Consider A Second Career For Fun, Fitness, Fulfillment.

Mick O’Gara, PSIA Alpine Examiner Emeritus, leads the crew, at Waterville Valley, NH. Credit: Tamsin Venn

Many readers are seriously committed to skiing, and many have the experience, time and skills to actually teach skiing.

Here are ten good reasons you should consider working as a ski instructor.

  1. Plenty of other advanced age ski instructors are doing the same thing. You are in good company.
  2. You are needed, especially on weekends and over vacation weeks, February in particular. It’s often all-instructors-on-slope at these times. In down times, which can be frustrating, free skiing with like-minded instructors is a great chance to have fun and parse technique on the lift.
  3. Contagious youthful energy. We old folks get to mix with high school students who have skied at the area since they were Mitey-Mites, those taking a winter off from college or to reset career priorities, and foreign students here for a winter in the U.S.

    How many silly ski instructors does it take to change a ski’s load capacity?
    Credit: Tamsin Venn
  4. Camaraderie. You will find your fellow instructors are a great group of folks, supportive, funny, professional, many life long skiers, who love skiing and are dedicated to teaching.
  5. Training. Ski areas provide on-snow instruction for newbies so no need to fear you’ll be sent out to cluelessly teach beginners. Trainers offer regular clinics throughout the season for newbies and veterans alike. You are encouraged to go through PSIA-AASI (Professional Ski Instructors of America/American Assn. of Snowboard Instructors) certifications, and resort trainers offer instruction for that as well.
  6. PSIA is a great organization to join with many clinics and division events throughout the season. It offers Level I, II, and III certifications not only in Alpine and Snowboard teaching, but in Adaptive, Adaptive Snowboard, Cross Country, and Telemark. Level III is very challenging. If you meet an instructor and he or she says Level III, give them cuts in line. PSIA is good for goal setting. You have access to a slew of great trainers, examiners, plus educational material, manuals for teaching different levels of skiers, videos, newsletters, and magazines. You also receive pro discounts of 40 percent or more from major ski gear companies. (You can never have enough Patagonia Nano Puff jackets.)
  7. Perks? Parties. Plus season pass. Locker, so you don’t have to schlep your gear to the mountain every day. Uniform, probably cooler than your own ski jacket. Discounts on gear and burgers. Free skiing at other mountains with letter of intro from your ski school director.
  8. One of the best bosses you may have ever had (at least, that was true in my case).
  9. Incredible sense of accomplishment when a lesson goes well.
  10. It’s easy to get started. Go to jobs page at a ski area that interests you—or more importantly where you have a place to stay—and follow instructions for hiring. Good luck.

    Tamsin says: “I wish I could still do this.” Not required for instructor certification though.
    Credit: Tamsin Venn



  1. Great article! It’s what I do.

  2. Avatar keith perlmutter says:

    I retired in 2013 and became a part time ski instructor in Steamboat, CO.
    Now going into my fifth season and it has been just wonderful and I am happy to be doing this every winter.

  3. I joined Holiday Valley, NY snowsports school 22 years ago as a part time instructor. I was 59 at the time. I’m still teaching. Your 10 points are all valid.

  4. The ten points are all true. From the voice of experience. PSIA 21 years.

  5. Avatar Cathy Meyer says:

    I agree! Hard work but lots of fun and very fulfilling to share our excitement with new skiers or help people improve.

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