Becoming a ski or snowboard instructor is the dream job and lifestyle. Or isn’t it?
A ski instructor course is a fun and valuable way to enjoy a winter gap overseas, improve your skiing and travel the world with one of the coolest jobs on earth. But, it’s not for everyone. Here are some of the top reasons why you shouldn’t join an instructor course.
You have to put university on hold
While the majority of your friends are buried in assignments and students debt, you’ll be buried in snow. At first glance, going straight from high school to university seems like the wisest decision to make. But that’s not the reality. The reality looks more like thousands of dollars in student debt, juggling multiple assignments and weekends spent working in low paying part-time jobs to help you get through the week.
On the other hand, taking a gap year or two to travel the world as a ski instructor is a pretty sweet alternative. Why not save the student debt until you actually know what you want to study? In the meantime, you’ll gain transferable skills working as a snow sports instructor.
You may lose friends
But gain a whole bunch of new ones. Let’s face it when you’re busy chasing winter seasons across Japan, Canada, New Zealand and Europe your naturally going to grow distant from friends who are on a different life trajectory to you. But, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
During your instructor training, you’ll meet like-minded people from all over the world who are there for the same reasons as you. While you may lose touch with people from your previous life, you’ll start to build a new network of friends through working in a mountain environment and at various ski schools. A network of friends you’ll have forever.
Ski instructing is not a real job
According to the majority of Baby Boomers and Gen X, ski instructing isn’t a suitable career path. This is also the cohort of people who will tell you an accounting degree will set you up for life. Oh boy, how the world has changed since our grandparents were the same age as us.
In this day and age, millennials can expect to have more than eight different careers over the course of their lifetime, and new industries and job titles are popping up all the time. No longer do we have the same job security our grandparents have. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing - employers these days actually prefer life and travel experience on a CV.
You will not lose anything from taking time while your young to take a gap year and travel, gain different skills and working in a foreign country. Long term, it may actually work in your favour. So, you can ignore your grandparent's concerns. While they only want what’s best for you, their concerns aren’t that valid in today’s world.
Travel is risky
Adventure travel can be risky. But so is staying in your comfort zone and not trying anything new.
In fact, a ski instructor training course is one of the safer things you can do on a working holiday or gap year. A training consultant can advise you on all the steps you need to take to prepare for your time away. They can help you organise your working holiday visa application and tell you what travel insurance to get.
Another benefit of a training program is that the majority of guesswork is taken care of before you head away. For example, you won’t need to worry about accommodation while you’re training or finding a job.
While all travel involves some element of risk, there are precautions you can take to mitigate it.
You need strong customer service skills and a bucket load of patience
It’s not obvious to everyone, but if you’re going to become a ski instructor, enjoying people is extremely important. A ski instructor is required to work with all kinds of different people, at varied skiing abilities. From the adults to the children to the brave to the afraid.
If you’re going to pass your level 1 ski instructor course, you will need to demonstrate your ability to teach a beginner lesson and your patience. As a ski instructor, there’ll be days when your students listen to you and accomplish what you’re trying to teach them. But there’ll also be times when your students don't listen or aren’t able to master any of what you’re trying to teach them.
Having a passion for people and communication, as well as a great knowledge of your sport will help you become a great ski instructor and set you up for success in the snowsports industry. The idea of helping someone gain confidence and progress in their skiing should have you fizzing.
Sure, you might be able to fit in a short tropical break in between southern and northern hemisphere seasons, but if you’re going to be a ski instructor, you’re going to need to be okay with the cold. Not everyone wants to choose snow over sand, and some people prefer the heat to sub-zero temperatures. Becoming a ski instructor isn’t for the faint-hearted, you need to be a powder hunter. So, if you’re a sun worshipper, this may not be the career option for you.