Ski & Snowboard Instructor EU Survey Results

The arguments for Brexit and Bremain are well documented and the reasoning from each side range from fear to practical solutions that make working in a global community a bit less complicated. For us and all the ski instructors we train, a leave vote could have big implications and create unnecessary obstacles for our ultimate goal, which is to work in the mountains and ski as much as possible.

Basecamp isn’t a political organisation, we much prefer spending our efforts chasing the snow around the world, but the referendum results could affect everyone looking to become a ski or snowboard instructor, so we thought we should get a bit more involved. To find out more we decided to get the opinion of some of the, estimated, 4,000 British instructors. We did this with the use of an online survey and asked qualified instructors to answer a few questions and give us their opinion on the In/Out debate, unsurprisingly, we share the same opinion of the majority of respondents.

Eu Ref Infographic 07

How are Ski and Snowboard instructors planning to vote in the EU Referendum?

We had over 200 responses from British ski and snowboard instructors of which over 60% hold a BASI qualification and 65% have been instructing in a European country for over 3 years. The majority of respondents have taught in either France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland or the UK. We found that 82% of the ski instructors surveyed planned to vote to remain in the UK at the referendum on the 23 July 2016.

We also asked them why they planned to vote for Brexit or Bremain, and here is a selection of their reasons:


“The general consensus (to my knowledge unrefuted) is that the cost of European holidays for the British would increase notably. As my client base is 95% British, and the cost of ski and snowboard holidays is already pretty exclusive, any increase is sure to affect my clients spend on lessons.”

“I fear that if Britain leaves the EU, less British holidaymakers will visit France, therefore threatening the livelihood of many people.”

“I don’t believe that just because a person was born between imaginary borders on one hunk of land they should have less rights and be restricted from moving to another set of imaginary borders on a different chunk of land. It’s not such a big step from ‘British tribe’ to ‘European Tribe.’ We’re all human…”


“Simply looking at the impact on the ski industry is too parochial. You’ve got to see the big picture and from there work down – will France, Austria, Andorra, Italy etc really sit back and watch billions in tourist revenue evaporate?”

“It would force Britain to strengthen its influence in the ski world and look after its instructors.”

Has the EU helped the development of instructors?

We then drilled down further and asked whether our skiers and snowboarders felt that the EU had helped them develop as an instructor. The majority of respondents (49%) said yes, whilst 20% said that it hadn’t aided their career progression and the remaining 31% simply ticked the indifferent box. Below is a representative summary of the reasons they gave.

“Having the right to work in other EU member countries has given me far more job opportunities
than I would ever have had if I could only work in the UK.”

“Being able to live and work freely within the EU amongst other riders and instructors in the best mountains and terrain.”

“Easy to live and work in European countries for long periods without visas etc.”

“I trained in Europe with access to the best possible terrain.”

“It allows me to move freely between nations and operate in various structures – both independent and under a ski school.”

Do you feel the prospect of Britain leaving the EU would affect your employment?

The next question our survey asked was, “how do you feel the prospects of Britain leaving the EU would affect your employment?”Nearly 70% of respondents thought that leaving would have a very negative or negative effect, 23% were unsure what would happen and only 7% thought there would be a positive or very positive impact on employment for ski instructors.

“It may have major implications on tour operators which would mean less Brits could potentially come to certain areas, therefore bringing us less work.”

“So much uncertainty would make ski schools less inclined to hire British staff. Also this will scare people off thinking about starting ski instruction as a career.”

“Work visas would be much harder to come by, and working as a Level 2 is already hard enough!”

Would Britain leaving the EU impact British Ski Tourism?

Instructors are part of many people’s ski holidays and the relationships they have with clients puts them in a unique position. With that in mind we asked them to rate on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 being negative, “whether Britain leaving the EU would impact British Ski Tourism.” The majority of respondents (70%) rated the impact at 3 or below. This indicates that most ski instructors feel that there would be a huge negative impact should Brexit from Europe take place. We then asked the instructors to give us their opinion on why this would be bad for the UK ski industry.


It would seem that most ski & snowboard instructors feel that leaving Europe would have a negative impact on their ability to follow their dream in Europe, which as several pointed out, has the best skiing in the world, and is an incredible place to work. Interestingly, they are not alone with these concerns, as BASI shares a similar viewpoint:

“If the UK leaves and the UK Government adopts a firm stance on immigration policy, there is a risk that EU countries may well respond in a similar manner and the current relatively free movement of workers from the UK to EU countries would be more difficult.”Read the full statement here.

Basecamp shares the view of the majority of those that completed our survey. There is much uncertainty of what it would be like outside Europe for the UK and we feel that this is amplified for anyone looking to work within the Union. If you are working as an instructor or looking to become one, then it makes sense to keep the countries with the best mountains as our allies. Getting to work as a ski or snowboard instructor or have reasonably priced ski holidays to the Alps may not be the most pressing reason to vote to remain, but it represents wider issues that UK citizens would face…plus we really love riding the mountains in Europe!