How to land a job as a ski or snowboard instructor
So you fancy working in an office? No of course you don't. Imagine your office is outdoors on a mountain covered in snow. Oh and your job is riding about on the snow all day with like minded people. Sound good to you? Ok well read on. This post is aimed at giving an insight into the securing of a job in the ski industry as an instructor.
This is the first step on this journey. This post assumes that you are already a certified instructor. So if you are in need of certification read this post here
Narrow the Search
As a newly qualified instructor you now have plenty of options available to you. You can pretty much work anywhere with snow. Visa permitting of course. This means that you should look into the areas of the world you are permitted to work. And if necessary look into visa options. After you know where you are permitted to work its time to look into applying.
Use Your Associations Website
Your first stop should be your associations website. Whether you have qualified through CASI, BASI, APSI etc their website is a great resource for job hunting. Each website should have a dedicated job section. Don't worry if the first time you look there are only a few jobs on the site, these boards fill up as the season approaches. Its also a good idea to check the website of other associations. Just because you have a different certification doesn't mean that yours isn't relevant to their adverts. Although a lot of jobs may be advertised across the sites there will always be original opportunities.
Email the List
This is probably one of the most underused techniques to find a job as nobody wants to be that guy. Your association website should have a contact section for every ski school or resort under its banner. I know the CASI one does. To secure my job for the coming winter I drafted a cover letter and up to date CV and then sent it to every resort I was interested in working at on that list. Tip, although annoying send each email individually and address to the lead contact. You are looking to send the email direct to the person who is doing the hiring. So if the email address provided is not related to the Head of Ski School, be prepared to send an email to HR to request their details. I found this approach was really well received and was followed up by offers of interviews and employment from a number of resorts.
Before drafting my email as detailed above I had already secured a job through a friend working at a resort. I won't go into the details of why I didn't choose that job in the end so lets just say it wasn't a fit. The thing is make sure you speak to contacts you have in the industry. They will be able to talk to their colleagues and see if there are any opportunities available. It can't hurt...
Step Outside the Box
Ok so you have followed the steps above and your still struggling. Why hasn't Whistler or Verbier offered you a job. Simply put because its so competitive and they probably have applications from people with more experience. You can get that experience by applying to the smaller resorts or resorts in places you've never considered. I recently researched a company operating in China. The salary was great and it was based teaching kids in a small resort. By taking an opportunity like this you are showing the dedication to your trade and for the next winter you will have more experience to offer the larger resorts.
Take A chance
This photo was taken during my Threbo on snow interview with 80+ applicants for 6 snowboard instructor positions. It’s worth noting that I flew to Australia on the off chance I would get an instructor job for the season. I went with an open mind and the confidence to secure the job. However if it didn't work out I would have found another job and still enjoyed the season. Taking a risk might just pay off for you.
Have you used any other tactics to secure your dream instructor job? If so let us know. We are here to offer advice based on our experience working in resorts on three continents. So feel free to get in touch.