Experts say that if you can turn your hobby into your work then life will be enjoyable, and for people passionate about skiing, it is all too easy to do – just become a ski instructor!
For those who just want to stay near home and work in our winter, it’s very easy. Obviously you have to be able to ski well and have good people skills, to be able to deal with everyone from difficult six-year-olds to determined adults.
The obvious entree to a globetrotting career as a sought-after instructor is to attend a hiring clinic at one of our alpine resorts. They are well-managed, serious courses which are quite affordable. The upside is you get an insight into what it takes and an enormous input into your skiing (or boarding) prowess.
At Falls Creek, the annual Instructor Hiring Clinic runs for four days, costs $150 and includes seven hours of training a day. Each participant is allocated a trainer, who will cover elements such as teaching adults and children, demonstrations, progressions, professionalism, body mechanics, customer service, company policies and procedures and free skiing/free riding.
Assessment will take place throughout the week, with a written examination being held on the fourth day. Successful candidates may be employed on a full-time or part-time basis depending on job availability and demand.
Hotham runs a three-day clinic for aspiring snowsports instructors, that covers how to deal with the different ages and levels and conditions. At Perisher Blue, potential ski or board instructors attend a one-day Hiring Clinic, which includes an interview and an on-snow assessment.
Once successfully employed, Perisher Blue offers on-the-job training and specific certification training throughout the season in preparation for the Australian Professional Snowsports Instructors Inc (APSI) certification.
APSI qualifications include Children's Certification and Levels 1-3. The Level 1 course is designed to consolidate skills already obtained at the Children's Certification course and to help further understand the specific technical concepts needed to teach and analyse beginner adult skiers. The Level 2 course is an eight-day intensive training course intended to prepare the instructor for teaching intermediate skiers, adults and children alike. The Level 3 course is a very intensive 10-day training program. This course has been specially designed for advanced skiing skills and advanced teaching concepts.
Pundits acknowledge that The Austrian certification program is universally accepted as the most comprehensive and rigorous in the world, and why not, as Austria is the home of the very first ski school, established in 1922 by Hannes Schneider in the Arlberg.
The SLAP program was set up by Aussie Brad Spaulding, and is held in Alpbach in the Tirol, one of the prettiest ski villages on the planet. Participants will do the Level One Ski Instructor Course (Anwärter Schilehrer), which is recognised worldwide. Once completed, graduates can work anywhere, and will be guaranteed a job in Thredbo, should jobs be available. Visit www.slap.com.au
Canada is extremely popular as a place to go to learn to be an instructor, and one company that offers tours for interested skiers is Master the Mountain Family Ski Tours.
This company offers CSIA Level 1 and Level 2 courses, as well as CASI Level 1 programs at Sun Peaks, conducted by CSIA and CASI course facilitators. Anyone over the age of 15 can attend, with the courses, held in January, covering everything from effective technique and safety, to skill development. Sun Peaks is the perfect location, with its character filled village a wonderful place to unwind after a hard day on the slopes.
English company SnowSkool organises courses for CSIA courses at wonderful resorts such as Big White in Canada and at Cardrona, New Zealand. Over a ten or eleven week period you can do a Level 1 Instructor, Level 2 Instructor, Level 1 Race Coach or Park & Pipe Coach course at Big White. Visit www.bigwhite.com or www.snowskool.co.uk
Canada’s Silver Star has four-day Level One CSIA courses – visit www.skisilverstar.com
Red Mountain in Canada is another option. Its Snowsports School has CSIA Levels 1, 2 and 3, and for snowboard instructors, CASI courses for levels 1 – 4, and the Park Course. Visit www.redresort.com/mountain/school/tmp/
Niseko is a bit closer to home and the Instructor Training Academy is the only program available in Japan offering courses that cover internationally recognised qualifications. Choose from the four-week CSIA Level 1 course or the eight week CSIA Level 1 and 2 course. You can also get New Zealand’s NZSIA CSI and Stage 1 Certification in Niseko.
For information and bookings, visit www.instructoracademy.com or book through www.travelplan.com.au
Join the APSI
In Australia, all training and accreditation is the responsibility of the Australian Professional Snowsport Instructors (APSI). APSI is a helpful source of information on ski instructor courses and employment. You’ll need to be a member of this to work as a ski instructor. Visit www.apsi.net.au