Hello Prospective New Instructor Candidates!
Thank-you for expressing interest in applying for a SKIBACS Ski and Snowboard School instructor position/training. We believe instructing is a fun and fulfilling activity and are always looking for individuals who may wish to come and share in our passion. Whether you are interested in teaching, or just interested in taking the training for your own ski/ride improvement, we hope you will consider looking further into our programs. Following is some information that we hope you will find useful regarding the the SKIBACS Instructor program in particular.
If you are already an experienced ski or snowboard instructor, but are considering joining SKIBACS, some of information below will still be of interest to you. Contact the Chairman directly for our process for joining in, you may be on a different routine than someone new to teaching.
A brief introduction:
SKIBACS Ski School has a proud history of providing quality lessons for a reasonable price that spans several decades. We currently operate out of Summit, Central at Snoqualmie Pass.
As you are probably aware, SKIBACS is the Ski Recreation Club for employees (current and former) and families of the Boeing company. Only members of SKIBACS (or their guests) may take lessons through SKIBACS Ski School. SKIBACS is a non profit entity, with an elected board of trustees. Programs are established by the Ski School Chairman, who sits on the SKIBACS board and is responsible for the operations of the school. The Chairman contracts to the management staff (Directors, Training Directors) to fulfill the particular duties required of a Ski school. SKIBACS Ski School offers both snowboard and alpine lessons to our customers. As a Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) member school, our staff is fully comprised of paid (although predominately part time) professionals. Membership and participation by staff in the professional instructor organizations (PSIA and AASI) is not required, but is strongly encouraged.
We teach kids (ages 5+ and up) and adults. Our standard program has been a 6 week long series of lessons – 2 hours nights or 2.25 hours weekend) for alpine and snowboard. These lessons start in early January. We usually have programs on , Thursday and Friday nights, Saturday mornings and Sunday mornings and afternoons. We may also teach some private lessons for our membership (our more experienced instructors typically handle these lessons).
Lots of skiing/riding for one. The average instructor will tell you that their ‘skier/rider days’ go way up once they started instructing. Naturally, instructors are paid. Our rates are very competitive to other ski schools (pay on a scale of experience plus certification level…so starting pay is $21.00 an hour for first year instructors with no prior experience, reaching $36+ an hour for seasoned experienced PSIA level 3 certified instructors, even a bit more, when working as Trainers). A Seasons Pass (that does have some limited restrictions) is obtained for a nominal fee at Snoqualmie (~$150 plus tax).
A ski school instructor Parka is provided. We only ask folks to only wear them during ski school related activities (teaching, training, etc.) and to return them in good condition at the end of the season (normal wear and tear expected). We just ask that folks where black or dark navy ski pants, so the combination with our parkas looks professional. Generally, don’t expect to get rich teaching skiing. At first, it may be better to look at it as a way to significantly reduce your cost of skiing. With time, it gets better as pay increases, and the professional discounts on ski/snowboard equipment get better as one’s professional certification attains higher levels. Oh, and one further side benefit, instructors who have dependents can enroll their kids or spouses in our group lesson program for half price on the days they are up teaching.
Mostly, instructing is a way to share your passion for skiing/riding with others. The camaraderie and friendships developed with your fellow instructors is also a plus. Your skiing/riding will get much better. Basically:
The training to be prospective new snowboard and alpine (ski) instructors will have several ‘dryland’ training evenings in town in November. (Note: we will be using a conference room at a public location – TBD). At these sessions, questions will be answered and training in the fundamentals of instruction will begin.
There will be four days of on-hill training scheduled. These typically will be done during two of the first three weekends in December. Unfortunately, due to unpredictable snow and ski area operating schedules, which two weekends will not be firmed up until later this fall. It may vary from alpine training versus snowboard. Granted, this is inconvenient from a scheduling standpoint, yet is something of the nature of our business.
During the on-hill training a clinician (Trainer) will demonstrate class handling and review the technical (teaching progression) material through active candidate participation. All candidates will demonstrate their ability of class handling and technical knowledge by instructing in a simulated class situation towards the end of the second weekend. Attendance to all training sessions is strongly encouraged, missing sessions may seriously affect ones chances of being hired.
There is a fee to go through our training ($40). It is due at the onset of the Training. If, after the first night, one wishes to sign up and continue with the SKIBACS training information will be provided. Discounted lift tickets (yet to be announced, varies if all the lifts are running or not due to early season conditions, but expect roughly half off whatever the public is being charged) will be provided for the training days on the hill at Snoqualmie. In the past, some people have taken the training just as a (really cheap) ski lessons for their own improvement. If you cannot meet our teaching obligations, but would still like to attend our training, that is perfectly acceptable.
Once the final enrollment numbers for the ski school are firming up (we know pretty much how many students by about the mid December time period), we will contract out the appropriate number of instructors to fulfill our needs. Naturally, returning instructors are considered first, but each year a fair number of positions open up (due to moves, conflicting work obligations, etc.) and new instructors are needed. Many years, we have had openings for every qualified person to make it through our training. However, the last few years we have had some shifting demographics in our enrollments, and have not been able to hire everyone.
Instructor Assistant Training Program
For those not able to attend or complete the December training, or for younger candidates (minimum age 14 unless approved by the Training Director) interested in getting an early start of becoming instructors, we have our Instructor Assistant program. Those enrolled in this program receive the same season pass deal (~$150 plus tax) as regular instructors, and must commit to two days (same as with our regular staff) a week to our programs (one of which must be on the weekend for training). Instructor Assistants will help out instructors and shadow classes on one day, and receive on hill training in instructing and skiing/riding. These are volunteer positions that are non-paid, and to be eligible one must have approval by the Training Director. We have only a limited number of slots for these positions, and they will be issued on a competitive basis. SKIBACS is a non-profit club.
As for qualifications, you don’t have to be a ‘red hot’ skier/rider to be an instructor. Few people are when they first started instructing. We like to emphasize the second half of the name Ski ‘INSTRUCTOR’. It is much more important for someone to be a good communicator and listener, with a visible degree of enthusiasm in sharing, than a ‘hot’ skier/rider. Beginner instructors need to be parallel skiers (or equivalent for snowboarders, you can shape round turns with some carving on blue terrain) who are comfortable linking turns on blue terrain, and like to try an occasional foray down a black diamond for the challenge. As long as your technique has no blatant problems (that would provide a visual image that would mislead or confuse a beginning student), we will work with you to improve your skiing/riding. In fact, if becoming a better skier/rider is a goal of yours, instructing is a great path to rapid skill advancement.
Generally, instructors typically start at ages 16 or older (with some exceptions, but that is rare). Instructor Assistants – IA’s – must be at least 14, a mature 14, (…and we have had many adult Instructor Assistants who also used the role as a development year for prepping for teaching the next season, there is no ‘automatic’ admission to the IA program). SKIBACS will consider those who are most qualified, who demonstrate the best understanding of the material and the best ‘presence’ (responsibility, caring, responsiveness, etc.) in front of a class. Also, you do not have to be a Boeing employee or a SKIBACS member to instruct for SKIBACS.
As for obligations, after completing the preseason training outlined above, if contracted on with SKIBACS, instructors typically must be available to teach at least two sessions a week for the duration of our programs (starting in early January and finishing about the end of February, about 6 to 8 weeks, with a week or two allowance afterward, prudent in case of road or pass closures and class cancellations). There are also continuing on hill clinic sessions that are required, once lessons begin, that are about an hour long and are typically held after lessons on Saturday or Sunday. These sessions are to keep all the instructors in sync with SKIBACS operational and PSIA instructional principles. One key thing is to give you the opportunity to discuss problems or uncertainties you may have encountered with your students. Instructors are paid for attending these clinics.
At the end of the last lesson, instructors usually remark on how fast the time went, and how much fun it was getting to know everyone in their class (you’ll have the same class for the duration of the program) and watching them progress along. That’s about it. Afterwards, some people go on to additional training to advance their skills (and PSIA certification level), others just attend a few late season social events and ski and ride a lot with some new made friends.
Thanks for inquiring, I hope you will join us.
Michael L. Drake
Boeing SKIBACS Ski School Chairman
(425) 342-7064 M/S OR-310