Thinking to work as a part time instructor on weekends

tube77

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I have kids racing in a local racing club so I used to ski for 4~5hours every weekends, rain or shine.
I am considering to work as a part time instructor on the weekends to save some money mostly because of the crazy inflation on season pass/racing school program fee.
I like to teach and go easy with new people/kids and I am an advanced skier (no prior experience as an instructor or coach though). So qualification wise I think I am good to go.
But I have no idea how the part-time instructor job is going on in ski school.
Can I work as I wish or only when I am available?
For instance, I would like to work only Saturday and Sunday from like 9am to 2pm. (I don't really care how much hours I actually teach). Is this doable?
If I am able to work from 9am to 2pm, then am I expecting to teach 5 hours straight or do I standby from 9 to 2pm in a little office until a specific group/private lesson is assigned to me?
Please share how the ski instructors life goes.
 
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LiquidFeet

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I have kids racing in a local racing club so I used to ski every weekends for 4~5hours every weekends, rain or shine.
I am considering to work as a part time instructor on the weekends to save some money mostly because of the crazy inflation on season pass/racing school program fee.
I like to teach and go easy with new people/kids and I am an advanced skier (no prior experience as an instructor or coach though). So qualification wise I think I am good to go.
But I have no idea how the part-time instructor job is going on in ski school.
Can I work as I wish or only when I am available?
For instance, I would like to work only Saturday and Sunday from like 9am to 2pm. (I don't really care how much hours I actually teach). Is this doable?
If I am able to work from 9am to 2pm, then am I expecting to teach 5 hours straight or do I standby from 9 to 2pm in a little office until a specific group/private lesson is assigned to me?
Please share how the ski instructors life goes.
@tube77, you need to get in touch with the Ski School director at the mountain where you want to teach. All your questions will be answered. But sometimes it's difficult to get in touch with ski schools until close to opening. Where are you and what mountain is this?

The ski school will need instructors for times when the crowds are big and the instructor staffing is lacking. You'll be hired to teach at those times, not necessarily when you want to teach.

That said, weekends are pretty much a sure thing. Also holidays - instructors will be needed for Christmas-New Years week, MLK weekend, President's week and the weekends before and after, for school vacation weeks in your area, and so on.

To get the job you may need to make a commitment to teach X number of holiday days, and Y number of other days. This total can be 25 or 40 or more total days. You may have choices on how to get to X+Y days. That depends on how the ski school director assigns workdays.

As a part-timer, you may be assigned to line-up, or to the kid's program if it's still running given the issues associated with Covid. Line-up means you line up each time lessons begin and wait for an assignment. You may get one or you may not. Kid's programs are usually scheduled ahead so you'll know when you'll be working, and there will be no down time waiting around.

You may be given a choice of kids or adults, or this may not be a choice you can make. You will most likely get some training targeted on how to teach beginners to turn and stop, how to teach them to get onto and off the chair, and where to take newbies on the mountain once they are off the beginner terrain. If you charm the Ski School director, you may get assigned intermediate or advanced skiers. But this is not a given.

All the above reflects my experience here in New England. It may be quite different midi-Atlantic or Midwest or out west.
 
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graham418

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Every ski school is different in how they structure lessons, but the common thing is that they usually like to see some accreditation, ie some CSIA or PSIA level.
 

LiquidFeet

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Every ski school is different in how they structure lessons, but the common thing is that they usually like to see some accreditation, ie some CSIA or PSIA level.
Here in New England you can get your PSIA certification your first or second year. Or you can choose to never get it. Uncertified and inexperienced skiers are hired all the time.
 

Pequenita

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Most ski schools require that you show up at a certain number of lineups, and depending on where you are geographically (short season), that can be really difficult to attain on weekends alone. There can often be requirements to work a certain number of days during holiday weeks. On the other hand, resorts could be getting more desperate right now and may be loosening those requirements. You'll have to go to the instructor training course or whatever recruitment mechanism the resort has to find out their specifics.
 

Dave Marshak

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I’ve been out of it for a few years, but some of my friends are telling me that the commitment may be as few as 10 days. Wages are going up too.
It’s almost enough to get me to come back.

dm
 

Wasatchman

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I’ve been out of it for a few years, but some of my friends are telling me that the commitment may be as few as 10 days. Wages are going up too.
It’s almost enough to get me to come back.

dm
A minimum of 10 days seems like an amazing deal. I don't know anywhere in Utah where it is that low. I'd jump on that deal if it was offered in Utah.
 

Henry

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Every ski school is different in how they structure lessons, but the common thing is that they usually like to see some accreditation, ie some CSIA or PSIA level.
Yes, and...I've seen ski schools that observe and train new comers, get them working, and train them during the season for their accreditation exam. Pay is increased a buck or two for each level, not enough to pay for the cost of the exams.

In the ski schools I've seen what has been lacking is how to teach. They train a lot on how to ski and what to show new skiers, but little on how to teach. Maybe that is done better elsewhere--I hope so.

Tube, if you get the job, use your own observation and knowledge where it helps the students. It took me a while to figure out that some new students who tried very hard to do what I showed them had terrible results. Flash...their rental boots were too big. After I had them change to a smaller shell size, amazing, they were able to get stuff to work. Now, why wasn't I taught to look for this???
 

rcc55125

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I think the minimum part time position at Park City is currently 18 days. To get this position the 18 days need to be made up of holiday days and peak crowd days (typ. spring break). A couple of years ago I think the minimum PT position at Breck was 15 days with the same requirement of working peak. Most of Vail's large resorts have a similar structure. However, at the smaller Vail resorts the entire instructor staff may be considered part time. Even in this structure you have to commit to a minimum number of days and/or teaching hours.
I think at almost any resort lesson periods are split into AM and PM shifts. PM typical starting at 1 PM. If you were to get a lesson at 1 PM it may run till 3:30. So, leaving at 2 PM would not be an option. Again, at the larger Vail resorts there is some after lesson paper work required so you would not be leaving the locker room till 4 PM. When they talk about a full day lesson it is indeed a full day for the instructor.
Now the smaller resorts may have more flexible lesson schedules and shorter lesson lengths, typically 2 hours, making a 9 to 2 work period a possibility.
If you're on standby it won't be in a little office, it will either be sitting in the locker room or hanging out in the great outdoors.
I assume your kids race program runs from 9 to 2 so you would like to end your day in coordination with them. That's great if you can do it. If that is indeed a high priority you may be better served doing some kind of volunteer job with the race program. Race schools usually always need help with something specially on race days.
If you're really interested in instructing go for it. If you have to work till 4 the kids can free ski for 2 hours. I've heard it said race kids need to free ski as much as bash gates. Ask them what they think. Instructing can be very rewarding and not just at the higher levels. If you start down the certification path you could learn a lot about Movement Analysis (MA) which is very beneficial for race coaching.
I've enjoyed my 10 years as a PT instructor and look forward to the new season.
 

HDSkiing

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@tube77 plenty of informative answers already given above. I’ll just chime in with what I do in our little hill out in the Rockies here.

I hire both full and part time. Part time is a minimum of 2 full days per week. At holidays and weekends we have more requests for lessons than we can service, on busy Sat/Sun/Hol periods you would prob work the full day, 9-4 & we expect additional days during holidays. We also help Ski Patrol with sweep so it may be 530 or later when you’re done, but usually their are enough staff looking for extra hours that you may not have to. Weekdays is a little slower you may have some afternoons off as there are usually staff willing to work all day that will gladly take your assignments.

It can be a big time commitment, especially as a new hire we will ask you to commit to about 6 days of on-snow paid training, very similar to a level 1 prep course, but at the end you will be able to competently teach level 1-2 classes and be fully prepped to get certified.

Some of the Benefits are of course the pass, (ski on your days off) guest passes to give away, food discounts (some free items) season pass for your family, ski shop tunes etc. we clinic most mornings before the mountain opens so you will get plenty of training (and first tracks!) plus we have a variety of PSIA training opportunities.

Best of all you will meet new people to ski with and to challenge you (or maybe you them). I have an 80% return of staff so lots of experienced and happy staff.

All the best in your journey!
 

James

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Unlikely to be able to do just 9-2, but who knows. Up to the ski school. You’re prob going to have to be there 8:30ish. But training could happen at 8. I doubt any afternoon group would end before 2.

Wages are going up too.
It’s almost enough to get me to come back.
Only for the new people really it seems. 20 yrs nearly the same as no years.
 
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martyg

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Questions to ask your future direct report, and current instructors:

1. What happens if you don't reach your hours through no fault of your own? Do you owe the ski area a check for a season's pass at the end of the season?
2. What training is available? The best ski areas would have daily sessions with their trainers for staff. The dailies are typically 40 - 60 minutes, before the skiing public is on the hill.
3. How many check-ins per day? Are you paid for said check ins?
4. If you are up free skiing on your day off, are you still required to show up for check in? Are you paid?
5. Does the ski school pay for further PSIA training / upgraded certifications?
6. What are dependent discounts like?
7. Discounts for you on ski tuning and purchases?
8. Food discounts, if any?
9. Culture (ask current instructors) toxic? Ask about your direct reports. Ask about upper management / ownership. Too aften you have shit for upper menegement / ownership, and the mid level managers are busting their asses trying to protect their employees from the toxic culture. That never goes down well.

Best to you.
 

crosscountry

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I have kids racing in a local racing club so I used to ski for 4~5hours every weekends, rain or shine.
What have you got to lose? You're there. And you'll be on snow, either teaching or learning to teach, or just skiing if there's no students.

(one of the major complain about teaching is you have to show up for line up every hour, but what's unsaid is you get to ski between line up when there's no student)

The "minimum commitment" is not an issue. You'll be there when your kids are there.

The only thing is you need to get hired. Some place requires certification to start with. But I think those are the exceptions. Most places don't require the cert to begin teaching beginners.
 

crgildart

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With no experience there is a good likelihood they will want you to do pre season dry land and classroom training. The applicant pays for the training in advance. It was twice a week for 6 weeks when I did it.. and they didn't hire everyone at the end of it... and if you didn't get hired you didn't get the fees back. I got mine back :) Fun job, good times..

If the ski area is near a metropolis, the competition will be stiff. If you live near a remote resort, your odds are much better.
 

Henry

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Questions to ask your future direct report, and current instructors:

1. What happens if you don't reach your hours through no fault of your own? Do you owe the ski area a check for a season's pass at the end of the season?
2. What training is available? The best ski areas would have daily sessions with their trainers for staff. The dailies are typically 40 - 60 minutes, before the skiing public is on the hill.
3. How many check-ins per day? Are you paid for said check ins?
4. If you are up free skiing on your day off, are you still required to show up for check in? Are you paid?
5. Does the ski school pay for further PSIA training / upgraded certifications?
6. What are dependent discounts like?
7. Discounts for you on ski tuning and purchases?
8. Food discounts, if any?
9. Culture (ask current instructors) toxic? Ask about your direct reports. Ask about upper management / ownership. Too aften you have shit for upper menegement / ownership, and the mid level managers are busting their asses trying to protect their employees from the toxic culture. That never goes down well.

Best to you.
3--Labor law requires that an employee be paid at least the state minimum wage for anything done for the benefit of the employer. Required check ins & meetings, and required training certainly qualify.
5--Pay not required if the training and exams are not required.
 

Wasatchman

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With no experience there is a good likelihood they will want you to do pre season dry land and classroom training. The applicant pays for the training in advance. It was twice a week for 6 weeks when I did it.. and they didn't hire everyone at the end of it... and if you didn't get hired you didn't get the fees back. I got mine back :) Fun job, good times..

If the ski area is near a metropolis, the competition will be stiff. If you live near a remote resort, your odds are much better.
Given general instructor shortage i believe this may have changed. I'm not aware of this occurring at any of the Utah resorts. And I would definitely not call competition to be a part time instructor stiff in the Salt Lake area. I hear most resorts actually want to boost their ski school capacity, particularly during holiday periods if they can get the staffing. Of course this situation may vary significantly by geography and other parts of the country could be different.
 

crgildart

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Given general instructor shortage i believe this may have changed. I'm not aware of this occurring at any of the Utah resorts. And I would definitely not call competition to be a part time instructor stiff in the Salt Lake area. I hear most resorts actually want to boost their ski school capacity, particularly during holiday periods if they can get the staffing. Of course this situation may vary significantly by geography and other parts of the country could be different.
I can see that with the change in the ski resorts' business model away from lift tickets and towards lessons being their cash cow. That, and they've been paying peanuts and perks these days. BITD we got nearly double minimum wage and better perks.
 
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