Where to work?

Lena Papadakis

First Runs
Mar 10, 2018

I'm currently a ski instructor here in the USA looking to spend my summer skiing either in NZ or Australia and the two resorts which have shown the most interest and have offered interviews are Cardrona in NZ and Thredbo in Australia. Because of an injury, I was unable to get PSIA certification earlier this season (I'm currently awaiting the last round of testing in April), so I applied for positions in snowsports but as a kids club assistant, so helping instructors on the slopes and then caring for the children in the program etc. I love kids, so I am quite happy to pursue this avenue as I will still be able to incorporate teaching into the role and aim to get NZSIA or APSI qualifications while there, either 1 or 2 depending on if I can get PSIA 1 in April. But I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts towards which might be the better mountain? I'm leaning towards Cardrona as part of their NZSIA training is you work as a part-time instructor the days you aren't in the kids club, so not only is that more work and thus money, but also more teaching experience, which I would very much like to have more of, not to mention NZ is known for its amazing skiing. As someone from the US, I've heard far less about skiing in Australia and applied to Thredbo on a whim, but within hours of applying they offered me an interview. Australian minimum wage (I'm assuming they all pay around min wage as skiing isn't known to pay much), however, is higher and would mean more profit. And while I'm not doing this to make a ton of money, I am international and a relatively steady income will be needed. I cannot seem to find if they offer instructor certification training, which is a deal breaker for me. I assume they do, but nothing is on the employee website.

So, any thoughts between the two?
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Telemark Phat

Pass the butter
Ski Pass
Jun 21, 2008
Contact the APSI and the NZSIA and see what equivalence they will offer you for a PSIA Level 1. Don't hold me to it but from memory both associations will recognise a PSIA Level 1 as a Level 2 since both the Kiwis and Us have 4 levels rather than the 3 you guys have. Have a look to see if both resorts are still accepting applications for ski instructors. If one or both are contact the resorts, explain your current experience and the timeline for hopefully passing your exam and they'll help you with your application. They'll both like that your keen on teaching kids, most people out here try to get out of teaching kids after they pass their Level 2.

I don't know about Cardrona but if Thredbo were to offer you a Job as an unqualified instructor (they will want to do an on snow clinic with you before they commit to hiring you as a ski instructor though) they will train you to sit the APSI Level 1 exam before you start work, you'll also get some shadowing time before they throw you in the deep end. If you're interested in Australia also enquire at Perisher, they may offer you a ski instructing job as an unqualified instructor before you get here since they don't do a hiring clinic any more.

I haven't skied at Cadrona but I'd call Thredbo the equal best resort in Australia and is world class when the conditions are right. Both countries have very variable snowfall so either choice is a punt in that regard. Thredbo is above and below the tree line so doesn't close when the weather is bad, so you'll probably have more reliable work.


One of Us
Jul 26, 2017
North Curly
I’d look into living costs as part of your decision. Wage may be higher at Thredbo but accomodation etc will probably cost you more than living in Wanaka.


relaxed and comfortable
Ski Pass
Oct 26, 2002
I am eligible for either in NZ or AUS but because I'm still awaiting finalizing my plans I have not submitted.

Okay, all good. As a rookie joining the childrens program may give you the best shot at a regular income. Training is done by in ski school clinics. Certification is done by the APSI and is usually additional cost and run as a course but it depends on your employment circumstance.


Thredbo kids Ski School is excellent and the training very good. Thredbo has arguably the highest number of highly qualified international instructors.

I don't know anything about NZ.

Good luck, dance for snow


One of Us
Ski Pass
Ski Pass
Jul 9, 2010
The 'Gul
I’d look into living costs as part of your decision. Wage may be higher at Thredbo but accomodation etc will probably cost you more than living in Wanaka.

Add to that expectation of living on-mtn vs off. Can probably car-pool with other instructors but it's a lot of time commuting. Can you live with that? If no, you'd have to suss out the cost/availability of dorm style on-mtn accom.
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