Guide To A Gap Year As A Ski Instructor: Working as a ski instructor sounds like the dream job; skiing all day, partying all night and getting paid to do it all. But, as with so many things in life, the reality isn’t quite like the hype. Doing a season as a ski instructor is a great experience, but many things are different from the cliché. One of the biggest potential setbacks to budding ski instructors is money. Qualifications can be expensive, insurance unclear and some ski schools wages are impossible to live off.
Where to qualify
Firstly, you need to decide which qualifications you want to get. This can be a confusing matter as each country values its own qualification more highly than any of the others. It is really important to research in depth the pros and cons of each qualification and to find the best course and exam for you. As a general rule, it is possible to find work in most places in Europe with either the British BASI Level 2 qualification or the Austrian Anwärter or Landes qualification (bear in mind you need basic German for this!). The exception of this is France; they have very high entry standards for ski instructors that is not usually possible to achieve unless you are race trained. The International Ski Instructors Association (ISIA) does an international skiing qualification that will allow you to teach in any of the 39 registered countries; however, it can take a long time to become qualified and in reality each country has a differing view of the ISIA qualification. If you want to teach in Canada, America or New Zealand then consider at the CSIA, PSIA and NZSIA respectively.
How much you will earn
The wages for being a ski instructor can completely vary. In Europe, Switzerland are said to pay the most, but on average you could expect €700 – 800 per month. As you may realize, it’s not a job you undertake to make a lot of money. That said, the ski school usually provides accommodation, a season pass and insurance, and you can get cheap ski instructor beer in most of the mountain bars! Whilst it’s not always possible to make a fortune ski instructing, it is perfectly possible to break even over the season, after paying for your qualification. Food and drink should really be your only expenses, after all, with a season pass what else would you want to spend your days doing?
How to get insured
Insurance is the other big expense involved with heading out to the slopes for a season. The ski school will usually cover their employees, but only when teaching – it’s up to you to get insurance for when you’re skiing in your own time. Shop around with specialist companies and get quotes from a lot of companies to ensure you find the best price, otherwise, it can get expensive. It’s also important to make sure you’re buying insurance for the right time frame. Many companies will not insure for periods of time longer than six months, so check out your dates and get insurance to fit that.
The financial side of doing a ski season can be confusing and dull, but it is really important to get it right in order to fully enjoy your time in the resort! Do lots of research, seek advice from anyone you know who has already done a season, and have a clear idea of what you want to achieve from your season and find the best way to go out and get it.
Amy worked as a ski instructor in the Alpine regions. She has extensive knowledge on ski resorts and properties. She writes for Alpine Angels, a property agent. Share your view on “A Student’s Guide To A Gap Year As A Ski Instructor” in the comment section below.