To become a ski instructor, there are a few different paths you can take, from attending a basic course on an indoor dry slope, to an intensive 10-week course in the Alps.
Whichever route you take is up to you so deciding which is the best route comes down to a few things. Ask yourself these questions as a starting point. Do you wish to
- Qualify to a basic level to teach on a dry slope only?
- Get to a level that will enable you to teach in the Alps and as quickly as possible?
- Qualify to work in the Alps but only as and when finances permit, finding the least expensive route?
These questions will help you to work out the best route for you and therefore how much it will cost to get there.
You should also factor in whether this is a qualification you wish to gain just for fun, and as more of a bucket list experience of whether it is your new career.
It may be the case that your answers dictate whether you just need to achieve the lower levels or whether rising the ranks to the top level in the system is more suited to you.
If you answered A above, the good news is that it is a relatively inexpensive process! As an idea, at June 2020, a BASI Level 1 exam costs £435. This is the British qualification and can be taken on a dry slope in the UK or in the Alps. If your skiing is at a good level and you can get hold of a BASI manual to study, and ideally a few private lessons from someone BASI qualified, you’d be set to go and have a good chance of passing.
This exam takes 1 week and with the other modules (see here for more info about what exactly is involved in the BASI Level system) it will take you approximately 2-3 weeks to complete.
You’ll need to pay for the additional elements which add up to about £100 approximately so for £550 you should be set and can start to teach. The qualification allows you to teach in controlled environments such as ski centres and snow domes.
If you answered B, you may wish to look at a gap course option. This is generally an 8-12 week course depending on which company you join and it gives you the BASI (or whichever system they follow) Level 1 and 2 qualifications. This allows you to teach in the Alps or elsewhere on the mountains and generally means you can teach beginners and intermediates of any age, so a great variety of clients!
The other advantage of these courses are that they are a sort of one stop shop to get your qualifications. They include all the guidance such as training your skiing and teaching knowledge to be successful in passing to helping with career advice afterwards if you wish to take it further.
These courses also take place in a lot of flagship resorts so you can experience ski instructor life and a long holiday all in one, and of course take home a qualification!
These courses are an expensive route when you first look at them but when you see what is included, the value for money for the experience is worth a lot!
Average gap courses cost about £8500-9500. Our course here in Verbier for the 20/21 season is £8900 and you can see more about that here.
When you break this down, this is £890 a week which is very reasonable for a 1 week fully catered ski holiday in Verbier including your lift pass!
These courses are a great way to go from zero to hero in ten weeks, giving you the instructor badge and allowing you to teach. It’s also a great foot in the door if you choose a course like ours that is run by a ski school as opposed to a tour operator as it is likely that you will find some part time work as soon as the course finishes.
With option C, you can look at gaining the level 1 as per option A and then look to complete your level 2. The level 2 cannot be completed on an indoor slope so you will need to travel to the mountains to complete this but a BASI Level 2 exam costs £670 as at June 2020 so the course itself isn’t too expensive.
For the level 2, it’s likely you will need to attend training following your level 1 exam, just to ensure you have the required knowledge and ability to demonstrate skiing to the required criteria to pass. You can ask your BASI examiner during your level 1 some advice on how much you may need when you take this exam. As an example, as part of a 10-week training course, between level 1 and 2 you’d receive 3 full weeks of group training.
You can often book training courses in resorts for approximately £300-400 a week so around the £1000 for 2-3 weeks training.
With all the courses above, you naturally need to include costs for travel to and from the resorts / snow domes to take the courses and exams as well as your own travel insurance and equipment costs such as skis and boots. You may have your own kit already but if not, ask the company you book through as they are likely to have a deal with a provider where you can buy discounted equipment suitable for the course.
With options A and C you may need to also allow for accommodation and lift pass costs too and these can vary depending on the location you choose as well as the time of year.