What does a Ski Instructor do?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 24 December 2018
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A ski instructor teaches people how to ski, improves the skiing of experienced skiers, and may provide ski coaching to people who ski competitively. Working as a ski instructor requires some skiing skills and experience, along with the ability to be an excellent teacher. Several professional organizations offer certification to people who would like to work as professional ski instructors, and these organizations also hold workshops for their members and issue trade publications which can be useful for people who are teaching people to ski.

Many ski instructors work for ski resorts as part of the staff. They can also work as freelancers who advertise their services to people coming to ski resorts, and they may travel for work, following the snow to ensure that they can work year round. They can offer private lessons to people who need more focused ski education or who would prefer personal instruction, along with group lessons which are designed to provide a range of skills to skiers.


For beginning skiers, a ski instructor emphasizes skiing safety, proper form, and basic skiing skills. The goal is usually to get students out on the slopes and having fun as quickly as possible. Intermediate and advanced skiing courses can focus on more advanced skills and techniques which will allow skiers to navigate more challenging ski courses. Ski instructors can also offer advice on equipment and gear, helping students select skis and clothing which are appropriate to their needs, whether they are renting for the day or making a purchase.

Ski instructors can also teach a range of skiing disciplines. Some choose to focus teaching advanced ski skills to people who are already experienced skiers who want to pick up skiing disciplines such as cross country skiing, downhill skiing, and Nordic skiing. Ski instructors may also offer snowboard instruction if they are interested in snowboarding, and this can include teaching snowboarders advanced skills such as tricks.

Working as a ski teacher requires patience, the ability to communicate clearly, and the ability to adjust to meet the needs of individual students. If someone is a good teacher, he or she can make a good ski instructor, even if he or she is only an intermediate-level skier. To work as a ski instructor, it can be a good idea to take safety courses which offer certification, as these certifications may be required by some employers, and it also helps to take a course which is designed to teach people instruction skills.


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