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Question How to become a ski instructor?

Discussion in 'Snow Talk' started by teleroo, Jan 14, 2020.

  1. teleroo

    teleroo Waiting for winter... Ski Pass: Gold

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    Telejoey number 1, soon to turn 13, has decided she'd like to be a ski instructor when she finishes school. She's got two seasons skiing under her belt at Selwyn and also happily tootled around the blue runs on Mt Ruapehu in NZ. Last year she got 25+ days on snow including learning to telemark. She's also good with kids.

    Just so I can provide a bit of advice, what are some of the typical entry paths into this? Are there minimum age requirements for any of the local (ie in Aus) instructor courses?

    To early to tell whether she envisages it as a forever job or one to do for a few fun years before getting a "real" job. Likes the idea of Canada too.
     
  2. chicski

    chicski A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Perisher runs a hiring clinic at the beginning of winter. Over a couple of days they decide who they want, and then put those people through level 1 APSI. If you pass, you get a job. Pretty sure they have a minimum age..17 or 18?
     
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  3. chicski

    chicski A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    While there were some really good skiers in my L1 course, there were also some ordinary ones. They are looking for ability to teach, and to be taught. Then you get to teach snowploughs.
     
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  4. Seth

    Seth Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Start saving.

    it’s much harder than it used to be to get an overseas gig. Visas and all that tightening up killed it.
     
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  5. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Well worth doing even if not planning on working. One son did his, he said even though he never worked in the industry it was the best thing he has ever done.

    I’m part way through training for SB right now and my riding is light years better than it was even 2 weeks ago.

    Few options: work and train; or course and train. Depends how much disposable income you have and whether you really want to get a foot hold in the industry.
     
  6. Harper11

    Harper11 Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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  7. teleroo

    teleroo Waiting for winter... Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes, was kind of expecting the beginner instructors get the complete beginner classes. As I mentioned, she's empathetic and good with kids, which would put her in good stead.
     
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  8. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable Ski Pass: Gold

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    How much do you want to spend and how far will she travel.

    Locally it's a matter of hiring clinics but getting enough work to sustain the winter can sometimes be difficult.

    If that does not work out then paying for an L1 course with a job at the end of it is available in many countries. Japan and Canada have working holiday visa arrangements.

    Paying for a course is pretty much the standard entry process these days.

    Lots of fun for the young and ski skills will improve as ski schools usually offer training throughout the season.
     
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  9. teleroo

    teleroo Waiting for winter... Ski Pass: Gold

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    She's desperate to go to Canada. I'm guessing doing an instructor course in Canada would be the way to go, purely because I'd assume there are lots of options.

    As to how much does she/we want to spend, depends I guess on her level of commitment and also having to be even handed and balance out support to Telejoey number 2. I'd guess the course itself isn't too expensive, but sustaining a globe trotting ski life when instructor income may
    initially be fairly modest or unreliable could be the challenge. So I guess she'd better plan on getting a job during high school. Best to do it all when young I guess.
     
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  10. Untele-whippet

    Untele-whippet beard stroker Ski Pass: Gold

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    Tele instructor, not a career but a vocation!
     
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  11. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter Ski Pass: Gold

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    Under the Australian system (Australian Professional Snowsport Instructors) she can do the L1 instructor course at 15. However she won't be able to work in Australia or get a working holiday visa overseas until she is 18.

    Most of the resorts conduct a hiring clinic as part of their interview for new instructors. Perisher does not and offers hired instructors a job if they can pass the Level 1. Lately resorts have ended up short on instructors (people accept jobs and then do something else) and often offer jobs to people at the start of the year public instructor courses. Pretty summary here. The APSI is part of the International Ski Instructors Association and its qualifications are recognised internationally.

    The L1 is focused on teaching children to snowplow and that's where she'd most likley be working, in with the little kiddies. When starting out its a good thing to be with the kids, the work is more reliable than for people who start out teaching adults. The first couple of winters will be tough money wise though.

    If she can link parallel turns on a blue slope she'll be fine for passing the skiing component of the Level 1.

    Overseas work is easy for your first few years as an adult. Working holdiay visas are a breeze to Japan or Canada and the US isn't too difficult if your studying at University. If you take all of your working holiday opportunities and work seasons in Australia it isn't hard to get sponsored Visas to Japan or Canada.

    I love teaching skiing but its very different to skiing as a holiday activity. When your teaching someone to ski your skiing for them, not yourself. Its something some people love and certainly isn't for others.
     
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  12. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable Ski Pass: Gold

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    We paid for #1 son to do a course in Austria but he pretty much paid his way for the next five winters here and there. He was a pretty sharp skier prior to the course by went on to learn German and complete the Landesskilehrer 2 qualification by age 23.

    Canada would be a good option
     
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  13. currawong

    currawong Old but not so Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I don't know about the other resorts but at Falls there are students who just instruct in school holidays, and maybe some weekends - ie the highest peaks of peak season. The kids I know who've done it were ex race club, but I'm guessing that is not necessary if a kid does well in L1 and aptitude.

    that could be a way to get a foot in the door
     
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  14. LaNeige

    LaNeige One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    A friend's daughter did her level 1 in Canada when she was about 15 and it took 4 weeks (?). I think she now got her level 2 and has been invited to teach at the resort she's been training at (Big White) as a trainee.

    Another friends daughter had been working toward her level three (she's seventeen now) in Japan. The aim is to get her to level four which will require learning a second language (Japanese) and having a second skill (tele).

    Note that I might not have all the details quite right.
     
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  15. teleroo

    teleroo Waiting for winter... Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thank you all for the replies. A couple of interesting points from my perspective:
    You can do APSI courses in Japan in Feb. Good way to get a head start.
    Seems to be 16 us minimum APSI age.
    Higher level quals require a second language and second ski skill. Both Telejoeys and I have started learning German via Duolingo by coincidence and she can already tele, so we're already heading in the right direction there.
    bit frustrated to see the centrality of the snowplough to APSI L1. I see so many more benefits to straight to parallel but note it requires a higher level of dedication than average punter probably willing to put in at the beginning
     
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  16. teleroo

    teleroo Waiting for winter... Ski Pass: Gold

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    Must have been a different Level 1 or something, coz they seem to churn them through here in about 4 days.
     
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  17. Kenzie

    Kenzie Early Days

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    Before deciding where to do an instructor course she should decide where she would want to work. Not all countries qualifications are accepted in other countries (especially in the European Union and ESPECIALLY in France).
    Lots of info on becoming an instructor here:- https://www.instructorcourses.skinewgen.com/
     
  18. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter Ski Pass: Gold

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    The second language and second discipline is for the ISIA stamp, not a Level of qualification. The stamp shows that you have completed extra qualification beyond ski instruction (avalanche, first aid, language, ext) which European resorts especially find desirable. There isn't much requirement for the stamp outside of Europe.
     
  19. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Smaller resorts in western Canada usually run a level 1 course before Christmas and hire a few people from it. Easy to get working holiday visa but there is an annual quota so you wouldn't be advised to wait until passing L1 and then apply. After that you can work and train for L2. Working seasons in Aus backed with seasons in the N. Hem gets a person on the career track more quickly, but it's a big commitment. As @Telemark Phat says, instructing is very different from recreational skiing. You don't have any say about the weather and snow conditions, nor the personality and teachability of your clients. Apart from the physicality of the work, being in front of the public and having your customer service persona running all day is exhausting.

    If she ends up going all the way, the investment in time, focus and money for full certification is comparable to an advanced university degree - and the variability of income potential is similar too. There are ways to make decent money but it will take many years and highly developed interpersonal and corporate political skills. There's an old saying in the industry that still applies: "The more money you make, the less you'll get to ski."
     
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  20. chicski

    chicski A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Don’t discount learning to snowplough. Perhaps it’s different as a Tele skier, but as an experienced skier learning to snowplough properly was quite humbling. It reteaches all the balance, edge and turning skills many people lose by just tilting their body in any leaning on the edges. I found the same humbling experience when I learnt to cross country ski last year. It’s good to go back to basics every now and then.

    I only spent a couple of years teaching kids during school holidays and only did L1. But it was the best instructing I’d ever received (best instructors in Australia) and my skiing improved to the best it had ever been. Then I broke my leg.....been trying to get back to that level ever since.
     
  21. Jonathan_P

    Jonathan_P One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Bit of a thread hijack but along a similar theme.

    Has anyone done the APSI level one course without the intention of becoming a ski instructor.

    Is it worthwhile? What could I expect, I am thinking about doing it just for the experience. Am I wasting people’s time?

    With young children 4 and 1 plus over 40 probably unlikely to make a job change.

    Though it may come in handy if I want to save money and teach Mr 1 when he gets older, also can’t get enough of the snow and passionate about growing my skills after taking up skiing later in life.
     
  22. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Loads of people have done and are doing it for all those reasons and more. Do it. You won’t regret it. If it’s anything like the equivalent snowboard training they’ll break you down and build you back piece by piece - it can be way more challenging than you expect to go back to those first turns!
     
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  23. Annabuzzy

    Annabuzzy Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    I did the Thredbo hiring clinic many many years ago, before APSI moved to the 4 levels. I think basically having graduated from the hiring clinic you now get an APsI Level 1. I’d done a “Yes” course the summer before which culminated in me doing the CSIA Level one. The hiring clinic and the CSIA level one were basically the same thing.

    I was clear I wasn’t after a job and it didn’t appear to bother anyone. I got a sort of standing job offer anyway (I’m sure it’s long expired lol!).

    You basically learn the basic skills to teach a never ever through to basic parallel skiing. There’s a basic lesson structure, and key skills/activities to achieve that. You start the journey of learning detection skills. You also break down your skiing to it’s basics to teach snow plows and basic parallel, which can be handy.

    As a method to improve your skiing I honestly think an improvement course is a more time efficient method, but it’s certainly not a waste of time.
     
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  24. Jonathan_P

    Jonathan_P One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Thank you both for the response.

    Wondered if I would be the odd one out, clearly not so good to know.

    Thinking if it’s running I will give it a go:)
     
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  25. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter Ski Pass: Gold

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    Plenty of people do the course for personal development.
     
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  26. ecowain

    ecowain One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Yes. I did it one year with @Telemark Phat, can’t remember which level. Might have been the 1, which is now the 2. Or was it the 2? Good fun anyway.

    The video analysis was very beneficial. Fantastic skills training.
     
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  27. Nidecker

    Nidecker One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    JP my daughter did her level 1 a year or so ago, its 16 in Aus 15 in Canada. In Aus I dont believe you can do any further levels without teaching experience, but in Canada you can do at least you level 2 without teaching, that would be the 4 weeks mentioned above.

    I'm sure i've posted this before....

    The daughter is a pretty handy racer and was quite surprised at how "average" in ability all of the rest of the group were. I did explain to her that you don't need to be a racer to teach beginners. Which was what they are teaching you to do, but they are also teaching about lesson structure, customer relations etc, skills she is also developing as a teacher / coach in other sports.

    She was shocked that some of them couldn't carry even skis comfortably on their shoulders!

    Just do it in AUS https://www.apsi.net.au/what-we-do/become-instructor/alpine-level-one/ its worth it. Great for a uni student!

    Although she is unable to teach until 18yrs at the bigger resorts, once a lot of the mums found out she had completed the course, the amount of ski related childminding work she has had since then has been gobsmacking to me. Probs $1500 ish per week in the school holidays. Of course you can't teach at a resort if you are not an employee!!

    I would imagine she will do her Snowboard inst next year, they didn't run them this year to my knowledge, and then leverage those certs to try a get uni holiday jobs, and work her way up the levels.
     
  28. robbo mcs

    robbo mcs One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    My daughter did one of the YES courses in Canada. They do various different lengths and types of courses to suit various age groups and purposes. This includes ski instructor type courses as well as ski improvement. She did an 11 week live in course in Whistler. The course included preparation for level 1 and 2 exams, as well as general ski improvement, and lots of guided recreational skiing as well. She loved it, ended up doing her exams, getting loads of additional certificates and then working there as an instructor.

    Obviously that is not an option at the moment, but something worth thinking about for the future, post covid. You could combine an overseas trip with a ski improvement course.

    BTW, my daughter worked at Maccas part time for 3 years and saved up the money for the trip herself, so she really valued the experience;)
     
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  29. skichanger

    skichanger A Local

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    Don't do it unless you are the complete exception to the norm. You see lots of parents trying to tech their kids and it is not pretty.

    If you want to improve rather than improve and learn to teach look at working with one of the instructors who is also a coach. They spend all day every day they are at work analyzing and correcting/improving technique. I am very spoilt because I have a tame one of these and the benefits of just skiing with him are ... amazing. I always ski well when with him because subconsciously I copy him and then there are all the little things we discuss on the lift. So much effort has already been put into how best to communicate changes that need to be made to technique.
     
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  30. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Also worth noting that while there is a portion of coaching during an exam (more than you’d expect actually), the courses that culminate in exams really do a deep dive into your technique and the theories behind teaching techniques and class management.

    When our small training group blew out into multiple exam groups with people from all walks, those who did the best were the ones who had done the course or were working instructors (either upskilling or crossing over). It won’t matter so much for Level 1, but it really showed up in Level 2. Those who attempted without a course or working in local ski school were often back for their 3rd attempt with no chance of passing. They were using it as skill development, but would’ve got better bang for buck spending that on a rider improvement course.
     
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  31. Jonathan_P

    Jonathan_P One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Very true:) Maybe better guidance for my little ones in between lessons.

    Probably wasn’t the main aim of doing it, more personal development / something a bit different.
     
  32. Nidecker

    Nidecker One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    No matter the sport, you can be a parent OR a coach, but not both. For the good of your child ... be a parent :)
     
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  33. skichanger

    skichanger A Local

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    We have had so much fun skiing with our kids. Ah the stories, well injuries to Mum and Dad. One lesson was you cannot go the same places on long skis that your kids can go on short skis. And Dad really should leave the jumps to the kids.