Becoming A Snowboard Instructor

There is not a snowboarder out there that hasn’t thought about it, heading off and chasing the winter as a qualified snowboard instructor. It certainly sounds like an amazing opportunity but how many people actually go through with it?

Often the choice can be made blind, not really really sure what your getting yourself into, not really sure what to expect. Snowlife recently caught up with Snow Skool, an organisation who specialises in turning you into a qualified snowboard instructor to find the ins and outs on making that decision and living your dream

Q / What does SnowSkool do?

SnowSkool runs ski and snowboard instructor training courses in New Zealand, Canada and France. Established in 2003, SnowSkool has grown year on year to become the leading company in the industry. Although we are a UK company, we have an office and full-time rep in Australia in response to a growing number of customers from that region. Our young and dynamic team is dedicated to delivering courses that offer the perfect balance of high quality, intensive training and après-ski enjoyment to ensure all participants make the most of their season.

Q / How good to you have to be to be a Snowboarding Instructor?

We operate a wide range of courses that enable us to cater to a variety of experience levels. From riders with two weeks on-snow experience to those who have spent one or more seasons in the snow, we have a choice of courses and instruction to ensure the most is taken out of the experience. Students receive 25 hours of tuition per week from some of the best instructors in the world and this, coupled with restricted group sizes, ensures each student gets the best possible tuition to prepare them for their exams. In six years, we have a 100% pass rate!

Q / What makes an ideal Snowboarding Instructor?

A love of snowboarding!  The best instructors also always tend to have great people skills, a sociable nature and love of the great outdoors.

Q / How much is there to learn before you can start teaching?

A lot really but a SnowSkool course can give you everything you need. Our courses range in length from four to fourteen weeks and all courses lead to participants gaining their snowboard instructor qualifications. The duration of the course determines how many qualifications you will be able to pick up and therefore where you will be able to teach. For example, short instructor courses last between four weeks (Canada) and five weeks (Canada or New Zealand) and provide tuition to enable you to sit the entry level 1 instructor exam, which – if passed – can lead to you getting a job in the country in which the qualification was obtained.

Alternatively, SnowSkool’s season-long instructor courses last for 10 weeks (New Zealand), 11 weeks (Big White, Canada or Three Valleys, France) and 14 weeks (Banff, Canada). As well as providing the tuition required to sit the second stage/ level 2 exam, these long courses also gives more opportunity to go for more specific qualifications such as race training and freestyle coach certifications. Passing the level 2 exam allows you to teach internationally and, the more qualifications you have, the better your chances of working as a snowboard instructor

Q / Can you make a career out of being a Snowboarding instructor? What’s the money like?

The wages of a snowboard instructor can differ dramatically depending on your qualifications, skills and the country and resort in which you work but one thing is for sure…you ain’t buying a Ferrari at the end of the season! Essentially, the more qualifications you have, the more you are likely to earn. The basic rule of thumb suggests that for your first couple of seasons, you’ll earn enough to cover your general outgoings (equipment, rent, groceries, social life etc). Some resorts include extras such as your uniform, subsidised accommodation and/or food etc.  It is, of course, the lifestyle more than anything – the social scene and being able to spend your days on the slopes – that makes it all worthwhile.

Q / Is there a lot of Snowboard Instructor work?

There is in fact a worldwide shortage of snowboard instructors and so you have a good chance of getting work assuming you have the requisite qualifications and, where applicable, a working visa. To make this process even easier, SnowSkool offers all our graduates access to our instructor recruitment database – over the years we have built up a network of connections within resorts around the world and we try to provide as many contacts and as much guidance and advice as possible to help those students looking to take the next step after the course.

Q / Other than world travel, what are the main perks of being a Snowboarding instructor?

Faced with the choice of squeezing on a packed-train for 45 minutes before sitting in an office for eight or nine hours or jumping on a chairlift before strapping into your bindings to spend the day teaching excited people how to snowboard, what would you choose?!?! It doesn’t come much better than this…the fresh mountain air, the sun on your face and the powder underfoot.  The perks of the job are also very tempting…make of that what you will!

Q / What sort of places have your Snowboard instructors worked?

Former SnowSkool students have go on to work in ski resorts in so many different countries: including Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Scotland, Switzerland and the USA!

What advice would you give to someone looking for a career, long or short, as a Snowboard instructor?
Go for it!  It takes commitment to get your qualifications but the end rewards are definitely worthwhile (see main perks of being a snowboard instructor above!) We regularly have students who are taking gap years ahead of / during university qualifying alongside career-breakers affected by redundancy or those needing to de-stress from a hectic professional life. As long as you have the enthusiasm and dedication, we have the resources to make you succeed.

Q / Thanks for your time, any last words?

There are a number of companies out there offering similar programs to SnowSkool and so we have to spend a lot of time making sure our courses are as close to perfect as possible. This relates to all aspects of the program from choice of resort and instructors to accommodation and meals. Given the level of investment required, we expect you to undertake a similarly rigorous assessment before making your decision (to book with SnowSkool!)

We’d love to hear from you:
tel: +61 (0)2 8006 0976

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