How to become a ski instructor – This season internship leads to a paid job offer at a top resort

A Ski Instructor Internship with WE ARE SNO

– Sponsored post brought to you by WE ARE SNO


One thing you may not know about me is that I’m a CASI level 2 qualified snowboard instructor. When I was 18, during my gap year between school and university (that subsequently turned into 3 gap years!), I did a month intensive snowboard instructor course in Canada to qualify as a snowboard instructor. It was an amazing experience that led to my employment at Whistler’s Snowboard School
and later, a job coaching freestyle snowboarding on a glacier in France.


I now work as a lead guide at a cat ski operation in Japan shredding the best powder snow in the World every day!


Catskiing in Niseko Japan

A typical day working as a catski guide in Japan. Photo Charlotte Workman for Niseko Photography


Becoming a ski instructor is a great career that you can travel all over the world with, meet really interesting people and above all, ski or snowboard every day.


There are so many ski and snowboard instructor courses to choose from, and doing it as part of your winter season is definitely recommended as you can take your time, get consistent training and really soak up the whole winter season experience.


What if I told you, you could do an internship or apprenticeship skiing or snowboarding in JAPOW? Or on the pillows and pine trees of Mount Washington? Within 4 weeks of starting your instructor internship/apprenticeship, you could be getting paid to teach people to ski or snowboard!


I wished an instructor internship like this was available when I did my course back in 2002. Going into the exam knowing I would have a paid job offer at the end of it would have taken away so much of the stress.


To become a ski instructor, it isn’t simply as easy as passing the exam and walking straight into a job. Ski and Snowboard Schools want to see that you have on-the-job experience. This WE ARE SNO internship/apprenticeship not only gives you that but offers a paid instructor job once you qualify. Trust me, this will definitely give you an edge over other candidates if you decide to apply to another ski school in a different resort.


Ski Instructor courses Japan


So who can apply?

You need to be eligible for a working holiday visa in the country that you want to complete the internship in. This usually means you have to be within the age range of 18-30 when you apply.


What if I’m not a great skier or snowboarder?

Don’t worry! You will get so much better on the course with the expert tuition. But they do say you need to be a strong intermediate level skier or snowboarder. Capable of linking turns under control on a blue or red slope.


How long is the internship/apprenticeship?

Level 1 is the first course you would need to complete. This course is 3.5 weeks. Employment as an instructor with a ski school following the successful competition of the internship can be either on a full-time basis for the whole season or on a casual basis during Christmas or school holidays for example.


Where can I do the ski or snowboard instructor internship?

WE ARE SNO offer the ski and snowboard instructor internships in Japan, Canada or Europe. Japan is a great destination to complete the course as so many of the ski schools over there struggle to find English speaking instructors. Plus, the pay is also really good.


What is the official qualification I will receive?

The country that you train in will determine the qualification system you will work towards. In Canada we use the Canadian system (CSIA & CASI), in Japan it is the New Zealand system (NZSIA & SBINZ) and in Switzerland, we work with the British (BASI).


Ski Instructor courses Japan


Can I get employment in other resorts/countries following the Internship?

Yes, your qualification is recognized Worldwide. You can travel with it to whatever country you chose as long as you can legally work in that country.


What is included in the Internship?

WE ARE SNO make it super easy for you. Included in the instructor internship costs are:

  • Visa planning and support
  • Resort transfer
  • Shared accommodation
  • Ski area orientation
  • Expert tuition
  • Level 1 exam and associated costs
  • Training manual
  • Paid job offer (if you pass your exam!)
  • Full Season lift pass
  • Full-time resort manager


They also have optional extras should you want to extend your training:

  • Level 2 specific tuition
  • Level 2 exam and associated costs
  • Teaching Children exam and associated costs
  • Freestyle exam and associated costs
  • Avalanche Awareness


Things you need to sort out at your own cost include:


What is the cost of the ski or snowboard Internship / Apprenticeship?

  • Prices starting from £4,499
  • For more information take a look at the WE ARE SNO website.


So maybe you are reading this in your office thinking you want to go do a ski season. Or you’ve just finished your studies and are now looking to go do your first winter away? The WE ARE SNO ski instructor internship course is a great pathway into the industry, an awesome way to improve on snow and the best way to spend a season in the mountains.


For more info and to see if you are eligible for the internship, go to WE ARE SNO’s website.

Good luck and again, I can’t promote a ski or snowboard career like this enough. This is where I
started and at age 33, I am here in Japan working as a lead guide for a cat ski operation riding powder every day. Life is great. This could be your first step towards living your dream.



About the author


Hiya, I'm Alexa. Always on some sort of adventure! I'm excited to share my stories & introduce you to other rad women, also living the dream.
I'm here to inspire you to do the same :-)