Spring is here in Snow Country, though we’ve had a bit of fresh snow in the last few days to keep the slopes topped up and in good condition. We’ve still got almost 2 months until the last resort is scheduled to close (Kagura on May 28th) but we are already thinking ahead to Winter 2017/2018, and putting together an amazing team of ski and snowboard instructors with that special blend of skills and experience that set Snow Country Instructors apart from other international ski schools in Japan. If you are interested in joining us for a winter season of instructing in the Japanese snow have a read of the below.
WHO ARE WE?
Snow Country Instructors are a team of experienced instructors and coaches teaching all levels of skiing and snowboarding in the Snow Country Region of Japan. We’re based in Yuzawa, one of the most easily accessible ski destinations in Japan. Yuzawa is surrounded by ski resorts and we offer lessons in all of them. The area is often known as Snow Country, and it gets masses of snow every winter. Our instructors have skied across the globe and have never seen snow like this.
WHAT DO WE STAND FOR?
As a team, we are trying to make sure our customers have the very best snow experience possible, whether they are new to the snow, or they are all-mountain experts.
We value experience, great customer service, a sense of playfulness, and the ability to connect with the people you meet. There are bigger schools around in the area. We like to compete with them on quality and flexibility.
HOW DO WE WORK?
We aren’t based in one place. There are about 15 resorts in and around Yuzawa/Minami Uonuma. We work wherever our customers need us. The local resorts we work in are Ishiuchi Maruyama, NASPA, Maiko, Iwappara, GALA Yuzawa, Naeba, Kagura, Joetsu Kokusai. Yuzawa Kogen, Kandatsu, Hakkaisan and Nakazato. Sometimes you will see us giving ski lessons in resorts further afield, such as Tenjindaira, Karuizawa, Nozawa Onsen, Hakuba, Myoko, Shiga Kogen, and multiple resorts in Hokkaido. We head out to work if we have bookings. If not we are free to explore, ski, board, train, or relax.
We believe that learning is most effective when you get direct and personalised feedback. This is why we mainly teach private lessons or small groups of a maximum of six people. Our customers pay a fixed price per instructor. As soon as we get a booking in, the instructor receives the contact details of the customer. From this moment you take responsibility for this customer for the rest of their stay – arranging future lessons, advising on pickups, or helping with proper resort selection.
WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR IN YOU?
We expect you to work hard during busy periods and play hard during quiet times. Our busy periods are Christmas and New Year, Chinese New Year, the midterm break of the international schools in Tokyo, and almost every weekend of the Japanese winter.
The perfect description of one of our Snow Country Instructors is:
– An independent person who is willing and capable to take care of the customer from the moment they get in contact with us.
– Eligible to work in Japan. This means either being able to get a working holiday visa or have 36 months of experience in the snow industry so we can get you a skilled worker visa.
– Level 2 certified in your main discipline.
– Dual certified, and if this is not the case willing to do a level 1 of the other discipline during the start of the season, held in our region.
– Eligible to drive in Japan. This means you will need to get an International Driving License before you come (and check that the one from your country is valid for use in Japan).
– Older than 26 (due to the insurance on the rental cars that is valid for 26 and over), and being multi-lingual is always a plus.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM US?
Pay: Due to our structure as a small, independent ski school in Japan we don’t have big overhead costs like normal ski schools do. This is why we can pay our instructors 50% of the lesson fee. Additionally, we pay a bonus fee for generating business by lesson extensions and requests. This results in a minimum hourly wage of 4.000 Yen (approx. 35 US Dollar or 33 Euro).
Accommodation: We rent shared accommodation locally for instructors. Every instructor has their own room. Instructors pay for their own bills and rent. If you prefer to live on your own we can find single bed apartments but they cost a little more. Rent and bills vary but we aim to keep them around the equivalent of 2 full days of work per month.
Transportation: Although all ski resorts can be accessed by shuttle buses we provide a few company cars for getting around. We use the cars to get to ski & snowboard lessons, but also to get around to do many of the fun things that are all over the mountain areas of Japan.
Experience Japan: We want you to have a winter experience in Japan during the quiet times. That means festivals, skiing other areas, visiting different regions, trying fantastic cuisine, relaxing in an onsen as the snow falls around you, more snow than you’ve dreamed of, and meeting incredible people from all over the world.
WHEN IS THE SEASON IN SNOW COUNTRY?
The ski season usually runs from late November until late-May at the very highest resort. Lessons usually run from mid-December until early April, with spikes in business levels due to different holidays. We like everyone to be here by early-December for orientation and training. Finish dates are more flexible and can be anytime from mid-March by arrangement. If you can’t commit for the whole season, we might be open for a part-time position during the busy periods.
HOW DO I GET TO YUZAWA?
Instructors are expected to make their own way here. Once you get to Tokyo, spend a couple of days to take in this amazing city. Check out the street of ski shops. Then head up to your new home. Yuzawa is about 80 minutes from Tokyo by bullet train.
Several of our instructors are over here as part of a working holiday program. The other alternative is to come over on a sponsored instructor visa. This currently requires the applicant to document 36 months of relevant experience. (There is talk this may change.) Then the sponsoring company applies on their behalf. We are happy to discuss this option in more detail.
IS THIS RIGHT FOR ME?
Yes, if you are looking for an experience that feels like Japan; if you genuinely care about the experience that your customers have; if you are independent enough to work in 7 resorts in 7 days and don’t need the comfort of a home resort; and if you can keep smiling no matter what.
Do you fancy to work in a young company, that is still growing and improving every year? Then we hope to welcome you as a valued part of our team for the Japan winter ’17-’18!
For further questions feel free to contact us, and there is also a wealth of information on our blog.
Please send your application before the 15th of July to [email protected].