Ski instructor course in Verbier with ESS

Join our 3 week level 1 instructor course and work a winter in Verbier

Ski instructor course in Verbier with ESS

Embark on a ski instructor course in Verbier, Switzerland, and find yourself amidst the zenith of big mountain skiing in the country’s largest ski area. Verbier, a consistent host of the Freeride World Tour finals for over a decade, boasts an impressive 410km of interlinked pistes serviced by 93 ski lifts. The marriage of world-class skiing, a vibrant village, and exciting nightlife culminate in an international ambiance unique to Verbier. The resort is a preferred domicile for many professional skiers, a testament to its appeal.

We are thrilled to offer a 3-week Level 1 ski instructor course in partnership with the esteemed l’École Suisse de Ski et de Snowboard de Verbier (ESS, also known as the local Swiss ski school!). As part of your ski instructor course in Verbier, you will receive training from premier ski trainers, preparing you for the Swiss Kids Instructor Level 1 certification (conducted in English). Upon successful completion, you’ll be proudly wearing the iconic red and white uniform, ready to share your newly gained skills on the slopes. Voila!

The ski instructor course and season in Verbier

Commencing from the end of November, you’ll participate in our comprehensive 3-week ski instructor course in Verbier. This course is specifically designed to equip you for your role as an instructor at the local ESS ski school. The training will be conducted in both French and English, providing optimal preparation for a season in the French-speaking Swiss Alps.

Together with a group of other motivated Snowminders, you will arrive at the end of November, settle into your seasonal accommodation, get your season lift pass, and begin training to pass your Level 1 certification before Christmas. This enables you to shadow and/or work during the bustling Christmas and New Year holiday periods. The course presents a unique opportunity to gain the Swiss Kids Instructor Level 1 ski instructor certification and to significantly enhance your French language skills while working in a Swiss ski school during a full season in Verbier.

In short, we have your season in the legendary 4 Valleys sorted, offering everything from training, shadowing, and work opportunities. You will have the chance to join the unique ESS community and explore every part of the resort until the season’s end in April!

The ski instructor life in Verbier

Embarking on a ski instructor course in Verbier, Switzerland, is more than a journey into the professional world of skiing – it’s an adventure into a season of discovery, learning, and unforgettable experiences. Situated in Switzerland’s largest ski area, Verbier is a melting pot of cultures and is renowned for its world-class skiing and buzzing social scene, which make it the perfect location for ski enthusiasts to work, play, and learn.

The l’École Suisse de Ski et de Snowboard de Verbier (ESS) is your professional home for the season. The ski school maintains a rich tradition and sets high expectations for its ski instructors, but it is not all hard work, though; the ski school is renowned for its camaraderie and supportive environment. When you’re not honing your skills on the slopes, there are plenty of opportunities to unwind and socialize with your colleagues and new friends, creating lifelong memories.

By the time April rolls around, you will have completed your ski instructor course in Verbier, gained invaluable professional and life experiences, and formed connections that transcend the ski season. With the Swiss Kids Instructor Level 1 certification under your belt, you will leave Verbier with vast opportunities to continue your ski instructor career in other exciting resorts. In essence, spending a season in Verbier is about embracing the complete alpine lifestyle. It’s about developing your skills and expanding your horizons. It’s about the thrill of descending the slopes by day and the camaraderie around a warm fire by night. It’s the perfect place to carve your future!


What is included in the ski instructor course in Verbier?

In summary, we’ve got your epic season in the iconic 4 Valleys planned out, encompassing comprehensive training, shadowing, and ample work opportunities. Here is the details for what we have included for you:

  • A 3-week ski instructor course in Verbier including a job as a ski instructor with ESS
  • 5 months of shared accommodation in Le Chable or Verbier with the first month included*
  • Season lift pass for Verbier and 4 Valleys**
  • 8 days of English/french ski training as preparation for the Swiss Snowsports Kids Instructor course(Level 1) 
  • 5 days on the English-spoken Swiss Snowsports Kids Instructor course including all fees, materials, and membership
  • A ski instructor job at the local Swiss ski school, l’École Suisse de Ski et de Snowboard de Verbier (ESS)***
  • Ski school orientation, preparing you for the life as a ski instructor
  • Snowminds Team leader and social events during the course and season
  • 4 days of French language training in Verbier
  • Pro-deals at Snowminds Store
  • Pre-season fitness program
  • Kick-off event prior to departure with team building etc.
  • Guidance to packing, insurance, visa, etc., before, during, and after the season
  • Invitation to Snowminds Reunion after the winter season
  • 24 hour emergency phone during the course and season
  • Travel protection with Snowminds Money Back Guarantee

What is not included?

  • Transportation to and from Verbier, Switzerland****
  • Housing deposit and rent for the full seasonal accommodation (paid 1 month before departure)*
  • Cancellation insurance, travel insurance, potential visa fees, and local fees and taxes
  • Equipment, meals and anything else not mentioned above


*Snowminds offers arranged accommodation for the entire season, allowing you to avoid the hassle of finding it on your own and giving you the opportunity to live together with other Snowminders. The first month is included in the course package, and in most cases, you will be asked to pay the rent for the rest of the season before departure. The price for accommodation typically ranges between 800-1200 CHF per month. If you are interested in booking your own accommodation for the entire winter season, please contact us for a discounted course price.

** There is a 300 CHF surcharge on the lift ticket for people that are 24 years or older (for people born in 1999 and older) and/ or a 300 CHF surcharge for people signed up later than November 20th 2023.

***Employment at ESS depends on successfully passing your interviews and exams, and your performance during training, professionalism, and French language skills. 

**** We are happy to assist with recommendations for booking transport to Verbier. Please reach out to us ANYTIME if you are interested. 


Our 3-week level 1 ski instructor course in Verbier is perfectly designed for those looking to take a gap year, career break, or change in life, as well as those wanting the opportunity to develop as a ski instructor in Verbier and the 4 Vallées in the Swiss Alps.

Below is an outline of our ski instructor training program with ESS in Verbier, and how it typically could look:

  • 23.11: Arrival in Verbier with a welcome meeting and welcome dinner
  • 24.11: Orientation in Verbier
  • 25.-26.11: Training with ESS Verbier (in French and English)
  • 27.11 – 1.12: Indoor French language training
  • 2.12-3.12: Days off
  • 4.12-9.12: Training with ESS Verbier (in French and English)
  • 10.12: Day off
  • 11.12-15.12: Swiss Snowsports Kids Instructor course in English
  • 16.12 to end of April: work/shadow/train opportunities at the ski school


The program is approximate and can be subject to changes. The exact planning is made in accordance with the weather conditions during those weeks.

Application requirements

At Snowminds, we take pride in recruiting individuals with the right blend of skills and spirit to join our team of ski and snowboard instructors. The key to joining our ranks is a positive attitude, an outgoing personality, a sense of adventure, and a readiness to put in extra effort. With these qualities, you’re set to create unforgettable memories as a part of the Snowminds family.

To apply for this program you should:

  • Feel comfortable skiing parallel on red slopes
  • Speak fluent English and have experience with French*
  • Have a passion to work with kids and teens
  • Be positive, responsible, and professional 
  • Enjoy teaching and love to be challenged
  • Be 18 years or above
  • Be eligible and prepared to enter and work in Switzerland from the end of November until the end of April


To secure your spot in our ski instructor course in Verbier, please contact us or submit your application promptly. Subsequently, we will give you a call and schedule an interview to assess your suitability for the course, providing an opportunity for us to further cover the details about the Verbier course and life as a ski instructor in Switzerland. Post-interview, we’ll communicate whether you’ve secured a position on our esteemed team.

Given the popularity of our ski instructor course in Verbier, we adopt a “first come, first serve” approach with periodic application deadlines each month. Hence, the sooner you apply, the higher your odds of joining our team and marking Verbier as your dream destination.

*To improve your French language skills before the course we highly recommend our online, tailor-made French course, which prepares you step-by-step for a season as a ski instructor in the Swiss Alps no matter which level you are currently at.

"Being able to pass on my joy of skiing to others is the absolute best part of being an instructor. Children's ability to learn is inspiring and they are my absolute favorite lessons!"

- Miriam, Snowminds Instructor

Key Details About the Course


As your prospective employer, the ski school, not Snowminds, independently sets your work schedule, compensation, and other employment conditions. Consequently, your employment relationship is direct with the ski school, and we can’t guarantee specific conditions such as a minimum number of work hours. However, should you have any queries or concerns, we are always available to provide assistance.

As a fresh ski instructor, your primary responsibilities will involve supervising large groups of children, at times up to ten. This role can be challenging, requiring specific skills that you will acquire during your training. Working in this setting equips you with unique skills, such as class and time management as well as problem-solving.

ESS Verbier anticipates that you bring a foundational knowledge of French to the course. To augment this, the ski instructor course in Verbier includes five days of French language training. We also highly recommend our Snowminds online French course prior to departure.


As a newly-educated instructor, one is typically on the “bottom of the food chain” regarding work. In other words, the more experienced instructors get first preference, but the more you show your passion and desire to work hard, the better. We highly recommend making the most of the busier peak periods in the ski school by showing your supervisors you are motivated to teach as many lessons as you can.

The busiest periods during the peak season are Christmas & New Year, February, and in some resorts Easter. It is common that you are booked for hours according to your language skills, social skills, and people skills. There are always opportunities to shadow lessons before teaching your first which can be a great way to show your enthusiasm and motivation to your ski school. 


Our ski school partner prefers ski instructor candidates that can speak some French prior to arrival, and knowing some basic french can greatly improve your local experience. Language skills may be more valuable as the level of certification and some resorts even offer an hourly wage increase for every additional language you speak!

The more you practice the language spoken in your destination country before departure the better. This will help your integration and in general provide you with a better experience. We recommend using Duolingo to practice and ideally, we recommend taking a language course. 

Our team has jointly done more than 25 seasons across the world and we know better than anyone what it is like to start working with a new language for the first time. Whilst it may seem confusing at first, we know that it is more than possible to pick up with a bit of practice. Other than normal language courses, the Snowlingo courses specifically focus on what you actually need when working as a ski or snowboard instructor. On our website, you can read more about it. Snowminds French language course 


In terms of financial expectations, let’s be clear: You do not get rich as a ski instructor, but the salary doesn’t get much better than in Switzerland!

With the Swiss Snowsports Kids Instructor certification in your hands, you should expect to earn around 27 CHF an hour at ESS. If you obtain a higher certification this will improve.

As the volume of work can fluctuate, we advise having at least 2000 CHF in reserve to fully enjoy your season. The earnings and expenditures of our instructors differ significantly due to their diverse spending habits and personal budgets.

Additionally, there are occasional chances to augment your work hours within the resort during the winter season. These opportunities may arise in various mountain departments, such as ski equipment shops, recreational activities, and guest services.


In Verbier, we have organized season housing, where you will live with others from the 3-week ski instructor course. Be aware that we have included the first month of accommodation in the package price and that you should expect to pay the rest of the season accommodation in full 1 month before departure. In Verbier, the accommodation typically ranges from 800-1200 CHF per month + a deposit. 

Many ski schools in Switzerland do not include accommodation in the work contracts as they often work with a lot of local staff. Therefore, we work together with local accommodation partners to arrange good and fitting season housing for you. You’ll be in shared accommodation with (mostly) other Snowminds Instructors in either Verbier or Le Chable, which is only a gondola ride away.

Before departure, you will be presented with the location of the season housing and a contract, which we will like you to read and sign. Please also be aware that a deposit should be paid to cover potential damages, missing items, cleaning, washing of bed linens, towels, and/or anything else that the landlord will have claims to after the lease. The remaining amount will be transferred back to you electronically after the season by Snowminds.

Working permit 

To stay and work in Switzerland for the winter season you need to be an EU or EFTA citizen. (EFTA which consists of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland). Although Switzerland is not a member of the EU, it is part of the EFTA and thus grants freedom of movement to those from EU/EFTA countries. 

Nevertheless, you have to get a work permit while in Switzerland, before you start working at a ski school. Your ski school and your team leader will help you and advise you on the most suitable permit, which varies depending on the amount of work per month.  

Your ski school will help you with paying the relevant fees to the registration office.

Mandatory Swiss Health insurance / Tourist tax
Most work permits in Switzerland require you to also pay for mandatory Swiss health insurance which must be paid in addition to the registration fee to be eligible to work.

If you are not on a work permit, and not working, then Switzerland requires you to pay a daily tourist tax instead. This is typically around 2.50-4.50 CHF a day, depending on your accommodation setup. 

If you are interested in reading more about work in Switzerland as a foreigner, we refer to the official Swiss government website.


Course Icon 3-week ski instructor course in Verbier with ESS

Course Icon from €5.395

Course Icon

Course Icon Verbier, Switzerland

Course Icon End of November to end of April

Course Icon Sign up deposit: €200


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