September 28, 2018 - SHARE:
How to make your passion your profession

It’s possible to earn money while practising your favourite sport, skiing all day surrounded by the most breathtaking mountain views!

Many snowsports enthusiasts dream of becoming a snowboard, alpine or cross-country ski instructor. The job seems too good to be true, it’s often a childhood dream!

After having delved into the lives of several ski instructors this summer, have you possibly been inspired?
In this article, we’ll explain how you can become a ski instructor in France, Italy, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The skills of a ski instructor

On top of being a first-rate skier, you must possess excellent pedagogical skills, in particular with children, a good working knowledge of teaching and a lot of patience.
Everyone says that it’s a job for the truly passionate, and this is true. However, you will also have many responsibilities, which is why there are various training courses to prepare you. Working as a freelancer or as an employee in a snow school, ski instructors teach their students techniques and are responsible for them. They must therefore take all the necessary security precautions while passing on the joy of practising a snowsport.

A person wanting to become a ski instructor must be able to ski safely and display excellent technique. The courses offered do not start by teaching skiing techniques, they require the students to already possess an advanced skiing level.

Another point that is not always covered is that it’s a seasonal job, meaning that you need to plan for the rest of the year. You can generally teach from December to the end of March, leaving eight months of the year to find other work. You may need to find another job for the rest of the year depending on your income, which is different in each country and ski station.

This aspect of your yearly schedule also lets you break your routine by working another job for the remaining months. Some ski instructors are also windsurfing instructors, mountain guides or even carpenters… It varies a great deal. It depends if you want to stay in the same region or take the opportunity to travel. You could also become a scuba diving instructor in Thailand for summer!
You have many different options for organising your ideal year. In our articles “What do ski instructors do in summer?” ” you will find a few stories to fuel your imagination.

Copyright : Christoffer Sjostrom
Copyright : Dom Daher


While individuals 17 years and older can sit the technical entry test, the training course is only available from 18 years of age. A diploma is not required; however, you must hold a PSC1 or AFPS (first aid certifications). The course is a four-year diploma comprising practical and theoretical assessments.
These training courses are offered by:
– l’ENSA (the French National Skiing and Mountaineering Academy) in Chamonix (74)
– le CNSMM (the French National Nordic Skiing and Low-Altitude Mountaineering Centre )

BEES1: Level one National Sports Trainer Certification in alpine skiing which also leads to the DE (National Diploma) in alpine or nordic skiing.
DE: National Diploma

Unless you have taken part in competitions from a very young age, you must obtain experience in slalom and giant slalom. Several organisations prepare candidates for the technical test, the first entry exam for the course.
– the CRET in Briançon (05)
– the UCPA in Tignes (73)
– the Greta Grenoble in Villard de Lans (38)
– the Afrat in Autrans (38)



The ski instructor profession is regulated by professional regional associations managed in the different regions.

In order to become a ski instructor, you must pass the selection test organised by the regional ski schools. Certain ski schools organise the selection every year, others once every two years.

The National Italian Ski Instructor School selects the criteria for the technical courses, teaching and exams in cooperation with the FISI (the National Italian Federation of Winter Sports).

The entry tests are identical throughout Italy.
They are divided into 3 four-day stages.
STAGE 1: giant slalom time-trial test.
STAGE 2: Two days of skiing across diverse terrain types overviewed by the Commission.
STAGE 3: Various technical exercises

The selected candidates then complete a three-month training course made up of technical, pedagogical and practical classes.

You can find a list of ski schools via the following link:



A ski instructor training course is provided by the DSV (National German Ski Association), the DLSV (National German Ski Instructors Association) and the Tyrolean Ski Instructors Association in Austria. The entry prerequisite for a level one DSLV course is a 50-hour work placement in a DSLV professional ski school or, alternatively, participation in a two-day placement. You must also complete a first aid training course.

After finishing this course, you must complete the level two and three ski instructors’ course to obtain the certification.



To enter the federally certified snowsports modular training course, you must first complete an entry training course. This course is made up of a “Kids Instructor” module with a key focus on teaching children.

Swiss Snowsports offers two courses enabling you to start the training course and, optimally, prepare you for a career as a snowsports instructor.
– Kids Instructor (ZA Kids) – Ski and Snowboard
– Standard entry training course (ZA) – Ski, Snowboard, Telemark and Cross-Country Skiing.

If you pass the entry training course, you will be able to enrol for the practical and technical modules leading to a federal diploma.
• ZA, NH, ME, TE, FS, SR, WM, EH1, IK, VT, TR modules
• An 80-day work placement, with at least 40 hours in an official ski school engaged in a commercial activity with an active training manager.


It’s up to you to try!

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