If you have been following my occasional series of posts on how to be a ski instructor (see Part 1 - The Gap Course, Part 2 - Individual Courses and Part 3 - Finding a Job) you will have an idea of what it takes to gain a ski (or snowboard) instructor qualification and start looking for a job. The next question is: Is it for you?
For me, teaching skiing is the best job in the world. However it is not an easy way to make a living. My summer 'holiday' this year was a two week ski training course, since when I have been working six days a week to pay for november ski training before the season starts. If you just want to spend a season working in a ski resort (something I highly recommend and will talk about in a future post) then there are much easier ways to do it than instructing, unless you are already qualified. Working for a hotel, bar, shop or tour company you will have a great season with a lot more personal ski time than an instructor. If you simply want to ski, the chances are you will soon become frustrated with teaching beginners on the nursery slopes.
Teaching is something to look at if you want a longer seasonal career. The investment of time and money to be an instructor means that for most of us it is not worth pursuing for a season or two (although you can always continue teaching part time, either a week or two a year or on artificial slopes as mentioned in the previous post). Most instructors teach for several years to a lifetime, with many working two winters a year - the second in New Zealand, Australia or South America. In the school I work for, the oldest instructor is 67 and has taught there for fifteen years, many instructors have worked ten years or more and even the ski school photos from the seventies have a number of familiar faces on them.
In the Alpine nations ski instructing is usually seen as a long term career, often started as a teenager and ended at retirement age. While the British do not always see it this way, it is certainly to be regarded as more than a holiday job, if only because of the effort it takes to get the instructor license in the first place.