Zell am See is a spectacular place. Just look at that image above. Jamie Dalgleish trained with SnowSkool back in 2015 and is now working there. Here’s the lowdown on life, pay and working conditions in Zell am See, Austria.
So, when did you take your ski instructor course with SnowSkool?
I completed my instructor training on the Snowskool Big White course a few years ago around 2012, and have since spent two seasons working as a full time ski instructor for Ski School Zell am See in Austria.
What qualification did you get at the end of the ski instructor ecourse?
I qualified with the CSIA Level 2 qualification (CSIA = Canadian Ski Instructors’ Alliance).
How do the pay and hours work in Zell am See?
My ski school works on a monthly salary basis, with a starting salary of €1200 per month for a five-month contract but this can be higher depending on qualifications, experience and languages. I know other ski schools in the area work on an hourly rate but the best thing about the monthly wage is you know exactly what’s coming in every month regardless of how much work there is.
Note: for more on ski instructor earnings across the globe – including Austria – see our detailed post on ski instructor salaries.
Are there any ways to top up your income?
On top of the Ski School wage, I make another €1000 to €1500 per season in tips from happy customers. And I also work in an outdoor apres bar two evenings per week. This is great fun - especially because in Austrian ski bars you are encouraged to drink when working so it’s a couple of nights of free drinks each week!
From this, I earn approx. another €500 per month.
Do you speak any German?
Not much and it’s not needed for work. German can be really useful but it’s possible to work in Zell am See and Austria speaking only English.
What about accommodation and living costs?
Rent can be variable but I’ve got a pretty good deal. I share a nice three-bedroom apartment with two friends in the centre of Zell am See and we each pay approx. €300 per month, I have heard of other ski schools in different parts of Austria where you get your accommodation included so this an important extra to consider when looking for a job.
With household bills and food coming in at around €60 per week, my total outgoings are around €550 per month.
And what about eating / drinking costs?
Overall Zell am See does a lot of good deals for instructors - you get special prices for lunch in most of the mountain huts and, if you bring enough clients in, you get your lunch for free!
Most of the bars in town also do special drink offers for instructors and I normally pay between €2 and €3 for a large beer.
How is life as a ski instructor in Zell am See overall?
Let’s face it, you don’t get into ski instructing for the money but I earn more than I spend each season and, of course, I love my job!
Fancy Being an Instructor? Try a Ski Instructor Course
If after reading this interview you're thinking, this sounds like a dream job, I'd love to do this, then why not have a look at one of our instructor courses. SnowSkool runs ski instructor courses and snowboard instructor courses in Canada, France and New Zealand.
If you’d like to become a ski instructor in Zell am See, Austria then you can go straight there with our paid internship program:
Or, the indirect route is to qualify in another country to Level 2 first – like Jamie did - so you can apply for work with Austrian ski schools. Take a look at our ski instructor courses for 2020 here.
- 11-Week NZSIA Level 2 Ski Instructor Course in New Zealand
- 13-Week CSIA Level 2 Ski Instructor Course in Banff
- 11-Week CSIA Level 2 Ski Instructor Course in Big White
- 12-Week BASI Level 2 Ski Instructor Course in The Three Valleys
And here’s a bit more about becoming a ski instructor in Austria.