Well now that’s a question and a half. Not quite the ‘how long is a piece of string’ question but pretty close! A phrase you’re probably getting used to but, it totally depends. It depends on how qualified you are, where you’re teaching, which ski school you’re teaching for, if you’re a return employee, or maybe you own your own ski school.
The common perception is that ski season work is poorly paid and is more about the lifestyle, but a ski instructor is one of the better paid professions on the mountain. Read on to get a rough idea as to what you might be able to expect (currency varies, use www.xe.com to convert).
How much do ski instructors get paid on artificial ski slopes?
Artificial slopes can vary but you can expect to earn from £8 to £15 an hour depending on your qualification, how long you’ve been there and your seniority. Some dry ski slopes are owned by local authorities and they’ll pay you in line with other qualified instructors such as swimming teachers, tennis coaches etc. and this depends on the grading that this is given at each local authority. However, you can work on artificial slopes as less qualified instructor so you don’t have as big an outlay for the qualification and can earn relatively good money compared to other service sector jobs.
How much do ski instructors get paid during peak skiing weeks?
Again, these vary across the board, but as a standard you’ll get transportation (or an allowance for transport) to and from the resort, food and board for the time you’re teaching and a lift pass as well as your pay so it’s not a bad option. Your pay will vary from £150 to £250 a week depending on which company you choose to work for. However, sometimes you won’t receive financial reward if you’re teaching for organisations or charities such as DSUK where you’re rewarded with additional ski time and you’re teaching for a good cause.
How much do ski instructors get paid in ski schools?
Where to start?! This totally depends on which ski school you work for, how qualified you are and where in the world you are. Some ski schools also employ you with an accommodation package where some of your monthly pay goes towards your accommodation before you even see it in your bank account, or you receive accommodation for free with a reduced wage. As a basic qualified instructor (Level 2 in most systems) you’ll be able to earn CHF20-25 per hour in Switzerland, $16-22 in Australia and New Zealand and €1200-€1800 per month in Austria (you tend to get a flat salary in Austria regardless of your hours). Each time you achieve a new qualification you can expect this to increase by 10-20%, again depending on your ski schools take on it. You are more likely to achieve this increase if you go back to a ski school that you’ve previously worked for as well.
The more qualified you are the more you get paid… Once you have the ISTD status and are able you teach in France, you’ll be likely able to earn around €45-€60 an hour. Some ski instructors with the BASI Level 4 (ISTD) have been known to make £35-£40,000 in a five month European season, which enables you to pursue a second income out of the season (or work in the southern hemisphere) or spend some time (and money) travelling. It’s useful to note that as well as earning more, more highly qualified instructors may also be offered work first when lessons are booked so you’ll often be able to work more hours as well as being paid more.
Be nice (and good). Ski instructors can get great tips to up their take home money.
Don’t forget the tips! A ski instructor can make or break someone’s skiing experience and holiday so if you show them a good time, they’re likely to reward you for it.
Some people have been known to receive extortionate tips from wealthy Russians in resorts like Whistler and Courchevel which have meant that they’re able to take a month off to free ski. Tips aren’t guaranteed but they’re definitely a perk to the job.
Also remember that ski instructing tends to work on the basis that you’re only paid for the hours that you work so if you’re unwell, injured or it’s a quiet week then you might not get paid depending on what type of contract you’re on. You will need to check your contract for this though (Austria tends to work differently and pay a flat salary).
But remember that ski instructing is most definitely not a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. You have to invest fairly heavily at the start of your career in exams and training (which includes food, accommodation, travel…) before you’ll start to capitalise properly. Like any job, you can always negotiate with your employer for a better rate.