Aside from the Sound of Music, yodelling and lederhosen (sorry for the awful stereotyping), Austria is home to world-class ski resorts and runs including the might Hahnenkamm in Kitzbühel. With a big emphasis on the après-ski culture, it’s definitely the place for you if that’s your thing.
Visas and working regulations
Austria is part of the European Union and as such, EU citizens can freely move and work in any EU countries. If you’re from outside the EU, you’ll need to apply for a visa to work in Austria as you would with any other job. Some ski schools may help you with the visa process through a sponsored visa or financial contribution should they offer you a job. Just remember that the European ski instructor market is a fairly crowded place though so they will have their pick from instructors without visa restrictions, which may make the process harder.
Similar to Italy, Austria requires a minimum BASI Level 2 or other equivalent qualification to the Austrian Anwärter qualification, to ensure that you can work in a mountain environment. Some Austrian regions have different requirements for ski instructors, so make sure you know what you need to do to be able to work in the area you choose. Tirol is one of the most particular regions and you can find an example of the requirements for a BASI ski or snowboard instructor here (the procedure applies for other systems, the levels may be slightly different, check with your governing body or ÖSSV), and as an independent travelling instructor you will need to follow a particular procedure as well.
You could also work through the Austrian system itself. There are a number of companies that offered structured courses taking you through the Austrian system, on gap courses and shorter courses. Snoworks offer an intensive summer course for the Anwärter (Austrian Level 1) with a guaranteed job in St Anton for the winter, the Ski Instructor Academy offer a similar deal with an option Level 2 upgrade course and Peak Leaders is the third option for a similar training and exam package through ÖSSV. However, for all of these you will need to be able to communicate in German, some of the courses offer lessons.
As with most of the most well-known countries for ski resorts, there are numerous options in Austria, including a number of glaciers that are open almost year-round so you may find extra instructing opportunities, particularly if you’re also a qualified race coach. With most of the resorts sitting relatively high, the conditions are often some of the best in Europe even in a poor winter.
As with most countries, you’ll find the cheapest living costs in resorts that aren’t so well-known and touristy, but then you may find less work in those resorts. There are a number of Austrian resorts known notoriously for their expensive prices such as St Anton and Kitzbühel, so you may want to avoid these if you have budgeting worries. However, it’s likely that living costs will be lower than neighbouring France who’s resorts seem to have the highest accommodation and living costs throughout the majority of European resorts.
Austrian ski resorts are known for their big après ski culture so if that’s your thing, then Austria might be for you. Pick Mayrhofen if you want to indulge in the big ski resort festival “Snowbombing”, one of the best known snowsports/music festivals which lots of other resorts across Europe are now attempting due to Snowbombing’s massive success.