From Solo Skier to Ski Instructor
Submitted by admin on Thu, 09/06/2012 - 11:20
My first ski holiday came about when I was trying to decide where to spend the summer. Time went on, I couldn’t make up my mind, and before I knew it the schools were back and most beach resorts were shutting up for the winter. I had loved the idea of spending a holiday in the mountains, so I bit the bullet and convinced some friends to stay at a little chalet in Tignes, France. I say chalet, but it wasn’t exactly one of those luxury wooden places that tempt you to stay in as much as head out into the snow, but it was affordable and I wasn’t planning on being indoors much. Arriving quite late in the evening due to heavy snowfall, and seeing the resort lit up as we drove into town, made me instantly fall in love with the place, before I had even set foot on the slopes. Well, the week quickly flew past in a blur of snow, strong coffee, lift queues, loud music and a very patient ski instructor called Lee.
I had not skied before, but it was every bit as addictive as people warned me it would be and it was those ski lessons that really changed my life. Knowing that I had to return the following year, I set about trying to find a job that would allow me to do just that. First thing I did was research the options available. This told me what types of jobs I’d be suitable for (not many!), where I could work (anywhere with snow basically), and that I would be classed as a ‘seasonaire’. I liked that word. I even considered getting some business cards with it on to give to friends.
In hindsight, my determination to get back to Tignes, where I had had a blast on that first skiing holiday, was probably a mistake. I did manage to get back there for most of the season, and I did really enjoy myself, but I was working in a restaurant most of the afternoon through until the early hours of the morning. My plan to spend the mornings on the snow quickly changed to spending them trying to get enough sleep to keep me going on my next shift. Well, there was some skiing done and I actually improved enough to think that perhaps I might be able to train to become an instructor.
I spoke to lots of people in resort and lots more people once I got back to the UK, and decided to get the BASI Alpine qualification. An eleven week course in France at the beginning of the following winter, with SkiForce, got me level 1 and level 2 qualifications and the ability to teach other people how to ski. I was well chuffed. The course covered everything from basic alpine to things I’d never tried before, like moguls and even heli skiing. What really surprised me was how quick it was to get qualified. It was something I wanted to do from quite early on, but I dithered about because I didn’t really know how to go about it, and assumed I needed to be able to rip down a black run before anyone would take me seriously. But as long as you aren’t hopeless, anyone can start out on the basic teaching qualifications. I had to put the work in, but the instruction I received was amazing and it just really didn’t seem all that difficult. Now I spend my winter’s living in spare hotel accommodation, teaching overwhelmingly nice people how to get the most from their time on the ski slope, and most importantly, making the most of my own time off in the mountains. I’d advise anyone who is really keen on teaching people to ski to do their research, and then go for it. Training courses are very affordable compared with most careers, and the job satisfaction you get from helping people learn how to get from the top to the bottom of a hill is immeasurable. As is the feeling of stepping into an office made of snow each morning.
This article was submitted by Best Ski Jobs, an online guide for people interested in becoming a ski instructor.