Do you enjoy skiing? Would you like to share your passion for skiing with others? Taking a gap year abroad for ski instruction may be the right choice for you! Aside from gaining valuable teaching skills, you also get the thrill and adrenaline rush of shredding across the snowy slopes of New Zealand, France, and more.

Taking a gap year abroad gives you an opportunity to explore new boundaries and interests before declaring a major in college. Although sometimes challenging, ski instruction can be one of the most rewarding experiences. By teaching students how to ski, you gain patience, determination, and key social skills that can help you succeed later on. Taking a gap year is also great for your career and students who take a gap year tend to do better academically.

Canada

If you consider yourself a tour de force on snow and want to tear up slopes, then taking a gap year in Canada is the right choice for you. Canada offers hundreds of snow-covered mountaintops and steep drops for you to challenge yourself with as a ski instructor.

Aside from the snow, Canada’s temperate seasons and beauty are enough to win you over. If you see yourself hiking through Niagara Falls and breathing in crisp, fresh air, then consider taking your gap year in Canada. Program providers, such as Non-Stop Snow, offer ski instructor courses for gap year takers in Canada.

Austria

With over 800 winter sports resorts and 71 ski regions, Austria is a popular destination for ski instructors. Snow-covered mountains, Apres-Ski (a tradition of socializing and dancing after skiing), and Austrian “Gemuetlichkeit” (the feeling of social acceptance) will give your stay in Austria the magic touch no other destination can duplicate. Daytime temperatures in the Alps average 20 degrees Fahrenheit, the perfect environment for skiing.

Austrian ski resorts are also built around villages that have been there for centuries. The architecture and traditions they provide are an integral part of the daily life of the community and its visitors. These villages welcome you with gourmet restaurants and a sense of history at every turn. The perfect snow, vertical drops, and authentic Austrian cuisine are only a few of the many amazing reasons why Austria is an ideal place to take a gap year.

Japan

Japan is the home of the stunning Minakami Houdagi resort and the renowned Mount Fuji, both breathtaking locations for skiing. Aside from the snow-covered mountaintops, Japan offers spectacular scenic beauty with its cherry blossoms and historical architecture. Tokyo and Osaka are centers of Japanese culture and innovation. The Sapporo Snow Festival in Hokkaido is also globally recognized for its beauty and attracts visitors from around the world.

Various snow and illumination events are held across the country during the winter season, creating breathtaking views in this winter wonderland. If you can imagine yourself walking past snowy temples through Japan’s winding roads, then Japan is the right place for you.

New Zealand

Winter in New Zealand stretches from June through July and August—a season that brings snow to the mountains, joy to powder hounds, and a host of other reasons to celebrate indoors and outside. New Zealand’s winter climate varies based on location, creating snowy summits and moist rainforests. The high country and southern regions have colder, crisp days while the sub-tropical north and western regions are more temperate and moist. North or South, there are plenty of reasons to take your gap year in New Zealand.

This is the place to hit the slopes as winter brings snow to the mountains of the central North Island and the great Southern Alps of the South Island, an alpine playground bigger than the European Alps. The North Island Central Plateau, dominated by volcanic Mount Ruapehu, lies on the skyline of Tongariro National Park and has the country’s largest ski areas.

In order to take a ski instructor course on your gap year, you'll likely have to plan ahead of time to be able to pay for it. Courses can be pricey, but if you find a program that sets you up with a job after the course, you should be able to offset the cost.

Housing is typically included in the programs, and housing will likely either be on the mountain, or transportation will be provided. Many programs also include meals, but you'll want to double check and make sure to budget housing and food costs in.

Previous experience is not always needed, but you'll likely need the right gear, and being used to the cold will help!

Contributed by Melody Shieh

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