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Lee Townend Skiing Powder



So you think you might want to be a ski instructor but have your doubts? Is it all about watching kids on the magic carpet and picking up their poles for them or was the South Park sketch right in just teaching the ‘Pizza/ French fries’ technique? Trust us when we say that working as a ski instructor has some of the best perks of any jobs in the mountains and even better advantages than many jobs at home for that matter. Some people argue that the best way to make a decision is to consider the pros and cons. Well, here’s our guide to the pros of working as a ski instructor…

The ultimate advantage has to be what the role involves. You ski, you get paid to ski. Is there anything better? Working as a ski instructor allows you the incredible advantage to ski everyday and continually hone your craft. Teaching simple points to clients can create a huge platform on which to improve your own personal skiing as we can testify teaching the basics to trainee instructors on Week 1 of the Autumn Gap Tignes Basi 1 & 2 Course. As your technique and teaching practise improves with time working as a ski instructor also gives you the opportunity to teach others and watch them progress knowing that your pointers, methods and time have turned sometimes complete novices into realising a passion and learning a new skill. This is an incredibly satisfying advantage of the job.

Teaching on the hill makes up your working day. We all know the Dolly Parton song ‘Working 9 to 5’, but many people struggle with the unexciting monotony of the typical working day, clocking in and then clocking out. However, if Dolly was working as a ski instructor she would be singing ‘9 to 12’ or ‘1 till half 4’. Not being restricted to the 9-5 clock is one of the most refreshing advantages of being a ski instructor. It also certainly beats the hours of many other jobs in resort. Come 9am it’s better to be teaching on the nursery slope than the chalet girl scrubbing toilets who started at 7am. You may have a group to instruct in the morning and then possibly a one-to-one lesson in the afternoon. With lifts opening at 9am and shutting at 5 o’clock, there’s no way you’ll ever have to work early for a meeting or stay late working extra hours for a presentation. Come 4 o’clock and the rest of the day is usually all yours.

Once you’ve done your morning shift lunch is often paid for by the clients. Let’s not forget that this isn’t just a free lunch in the canteen but often lunch in a beautiful mountain restaurant. Or, if you’re really lucky, your client may take you on a free helicopter ride, especially if they need an off-piste ski instructor. If you need the latest backcountry kit, resorts often provide ski instructors with huge savings on their equipment. This is perfect for practising your freestyle skills on your day off or swapping to freeride skis to check out that fresh powder.

Other perks include general resort discounts and a heavily discounted, or free, season lift pass. Talk about a painless commute to the office. Think of all your friends back home squished like sardines into tube carriages when all you have to do is hop on a chairlift to get to your place of work. After all, your day to day ‘office’ is in fact the mountains. When your friends back home boast about a fantastic view from their office, just remember that an amazing view is your office. Powder mornings and blue-bird afternoons are hardly a bad day compared to being stuck in a corporate building not speaking to anyone.

As ski lessons can often be a one-off hour lesson, or a week’s course, there is plenty of opportunity to constantly meet new people as you sharpen up their skills. Depending on your language abilities, it’s also a fantastic way to meet new people from around the world. You could be teaching children one day and improving a freestyle technique, or off-piste the next.

As well as meeting new people, working as a ski instructor also has the advantage of being able to visit new places. Most ski instructors have the amazing opportunity of being able to travel as their qualifications, such as BASI level 2, are often recognised in a variety of countries. What better advantage to a job than exploring St Anton’s backcountry for one winter and then powder skiing in Japan the next?

But there’s one more advantage – not easily or quickly acknowledged but one that outweighs all the rest. You get to form people, future enthusiasts and champions. Your techniques and tips will be perfected and even if great videos like this one don’t show or tell the stories behind, you know that your enthusiasm and support is there – the small piece without which the perfect puzzle would be incomplete.

If you need to sit down and make a pros and cons list then there’s really no point. The ‘cons’ side would be empty. Working as a ski instructor has some of the best advantages than any other job in the world and it’s hardly a job at all when the saying goes ‘Do what you love and you’ll never work a day’.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up to one of our courses today and your future career is just around the corner…