Snowsport Instructor

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Ski & Snowboard Technician
Snow Cat Driver - Piste Basher Driver - under Mobile Plant Operator

 

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Practical or MechanicalClerical or OrganisingSkill Level 1Skill Level 2

 

 Snowsport Instructors coach snow skiing, snowboarding or other snowsports. Ski instructors either help individuals learn the basic techniques of skiing or help them improve their skills and increase their level of ability. Future Growth Very Strong

They also make sure that the mountain is a safe environment for those using it
for recreational activity.

Ski instructors are responsible for teaching people of all ages how to ski, or how to improve their skills.

For many young ski instructors, the job is a seasonal one and provides a temporary income whilst studying.

ANZSCO ID: 452314

Specialisations: Skiing Instructor, Snowboarding Instructor,

Alternative names: Snowsports Instructor, Ski school representative, Ski Coach

Knowledge, skills and attributes

  • Enjoyment of working with people
  • Good communication skills
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • A love of skiing
  • An outgoing nature and enthusiasm
  • Fun-loving personality
  • Good teaching skills
  • Motivation
  • Desire to keep improving own skills and techniques
  • Patience
  • Organisational skills
  • A good sense of humour
  • The ability to use own initiative whilst following established drills and teaching techniques
  • Ability to complete paperwork to deadline
  • Ability to provide honest feedback to individuals in a tactful manner
  • Good ability with children
  • Stamina and desire to work long hours in tough conditions


Snowsports Instructor
Snowsports Instructor
(Source: Falls Creek)

Duties and Tasks

  • Coaches, trains and instructs sportspersons by analysing performances and developing abilities
  • Motivates sportspersons and supervises practice sessions
  • Attending meetings at the ski school in the morning to assign instructors to pre-booked lessons scheduled throughout the day
  • Ensure that personal equipment is well-maintained and ready for tackling a long day on the slopes
  • Meet with individuals and groups prior to the start of a lesson
  • Make sure individuals are comfortable with their equipment
  • Teach familiarity with the ski lifts
  • Teach individuals new skills and techniques to help improve their skiing ability
  • Help raise confidence levels
  • Answer the questions of individuals taking part in lessons and individuals at the resort as a whole
  • Help individuals who have fallen over
  • Administer first aid if necessary
  • Observe the weather conditions and halting lessons if appropriate
  • Make sure every slope user is safe and having as good a time as possible
  • Fill out paperwork and assessment forms after lessons have been completed

 

Working conditions

Ski instructors are lucky enough to work in one of the most beautiful working environments that it is possible to find.

Most of their time is spent on the slopes, although some paperwork must be completed as well.

However, the hours can be long and, after a tiring day on the slopes, individuals may be expected to spend a couple of hours in a learning environment, since continual improvement with regards to the technical side of skiing and teaching skills is expected of all instructors.

Although most ski instructors appreciate working outside, the physical effects of working outdoors in freezing conditions should not be underestimated.

There can be a stressful side to the job as well, since it is seasonal and therefore extremely unpredictable.

You may feel as if you have built up a good reputation in a particular resort but when the work runs out during the summer season, you will have to either find another resort job or move to a different part of the world where winter conditions prevail.

Most ski instructors work for ski schools at various resorts across the world.

There are usually at least a couple of ski schools located in each resort, regardless of its size.

Some ski instructors are self-employed but this is relatively rare because competing with established ski schools is difficult.


Education and training/entrance requirements

A qualification certified by the Australian Professional Snowsport Instructors Inc. is usually needed to work as a Snowsport Instructor.

 

Did You Know?

Valentino Guseli
(Source: OWIA)

Valentino Guseli

In March 2021 he broke a halfpipe air world record that stood for 11 years, which was held by snowboard legend Shaun White (USA). Valentino flew a never before seen 7.3 metres in the air.


Valentino was born in 2005

 

Ski and Snowboard Technician
Leisure and Entertainment

Practical or MechanicalClerical or OrganisingSkill Level 1

A ski and snowboard technician is responsible for repairing and servicing sets of skis and snowboards. A ski and snowboard technician can be based either in Australia, or as is more likely, in a repair centre at an overseas ski resort. Future Growth Very Strong

The work is seasonal [in the respect that the European ski season runs from November to late April], meaning that those working overseas will normally return to the Australia for the winter [June - October].

The technician will be expected to work on both skis and snowboards, as the basic repair and servicing knowledge is common to both, and there is not normally enough work to specialise in one or the other.

The technician will fix damage to the equipment, mount bindings, complete base waxing and organise general tuning of the customer’s winter sports kit.

At non-busy times, the technician will often be expected to serve on the retail or customer service counters of the ski outlet.

ANZSCO ID: N/A
  

Alternative names: Ski Tech, Snowboard Tech,
   

Knowledge, skills and attributes

  • Ability to improvise repair techniques “on the fly”

  • Strong enthusiasm for skiing and/or snowboarding

  • Ability to remain away from home for long periods at a time

  • Be able to tolerate cold and unpleasant conditions

  • Engage in work which can be repetitive at times

 

Ski and Snowboard Technician
(Source: Skimag)


Duties and Tasks

  • Service customer’s skis and snowboards (prepare them for their time on the mountain)

  • Mount bindings on any new skis purchased

  • Base cleaning

  • Repair damage to the p-tex base (using p-tex gun/patching/epoxy)

  • Sharpening edges (usually on a machine)

  • Detuning tips and tails (in the quest for a great “set-up”)

  • Waxing base (hot wax, either using an iron or workshop machines)

  • Brushing, polishing and preparation

 

Working conditions

On the surface, a ski technician's job is to service, repair, and tune an athlete's skis. Select the ski, wax the bases, file the edges. At a higher level, World Cup ski techs are responsible for making the fastest skis in the world run even faster. It's a craft that takes an acute knowledge of snow conitions, changing weather, and physics, and often occurs in dimly lit, subterranean rooms that smell like boot liners and cold sweat. If they're not in the ski room, you'll find techs standing in the freezing cold, testing different sidecuts, ski constructions, mounting positions, and ramp angles.

Technical repair centres are often well-equipped and offer fairly comfortable conditions, but overseas, the working conditions can vary greatly.

As space-by-the-square-foot is very expensive in resort, candidates may find they are crammed into tiny workshops which may be dark or poorly heated. The workshops are classed as high-risk working environments due to the need for regular machine use.

Candidates must be fully-versed in the operation of machinery, and maintain a vigilant and responsible attitude to avoid injury to him/herself or others.


Tools and technologies

The most important regular maintenance for all skis and snowboards is hot waxing. Wax is what gives skis and snowboards their glide over snow. You won't go far without it. How often you should wax your skis or snowboard depends on a number of factors, including conditions and usage. As a rule of thumb, we recommend waxing after every 3-5 days of usage. We use a range of hot waxes, from standard hydrocarbon waxes, all the way up to high-end racing waxes.

Hot wax
Hot waxing
(Source: Alp Sport)

Over the course of their life, skis and snowboards will inevitably take some knocks and bumps. After some time, the metal edges on skis and snowboards can become dull and dented. When this happens it's time for an edge grind and sharpening. This involves our technicians using special hand tools to grind and sharpen the metal edges back to their original factory angle.

Sharpening
Sharpening
(Source: Alp Sport)

If your skis or snowboard need some more serious repairs or base work, they go through a Wintersteiger machine. Wintersteigers are computerised tuning machines that perform automated base grinding and edging. The photos below show a ski before going through our Wintersteiger machine (left) and after (right).

Wintersteiger
(Source: Alp Sport)

Modern ski bindings are packed with technology designed to increase skiier safety. The primary function of a binding is to keep a ski boot attached to the ski during normal skiing, but to release in the case of a fall. It is vital that a binding's safety release settings (DIN settings) are checked and adjusted by a professional. When our technicians set binding release settings they have to take a whole range of information into account, including the skiier's age, height, weight, skiing ability, as well as referencing binding manufacturers' specifications.

As bindings get on with age, their parts and components can deteriorate and eventually become unsafe. Every year binding manufacturers provide our technicians with a list of bindings which are no longer indemnified. Put simply, this means that the bindings have been deemed to be too old to adequately perform safely and our technicians are no longer able to service them. If you have a pair of older skis and you're not sure if the bindings are still safe or not, don't take any chances.

Binding
(Source: Alp Sport)

 

Education and training/entrance requirements

There are no real academic requirements; however, knowledge of the ski industry and ski construction is generally useful. Candidates will be fully trained in resort, and almost all ski techs will have started out by working seasons abroad.

If looking for a job overseas, there are hundreds of people doing the same thing, so any knowledge or experience the candidate may have will put them a step ahead.

There are a few 1 or 2-day courses that are recognised within the industry which can put hopefuls a step ahead of competitors.

These courses will allow the candidate to gain experience of using workshop machines, and they also teach the techniques of servicing equipment.

Experience gained in resorts overseas mean a greater chance of landing a decent tech role upon return to Australia, but it works the other way too. As the role offers “on the job” training, it can be beneficial for the candidate to spend some time at an Australian repair centre before heading overseas. Competition for places is considerable, especially in big-name resorts.


Employment Opportunities

Opportunities for career progression within the industry are quite limited, as repair centres often have quite a small workforce.

It is possible for experienced techs to progress to a “senior technician” role, or even centre manager, although past this, there are not many more places to go in terms of career betterment.

For candidates working overseas, there is the possibility of exploring other types of career in resort, such as chalet hosting, bar work, search and rescue or resort management, depending on experience and qualifications.

 

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Materials sourced from
MyJobSearch [Ski Instructor; Ski & Snowboard Technician; ]
Labour Market Insights [Snowsport Instructor; ]
Zippa [Snowboard Instructor; ]
Alp Sport [Ski Snowboarding Tuning; ]
Ski Mag [World Cup Ski Technicians; ]
JobHero [Snowboard Instructor; ]

Your Career [Snowsport Instructor; ]

 

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