The ski instructor is a professional sports educator who teaches skiing, but also snowboarding, to children and adults. This job, physically demanding, is a job for people who are passionate about skiing and the mountains. Here is a presentation of how to become a ski instructor. With the comments of Antoine Wulveryck, ski instructor and trainer of the Ski Family in Risoul.
The ski instructor works at the rhythm of the ski resorts, between 3 and 5 months a year. The instructors therefore often have complementary seasonal activities to supplement their income the rest of the time.
During each season, the work also varies greatly depending on the time of year. During the school vacations, the resorts are taken over by families who want to train their children. During the rest of the season, the weeks are often much quieter.
The instructor is above all an educator. This means that in addition to teaching students the technique of skiing and snowboarding, he or she also helps them discover the environment, its dangers and its treasures.
"The most important qualities to become a ski instructor are: pedagogy, curiosity, patience, and perseverance."
The salary of the instructors depends on the resort in which they work, and of course on the number of clients they manage to accompany.
Ski instructors are paid on the basis of an hourly rate, which can be fixed over the season, or vary according to the high and low season. Hourly rates vary between 30 € and 60 € per hour, depending on the season, but especially on the price positioning of each resort. In very high end resorts such as Courchevel, the level of demand from clients used to 5 star hotels is often higher than in more family oriented resorts, so the price of ski lessons is also aligned.
On average, instructors can earn between 15 000 € per season in a small resort, and 35 000 € in the most exclusive resorts.
But beware, in the most exclusive resorts, competition between instructors can be tough, while in smaller resorts, ski schools struggle to keep their instructors. It is therefore sometimes safer to work in a small resort to ensure a good number of hours over the season, rather than arrive at a very competitive resort.
To become a ski instructor, you must hold a State Ski Diploma.
It requires a very good level of skiing. Indeed, for the first tests of the monitorat it is strongly advised to have acquired many years of skiing (often in clubs) in order to obtain the required level of the technical test. This test is accessible from 17 years old. It is a timed slalom in which it is necessary to make 25% of the time of the opener to be admitted.
"To succeed in your diploma and become a ski instructor, you have to give 200% for 2 to 3 years, the time of your training. When you want to succeed, you have to give yourself all the means to get there. Many young people want to become ski instructors, some have a very good level of skiing but physically they are not at the level because they have a bad life hygiene during the training. While other young people, a little less good, give their all during the training and succeed in getting the diploma. It's all about motivation."
Then comes the pre-training: translated as a 10-day pedagogical course in the resort where you will learn the basics of teaching from the beginner class to class 2.
At the end of this course, an evaluation of the movements and terms learned during the training will be done
Finally, the last step of the preparatory cycle: the eurotest. As with the technical test, you will find a competition test. It is a timed test very often considered as the most technical test of the whole diploma. It is a giant slalom evaluated according to the time established by the openers. A time of 20% of this time will be required for women, and 17% for men.
The objective of these weeks will be to prepare the future instructor to meet the pedagogical requirements essential to teaching skiing at all levels, both on skis and snowboards. In addition, the future instructor will be evaluated in a free descent in all types of snow where the instructors will observe his technique, his commitment, as well as his adaptation to different types of terrain (soft snow, hard snow, bumpy snow...). Once this course is validated, it is the access to the second and last cycle of the training.
During this cycle, the pedagogy related to ski racing is essentially taught. It begins with a first course called "the trassage", spread over a week, where it will be devoted to learning the slalom and giant tracer.