What Makes a Good Snowboard Instructor?

A good snowboard instructor must have the following qualities:

  • Empathy
  • Professionalism
  • Passion
  • People Skills

To maintain our energy throughout the season and throughout our careers, the above qualities are necessary to find fulfillment and abundance in our lives as snowboard instructors.

Read on as we dive into each of the above qualities in a little more detail.


As snowboard instructors, chances are we are better snowboarders than our clients. For some instructors this can feel a bit boring as they’re strapped into their boards, but they’re not pushing their snowboarding skills to new levels.

This is where the importance of empathy comes in. Empathy means feeling the feelings that our students are feeling.

We get stoked when our client gets stoked. We understand their frustrations when they navigate challenges. We are
present with them as they learn new skills.

And we should be! Number one,we’re getting paid to be present with them and aid them in overcoming frustrating challenges. 

Number two, using empathy ensures that we are deeply involved in our lessons and committed to our students’ progression. This involvement and commitment leads to a feeling of fulfillment.

Feeling fulfilled with the work that we do is crucial for mental health, a high quality of life, and maintaining those qualities for our entire careers.


We should treat snowboard instructing like a real job, because it is! Showing up on time and being prepared for our lessons is the very least we can do.

Again, we are being paid to deliver a service and we need to respect our clients investment of time and money.

Being prepared means having a rough lesson plan that we’re ready to adapt to fit the student’s goals and conditions of the day. It also means knowing the conditions of the day! Which runs are open? How is the snow? Are there any hazards to be aware of? Are there any cool events happening today?

Being professional also means being professional towards yourself. Build your business. Get and organize client information including lessons details, personal information, contact details, tip details, etc.

Organizing client information in a spreadsheet can help you keep in touch with your clients and build a season you’re stoked to ride into. Like park lessons? Build up that part of your business? Like freeriding? Make a note each time you get a freeride lesson and keep in touch with those clients!


We are in the business of helping people chase their dreams, Our clients dream of being better snowboarders and they hire us to help them achieve those dreams.

They might come to the mountain every weekend or only do one trip a year. But, when they do come they want to be stoked. So being stoked and sharing that stoke is our job!

Passion is contagious and can stay alive in memories. When our clients are planning their next trip to the mountains they will want to be filled up with good energy. The more passionate we are, the more our clients will think of us first when booking their next lessons.

People Skills

We are in the people business. We provide a service. Understanding people and matching their communication needs can set a great instructor apart from the rest.

Listening goes a long way in making people feel heard and appreciated. Knowing how to tell an entertaining story can help anchor us in people’s memories. Creating an adventure worth remembering with our clients is even more effective.

On the mountain we are leaders, we are friends, we are coaches. We’re hired to do a job and those who do the job best by keeping the qualities mentioned above in mind, last the longest in our industry and feel the most fulfilled.

If you’re still wondering if you should become a snowboard instructor, check out our article on
5 Reasons to Become a Snowboard Instructor.