Snowminds December 8, 2023

Everything you should know in order to become a ski instructor!

Who can become a ski instructor?

The most important feature a ski instructor needs is the motivation to ski and teach others. And since you are reading this right now, you are probably already motivated!

The next question is usually, “how much ski experience is actually required to become a ski instructor?”. In our opinion – everyone can become a ski instructor! If you can ski safely on medium terrain and have approximately 3-4 weeks of skiing experience, you are definitely eligible. There are different courses that suits different levels of skiing. If you are less experienced, you can opt for a longer course, which will improve your skiing a lot. And if you are really in doubt, you can always join our one of our ski camps – e.g. our Skill Development Camp, which helps you prepare for our instructor courses.

Depending on where you want to become a ski instructor, languages can also be an important factor to consider. Some ski schools in the French speaking part of Switzerland or Canada require that you are able to speak French (at least at a somewhat conversational level). Most ski schools in Austria require that you know some German. Have a read at Miriam’s experience with learning German from scratch in Austria!

Wherever you go, the more languages you know, the better! But thankfully, you can always learn a language, which can be a gift for the rest of your life! We offer German, French, Spanish and Mandarin language courses, that will prepare you for the local skiing terms. And of course you will improve rapidly during your season. So – if you are motivated, anyone can become a ski instructor!


Why become a ski instructor?

What are the benefits of being a ski instructor? Well, besides getting to experience a season in the mountains, teaching, skiing all day and making life long friends? There are also a lot of other benefits that are maybe not so obvious.

You will gain several months of work experience in a teaching role and be responsible for groups of students. Especially working abroad and possibly even learning another language is quite impressive, which also looks great on your resume. It will show future employers that you are able to take responsibility and be in a leading position. If you become a ski instructor during your gap year, this can even help you to get into your dream education.

You will also learn a lot about responsibility yourself and grow a lot during your season. Furthermore, you will make friends from all over the world that you can go on many ski trips with for the rest of your life, as well as having friends to visit all over the world! Furthermore, you spend a significant amount of time in a different country. You get to know the local people, food and traditions, that you won’t just discover on a short vacation. There is so much to get out of a season!


What are your personal goals?

There are a lot of options, how to get your instructor diploma and how to become a ski instructor! One of the first things we ask you is, what your personal goals are for the season, so you have the best options of choosing the right experience for you. Below we have listed some of the things to consider when picking your dream destination and course.

Where do you want to go as a ski instructor?

There are many different countries to choose from when going for a season as a ski instructor! The experiences between Japan, Canada, Spain, Austria, Switzerland or any other country will have some differences. However, they all have one thing in common: You will have great experiences, no matter where you go! As long as there are mountains, you will have an amazing season.

What suits you best, depends on what you are looking for. Do you want to ski where you used to ski as a kid? Dive into several meters of powder snow? Experience a new culture? Or would you rather eat Tapas on Top of the mountain? Each destination has its own special qualities. If you are unsure, you can take our Destination Test to figure out which destination best suits you and your dreams. You are also always welcome to give us a call, and we’ll guide you in the right direction 📞


Do you want to be a ski instructor during your gap year or for a longer period?

You will also want to consider what your end goal is in becoming a ski instructor. Do you plan on doing this just during your gap year or as a career break? Or are you considering switching your career and being a ski instructor long term? Of course this can change during your season – trust us, most only dream of one season, but end up with juuust a few more – just like Julie, who ended up on all sides of the globe in her adventures as a ski instructor!

If you plan on working longterm as a ski instructor, it could make sense for you to choose a course with both a level 1 and 2, so you can elevate your skiing through certifications too.


Which ski instructor course should you choose?

To make it a bit of a easier choice, we have made an easier overview here, to help you decide 👇


→ get your Austrian certification 

Course start in November

 5 week courses in Austria 

4 week courses in Sölden or Obergurgl

Course start in November, December, January, March

3 week ski instructor course

2 week ski instructor course

Summer course

10 day summer course

Not quite sure?

→ Check out our camps



→ get your Canadian certification!

Departure in November, December or January

3 week level 1 course in Canada

12 week level 1+2 courses departing in January: 

12 weeks in Sun Peaks

12 weeks in Mont-Sainte-Anne

Level 2 course during the season: 

Level 2 course in Canada

Wanna challenge yourself?

10 week freeride ski course in Revelstoke



→ get your certification in Austria or Japan!

Departure in November

3 week level 1 course  in Japan

Top off your level 1 with a level 2 course

2 week level 2 course in Japan



→ take your Spanish certification!

Course start in November

Level 1 course in Sierra Nevada



→ get your education in Switzerland!

Course start in November

3 week level 1 course with Les Elfes

3 week level 1 with ESS in Verbier

→ Full season level 1+2 course in Nendaz, Verbier, Saas-Fee or Zermatt

10 week level 1 & 2 course in Nendaz 

Course start in December

Full season level 1 +2 course with Altitude

Course start in February:

10 week level 1 & 2 course in Nendaz 


Do I have to pass the certifications to become a ski instructor, and what happens if I don´t?

As with almost all educations,  you need to pass an exam at the end of the ski instructor course. As long as you are motivated, hard working and ready to accept the feedback you will receive during your course, then you’ll have a fair chance at passing the exam. We, the ski schools, and the trainers expect you to take the certification seriously, so we can give you the best chance at securing a job.

Of course – anyone could have a bad day. In the event that you should not pass, we will be there for you! There are options, even if you do not become a certified instructor. You can retake the exam and join a retake course to best work on your mistakes. In some cases, you can even work as a ski instructor without the certification, where you will start out with another instructor or helping out with kids groups. No matter what, we will help you to still experience an amazing season in the snow!


Am I going to work as a ski instructor?

Obviously that is the goal of everybody taking a ski instructor course. But finding a job as a ski instructor is not easy. Especially not in the most popular resorts or if it is your first season. However we are proud to say that since 2012, we were able to arrange a job as a ski instructor for 100% of our instructors, right after they passed their exams! So, short answer: Yes, you are going to work as a ski instructor. Get excited to experience an entire season teaching future snow enthusiasts how to ski! On top of the job, we also help you arrange accommodation, transport and of course a lift pass for you. So you can get excited for your season, without having to worry about any practicalities!

Japan kids & ski instructor


What is it like to be a ski instructor?

You can read about many different experiences from previous ski instructors in our blogs. For example, you can read about what a day can look like in an Austrian ski school. Or you can read through our 4.9/5 star reviews on trust pilot. Since 2012, we have offered +6.000 Snowminders incredible experiences in the snow! And soon you could be able to tell people about your own, amazing experience!


So, what are the next steps?

If you are ready to go, you can sign up for this season and even depart this winter! Should you need some advice on what is the right destination for you, you can take our destinations test or reach out to us and we will happily advise you on how to find an experience that suits your wishes. Once you have decided on your destination, you can easily apply for your spot here and get ready for your departure. After signing up for a course, we assist you with arranging all the other practicalities and make sure you get to spend an exciting season as a ski instructor! LETS GO!



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