Ski Instructor Jobs – Turning a Passion for Skiing Into Paid Work

Posted by | September 15, 2010 | Blog, Resort Jobs, Resort Work

Confucius said it best, “Choose a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life.” This is a motto that we should all live by, because enjoying life is what it is all about. When you think about your job, do you dread it? Or do you go to sleep at night excited about work? If you want a job that will make you smile, then consider becoming a ski instructor.

Getting a job as a ski instructor is not hard. You don’t have to be the world’s best skier. In fact, the most important thing is to be personable and be able to teach. When it comes to getting a ski instructor job, a friendly intermediate skier from Kansas is often a far better instructor than a picture perfect expert skiing Ivy Leaguer with no personality. Anybody at any age can be a ski instructor. Professional ski instructors come back year after year and love their career. But even if it’s not your career, it is just as satisfying to be a weekend instructor teaching for extra income or a college kid working holidays to earn a free pass.

It is estimated that 10 to 12 percent of the US population visit ski resorts each year. Of those enthusiasts, 75% are skiers. This includes adults, children, teens, and adaptive skiers. And they want both group lessons and private lessons. But what is really important is that at every resort – from Vail, CO to Beech Mountain, NC – ski instructors are in demand. Often during the busy seasons, resorts can’t find enough ski instructors!

So how do you get one of these coveted jobs? First, decide on the mountain you want to work at. Next, contact Human Resources before the season, online or in person. Or try talking to a ski instructor – you’ll get all the information you need and more. Once you contact your resort of choice, you might have to have an interview, which means you’ll ski around the mountain and chat on a chairlift with the person responsible for hiring. Most resorts do not require any experience and will train you in what you need to know, making you both a better teacher and a better skier in the process.

If a country has a ski resort, they also have a ski instructor association, like PSIA, BASI, or CSIA. Being a certified ski instructor will usually increase your pay rate and boost your chance of being hired. If you want to have a certification on your resume before you apply, there are several instructor certification courses you can find by searching Google.

When it comes to ski jobs, ski instructors are at the top of the pay scale. Many people come to resorts to shovel snow or work as a lift operator. They often barely make enough money to eat. Though ski instructors are not exactly pulling in a doctor’s salary, they are doing quite well compared to their ski bum brethren. Plus every once in awhile, a satisfied “student” will shake you hand and you’ll find a tip – helping you with your next tank of gas or your next night on the town. Some ski instructors even make enough in one season to take the entire summer off!

So what does a ski instructor’s job consist of? Skiing everyday – up to 150 days a season! Your “work” will always be within your skiing limits, and everyday can be different. Friday might be spent hucking cliffs, getting lost in bottomless powder, or carving a fresh groomer with another expert skier. Saturday you could be teaching a group of 5 year olds how to stop, but also how to make snowballs. Sunday you might sip hot chocolate at the lodge and do a couple of runs with your private client. Monday you could teach in the half pipe. Tuesday might be spent helping a student learn to stand up without any help. Then, Wednesday and Thursday are your days off and you’ll do the same thing you did at “work” on Friday. As a ski instructor, you’re guaranteed to have a smile on your face and you’ll be doing what you love…skiing!

So if you love skiing and are looking for a laid back job that keeps you out of a cubicle – give ski instructing a try. People will be green with envy, when you tell them that you are a ski instructor. And that on your days off, you do the same thing you do at “work,” but you just don’t wear your uniform! Not many people can say that.

Kevin Lutgarten is an author for, a website for adventurous job seekers. The website features some of the coolest jobs on earth, including Ski Jobs, Summer Camp Jobs, International Volunteering opportunities, and Alaska Fisheries summer jobs. JobMonkey is free and has an active job board as well hundreds of pages of free content.

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