Choosing your Summer Ski Instructor Training Course
With popularity of ski and snowboard instructor training or gap years at an all time high the race is on as training providers line up their offers for this summer in Argentina and New Zealand.
This blog will show you how you can save up to €5,800 (approx. £5,000) and still achieve the same goal, or even better it! We will discuss the different stages from searching to booking to help you on your new adventure.
The Initial Search
The majority of people will start their search online, opening their browser and hitting a phrase such as “summer ski instructor courses” or “ski instructor courses in Argentina or New Zealand” into their search engine. We did this and took the top 6 results for comparison.
Some people with ‘some knowledge’ may add a ski/board association name to the google search. This is dangerous! Not all qualifications are made equally in the eyes of employers.
Choosing Your Location
It may seem strange to know that most people have no idea where you can ride in the Southern Hemisphere beyond New Zealand. Once again service providers know this and as a result almost all courses take place in NZ. Ski Instructor Academy and Peak Leaders are the only providers operating in South America. The Andes are massive and is home to the highest mountains outside of the Himalayas with Aconcagua souring to almost 7,000m dwarfing Mount Cook in New Zealand sitting at only 3,724m. Obviously people do not ski on these summits but it helps you appreciate how vast this area is. The road less travelled may not only save you thousands of your hard earned notes, but also provide you with a once in a lifetime travel experience!
How Much Should I Expect To Pay?
Like in all walks of life, value for money isn’t the same as being cheap, and just because something costs lots of money doesn’t mean its the best quality. Contact the provider and ask them simply what you get for your money, if there are gaps in the information then ask blunt direct questions and expect the same back in answers. It may be that there are additional options that one provider includes that another doesn’t. Comparisons become more complex when courses are not like for like. It is in your interest to decide the value of these different options to you and your experience.
Lets assume two providers have almost identical courses with the exception of only one item, lets say food. One is self catered (no meals included) and the other is Half Board (breakfast and evening meals included). If the duration of the course is 50 days and the extra charge is €2,000, that means you are paying €40.00 per day for those meals. Does that sound a lot? Does it sound good value? Do you even want your meals included? You can get a darn good breakfast and evening meal of your choice for a lot less, so in this hypothetical example perhaps you would feel this does not offer value for money.
Companies charging more seem to feel the need to be quite imaginative about what their course includes. Terms like “career and recruitment advice”, “technical ski development”, “career development”, “resort rep”,“exam preparation”, “video analysis” etc. should all be included as standard by reputable training companies so try not to get blinded by these.
What Do You REALLY Want From An Instructor Course?
- A qualification that gets you to at least an equivalent level 2 qualification.
- Accommodation that is clean, comfortable and respectable.
- Accommodation that is close to the town and ideally not too far from the slopes – do you really want to be on a bus 1.5hrs everyday getting to and from the mountain?
- Transfer to and from the resort if required
- Your lift pass included
- Training ideally by the provider rather than a ski school – here you may note a difference. Many ‘training companies’ simply sub-contract the training to a ski school meaning you don’t really know will be training you and what the quality will be like. An in-house coaching team will be hand picked and will offer a continuity of training and experience within instructor training.
- The amount of training also varies with some offering as little as 3 days per week supervised training. Most providers opt for 4 days whereas Ski Instructor Academy offer 5 days per week tuition.
- Meals – It is up to you if you want these included but remember make sure you work out how much you are actually paying for that extra option and consider if you have specific dietary requirements and that they can be catered for.
- If you want to use your new qualification in the field, then you want a JOB – Not help finding work or “recruitment interview” or “career advice” or any other play on words. If you’re looking for an Internship, then make sure you fully understand what an internship is and what to expect from this.
- Night Life. Many book onto a course because they also enjoy the social aspect of these training courses. I note that some providers are offering accommodation options that are up to 20km away from the main town. Staying for over 8 weeks in a quiet corner of the mountain may sound ok at first but as time goes by and you can not just freely stroll into town you may find this compromises your experience.
So here we have it as taken from the internet and the websites of the top 6 listed companies. Prices have been converted into Euros to allow a like-for-like comparison and are correct at time of publication.
Some of the above courses seem to take a long time to get you to the Level 2 which basically means you have little time to do much else except ski in that resort. If you can complete your course quicker and have over €5,000 in your pocket to explore the other corners of Argentina or New Zealand that would surely make more sense than flying so far to stay in one small ski resort and more importantly a ski instructor (especially an intern) will earn only pocket money in the first season.
Our advice is simple and as always it begins with “trust nobody”! Do your own research and then check the facts again and again before making the decision that will start your new adventure.
* * Prices and information correct at time of writing,