New Zealand offers everything from cruisy groomers to untracked powder and heli-skiing. The snow is more reliable than Australia’s, and the cost of living is cheaper. For many Nonstop graduates post instructor course, it’s an ideal place to chase back-to-back winters and hone new skills. If you’re ready for a winter on the other side of the world, here’s what you need to know.
Most of New Zealand’s 20-plus resorts are on the South Island, with the most popular close to Queenstown and Wanaka. Over on the North Island are the country’s largest and highest resorts, with up to 44km of skiable terrain and highpoints of around 2,300 metres. Most NZ resorts offer more reliable snow conditions and more challenging terrain than Australia.
Queenstown and Wanaka are the main ski hubs on South Island. Accommodation can be expensive, so it’s a good idea to start looking early. If you’re looking to both play and party hard, head to Queenstown, which holds a dual crown as an ‘adventure capital’ and ‘party capital'.
Season: For most ski resorts in New Zealand, the season runs from around mid-June through to early/mid October.
Recruitment period: Many resorts start recruiting during February/March, and may require applicants to attend a ‘hiring clinic’.
How to work here
To work as an instructor in New Zealand, you need:
Some snow schools require snowboard instructors to be dual-certified for employment – being able to teach both skiing and snowboarding is a solid way to increase your chance of employment. Dual-cert instructors are often favoured for sponsorship opportunities.
Need to know: New Zealand’s legendary winter scene has a fantastic vibe but competition for jobs can be high. Many graduates take a risk and head south without securing a job first. In-resort hiring clinics offer the best chance of snagging a job – these involve a group selection process of on-snow tests and teaching demos. Some resorts ask all new applicants to attend a hiring clinic before confirming a job offer.
Pay + perks
Hourly pay rates vary from resort to resort and instructors wages tend to be lower in New Zealand than Australia. Here’s a rough guide to the pay structure:
New Zealand's ski schools have their own bonus systems that allow instructors to increase their income. Some offer up to double the hourly pay for private teaching requests. Tips can also add to your earnings – private lessons are best for this.
Working hours can depend on your contract. If you’re on a full-time contract, your NZ employer is required to honour the contract and must provide you with enough work. Many instructors teach around four hours a day for five or more days a week. This can increase to six days a week in peak season.
Not qualified yet?
We look forward to speaking with you.