How To Work the Ski Season? Become a Ski Instructor

Looking for a gap year adventure? Need a career move? Want to work and ski all winter? The answer, Izzi Brett discovers, is to become a ski instructor.

As a fan of all things winter sports, from ice skating to skiing, I long to be back on the slopes whenever I return home from a ski trip.

Being in my 20s, I often find myself in a state of confusion over what I want to do or what I should be doing. Alongside that is the worry of money and how I can afford to live, let alone ski. Most of my work has been freelance, giving me time to coach ice skating and other sports in my spare time.

Recently, this got me thinking, what if I could do something similar involving skiing full-time over the winter period?

Can I do a gap year ski job?

Since I never took a gap year, I decided to explore the possibility of becoming a ski instructor. Going online to search 'gap year ski season jobs was overwhelming with results and information. However, my search led me to one stand-out page that had everything I needed to know about ski instructor courses.

I do not have any teaching qualifications, so I was initially worried that my plans were a bit out of reach. Turns out that the Winter Sports Company offers an 11-week programme in Revelstoke, Canada to attain CSIA levels 1 and 2. Upon completion of the courses you can teach beginner to intermediate level skiers across most of Europe, America, Canada and Japan.

Another option that interested me was the ski instructor internship, which includes the qualifications and a fully-paid ski instructor job at your chosen ski school.

Since I wanted to combine a ski instructor course with a bit of travelling, I narrowed down my choice. I’ve always been interested in working a ski season in Canada as it's a bucket list destination for skiers - I am also a massive ice hockey fan.

This decision left me with many questions such as when does the ski season start in Canada? How long does the ski season last? And when does it end?

For many of these instructor courses and ski trips, the Canadian ski season starts around November and lasts until April. This allows plenty of time to pick from a short or long instructor course or ski trip.

How to work a ski season in Canada

Canada is one of the most scenic and desired destinations for a ski trip. If you do your instructor training in Canada, you will receive CSIA levels. These levels are recognised internationally. However, you must be CSIA level 2 if you plan on working in New Zealand or European countries.

Ski instructor courses are an investment. Remember that the qualifications gained will enable you to pay off the costs and can include other benefits such as lift pass and apartment accommodation.

The best part about taking a ski instructor course is that you can actually earn an income from doing an activity that you enjoy. Qualifications in BASI, CSIA, or NZSIA levels mean that you can teach and earn during a gap year – or whenever you want a career break.

Check out how studying at the University of the Mountains can help your CV and future career.

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