New Zealand is probably one of the most popular and well-known countries for snowsports in the southern hemisphere, and is an adventure-capital all year round. The laid-back lifestyle suits a lot of snowsports instructors.
Visa and working regulations
If you’re from New Zealand, easy peasy, you’re in. Also, if you’re an Australian passport holder then the process is also pretty simple as the 1973 Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement allows both citizens to live, work and visit without the need to apply for authority. This can depend on a number of factors such as the economic climate so it’s always worth checking. If you’re not from Australia or New Zealand, you will definitely need to take the visa situation into account and work out if it’s a viable option. There are a number of different visas available to apply for to work in New Zealand, here are some of the most useful options:
- Working holiday visa: for people aged 18-31 (whilst applying) from eligible countries, with no dependents travelling with them. This is probably one of the simplest visas (if eligible) and can give you up to 23 months in New Zealand.
- Temporary work visa: there are a number of options for temporary work visas so it’s best to check your eligibility and reasons with Immigration New Zealand.
The above visas are temporary work visas and will have a time limit on them. If you are interested in migrating to New Zealand permanently then you will need to find out more about the required visa.
You will need to be qualified with NZSIA Level 2 or other international equivalent such as BASI Level 2, but each individual snowsports school may have their own individual requirements.
There are a number of companies offering organised courses in New Zealand working through the NZSIA system (insert link). Here are a select few:
- The Winter Sports Company offers a 10 week course in Cardrona to train for your NZSIA Levels 1 and 2.
- Rookie Academy runs a range of NZSIA instructor courses in Treble Cone, New Zealand.
- Nonstop Snow run an 11 week NZSIA instructor course in Wanaka helping you to prepare and take your Level 1 and Level 2 exams.
- EA Ski & Snowboard offer a range of courses in different New Zealand ski resorts to help you train for and take your NZSIA exams.
Note that instructors cannot work independently in New Zealand with private clients whatever their qualification or nationality, you must work for a registered snowsports school, and resorts have the rights to remove offenders from the hill.
The worthwhile ski resorts in New Zealand are located on the South Island, with Mount Ruapehu the notable resort on North Island. Queenstown is known as an adventure hub in New Zealand with close proximity to mountain biking, bungee jumps and watersports for the summer, and snowsports in the winter. There are four ski areas within the Queenstown area, and another five resorts further north on South Island. You might also find a number of smaller ski hills/fields with limited infrastructure and ski schools available. The season is longer than its southern hemisphere neighbour Australia, and tends to run from mid-June to early/mid-October.
Living costs are similar to western countries such as Australia and western Europe, but you may actually find accommodation and some other living costs cheaper. Seasonaire accommodation may be subsidised or allocated to ski instructors and so you may only need to work 2-3 days a week to cover your living costs (including socialising) depending on how much you indulge in expensive food and drink. You will often live away from the ski resort itself, unlike in Europe, and so will have to factor in transportation to and from your accommodation and the slopes each day. New Zealanders are notoriously laid back and friendly so if you are too then this is the place for you.