Five mistakes to avoid when choosing ski or snowboard instructor training programs

20th May 2014

We know it can be confusing knowing how to become an instructor. There are many options and locations available all with pros and cons. Finding the right course to suit your goals can be easy but you do need to do a little research.

To help get you started, we've put together this list of five common mistakes people make when choosing a ski or snowboard instructor course so you can avoid them!

1. Don’t do a program that doesn't guarantee you a job!

If you want to put on that sexy but illusive instructor uniform and earn money with your skis on then the first mistake you can make is signing up for a program that doesn't guarantee an instructor job! All programs on offer should provide training and certification opportunities however most fall short when it comes to ‘real’ on the job experience. And don't settle for opportunities to shadow lessons because you should be able to have a job offer as an instructor confirmed before you leave home.

It IS possible to have minimal experience and come through a program having obtained an instructing qualification (or two!) as well as a job instructing - all in the same season. This is the ultimate set up and you should not settle for anything less if this is your goal.

2. Don’t pay too much!

You should compare a range of program options available to determine what is on offer and the components you are paying for. As commented on above it is important to lay out the program options you are looking at including all the inclusions and exclusions. It is more important to look at what you want out of a program rather than a price you want to pay, as some will offer on-the-job training and the chance to earn money which will help offset the amount you pay upfront.

Also don't forget exchange rates as the currency you pay in can affect the overall price you pay. Check out differences on a website such as and don't be fooled by prices offered in your own home currency if the course is operated somewhere else. It usually works out best to be paying the costs in the currency of the country you will be going to for the program.

3. Be aware of hidden costs

You do not want to get caught short when funding your training program. As there are many costs involved we advise drawing up a budget. Be sure to include all costs - program fees, flights, insurance, equipment and living costs. And include anticipated income you will earn if doing an internship program including a work component. Your course provider will be able to offer assistance here.

4. Always research the location you are going to

The location you are going to is one of the most important factors to consider! If you want to ski or ride deep powder, hit up great parks, or get your tree skiing fix then you should ensure the destination you choose offers the best chance of this. Many people jump in to choosing a resort based on limited information or hype from the company offering the course. Don't let this be you.

You should talk to people who can give you valid reliable information on the resort and ideally those who have been there, look at photos or videos and consider what other resorts are close to where you are training or working. Contact us for a list of questions we recommend asking with regard to resort locations.

5. Ensure you set yourself up to achieve future goals or your next job

You don't want to cut yourself short on your goals. The best way to learn, improve and develop your skiing or snowboarding skills is ‘on the job’ experience. It is for this reason that many qualification organisations do not allow people to sit more than one certificate level without practical instructional work experience. Working as an instructor also provides valuable experience for any job you may go on to do. A written reference from an employer at an international Snow Sports School will go a long way to assist here.

If you are keen to find out more about becoming a ski or snowboard instructor click below for access to our FREE instructor starter kit and get heaps of tips and ideas on where to begin, or get in touch with the team at EA to chat about what it's all about!


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