10 Life Skills Gained From a Ski or Snowboard Instructor CourseIt's not just your skiing, snowboarding or drinking skills which will be improved...

Anna Ross


2 years ago in Gap Year

We have been running ski and snowboard instructor courses for many years in Canada, New Zealand and France. We’ve seen lots of young people come through our system and learn many new life skills which are not only useful for a career as a ski instructor, but will help them through life and in other jobs too. So if you needed any more encouragement to spend a glorious season in the mountains, here are some of the skills you could pick up…

1. Independence

For quite a few of our students, it might be the first time they are away from home for an extended period of time, or the first time living abroad. Doing an instructor course is a great introduction to this, as it eases you into independent living, teaching you to be able to manage your own time and look after yourself, whilst having plenty of support around too. Then, once you are a fully qualified instructor, you can go on to use these skills working all around the World!

2. Communication Skills

Learning to teach a complicated skill like skiing or snowboarding will undoubtedly improve your communication skills. You’ll need to think outside the box to learn how to explain different concepts to different people and always be enthusiastic and able to talk to different people every day. These skills are useful for any future employment as well as when meeting new people in life!

ski instructor

3. Interpersonal Skills

If being thrown together with a group of random people of all ages and backgrounds for 11 weeks of living and training together doesn’t improve your interpersonal skills, then I don’t know what will! It is a skill to be able to meet new people, to accept everyone for who they are, and to be able to put up with them even if you don’t get along. But it is so useful for future work and life and a ski instructor course is great for that!

snowboard instructor canada

4. Capsule Living

Similar to the above, does the idea of having everything you need for 3 months packed into one suitcase fill you with dread or make you excited? After a ski season of wearing one of two outfits and living in a small room with one other person, you will find it so easy to live simply. It is a great skill to be able to pack your whole life into a bag and travel the world! A season on an instructor course teaches you to value experiences over possessions which is a good life skill not to end up with too much clutter and wasted objects.

ski instructor course season

5. Organisation

A ski instructor course definitely involves an element of personal organisation. Can you turn up to training or shadowing on time, dressed in the correct uniform for a -20 day on the mountain and with your lift pass on you? Have you managed to get together everything you need to send to BASI to make sure you can get your instructor licence? It may be the first time some of our students have had to organise themselves in this way (it definitely seems this way sometimes!) but they will come away with valuable lessons learnt about being on time, organised and committed to their goals!

6. Patience & Life Perspective

Whether it is from teaching a beginner to snowplough, frustration at yourself for not quite being able to get a perfect short turn, or spending too much time with your room mate, doing a ski instructor course will definitely teach you patience! But for anyone who has maybe not had to deal with any of these sorts of challenges before, it is a great learning experience that will teach you skills to be open minded with people, patient, tactful and empathetic. In addition, being in a small space and training every day with the same people will definitely increase your awareness of others, and how your life compares to theirs. I know from my own experience, I grew up in a small town in Devon and didn’t do much to challenge my perspectives on life until I went travelling and did ski seasons. Meeting people from all over the world, or from different backgrounds, is good to challenge stereotypes, reduce prejudice and minimise ignorance in the world.

teach skiing niseko

7. Other Qualifications

I would definitely recommend ensuring you can do a first aid course at some point during your season (included on the Meribel Instructor Courses), as this adds a valuable skill to your CV which I’ve found useful for a number of jobs and everyday situations. Additionally, having a DBS check and child protection certificate is also useful evidence for any jobs involving young people, and which I have used for watersports instructing, expedition leading and working for a surf charity to name a few!

mountain first aid

8. Bravery

It is a brave thing to leave your family and home in the UK and travel to a different country to do a course! Lots of people wouldn’t be able to do it. But even if you do have doubts over whether you would be able to, my advice would always be, once you’ve done it for the first time, it gets much easier, and opens so many more doors for you in life! I am still nervous travelling to a new country, but I know that the experiences I will get are so worth it!

9. Skiing & Snowboarding Skills

It goes without saying that an instructor course will improve your skiing and snowboarding skills. But what many people don’t realise is what a valuable skill this is for life. I am forever grateful that my parents taught me to ski when I was 7, as it has shaped my entire life and career, from the friends I’ve made to the memories I cherish the most. I hope it in turn will influence others on instructor courses, to go on and pursue their dreams, meet new friends, earn money doing what you love and maybe in the future passing the skills onto their own children!

ski instructor france

10. Experiences and Stories

And finally, all these “life skills” are all very well and able to translate to numerous future career or relationship scenarios positively. But for me, the benefits of doing ski seasons and instructor courses in many ways have been in making me a more well-rounded and interesting individual, with stories to tell and experiences to share.

ski instructor niseko teach children

So my main advice would be, do a ski or snowboard instructor course, gain great friends and amazing memories, go on to work in ski resorts around the world, and make all your friends working in offices in the city completely jealous! You may even learn some new skills you wouldn’t have thought of initially!

Snowboarding instructor course in New zealand

Snowboarding instructor course in New zealand