Ski instructor

A ski instructor


Ski instructors teach individuals or groups to ski and advanced skiing techniques. They advise their students on the choice of equipment, instruct skiers in alpine safety rules and plan and prepare ski instruction. Ski instructors demonstrate exercises and techniques during ski lessons and give feedback to their students on how to improve their level.

Ski instructors typically do the following duties:

  • Provide ski instruction to individuals or groups of skiers of varying skill levels
  • Assess students’ skill levels and provide appropriate instruction and feedback
  • Ensure the safety of students by enforcing resort safety policies and procedures
  • Monitor weather and skiing conditions and adjust instruction accordingly
  • Plan and organize lesson plans and activities
  • Maintain accurate records of student progress and attendance
  • Provide exceptional customer service to guests and visitors at the resort
  • Assist with lift operations and other duties as assigned by the resort.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to ski instructor:

ski coach
skiing instructor
ski & snowboard instructor
ski trainer
cross-country ski instructor
ski and snowboard instructor
ski teacher

Working conditions

Ski instructors work outdoors in a variety of weather conditions, including cold temperatures, wind, and snow. They spend most of their workday on the slopes, which can be physically demanding. Work schedules can vary widely depending on the resort and season, with many instructors working weekends and holidays.

Minimum qualifications

To become a ski instructor, a high school diploma or equivalent is typically required, although some ski resorts may require a college degree in a related field. Certification by a recognized ski instructor organization, such as the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) or the Canadian Ski Instructors’ Alliance (CSIA), is also typically required. Instructors must have excellent skiing skills and experience skiing in a variety of conditions. Strong communication and interpersonal skills are necessary to effectively teach and interact with students. Many ski resorts offer on-the-job training and may require additional certifications in first aid and CPR.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Ski instructor is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Ski instructor career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to ski instructor.

snowboard instructor
boxing instructor
golf instructor
swimming teacher
ice-skating coach

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of ski instructor. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of ski instructor with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

physical education vocational teacher
physical education teacher secondary school
front of house manager
technical director
public speaking coach

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of ski instructor.

  • Ski: The techniques related to skiing such as carve turn, parallel turn and jump turn and the equipment used in skiing.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of ski instructor.

  • Personalise sports programme: Observe and evaluate individual performance and determine personal needs and motivation to tailor programmes accordingly and in conjunction with the participant
  • Develop sports programmes: Develop plans and policies for the inclusion of sporting activities and organisations in a community, and for the development of sporting activities for specific target groups.
  • Plan sports instruction programme: Provide participants with an appropriate programme of activities to support progression to the required level of expertise in the specified time taking into account relevant scientific and sport-specific knowledge.
  • Organise training: Make the necessary preparations to conduct a training session. Provide equipment, supplies and exercise materials. Ensure the training runs smoothly.
  • Promote health and safety: Promote the importance of a safe working environment. Coach and support staff to participate actively in the continuous development of a safe working environment.
  • Execute sports training programme: Supervise a sports training programme for individuals or groups by following the training plan, giving instructions on how to execute exercises, providing feedback on the performance on a technical and tactical level.
  • Apply risk management in sports: Manage the environment and athletes or participants to minimise their chances of suffering any harm. This includes checking appropriateness of venue and equipment and gathering relevant sport and health history from athletes or participants. It also includes ensuring appropriate insurance cover is in place at all times
  • Instruct in sport: Provide appropriate technical and tactical instruction related to the given sport using varied and sound pedagogical approaches to meet the needs of the participants and achieve the desired objectives. This requires skills such as communication, explanation, demonstration, modelling, feedback, questioning and correction.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of ski instructor. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of ski instructor. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Develop personal skills: Set goals for personal development and act accordingly. Plan personal development by analysing work experience and establishing areas that need development. Takes part in training sessions considering his/her abilities, possibilities and feedback.
  • Provide first aid: Administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation or first aid in order to provide help to a sick or injured person until they receive more complete medical treatment.
  • Work with different target groups: Work with a variety of target groups based on age, gender and disability.
  • Follow trends in sporting equipment: Follow material developments and trends within a specific sport. Keep up-to-date about athletes, gear and equipment manufacturers.
  • Adapt teaching to target group: Instruct students in the most fitting manner in regards to the teaching context or the age group, such as a formal versus an informal teaching context, and teaching peers as opposed to children.
  • Communicate with youth: Use verbal and non-verbal communication and communicate through writing, electronic means, or drawing. Adapt your communication to children and young people`s age, needs, characteristics, abilities, preferences, and culture.
  • Give constructive feedback: Provide founded feedback through both criticism and praise in a respectful, clear, and consistent manner. Highlight achievements as well as mistakes and set up methods of formative assessment to evaluate work.
  • Adjust sporting equipment: Alter sporting equipment, e.g. racquet stringing, ski waxing, etc.
  • Motivate in sports: Positively foster athletes and participants’ intrinsic desire to carry out the required tasks to fulfill their goals and to push themselves beyond their current levels of skill and understanding.

ISCO group and title

3422 – Sports coaches, instructors and officials

  1. Ski instructor – ESCO
  2. What qualifications do you need to be a ski instructor? – Snow Skool
  3. Featured image: Image by erge from Pixabay
Last updated on April 23, 2023

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