Home to pizza, pasta and a lot of wine, Italy’s a great place to live and work!
Visas and working regulations
Italy is part of the European Union and as such, EU citizens can freely move and work in any EU countries. Outside of the EU, you’ll need to apply for a visa to work in Italy 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.
Italy used to have more complicated regulations on ski instructors, only allowing 4 weeks’ worth of work without further complications, but now you are able to teach for an unlimited number of weeks as long as you hold a BASI Level 2 or other equivalent. In the Aosta region, if you hold the Level C and AVMS qualification then you are still permitted to teach in the Aosta valley even if you don’t have the equivalent qualification (this is the way you used to get more than 4 weeks’ work). Note that the AVMS qualification is no longer running so you must now hold the Level 2 qualification.
You can also enter the Italian system and train through the AMSI (Associazione Maestri Sci Italiani). There are a number of companies that offer training and exam courses in Italy, but none that offer this through the Italian system itself, Interski and Winter Sports Company both offer courses in the BASI system.
The Aosta valley hosts a cluster of ski resorts just the other side of Mont Blanc on the Italian/French/Swiss border, Sestriere is one of the most popular resorts in Italy, and the north-eastern border with Austria also hosts a number of ski resorts. There are lots to choose from, from large ex-Olympic resorts to small village-style resorts, so make sure you choose carefully.
Italy doesn’t have an ESF equivalent (French ski school) and ski schools are likely to be unique to resorts, so you’ll need to do your research to find ones with job openings. There are also a number of companies who specialise in school ski trips based in Italy, offering prime opportunities for peak season work – Interski in Pila, Courmayeur and La Thuile, and Ski 2 in Champoluc.
Italian ski resorts tend to be slightly cheaper to live in than neighbouring France and some other European countries. And with excellent pizza, pasta, beer and wine, usually relatively cheap as well, and a tendency for the Italians to enjoy celebrating, you should be able to enjoy a good work/life balance. Remember that instructors are also likely to earn more in France due to the qualification requirements, but as part of the EU, wages won’t be that low either. By living in tourist-driven ski resorts you can also expect to pay slightly more for rent and food if you’re not careful, but Italy is full of smaller resorts that may offset this, although remember who’s looking for ski lessons (not usually the locals that’s for sure). Unless you work for some of the English-speaking ski schools, you’ll also need to remember that you might need to speak the lingo in order to get a job.