Social Engagement: High
What’s What: Winter is coming. Somewhere. No matter how warm it is where you are, there’s still snow and skiing in the forecast someplace. If you love cold, wintery weather and your idea of a good time is spent dawn to dusk on the slopes, consider teaching your passion to others. There is always a need for skilled and patient ski and snowboard instructors.
Amava Take: Can you say free lift passes, unlimited riding and serious job satisfaction? If you’ve spent some time on the slopes, you’ve undoubtedly seen the ski instructors sporting their official jackets and gear. They have a command of the snow-covered mountain and get a lot of respect from skiers and snowboarders around them. If you’ve always thought “I could be one of them,” and have the desire to show others what you know, being a ski or snowboard instructor might be for you.
From the Front Lines:
What kinds of candidates are you looking for?
Passionate skiers and boarders with a great attitude who are excited to be out on the snow.
Any tips for first-timers to make it a productive and fulfilling experience?
Find a mentor and workout as much as possible both on and off the mountain. The better physical condition you’re in, the easier everything will be.
What’s a typical day like?
It depends on the resort, but most have training in the morning followed by the line-up. Then you’re off to teach. If you have no morning lessons, then you’re free to hit the slopes.
From the Trenches:
What’s the most satisfying aspect of the job?
Watching my students progress and improve is exceedingly gratifying.
What are the hard parts of the job?
Being stuck on the bunny hill on great powder days.
What is the most challenging part of the job?
Teaching someone who has some bad habits that have to be unlearned and corrected.
Special Requirements: You don’t actually need to be a qualified or certified ski instructor to teach in the USA (unlike most other countries). However, many individual resorts or snow sports schools have their own requirements. A Level 1 certification as well as some practical teaching experience can be helpful at some mountains. The Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI) has nine divisions, each offering examinations for various certification levels. You have to join in order to earn certifications.
Finding a Position: There are ski resorts in 39 U.S. states, more than anywhere else in the world. One of the best ways to find a job is to apply directly to ski resorts or lodges you’re interested in. Here is a list of all the places people ski in the U.S. The PSIA-AASI has an active job board available to both members and nonmembers. Many independent ski schools offering PSIA-AASI certifications also have job placement. Vail Resorts specializes in ski resort job listings in the U.S., including positions for instructors. Here’s another ski resort job site You can also search for jobs using the terms “Ski Instructor” and the city and state where you want to work.