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How to afford a ski or snowboard instructor course

Tips on making your snow dream a reality when it doesn't seem possible. (8 min read)

Daydreaming about riding waist-deep powder, hanging out with friends on the slopes, and becoming a qualified instructor? You’ve read the stories, you’ve seen the photos, you’re ready to commit. Then it suddenly dawns on you… cost, and your bank balance.


Ski and snowboard instructor courses are no small price, and it’s understandable to have concerns over finances. But enrolling on an instructor program is an investment, much like college or university. When you reflect on what you get, what you can achieve, and the life and career benefits, you’ll know you need to make it happen.


We want our courses to be accessible to people from all walks of life. But unless you’ve a healthy savings balance ready to deploy, or you’re able to get support from family members, you may have to be a little savvy before living out the season dream. Over the years we’ve seen many trainees find ways to fund their course, and with a little forward-thinking, it is totally achievable. Here are a few tips.


1. Plan plenty in advance


When it comes to choosing a ski or snowboard instructor course, you don’t want to compromise on experience. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that could set you up to ski the world. You want to choose a program that enables you to reach your ski or snowboard goals, and then some. We’ve a range of courses from 3 weeks through to our flagship season-long 11 week programs – the ultimate option to kick-start a mountain career.


The best advice we have is simple: plan well ahead, giving you the time and motivation to raise the cash you need. Once you have a target, you can get down to business and save.


Whether behind a desk or behind a bar, plug away and focus on building your savings balance, keeping your end goal in sight. Cut unnecessary expenses from your life, whether that means living at home with your parents or canning your gym membership to exercise outside.


If funding is a concern, we recommend planning at least 12 to 18 months ahead, if not more.


2. Pay in instalments


The price tag on an instructor course can seem rather intimidating at first. But you don’t need to pay the whole sum in one go, you can split the cost over several months or even longer.


We’ve devised a nifty payment plan whereby you can book your course and pay the balance in instalments. Not only does this give you added motivation, it gives you flexibility and makes payment much more manageable. For our 11 week courses, the standard payment plan is as follows:


  • When you book your course, you pay a £350 / $700 deposit
  • You then pay the remaining balance in two equal instalments on set dates
  • The first instalment is due on 31 Aug
  • Then the final balance is due no later than 31 Oct


If this arrangement doesn’t work for you, we can look at a drawing up a bespoke payment plan. Prior to booking your course, we can discuss your personal circumstances and agree on a payment schedule that best suits your cash flow.


To take advantage of this style of payment, you need to be organised and book early. We recommend at least 12 months, to give you sufficient time between when you book and when the full balance is due.


Here are a few more reasons to book early.


3. Pick your accommodation wisely


Don’t fly solo, opt for a shared pad. One easy way to immediately reduce the cost of a course is to select a cheaper accommodation alternative. And on our 11 week courses in Canada, we have a few room configurations you can choose from: single, twin, and even quad/triple.


Twin rooms, loaded with queen-sized beds, are the most popular choice and we find that sharing with a companion generally makes for a more for fulfilling and sociable experience.


For those on a super tight budget, we also have a limited number of quad/triple rooms. These get snapped up quickly, so act early to avoid disappointment.


If you do elect for one of the shared room options, we try to match you up with like-minded people based on a simple questionnaire we’ve developed to reveal your appetite to après and where your clothes live, among other things.

4. Choose a shorter course


Our most popular programs are our famous 11 week instructor courses. These train you for your Level 1 and 2 certifications over the course of a season and set you up for a career in the industry, but they are the most expensive option.


If a long course doesn’t suit your budget, you could consider one of our shorter courses, which are significantly cheaper. Here you’ll push your skills, achieve a Level 1 qualification and get that first foot on the ladder.


With a Level 1, there may be limited opportunities to teach, but to be able to work around the world and have a genuine chance of competing with others, you’ll need to look at achieving your Level 2.


Whatever your end goal, starting off by training your Level 1 is a good stepping stone to global recognition and will give you a taste of the lifestyle. If you decide certification is something to want to continue with, you could return to complete your Level 2 later.


If you have no intention of ever using your qualifications and are using the course primarily to challenge yourself and take your skiing or snowboarding to a new level, a short course is the perfect solution to a tight budget.


5. Train for level 1 and 2 in stages


If your goal is to become a global instructor but completing you Level 1 and 2 in one go is unaffordable, you could split your training over two seasons. This would give you more time to work and save in the interim.


We have 3 and 5 week Level 1 instructor courses and a 6 week Level 2 program, and have had many trainees achieve their Level 2 in this way.


Between seasons, you could return home and focus on working towards to the next stage, and you may even be able to secure some casual work as an instructor. If you’re from the UK, for example, you may be able to find work at indoor snow centres or dry slopes.


While it will take a little longer, ultimately you will end up with a Level 2 qualification and be able to teach globally. You’ll also get to meet two crews of new friends, make two sets of contacts, and enjoy two distinct training periods.


6. Score an early-bird deal


Acting early could play in your favour. Every season we run an early-bird pricing scheme to give first-movers a bonus saving. This usually ends around the April/May mark.


If you book well ahead of time, you’ll secure your course at a special rate before prices hike up to the current season’s level. This could save you anywhere in the region of £100 to £300.

7. Think about the long-term


Like going to university is an investment, so is joining a ski or snowboard instructor course – the precursor to a career in the mountains. Enrolling on an 11 week course may feel like a significant outlay, but achieving your Level 1 and 2 will open the door to global employment and increase your earning potential.


If you reflect on the career prospects and long-term opportunities, you may be able to absorb the initial cost of a longer course in the knowledge that, once completed, you can begin working and recouping some of your investment. You could follow up a course in Canada with a season in New Zealand and be earning within a few months of landing your Level 2. From there, you could head to Japan, Europe or back to Canada.


By no means is becoming an instructor a road to riches, but if you manage your finances well, you’ll be able to save and begin to recover some of your initial outlay.


Financial considerations aside, we’ve not even mentioned the amazing lifestyle and job satisfaction – from calling the mountains your office, to sharing your passion and travelling the world. And if you ask us, you can’t put price on that.


8. Apply for funding


For members of the British Armed Forces, qualifying as an instructor provides an opportunity to retrain and hone new skills. If you’re thinking about enrolling in an instructor program, you may be able to apply for financial support as part of the MOD's Enhanced Learning Credits Scheme (ELC).


We are an approved learning provider and offer a range of instructor courses eligible for funding. Depending on your specific circumstances, you may be entitled to claim up to 80% of the training costs, which can represent be a significant financial contribution.


Make it happen


Get in touch with us to discuss your plans in greater detail. We’ll always do our utmost to find a program that matches your goals and budget. Discover more with our ski instructor courses / snowboard instructor courses.

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