New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Where to start?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Alright, I'm ready to take the plunge into ski instructing. For me, that was a bigger step than it probably should have been, but that's not really the point.

I was wondering where / how everyone started instructing. I've been drooling over www.nonstopski.com for awhile. It looks like it'd be a great time, but I don't know if I'm ready to fork over the $$$ for it. Although, when you get out, you're basically ready to go. Is there somewhere here in the states that does the same-ish thing? Or is this the wrong way to go about it all together?

Anyways, any help out would be great.

Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 20
Seems like a big waste of time/money to me.

Just go to a hiring clinic at a good ski school.
post #3 of 20
My observation at EpicSki Academy was that there were many veteran instructors attending the camps and taking advantage of the coaching of examiners and demo team members. Frankly there isn't a higher level of instruction of that kind available. Of course if you have weeks available instead of days, and are more interested in CSIA that might be a good choice. Coaching and time on the snow is what will get you there. As Epic said, once you sign on, you can attend clinics and take advantage of training at the ski area to advance through the certification levels. The initial qualifications to be on the instruction staff are pretty low...warm body in the lineup willing to teach beginners. Advanced intermediate skiing and good communications skills.
post #4 of 20
I would check with the areas that you want to instruct at to see if the course would lead to hiring and at what rate.

Since the price is in pounds, it would take a lot of pushing snow just to put a dent in the "investment".

Here in the US, at least at the two areas I worked, when after completion of the two weekend new hire course that cost them $200, and they found out how little the area actually paid they tried to get hired "down the road" only to find that "Area A ... does not honor .... Area B's" course so they would have to repeat in addition to "shadow instruct" without pay.

Canada may well be quite more liberal .... but that sounds like an lot of money and I doubt it would give you any significant advantage; that comes from spending actual time on snow and paying your dues in the pecking order.
post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
Here in the US, at least at the two areas I worked, when after completion of the two weekend new hire course that cost them $200, and they found out how little the area actually paid they tried to get hired "down the road" only to find that "Area A ... does not honor .... Area B's" course so they would have to repeat in addition to "shadow instruct" without pay.
At my resort coming to the hiring clinic cost nothing and you get paid for your new hire training. Just sayin'.
post #6 of 20
These Gap programs are execellant ways to get into ski teaching. Probably the best, and very affordable. I didnt look at all the details of that particular program but the "expensive ones" may seem that, but usually it is becuase they are all inclusive...they include, season pass, full day lessons, 5 days a week with usually a Level 4, accomadation, a ski suit, your certification costs and somtimes food.

Getting hired after is no problem...if you have the Cert, you have the Cert...the standard is the same for everyone.

The popularity and repeat business (yes people repeat just for the fun/value they offer) of these programs is a huge testament to their success.

Here is some others to look into:

Base Camp
Yes
International Ski Academy
Section 8
Launch Pad

Lots more...just type in "Gap Year Programs" Ski into Google.

Just pick the one that looks best for you...the onhill instruction is virtually identical...ie CSIA driven.

The single biggest benefit of these programs is they actually teach you to ski better, and to teach....

Sure as some suggested you can just show up to resort, find a place to live, take your level 1, hope to pass, then try to get a job....but in most ski towns, that will means showing up at least 1 month, probably 2 before skiing starts to find a place to live....then you wont get hired, until you get your Level 1, meaning you will need to buy a pass...they will refund the money if they hire you later....but if you fail the Level 1...you are SOL.....with a Gap program...it is all easy, show up, and bed is waiting for you, you will instantly meet a bunch of like minded people, and you will get the training you need to get your Level 1, already pretty good, then you will get the traiing you need to pass your level 2! With your 2, you will get a better job in the ski school etc...so you cant lose.
post #7 of 20
(Dude - ???)

Nicolai,

Where do you live? Do you want to work local or relocate. Do you want to teach full time or part time?

I teach part time at Whitetail, PA. I started 15 years ago by taking an ITC (instructor training course) for <$100 that involved 2 days of indoor training and 2 days of on snow training and included the lift pass. After I got hired I spent a few more days taking clinics and shadowing classes (free lift passes but no pay). After that I told the boss I was ready, he drilled me about how to teach a level 1 lesson. He liked my answers so he gave me a jacket (after I gave him a deposit check) and I have not looked back since.

It's the hardest job I've ever had and definitely is not worth it unless you love the sport and factor in smiles as part of the compensation.

Killington runs a generic "become an instructor" program for those that want to go through the process without the pressure of the "hiring clinic" aspect that most resort ITC programs have. However, many resorts will let you take their ITC program even when you have no intention of actually working there.
post #8 of 20
I spent a season working in Whistler and took the CSIA Level I course when thought I was ready. Far, far cheaper than forking out for these 6/12 week long courses etc, plus you get to make tons of friends and have a great time in the process...
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post
(Dude - ???)

Nicolai,

Where do you live? Do you want to work local or relocate. Do you want to teach full time or part time?

I teach part time at Whitetail, PA. I started 15 years ago by taking an ITC (instructor training course) for <$100 that involved 2 days of indoor training and 2 days of on snow training and included the lift pass. After I got hired I spent a few more days taking clinics and shadowing classes (free lift passes but no pay). After that I told the boss I was ready, he drilled me about how to teach a level 1 lesson. He liked my answers so he gave me a jacket (after I gave him a deposit check) and I have not looked back since.

It's the hardest job I've ever had and definitely is not worth it unless you love the sport and factor in smiles as part of the compensation.

Killington runs a generic "become an instructor" program for those that want to go through the process without the pressure of the "hiring clinic" aspect that most resort ITC programs have. However, many resorts will let you take their ITC program even when you have no intention of actually working there.


Rusty, Rusty,

Sure you can do what you say...no argument...but do you really think a young guy/gal is who wants to ski is going to move to PA?

Seriously. These programs are great, and extremely popular...in Whistler there will be around 200 students in one of these programs on any given day of the season...how many students did your entire ski school have last tuesday?

They are basically like ESA....but longer, with accom, etc thrown in...and I would suggest if you compare apples to apples...similiar price points....I just checked the YES website...YES is the most popular of these programs...basically $1500/week.

And for that you get:

7 nights accommodation
• 6 day Whistler Blackcomb Lift Pass
• 1 Guiding morning (Sunday)
• 4 Days Ski Instruction (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday; 4 hours / day)
• Video analysis
• Après functions
• In-resort service

That is super cheap...passes alone are $80*6=$420
Accomadation...say $50/night = $350
Apres parties...priceless
Which means for around $700/week you are getting coached by some of the best in the business.

Other programs are maybe a touch more...but usually offer full day instruction....and do drive harder towards the Level 1.

You really hit the nail on the head when you said Ski Teaching is a tough business...it is...especially when you are 20 somthing yrs old, and just want to "Live the lifestyle"....that is what these programs offer...skiing everyday with great freinds, working on your skiing, working towards a certification...then maybe teach abit after....statistically most dont come back to teach...but many do come back for the program.

Is there cheaper ways to get into ski teaching...definatley.

Is there a easier/cheaper way to live the ski bum lifestyle at a major resort like Whistler, and do it in a way that leaves you coming home with something (ie CSIA L1) so that your parents dont say you are just "wasting time"....not that I am aware of.

If you just show up to Whistler with no prior ski teaching experience....you will get a job...as a lifty. Sucks on those powder days.

If you are happy to just work at a smaller resort in the East, then by all means, follow the advice given by the others.
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicolaib211v View Post
Is there somewhere here in the states that does the same-ish thing?
"In the states"? So you're not American (already living and working here)???

Well, you need a visa to work (legally)!

If that's the case, a lot of the responds wouldn't work for you.
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post
(Dude - ???)

Nicolai,

Where do you live? Do you want to work local or relocate. Do you want to teach full time or part time?

I teach part time at Whitetail, PA. I started 15 years ago by taking an ITC (instructor training course) for <$100 that involved 2 days of indoor training and 2 days of on snow training and included the lift pass. After I got hired I spent a few more days taking clinics and shadowing classes (free lift passes but no pay). After that I told the boss I was ready, he drilled me about how to teach a level 1 lesson. He liked my answers so he gave me a jacket (after I gave him a deposit check) and I have not looked back since.

It's the hardest job I've ever had and definitely is not worth it unless you love the sport and factor in smiles as part of the compensation.

Killington runs a generic "become an instructor" program for those that want to go through the process without the pressure of the "hiring clinic" aspect that most resort ITC programs have. However, many resorts will let you take their ITC program even when you have no intention of actually working there.
I live in what may be called the WORST place to ski. EVER. Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The good news is that Great Bear is literally 5 miles from my house. The bad news is that it's nickname isn't 'Great Bump' for nothing. So naturally, I'd have to relocate. I'd like to do it full time...the term ski bum comes to mind.

I've looked all over the internet and I can't seem to find anything that says you can or can't make a living at this. I'm ready for it to be tough, but is it even possible?
post #12 of 20
Definatley possible....lots do it....but be prepared for reality....room mates...and I dont mean, share a house...I mean share a ROOM....you will need to count your pennies...and live hand to mouth.

Costs vary depending on resort...bigger resorts cost more then smaller resorts...but smaller resorts pay less, and bigger resorts pay more....

The best route is to get a good summer job that will allow you to build up some savings so that you can dip into them during the lean times in winter...most people will spend more in winter then they make....unless you want to work 2 or 3 jobs....but then, what is the point of that, you are there to ski...not work all the time....

My advice...if you are young, single and want it...go for it...you wont regret it...if you are older, with commitments...you better do some research...or have a little stash of cash saved up to supplement your income.
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

Getting hired after is no problem...if you have the Cert, you have the Cert...the standard is the same for everyone.


....then you wont get hired, until you get your Level 1, meaning you will need to buy a pass...they will refund the money if they hire you later....but if you fail the Level 1...you are SOL..... .
I don't have a problem with these GAP programs, but the above statements are not really accurate.
1. We have turned down even Level 2 instructors because they did not meet our employee standards, while some applicants with no cert at all got hired because we felt they would, with our training, become great instructors.
2. We have never fired anyone for not passing their exam.
post #14 of 20
I took a 6 week gap program in NZ in 2005 and loved it, I improved my skiing massively and got my NZ stage 1 (similar to PSIA 2). I'm now in my second season at Winter Park, CO and love it. Having a qualification already meant I skipped teaching low levels every day and got some good levels from the start, though I taught (and still mainly teach) kids. It also really helped with teaching and knowing what to teach, as you are trained way more than you would be as a rookie at ski school.

The cheapest way would be to start as a rookie and train towards your level 1, but you will get paid very little and your soul may be destroyed as you try (and fail) to get gangs of crying 3 year olds to make a wedge. That said, if your school has a decent training program (WPs is excellent btw) you will be able to train a lot and still improve fast.

As for living on the wages, I would reccomend having some savings, as even if you do a gap course you may not get put straight onto level 2 wages (you have no real experience teaching yet), and level 2 wages aren't that much anyway! However, it's entirely possible to survive if you need to, and one you move further up the food chain it actually gets pretty good. I am even managing to save cash this season.!:
post #15 of 20
When I was 18 I just went to Heavenly, signed up for their instructor training program, passed and got hired. Level 1 came later that winter.

If an 18 y.o. stoner with long hair from Minnesota can show up at a world-class resort, take a training course for a week and manage to get hired, I would think anyone can.

It's not rocket science, it's ski instruction. Just show up. If you show up, you're already beating 50% of the flakes who don't take teaching seriously.

The programs you are researching are probably worth the money considering all that they provide, but that doesn't remotely mean that they're necessary.

Teaching skiing is not nearly as glamorized as many would prefer it be viewed.
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post


Rusty, Rusty,

Sure you can do what you say...no argument...but do you really think a young guy/gal is who wants to ski is going to move to PA?
Dude, Dude, Dude

Quote:
If an 18 y.o. stoner with long hair from Minnesota can show up at a world-class resort, take a training course for a week and manage to get hired, I would think anyone can.
I couldn't have said it better. Thanks Samurai. By the way Samuari - what do you call a pig that does Karate?
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post
By the way Samuari - what do you call a pig that does Karate?
A PORK CHOP!

Samari, not, but former instructor and sociopath from Minnesota yes!

Cheers!
post #18 of 20
Thanks crgildart. I honestly didn't know.

Yes, those of us from MN are former instructors and sociopaths.
post #19 of 20
Good point weems....but I assumed this guy was not bludger....if you are, well as Weems said, no amount of cert will get you a job, but if you are on the level, it shouldnt be an issue.

Hiring pros in the US with no cert happens...but it seems to be a major source of contention in the US ski teaching world.....I wouldn't advocate any resort doing it, I am very surprised to learn Aspen does it.....in Canada and most Skiing Countries, that practice is rare....and generally limited to filling week-day teaching spots at smaller hills for school programs..ie (normal school).

To be honest I am shocked at the responses here....a guy posts that he is keen to get into ski teaching, is willing to go through an intensive, cost effective program to improve his skills....and most people here are saying dont bother....just show up, and learn on the job. Seems to be abit contrerary to ESA...why bother...just learn on the job...and as Weems said, no one has gotten fired for not improving.

Of course I dont beleive that....I would advocate take every oppotunity to improve the quality of your lessons and skiing....that is the only path to success that I have ever come across in this business.


Pork Chop! Too funny.
post #20 of 20
Don't be shocked Dude. The US resorts that I know that require their pros to get certified, require them to get certified before their second year of service. I have not checked all the divisions, but most (if not all) PSIA divisions require some teaching experience before you can get certified. Things work differently in the US and Canada. Hiring pros with no cert is not a source of contention in the US. It's common practice. That the rest of the world does it differently does not necessarily make it a bad practice.

I have no doubt that the instructor training programs are a great product. But you can't call them cost effective when there other options available at a significantly lower cost. Resort ITCs typically cost <$100, don't require travel and subsequent training is free. Most resort ITCs are required for new hires without previous experience. The ITC experience will no doubt be a "do over" of topics already covered by a program. Paying twice for the same thing is not cost effective. Most US resorts provide additional on snow training (after hire) before a newbie is given their first lesson to teach. Learning "on the job" is not just "learning by doing". While certification before hire may not be an issue in the US, the amount of training required before actual teaching occurs does vary widely from resort to resort. Neither entry level certification nor amount of training proves the ability to deliver a quality product. It should not be shocking for a resort to prefer to rely on face time (i.e. their own training program) with a new instructor to determine when they are ready to teach.

We're not necessarily saying don't bother with the intensive training option. We're just saying it's not a requirement. When I started, I did a "do over" (by choice) and was glad for it.

I have not seen Weem's original comment, but I would not misconstrue that for saying that no one gets fired for not delivering a quality product. Over the years at my resort I've seen lots of people not get invited back to work the next season. Improving is one way to keep off that list.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching