Perhaps the best testament to our courses, is the success ex-SnowSkoolers have after they qualify. After an instructor course, there is usually a bit of time left in the season to apply for Ski School jobs and/or develop your qualifications further. We spoke to past participants, about what they did next, where are they now and what advice they have to offer. Plenty became ski instructors or snowboard instructors, but a few have set up ski wear brands, work for snowboarding websites, and even working for SnowSkool!
Back-to-back ski instructing in the northern and southern hemisphere
"I finished my first season working as an instructor at Mt Seymour, Canada. It was honestly just great fun spending all my time on the mountain and unbelievable to be getting paid to take people out skiing. I managed to secure a further ski instructor gig in Mt Lyford, New Zealand, so I'll be starting work over there in June."
Advice: "I found getting a job in Canada quite easy, the hardest part was getting the working holiday visa! I got a working holiday visa through the 'International Experience Canada' Scheme. There is a quota on the amount of IEC visas issued each year so you need to get in and apply as soon as each year’s quota is released. There were quite a few forms to complete and send off but it was well worth the effort! Get your working holiday visa and start applying early!"
The mature student, qualifying as a ski instructor aged 56
"When I turned 55, the last of my 3 children, Stephanie, finished her university degree and my professional work load finally started to diminish – largely due to my own desire to cut back on what has been a crazy professional career. I often refer to my instructors’ course as my 3rd midlife crisis – the previous two being taking up surfing at the age of 45 and hockey at 47! After qualifying in Big White, I became a full-time ski instructor in Perisher, Australia, and went on to take my level 3 ski instructor exam."
Advice: "Do a ski instructor course if you feel that you skiing abilities have plateaued and you want to push the boundaries to see how much you can improve. If you do a good job on the course, you’ll find that the Ski School trainers/directors will write you a great reference, which can almost guarantee you a job!"
The SnowSkool X Interschools scholarship
Shauna (pictured top) was involved with interschools skiing from the age of 8 and competed in alpine skiing and skier cross races, in the Canberra territory, Australia. She was selected for the SnowSkool Interschools scholarship, not just for her skiing prowess but also because of her concern and time for others, and her leadership qualities. After the course, Shauna got a job as a ski instructor in Perisher.
“In my second season at Perisher I decided to continue my training development. I wanted to challenge myself and provide more advanced instruction to my guests. I also wanted to make myself more attractive to overseas ski resorts.” Shauna was one of the youngest ever females to reach the APSI Level 4 qualification, and was then to be selected to represent APSI in the national demo ski team!
“Being on the Demo Team has been such an amazing experience for me. I’ve grown as a person, instructor, leader and skier. If you asked me seven years ago if I thought I’d ever become a Level 4 instructor, Trainer, or Demo Team member I would have laughed. I always thought it was so unobtainable and only for the ski gods out there. Instructing is like anything you do, if you work hard you can achieve your dream!”
Advice: "1) Set a goal and commit! People often doubt their ability to ski and teach, be confident and give it everything. 2) Absorb as much information as you can (there is no such thing as a bad training session). 3) Don’t ever forget about your passion for skiing/snowboarding! Have fun and enjoy every moment."
The over-achiever with a tonne of snowboard-related jobs
"As soon as I arrived home, I went back to my old job working in a snowboard shop called Subvert in Chillfactore. Along with that, I managed to land a part-time instructor job teaching at Chillfactore too. Along with that, I run a snowboard website called www.boardinary.org, which includes videos, photos and competitions. I've also just started a clothing brand called Strdywngs, which will hopefully grow in the future. But that's all for now."
Advice: "Remember that snowboarding and skiing are all about fun. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong. If you love snowboarding or skiing, then definitely book onto a SnowSkool course. I made some amazing friends, improved my riding dramatically and have some experiences and memories that I will never forget."
Another year-round, north-south combo
"After staying in Banff longer than the course I knew I didn't want to give it up right away. I am currently doing winters between Falls Creek Australia and Silver Star Mountain Resort Canada. It is impossible to say which is my favourite as each resort has advantages and disadvantages."
Advice: "Gaining a position in a snow sport school can be difficult as there are many people that try and get jobs. However, having the background experience and knowledge of a SnowSkooler helped me out, as you have already seen how lessons are structured and how a snow sport school operates. Speak to everyone and gain as many contacts as you can, you never know when you’ll need people to recommend you or put in a good word."
Mix-n-matching snowboard instructor courses
"I started my SnowSkool course and passed my Level 1 in Biggie… then broke my collar bone. SnowSkool helped me out by getting me to the Banff course, where I passed my level 2 and level 1 park. I then headed back home to England, sorted my working visa and got a call from Big White Ski & Board offering me a job. I love teaching snowboarding, and I’d do it for free if I could [don’t tell Big White that] the terrain park though has to be my favourite place to go for a lesson."
Advice: "Our top instructors here at Big White are athletes, they are doing extra fitness in the evenings and watch what they eat. I am learning a lot from the more senior instructors because I want to make this career last!"
The scatter-gun approach to finding a ski instructing job
After the course, Alex returned to Bolton where he spent the summer working and applying for jobs for the coming winter season. He contacted SnowSkool once more for some advice and help in applying to ski schools in Europe and further afield, we sent him over a number of job opportunities, as well as some general application advice. To Alex’s credit, he took all of this on board and found a job at the US resort Wildcat, in New Hampshire.
Advice: Get lots of contact details and send out lots of emails so that you don’t feel in the dark after you qualify. Email tonnes of ski schools in Europe and the US, keep an open mind to resorts too.
Starting bro! clothing – one of the biggest names in ski & board gear
(Nick) "Immediately after the Banff course, I spent the summer teaching wakeboarding and then headed up to Leeds Uni. While I was there, I put my qualifications to use: working at Snozone in Castleford teaching snowboarding (in between the uni work/sometimes instead of uni work), then summers were spent back at the lake teaching wakeboarding (the two sports translate pretty well when it comes to both riding and teaching). When I finished university, I briefly worked in a snowboard and skate shop in London before heading off to Meribel to look after the first ever SnowSkool France course. After that, I was working for SnowSkool as Marketing Manager. Eventually, bro! popped up but it took a fair while for the company to get to where it is now."
Advice: Have fun!