SBNIZ Level 1 & 2 Snowboard Instructor Apprenticeship

The King of the North

27th June 2020 - 4th October 2020 Mt Ruapehu, New Zealand Self Catered

Course Overview

An amazing opportunity to gain valuable work experience and paid work alongside training for your Level 1 & 2 exams in beautiful New Zealand!

13 exam days, 23 days training, 40 possible shadow/work days

That's how your season could pan out in Mt. Ruapehu on the North Island of New Zealand. We are currently recruiting for applicants for our apprenticeship instructor course for this June - it could be you training and working in the stunning mountains there!

Train to become a snowboard instructor, while also working and learning from others, in the awesome ski fields of Turoa, an active volcano and an incredible location. Riding on the North Island of New Zealand is a surreal experience unlike almost anything else on earth. We have created an ideal combination of training and work experience to ensure you have an epic time and the best chance to achieve the qualifications and experience to work as a snowboard instructor in the future.

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What to Expect

Spend time in stunning scenery in the Tongariro National Park and get to experience the incredible back country, shutes and gullies carved out of the volcanic rock over centuries.

We tried out all the ski fields in New Zealand before we decided to base ourselves in Ohakune and Turoa. For us the combination of laid-back Kiwi life in Ohakune and the steep, varied terrain in Turoa and Whakapapa was perfect. We live for adventure so the rugged, volcanic North Island in the beautiful National Park seemed to us more exciting than the touristy South Island resorts.

What's included:

  • Pre-season communication & advice
  • Guaranteed contract with Mt. Ruapehu Snowsports, if successful applicant
  • 15 weeks of centrally located accommodation in Ohakune (twin and quad-share)
  • Daily transport to Turoa ski resort
  • SBNIZ Level 1 & 2 exam fees
  • Staff season lift pass
  • 23 days of training throughout the season
  • Staff uniform

You will be accommodated at the LKNZ Lodge in Ohakune, which is basic but comfortable, home-from-home accommodation, right in the centre of town! There are twin and quad rooms (some en-suite) available, and you have your own communal areas and kitchen to relax in.

You should fly into Auckland before the start of the course on the 29th June. You will need to get a bus from Auckland city centre to Ohakune at roughly 9am on Saturday 29th June, so you will probably need to stay overnight in Auckland. We will arrange the bus for you, and you will be met off the bus in Ohakune by Andrew, our NZ resort manager.

On departure, it is up to you when you would like to leave resort, and you will need to book your own return transfer and accommodation on your way home. You have accommodation in Ohakune booked until the 13th October, so that is the final day by which you need to either arrange to stay longer, or pursue onward travel.

If you need to stay overnight in Auckland then we recommend the BASE backpackers in central Auckland, as it is close to the bus stop, but you will need to book this yourself.

The Application Process

1. Send us your CV and letter of application for the apprenticeship programme.

2. We will respond within one working day as to whether you are a suitable candidate for the programme.

3. If you are, we will invite you to formally apply, with a £95 application fee. We will invite you to a Skype interview within a week or so to discuss the internship opportunity further.

4. If we feel that you are well-suited for the programme, your place on the programme will be confirmed and you'll be heading off to New Zealand to work and study in the mountains!

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Course Timeline

Here you'll find a week by week breakdown of your course.

  • 30th June - Arrive in Ohakune

    1 Day

    You should fly into Auckland before the bus transfer from the city centre to Ohakune leaves around 8:30am on Saturday 30th June. We will meet you from the bus in Ohakune and show you around your accommodation. Welcome meal to get to know everyone.

    Got a question about this?

  • Week 1 & 2 - Preliminary Training with Ruapehu Snowsports

    2 Weeks

    The first two weeks of the programme consist of staff training provided by the Mt Ruapehu Snowsports School. This will be on and off snow and aim to get you to a level where you are confident teaching beginners straight away.

    Got a question about this?

  • School Holidays Work

    1 Week

    The week following training is school holidays in New Zealand, so there are many work opportunities or chances to shadow other instructors to learn more about what it takes to teach skiing. You can straight away get stuck in to life as an instructor!

    Got a question about this?

  • Training and work weeks

    3 Weeks

    In the lead up to taking your NZSIA Level 1 exam, you will have two days of training a week, with at least three days of work and work shadowing. You will learn the technical and teaching aspects needed to pass your Level 1.

    Got a question about this?

  • NZSIA Level 1 exam

    1 Week

    You will then sit your NZSIA Level 1 exam to properly qualify you as a ski or snowboard instructor! This is the basic exam, aimed at teaching beginners.

    Got a question about this?

  • Training and work weeks

    5 Weeks

    Further training and working/ work shadowing in Mt Ruapehu. You will be working towards your Level 2 qualification now, so training steps up especially the technical elements. You should be out on the hill every day either training or working in order to gain experience and hopefully loving every second!

    Got a question about this?

  • ?NZSIA Level 2 exam

    1 Week

    Now comes the Level 2 exam! This is the big one and will allow you to teach around the world so it isn't easy! Your training should have set you up to pass however, so keep working hard and fingers crossed! 

    Got a question about this?

  • ?Opportunity for 3 more weeks of work

    3 Weeks

    Following your Level 2 exam, you have accommodation for a further three weeks, so make the most of being in Mt Ruapehu with further work opportunities. You can also do further training and exams e.g. first aid, avalanche training which will make you more employable in the future. 

    Got a question about this?


Got a question about this course? Here's the best place to start. If you don't find your answer here, you can request a callback or get in touch using our contact page.

You can expect to earn around $16 an hour working for the ski school.

There will be a maximum of 8 in a group. We are aiming for one group of skiers and one group of snowboarders, and you will all be living together in the Lodge accommodation.

As well as gaining a worldwide recognised qualification you will also have the time of your life and gain valuable work experience! This course will give you a unique insight into the snowboard world and sets you up to work year round in the industry. Our NZ team have been chasing winters all across the globe since 2005, and have learned a thing or two along the way to make sure that you have the time of your life while you're with us. 

We get a healthy mix of people from across the globe and locally from within NZ, from 18 to 60! It’s always a good group of people motivated to progress their riding, looking for an adventure and to have a great time in the process.

We generally say you need four to five weeks of mountain experience and should be comfortable on tougher blue runs and able to do reds and blacks. With the apprenticeship, you will be able to start teaching straight away, so some previous teaching experience, or a confidence to be able to do so will help as well!

You will need to fly into Auckland international Airport. We then organise a night there for you before you catch the bus down to Ohakune the next day.

It is recognised worldwide, so ideal to take to other countries. The only tricky ones are France and Italy, who have their own rules.

You will need a work visa to do the apprenticeship. The working holiday visa scheme in New Zealand is pretty straightforward! Applications should be made directly through the NZ immigration department rather than dealing with a visa organisation. You can apply for a 12 or 23 month visa and more information can be found here:

You’ll be living in the town of Ohakune, which is 17 km/s from the base of the lift and a 20 minute drive on a good weather day. Transport will leave from only around a 5 min walk from the Lodge.

Having travelled extensively around New Zealand, and skied all the different areas over our years operating and instructing there, we just picked the best ski resort to be based in! Queenstown has the reputation but mainly with backpackers and casual season workers from around the world, especially the UK and Canada. Mt Ruapehu is much more the authentic Kiwi experience, and where the locals choose to ski. It is a bigger area, quieter on the slopes, with a longer season and a lot more snow-sure. The runs are longer and steeper, the backcountry is better, we could go on! It is also closer to travel from the town of Ohakune to the ski slopes (around 15 mins), whereas being based in Queenstown, the closest ski area is around 30 minutes drive away!

For the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, check

The cost for the apprenticeship is put towards us renting accommodation for you for the season, so effectively you paying rent in resort which you would need to anyway, and a small fee towards the training with Mt Ruapehu Snowsports and your lift pass. Unlike many classic apprenticeships which pay you lower wages in order to account for the training, you will still get paid the same wages as other instructors, so we need to offset this with a slight upfront payment.