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Ski Instructor Internship or short course Level 1

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Not sure if I should do ski internship in NZ for Level 1&2 with avalanche, first aid & guaranteed job offer Or just go for Level 1 Instructors course without job offer & hope for the best. With no experience working in the ski industry what are my chances of been employed after completing either of these courses ? I'm a good teacher/mentor with kids & teenagers as I teach apprentice plumbers as part of my job & get a kick outa seeing learn. As far as skiing ability goes I've been skiing for 25 years so I would hope to think intermediate/ advanced. I've been looking around the globe at instructor courses but I'm to old for working visa now so something close to home. Surly there must be other veteran ski instructors who started later in life on the teaching side. Any thoughts much appreciated .

post #2 of 14

Ardy, 

 

We do have a few folks from down under here on Epic who have some first hand knowledge of the situation there. They can confirm or deny what I'm saying.

 

If it is anything like the States, the joke is that getting hired as a ski instructor requires only one skill: the ability to fog a mirror. If you are willing to work hard for low pay, you have some teaching experience and can ski at least at an intermediate level almost any resort in the US will hire you (if you're eligible to work). In the US, the equivalent of the "level 1 course" offered by resorts is basically a "hiring clinic". You pay a small fee to receive indoor and on snow training for how to teach skiing, get some tips to improve your personal skiing and if they like you they offer a job to you. Things are probably a little different in Australia/NZ (probably closer to the Canadian model where the fee is larger and the training is provided by the national association vs the resort), but it's probably pretty close to the same experience. Call the ski school where you want to work and ask questions like how many instructors they have on their staff and how many new instructors they hired last year. If the percentage of new instructors is under 10%, there's probably some competition for new spots. If it's over 25%, it might be "too easy" to get a job for a reason. Make sure to ask what kind of commitment they want for full or part time instructors.

post #3 of 14

As an Aussie, you have an instant leg up on us Canadians who come over there to steal your skiing jobs. From my experience, the hiring clinics are there to discourage lesser qualified internationals from showing up and trying to get a job without their visa. The intense Level 1+2 courses are typically filled with folks in their early 20's who have a lot of disposable income from their parents and may or may not want to do this for a long time. What they do is make sure that the ski schools have a decent supply of level 2 instructors each year, usually via the UK. They come, get certified, then teach for a few seasons and leave when their visa expires. They're run by people at arms length from the ski school, but in effect, they're typically recruiting agency for the mountain, where you pay them for a job. Don't get me wrong, they're fun, and you'll lean lots, but they're a lot of scratch too. 

 

All the marketing makes it seem like the only chance you'll have of getting into the industry is to do one of these courses, (and of course, that you'll get paid out the ass for what you do, but that's a whole other topic) but there are plenty of instructors who didn't do those internship programs. 

 

And if you go to a smaller resort in Australia (are there any?) then chances are you'll get hired on out of the Level 1 course anyways, especially if you work part time. Part time instructors are a boon to the resorts. They work weekends and peak periods, and they don't complain about hours during the quite weeks.

post #4 of 14

If you are looking for a quality level 1 / 2 course, then I'd look at the Rookie Academy.  Not only will you work toward your certification, but you will be coached by some of the world's best instructors.  They also have a very high placement rate.  And there are older folk who show up, not just gap year kids with disposable income.

 

Mike

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feed back, The Rusty, FlyingFish, habacomike & who ever else wants to give me any advice.

I have asked a hell of a lot of questions to ski schools over the past weeks.

Here are (some) of my Questions.

Is it very hard for employers to get over 30s a visa ? Does it cost a lot of money ? and who wears the cost ? how many instructors are there on offered sponsorships at X?

Who do you partner with ? How many ski Instructors do you have on your staff, I counted X fulltime I think but I'm sure there's a lot p/t ? How many fulltime/part time ski Instructors do you hire each season 15/16/ ? What is the percentage of ski Instructor staff turn around year to year ? Do you only/prefer to hire in house or from outside ?

What sort of commitment does X want from part time/fulltime ski Instructors ? 

Why should I choose X over other ski schools?

Now I'm starting to think that if I were to choose a course OZ/NZ it pretty much comes down to, What do you want & what are you willing to pay for/what you expect to gain from it? ( FlyingFish )

What I hoped for was a teaching (career) around the globe. NOT so due to my age ( starting out I'm to old !!) No Visa. That's the hard part to swallow as I know I would kick arse teaching at 42 over a 20 something year old ( don't take it personal ).I teach apprentice plumbers as part of my job.   

Pretty much from what I've been ( told ) is I cant work outside OZ/NZ without sponsorship (without) 36 months of documented experience well that's 10 years + in the Southern Hemisphere.

Any thoughts on this ???

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

I would like to here from some current and past ski school Instructors especially.

post #7 of 14
TheRusty, FlyingFish and Habacomike all qualify.
post #8 of 14
Call rookies and talk with Dean Hunter or Garret Shore. They can answer your questions better than anyone I know. Dean spends northern hemisphere winters in Aspen.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

I read both there profiles yesterday on Rookies, cool I will try & get in contact with them

post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ardy View Post

Thanks for the feed back, The Rusty, FlyingFish, habacomike & who ever else wants to give me any advice.
I have asked a hell of a lot of questions to ski schools over the past weeks.
Here are (some) of my Questions.
Is it very hard for employers to get over 30s a visa ? Does it cost a lot of money ? and who wears the cost ? how many instructors are there on offered sponsorships at X?
Who do you partner with ? How many ski Instructors do you have on your staff, I counted X fulltime I think but I'm sure there's a lot p/t ? How many fulltime/part time ski Instructors do you hire each season 15/16/ ? What is the percentage of ski Instructor staff turn around year to year ? Do you only/prefer to hire in house or from outside ?
What sort of commitment does X want from part time/fulltime ski Instructors ? 
Why should I choose X over other ski schools?
Now I'm starting to think that if I were to choose a course OZ/NZ it pretty much comes down to, What do you want & what are you willing to pay for/what you expect to gain from it? ( FlyingFish )
What I hoped for was a teaching (career) around the globe. NOT so due to my age ( starting out I'm to old !!) No Visa. That's the hard part to swallow as I know I would kick arse teaching at 42 over a 20 something year old ( don't take it personal ).I teach apprentice plumbers as part of my job.   
Pretty much from what I've been ( told ) is I cant work outside OZ/NZ without sponsorship (without) 36 months of documented experience well that's 10 years + in the Southern Hemisphere.
Any thoughts on this ???

Not entirely true, that 36 month number is for Japan, in the US you can get a H2B visa at a number of resorts which has no restriction on age or experience, they're not as common as they used to be though.

Building a career as an instructor was tricky for me starting at 21, at 42 it'd be harder for sure.
post #11 of 14

ardy, put in an application at Perisher right away. You can get training then have access to the Vail resorts in the US so you can teach year round. It may cost you a nominal fee to start the new hire program but this will be reimbursed if you're hired.

 

This is from the Perisher web page under Positions:

  • Inexperienced Instructors
    If your desire is to become an instructor, Perisher hosts a New Instructors Recruitment Course designed to get your foot in the door of instructing. If you are interested in becoming an instructor, please apply for the “Non-Certified Ski and Snowboard Instructor” position.
  • Then under Benefits they say this:
  • Access to employment opportunities outside the season through partnership programs with domestic and international resorts

 

Don't let your young age hold you back. I turn 69 in May and have been teaching at a small Vail property for four seasons now. I went through the Non-Certified training program my first year.  I got certified and an now working my Level 2 Certification. The basic certification training is provided for free. Weekly instructor training clinics are also provided for free. These are really upper level group skiing lessons designed to make you a better skier and instructor.

PM me if you have specific questions.

 

Good luck,

 

Ron C.

post #12 of 14

Good info so far- like you said, your Visa situation may make things tricky. If you were employable in the US, I would say to get a job at a top US resort with a good training program-This is what I did in my 40s. You won't get paid a ton, but from an economical standpoint, it is better than paying for a cert course and you will be getting real life experience teaching people right away. If you work full time, you may have less opportunity to train and work on your skiing than if you work part time (but this depends on the resort as some don't have steady work, so even full timers get cut or have slow periods where there is no work- resorts with good training programs will give you a chance to train during these slow times and even do impromptu clinics. 

 

The advantage to doing a paid for training program is the extra time that you can work on your own skiing and the ability to up your cert level quicker than if you are instructing full time. Many of these programs have great coaches, but, IMO, so do many of the top resorts (as this is where a lot of them come from).

 

In your situation, the Perisher route might be your best option. I would ask about the details of the New Instructor Recruitment Course. How many days of training? Who leads the training (and what certification levels do they have)? Is training paid or un-paid? 

 

It very well may be different at Perisher (although it is now the same owner) but as a point of reference, I got hired through a FREE hiring clinic at Vail- lift tickets were provided for those that didn't already have them. We skied in the morning and had to present a short lesson teaching something other than skiing. In the afternoon, we had an indoor interview with a different supervisor than the one we skied with. I had a pretty good group of middle aged guys and we all got hired.

 

New hire training at Vail consisted of 10 days of paid training (at the guest service rate of $9.95/hr a handful of years ago, maybe $10 now). The first couple (less than full) days was indoor, rah-rah company type stuff along with a bit of info about restaurants and other things in town that guests might ask about. The next 8 days were on snow with a really good full cert+ instructor with lots of training experience (plus some help from a sup who has tried out for the PSIA National Demo team). 

 

You didn't ask this, but hopefully you are in a situation where your plumbing training or other off season work or outside income will help to pay your bills. Put another way, at least in the US, most full time ski instructors need income from elsewhere to get by, especially their first few years in the business.

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info guys. I have put in a late application for Perisher but haven't heard back as yet. I have also spoken with Garrett Shore from Rookies who has been most helpful in explaining many of the ins & outs on the visa problems that i face as well as heaps more questions that are in previous posts.  

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ardy View Post
 

Thanks for the info guys. I have put in a late application for Perisher but haven't heard back as yet. I have also spoken with Garrett Shore from Rookies who has been most helpful in explaining many of the ins & outs on the visa problems that i face as well as heaps more questions that are in previous posts.  


Not going to help for this season, but it sounds like it may be easier to get visas to work as a ski instructor in Japan in the future.  According to reports in May 2016, many ski schools in Japan want to hire more "foreign" instructors.

 

http://www.workpermit.com/news/2016-05-27/japanese-immigration-needs-foreign-ski-instructors

 

"In September 2015, Japan's Justice Ministry outlined a basic immigration policy that would look at allowing more foreign workers, with specialized knowledge and skills, to enter the country. As part of the policy, the ministry stated that it would revise the visa requirements for ski instructors based on feedback from domestic skiing schools."

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