Winter Work for Seasonal Instructors

by Owen Senior Challenges

Winter Work for Seasonal Instructors

What do seasonal outdoor instructors do during the Winter?

Lots of people start working in the outdoor and adventure industry as seasonal outdoor instructors. It’s a great way to work flexibly and get a variety of experience.

The ‘season’ normally runs from April through October (7 months) with a really busy period during June, July and August.

At Land & Wave, seasonal contracts start at the beginning of April and finish at the end of October. At the moment, we have 14 full time permanent staff; we normally employ 25 full time seasonal instructors, as well as a few full time ‘short season’ staff.

Recruiting brilliant staff is our biggest challenge; it’s something we have to work really hard at.

This is what our seasonal outdoor instructors have planned for the winter…Working a Ski Season

Some outdoor staff head to the mountains and spend the winter chalet hosting, looking after children, working behind a bar, driving mini busses or working as a chef. For Brits, France is the most popular destination. North America is difficult because of visa problems and a lack of jobs at the moment.

Pro’s: Lots of skiing, no bills, mountain life, meeting excellent people

Con’s: Hard work, rubbish pay, early mornings, not much time off | | |

Working and Travelling in the Southern Hemisphere

If you’re 18 - 30 years of age, getting a working visa for New Zealand or Australia is relatively Straight-forward.

The Antipodes are warm, English is the first language, there are amazing things to see and do and work is easy to find.

Pro’s: Sunshine, thousands of beaches, well paid work (£12 an hour for bar work), no language problems

Con’s: High cost of living, cost of flights, spiders, giant spiders


If you’re careful, it’s easy to save money working as a seasonal outdoor instructor in the UK. Travelling across a continent or two is an excellent way to spend the chilly months.

Travelling doesn’t have to cost lots of money. If you aim for less-developed countries, it’s possible to live comfortably very cheaply; £10 a day can go a long way in India.

Pro’s: See the world, meet amazing people, eat incredible food, experience life in all it’s glorious confusion

Con’s: You wont earn any money, cost of flights, career/ training break

Work in the UAE

There is a well-developed outdoor education and adventure industry in the United Arab Emirates. It’s much too hot to work outside during the Summer, so the Winter ‘outdoor work season’ runs from October - April, During the winter season, the average daytime temperature is 25 °C!

The Winter season in the UAE matches up almost perfectly with the Summer season in the UK to create a year-round pattern of work for outdoor instructors.

Pro’s: Winter sun, well paid work, tax free income, experience a different culture, food

Con’s: It gets HOT, not much variety of landscape, sand gets everywhere

Getting a Permanent Job

After a season or two (or ten), some outdoor instructors choose to settle in one place for a while. Full time, permanent outdoor work doesn’t always offer the variety that seasonal work can, but it’s great for professional development, working on qualifications, as well as putting down roots, buying a dog and starting a family.

Pro’s: Consistent pay, being part of a community, training and development

Con’s: Sometimes you get itchy feet 

Whatever you decided to do, do it with purpose. Have adventures, be kind to people, enjoy yourself

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