How Much Do Ski Instructors Make?

If you really love skiing, there’s a good chance you’ve thought about working in the ski industry at one time or another. There are many fun and rewarding jobs that can be found within it, ranging from food and hospitality positions to lift operations and even ski patrol. I have spent a handful of years working directly within the ski industry and it’s one of the best ways to get in a ton of ski days while operating within an environment you truly love.

Many people who are interested in working within the ski industry want to get a job that actually involves skiing. Getting paid to ski sounds pretty amazing, right?! Well, there are a handful of jobs that fit that bill, and one of the best is being a ski instructor. If you love skiing and are good at teaching people new skills, this might be the job for you. Let’s take a look at how much ski instructors make.

Becoming a Ski Instructor – What to Consider

Before we get into how much a ski instructor makes, it’s important to know some other factors that go into the position. Being a ski instructor can be a great job for many skiers and can also be a great way to spend your seasons on the slopes. However, you should always consider plenty of factors before starting any new job and ski instructing is no different.

This first consideration should be pretty obvious – if you want to become a ski instructor, you need to know how to ski well. You’re going to teach other people how to improve their abilities. If they see you struggling, they will not be comfortable with your teaching skills. If you can’t ski well, you probably won’t get the job in the first place.

Another thing to think about is that even though you get to spend the majority of your workday with skis on, you’re always skiing in the way you want. Instructors need patience and must be able to work with other people. Skiing can be difficult for some people to learn, which is why you need to stay calm and collected as your students take time to develop.

Patience is incredibly important because even on a great powder day you might be stuck teaching newbies how to make pizza turns or deal with crying children. You need to have a strong love for the sport and a desire to share it with others. You will almost certainly get a free ski pass at the resort where you work, but you won’t be able to take full advantage of it until your days off.

Most ski resorts also require that you get certified in some sort of ski instruction before they hire you. There are different levels to these certifications and you can increase your credentials the longer you work as an instructor. Having an initial certification is a requirement at most resorts and pursuing other ones from that point is completely up to you. However, the more you have, the better your pay.

How Much Do Ski Instructors Make

A ski instructor can be an amazing job if you love to ski and enjoy the skiing lifestyle. That love for the sport is key because most ski instructors are not going to become rich. Happiness and joy are both important, but if money is your main concern, you might want to try a different path. Ski instructor pay varies from location to location, but it’s typically pretty low.

According to the employment website Glassdoor, the average yearly salary for a ski instructor is $22,920. If you break this figure down, it equates to roughly $11/hour. That is a pretty low wage that can be difficult to live off of inexpensive ski resort towns. That number is an average and only factor in ski instructor salaries in the US, which generally pays lower than other locations around the world.

New ski instructors can expect to earn anywhere from $10-15/hr on average at many locations across the world. The more experience you have, the more you will earn. If you stick with the job for a few seasons, your pay might jump up an extra $5 an hour or so. It pays to have experience here. As you increase your abilities as a ski instructor, you can expect to earn more.

There are a few countries that actually pay ski instructors better than the above wages. If you live in one of these countries or are thinking about spending a ski season in one of them, you can earn more than elsewhere. Norway, Switzerland, and France all have some of the highest paying countries for ski instructors. If you have a high-level certification in France, you can earn over $60/hr.

It’s important to note that a ski instructor is not a year-round position. While the pay is generally low, you may only work for half of the year or less depending on the location and what the conditions are like. Most ski instructors have other jobs in the warmer months that help supplement their income.

Final Thoughts

The biggest upside of becoming a ski instructor, in my opinion, is that you get to be directly involved in the skiing industry. Ski instructors don’t make a lot of money but they do get to ski a lot. If you become an instructor, you will likely get a ski pass that allows you to ski to your heart’s content. Plus, you’ll get to spend a season or two living in a ski town and enjoying the skiing lifestyle.

Have you or someone you know ever worked as a ski instructor? Where did they work? Let us know in the comments below!

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