosing the right course, based on your current level
Where would you like to work?
Choosing which country you want to work as a ski instructor in is the first thing to consider. Where you would like to work in the short and long term will impact which qualification system you will need to use. Some countries do not recognise every qualification, while others will only recognise specific levels of a qualification.
We have written a guide to let you know which systems are recognised in the major Alpine nations. Just follow the link below.
In addition to qualification recognition, you may also now need to consider your right to work. Most are aware that Brexit means that UK citizens no longer have the automatic right to work in Europe, however, it also means that you can now only spend 90 days out of any 180 day period in Schengen.
Which qualification system should I choose?
As we have just mentioned the qualifications needed to become a ski instructor vary from country to country.
Once you know which country you want to work in the next step is to choose a Ski Instructor Association.
The role of a Ski Instructor Association is to examine and license trainee ski instructors, ensuring their qualifications stay valid and that they meet each of the various international requirements. Every nation will have its own Ski Instructors Association and, whilst there are subtle differences between each of them, they all operate in essentially the same way.
Once you have identified the associations that are recognised in the countries you want to work in. You need to consider your budget, current ski level and language abilities. Follow the link below for our guide.
Choosing a Ski Instructor Course
Now we are approaching the all-important decision, choosing your course. There are lots of courses out there and they all claim to be the best. Of course they are going to say that, they want you to book.
In this situation, we would recommend a little more research on your part. It’s worth making a note of everything that is and is not included in the programmes you are interested in. We have put together a full guide on how to choose a ski instructor course. Just follow the link below.
How good do you need to be to become a ski instructor?
The BASI Level 1 or equivalent qualification from another provider is the first step on the ladder. In order to do one of these ski instructor exams, you need to be able to ski parallel confidently on all marked runs. On a normal red run, that is in good condition, we would expect you to be able to make linked rhythmical turns in a narrow corridor about the width of a piste basher track. With out gaining speed or needing to stop to regain control. In general, you should be able to cope with a variety of conditions, including fresh snow, bumps and firmer icy conditions. It is impossible to put a number on how many weeks of skiing you should have done as everyone is different. If you are unsure about your ability we have written a more detailed guide and if you are still unsure we would welcome you to attend one of our open days to ski with a trainer.
Do you need to speak multiple languages?
For many Ski Instructor Courses, you will not need to speak a second language. However, if you are serious about becoming a ski instructor and making it a full-time career we think it is an essential skill. In order to complete qualifications with the ISIA stamp, you will have to complete a basic language test and some countries require you to be able to communicate with emergency personnel in the local language.
As a Ski School as well as a Ski instructor training centre we regularly see instructors who are proficient in multiple languages get more work across the duration of the season. This obviously translates into more pay. We have written a guide on languages for a ski instructor course that will help you decide where to start.
All of our Long Ski Instructor Courses also include access to language lessons.