Ski instructing offers great career rewards, such as working in the mountains in amazing parts of the world, the thrill of teaching a sport you are passionate about, not to mention skiing all day while working and in your time off!
But what can you expect as a starting ski instructor salary, and how will your wage progress as you complete more training, gain experience and your career as a ski or snowboard instructor progresses?
As when embarking on any career, it’s a good idea to put together a plan of the hours and wages you can expect, so that you can work out how you are going to financially plan to work and train in your new career as a ski instructor.
Newly qualified ski instructor wage
The first step to becoming a qualified ski or snowboard instructor is to get a recognised qualification. We use the BASI system, and obtaining a BASI level 1 & 2 is the minimum you would need to work for one of our Swiss ski and snowboard schools. Once you are qualified, salaries start out at CHF 24 an hour with little to no experience, going up to CHF 30 an hour depending on your level of experience and the further training you have completed towards your next level.
Level 3 Ski & Snowboard instructor wage
Once you have completed your level 3 BASI or equivalent and gained your ISIA qualification, you can expect to be able to teach higher level clients. If you have been working as an instructor for a number of seasons already, you can also have been building up your client base, which again will help you sell yourself to prospective ski schools. Wages for those who have completed their ISIAs range from CHF 32 – CHF 40 an hour depending on your experience and the chosen employer. Some schools including our own offer bonus pay for lessons where you are requested or bring new clients to the school, which can make a big difference to your salary.
Level 4 Instructor wage
The top level in the BASI system is level 4, which can take many years of teaching experience and training to attain. It is also worth noting that minimum of this qualification or equivalent is required for teaching in French resorts due to the laws there. Once at this level you may also be able to apply for a role as a coach in ski instructor training programmes, guaranteeing you hours in quieter periods of the winter, and furthering your own experience of training and coaching. You can expect your wage to vary from CHF 44-60 once you are a level 4 ski or snowboard instructor.
Swiss Patente & Brevet Federal Qualifications
Once you have your top BASI qualification you are able to apply for your top levels in Switzerland, the Patente followed by the Brevet Federal qualification. In many cantons in Switzerland including Valais where Verbier is situated, a ski school requires a minimum number of Patente qualified ski instructors to meet legal requirements.
As such you can expect your wage to increase additionally if you obtain this qualification. Brevet Federal Instructors is only the only level of qualification allowed to teach and guide off-piste in Switzerland, so this is more valuable still. You can expect your instructor salary to vary from CHF 45-60 an hour once you obtain this level of certification.
Worth considering along with ski instructor average salaries is the number of hours that you will be offered by a ski school. Remember to discuss this with any prospective employers so you are able to manage your expectations of what you will earn in an average winter. Good luck!