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Where in the world can you work as a ski instructor?

Dreaming about becoming a ski or snowboard instructor? Here’s a roundup of some of the most epic places you can work. (10 min read)

As a Nonstop graduate you can work almost anywhere in the world, from the Canadian Rockies to the Japanese Alps. Whether you train in Canada, Europe or New Zealand, all our qualifications fall under the International Ski Instructors' Association (ISIA), which opens the door to, quite literally, a whole world of opportunities.


Once you’ve completed your Nonstop ski instructor course or snowboard instructor course, you can apply for jobs in the northern hemisphere, southern hemisphere, or both. Career support is all part of the process – we help with everything from visa application advice to interview techniques, and we’ll hook you up with the right people from our huge pool of ski industry contacts.


Here’s a rundown of some of the countries our instructor courses can lead to, including:


  • Canada
  • USA
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Australia
  • France
  • Europe (Italy, Andorra, Switzerland, Austria)
  • China
  • UK




Deep powder, avalanche controlled off-piste and expansive terrain: Canada is a holy grail for ski instructors. Add super friendly people, quiet slopes and awesome career development into the mix, and it’s easy to see why you’d want to call the Great White North home. More than 250 resorts span the country – they vary hugely in vibe, as do the number of job opportunities.


Many Nonstop graduates are determined to work here, and having a Canadian qualification puts you top of the pile. Graduates of our course in Fernie are offered guaranteed interviews with RCR – an organisation that operates several Canadian resorts including Fernie, Nakiska, Kimberley and Kicking Horse. Working holiday visas are issued each year but company sponsorship is also an option for experienced instructors.


Best feature: Up to 12 metres of annual snowfall and epic backcountry


National system: CSIA/CASI


How to work here:


To instruct in Canada, you need:


  • Minimum of CSIA/CASI Level 1, or Level 2 with another ISIA body (e.g. BASI, NZSIA)
  • Canadian working holiday visa or company sponsorship


Good to know: Although you can teach beginners with CSIA/CASI Level 1, you stand a much better chance of securing a good job with CSIA/CASI Level 2.


Pay guide


  • Level 1 – $10-15/hour
  • Level 2 - $15-20/hour
  • Level 3/4 - $30/hour


Typical season: November – April/May



Epic steeps, champagne powder and decent tips make the USA a magnet for instructors. You can also look forward to uncrowded slopes and buzzy mountains towns, plus awesome off-snow entertainment. Gaining a work visa, however, can be a lengthy process – it’s a good idea to start applying for jobs early.


When deciding where to apply, you’ve got hundreds of resorts across six main ski areas to choose from: the Rocky Mountains, New England, mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest and the West Coast. Each resort has unique appeal, with places like Jackson Hole, Lake Tahoe and Aspen among the most famous. Snowsports schools vary in their qualification requirements, so always check first.


Best feature: World-class in-bounds terrain


National system: PSIA


How to work here


To instruct in the USA, you need:


  • Minimum of PSIA or CSIA Level 1, or BASI Level 2 / other ISIA equivalent
  • USA work permit: in most cases this means an H2B (sponsored) visa


Good to know: We don’t offer the PSIA qualification as CSIA and BASI are equally respected and offer up the same work opportunities in the US.


Typical season: November/December – end of March




Japan is famous for its legendary powder conditions, with multiple feet often falling each day. The booming ski industry means that there’s strong demand for instructors – many holidaymakers are Australians, so English-speaking instructors are highly sought after. Staff accommodation is usually part of the package, and daily night skiing adds to the experience: scoring face shots under the night sky is a common after-work perk.


The ski culture is totally different out here: you’ll be swapping hot-tubs for onsens, fondue for sushi, and toffee vodka for sake. Japan has become a popular option with Nonstoppers and, thanks to the performance of past graduates, we have strong links with Japanese snow schools.


Best feature: 15+ metres of soft powder every season


National system: SAJ


How to work here


To instruct in Japan, you need:


  • Minimum of Level 2 CSIA, BASI or NZSIA
  • Japanese working holiday visa or company sponsorship


Good to know: Overseas employees are allowed a one-year working holiday visa, once in their lives but, due to high demand for experienced instructors, ski schools are currently lobbying to be able to offer sponsorship more easily.


Pay guide


  • Level 1/rookie: 1,500-2,000 JPY
  • Level 2: 1,800-2,500 (2,500-3,000 for returning/highly experienced L2 instructors)
  • Level 3/4/trainer: 2,500 – 5,000 (3,500+ for requests etc.)


Typical season: December – March/April

New Zealand


If you want to instruct all year round – or start working straight after your Nonstop course in Canada – New Zealand could be for you. The snowsports scene is huge here, with epic terrain parks, bracing scenery and a lively outdoor culture, so there’s lots of fun to be had. The terrain is more varied and challenging than Australia, and the snow conditions are more reliable. On the flip side, competition for jobs is more intense.


Applying for a job requires a leap of faith as few snow schools will offer you a position without meeting you face to face. Leading resorts, like Treble Cone, have ‘hiring clinics’ which involve a series of on-snow ‘interviews’. Treble Cone has been a regular employer of past Nonstoppers, so your prospects are good.


Best feature: Awesome outdoor culture


National system: NZSIA


How to work here


To instruct in New Zealand, you need:


  • Minimum of Level 1 NZSIA, or Level 2 with another ISIA body (e.g. CSIA, BASI)
  • New Zealand working holiday visa or company sponsorship


Good to know: Working visas tend to be easier to secure in New Zealand than in other countries.


Typical season: Mid-June – early/mid/late October



Australian resorts are more likely to hire rookie instructors than most other parts of the world. And with the season kicking off in June, you could go straight from a Nonstop course in Canada to an instructing job down under. While the ski hills aren’t exactly world-renowned, there’s a great vibe on and off the slopes with epic snow parks, mild temperatures and terrain perfectly-suited for teaching and on-piste training. Plus, you could stick around for summer and travel through Oz.


Most schools will invite you for a phone interview, followed by a practical assessment, which may involve travelling to Australia for a ‘hiring clinic’. However, in the past, many Nonstoppers have been offered jobs without having to travel out there, so you stand a good chance of doing the same.


Best feature: Great opportunities for new instructors


National system: APSI


How to work here


To instruct in Australia, you need:


  • Level 1 APSI, or Level 2 CSIA, BASI, or an equivalent ISIA qualification
  • Australian working holiday visa


Good to know: We don’t offer the APSI qualification as CSIA, BASI and NZSIA are equally respected and offer up the same work opportunities in Australia.


Typical season: June – October




Soaring mountains, epic off-piste and vibrant alpine villages make the French Alps a world-class ski destination. Ski instructors who work in France are renowned as some of the world’s best – and highest paid – adding to the prestige, but it’s notoriously tough to gain a job here.


There are a few routes into France, either directly through the French system or via BASI, but all require you to be a highly accomplished ski racer capable of passing two formidable speed tests. The whole process takes at least four years but it’s often more like eight. You’ll also need to learn the French language. Whilst challenging and long-winded, those who pursue the French route are rewarded with some of the world’s finest resorts – and earn more than anywhere else in the world.


Best feature: Become one of the world’s most elite – and highest earning – instructors


National system: ENSA


How to work here


To instruct in France as a ‘trainee’, you need:


  • BASI Level 2 or above (other ISIA qualifications may be accepted)
  • Test Technique pass – a timed slalom that you have to complete within a percentage (20% for men, 25% for women) of the time set by the course opener (a national ski racer).
  • No visa required for EEA Nationals. Other nationals should check for specific requirements.


To become a fully qualified instructor, you need:


  • BASI Level 4 ISTD
  • Euro Test pass – a timed giant slalom that you need to complete within 18% (for men) 24% (for women) of the time set by the course opener.
  • French language skills


Typical season: November/December – March/April

Italy, Andorra, Switzerland and Austria


Beyond France, there are endless opportunities to instruct within Europe offering superb skiing and good pay. For dramatic mountain scenery and challenging slopes, Switzerland can’t be beaten. Andorra is cheaper and laid back but with more limited terrain; Austria has epic steeps and lively alpine villages, while Italy’s charm extends on and off the slopes.


The requirements for instructors vary between countries and regions: some Swiss resorts take a relaxed approach to hiring while others are stricter; Andorra welcomes CSIA/BASI instructors; parts of Italy limit the number of days you can work each winter; and some Austrian resorts ask for German language skills. For the best career outlook, come ready armed with CSIA or BASI Level 2. Local language skills aren’t essential but can certainly boost your chances of getting hired.


Best feature: Diverse skiing and authentic mountain culture


How to work here


To instruct in much of Europe (outside of France), you need:


  • Level 2 CSIA, BASI, or an equivalent ISIA qualification
  • A work permit for Switzerland and Andorra. For most other countries, only non-EEA nationals need a work permit.


Typical season: November/December – March/April.




The Chinese snowsports scene has exploded in recent years, with more than 600 resorts to choose between. Some of the best include Club Med Yabuli (the largest), Beijing Nanshan (best for snow parks) and Xiling Ski Resort (the largest in the southwest). Chinese resorts are popular with Australian skiers, so some snow schools actively advertise for English-speaking instructors.


Alpine charm and huge powder stashes may not be on the cards but the opportunities are exciting in this emerging industry. Steaming dumplings, Qingdao beer and karaoke are also up for grabs, so if you thrive on quirky culture and unusual travel experiences, China might just be for you. You don’t need to speak Mandarin but learning a few basics will help you get more from the experience.


Best feature: Unique Asian ski experience and travel opportunities


National system: N/A


How to work here


To instruct in China, you need:


  • Minimum Level 1 with an ISIA body (e.g. CSIA, BASI)
  • Chinese working holiday visa or sponsorship


Good to know: Club Med is a good potential employer for ski jobs in China.


Typical season: November/December – end of March



Teaching in the UK offers a completely different lifestyle. Here, you could be working part-time while studying or enjoying ‘normal’ UK life at the same time. There are excellent of opportunities for Level 1 instructors to gain experience, as the bulk of teaching is with complete beginners. Freestyle is also a good discipline to teach in the UK, along with other specialisms like adaptive disability coaching.


Indoor snow centres like Chill Factore in Manchester and The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead offer a great vibe and year-round employment, as do dry slopes like Ski Rossendale in North Wales and the Midlothian Ski Centre near Edinburgh – the longest dry ski slope in Europe. For ‘real’ snow and mountains apply to one of Scotland’s five resorts in the Highlands.


Best feature: Level 1 instructing opportunities


National system: BASI


How to work here


To instruct in the UK, you need:


  • Minimum of BASI Level 1 or equivalent (e. g. CSIA) to teach on indoor slopes or dry slopes
  • Minimum of BASI Level 2 (or CSIA Level 1) to teach in an outdoor mountain environment
  • Valid UK work permit for non-EEA nationals


Good to know: UK slopes are a good option for part-time and holiday work.


Typical season


  • Artificial snow: Year-round
  • Scottish resorts: December – early April


Travel the world


Qualifying as an instructor on our ski instructor courses / snowboard instructor courses could see you travelling to mountains around the world. Get in touch with our team for more info on our courses or your future prospects,

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