how much do snowboard instructors make?

Snowboard Instructor Salary | How Much Do They Make?

by Ben

If you’re reading this, you’re probably super passionate about snowboarding. Maybe you’re even toying with the idea of turning your passion into a paycheck?

Good choice!

Or is it?

Let’s take a fun but factual dive into the financial life of a snowboard instructor (me!). 

Snowboard Instructor Salary

Snowboard instructor salaries vary widely based on factors like location, experience and certification level. On average, in the United States, instructors earn anywhere from $15 to $40 per hour. Full-time instructors working throughout the winter season could make approximately $20,000 to $40,000 annually.

The Financial Forecast

Snowboard instructor salaries are like snowflakes – no two are alike.

A multitude of factors come into play when determining the size of that wintertime paycheck. Experience, certification level, location, and whether you’re working full-time or part-time all play significant roles.

As a ballpark figure, in the United States, the average hourly wage for a snowboard instructor ranges between $10 and $20.

snowboard instructor salary
Image credit:

But wait!

Don’t pack away your board just yet, there’s more to this icy tale…

Experience Counts!

Just like mastering a flawless backside 180, teaching snowboarding pays more the better you get at it.

Instructors with more experience and higher levels of certification can earn more, sometimes even upwards of $25-$40 per hour.

The Mountain Matters

The region or resort where you teach can also cause your salary to snowball.

Instructors at high-end resorts, especially those in popular locations such as Aspen or Vail, can make significantly more than those teaching at a small local hill.

More Than Just Money

While the dollars and cents may not add up, snowboard instructing also brings other perks.

Many resorts offer benefits like free lift passes, gear discounts, and even on-site accommodation. Not to mention, you’re getting paid to do what you love – be out on the snow all day!

Tips On Top

The icing on the snow-covered cake? Tips!

Instructors often receive tips from satisfied customers, adding an extra boost to their earnings. And if you’re a charismatic instructor who helps people fall in love with the sport, these tips can be quite generous.

My Story (and Salary)

Having developed an unhealthy obsession with snowboarding, I quit my finance job and headed for the hills. Literally!

I had no plan, minimal experience and no friends (don’t pity me!).

Whilst working minimum wage jobs in bars and kitchens, I completed my snowboard instructing qualifications. Needless to say, I was super stoked when I landed my first instructing job. 

My Snowboard Instructor Salary Progression:

  • Year 1-2: $10-15 an hour
  • Years 2-5: $20-40 an hour
  • Years 5-7: $50 an hour (as a backcountry and freestyle instructor).
  • Years 7+: From $100-200/hour.

I’m sure you’ll have honed straight in on the most recent salary. Yes, it’s possible! But how?

Well, I set up my own snowboard instructing business. I now spend most of my time guiding experienced groups of riders into the backcountry.

Of course, I also have more overheads (like avalanche backpacks etc). But generally speaking, working for yourself is ultimately the way to go!

Where To Start

If I haven’t managed to put you off becoming an instructor, you’re probably wondering where to start. The article below has some teacher tips and tricks. 


If instructing isn’t for you, there are plenty of other ways to work in the snowboarding industry. I’m doing one of them write now (writing this article!). 

Consider the following alternative routes:

>> Join The Ski Patrol
>> Become a Backcountry Snowboard Guide

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, while you may not become a millionaire solely from teaching snowboarding, the combination of base pay, tips, and other perks can provide a super rewarding career. 

And let’s be honest, the view from my office is hard to beat!

becoming a snowboard instructor

So, if the idea of trading in your suit and tie for snow pants and a beanie appeals to you, becoming a snowboard instructor could be just the ticket.

While the average snowboard instructor salary may not rival that of a Wall Street executive, the lifestyle is a darn sight better!

It can’t be too bad… or I wouldn’t have stuck it out for over a decade!

Happy shredding!  

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