You’ve passed your exams, you’ve landed a job, you’ve packed your ski’s and you’ve booked your flight. You’re ready for your first ski season!
‘The hard part is over’, you think.
Expect the unexpected!
There is only so much that training can teach you. The thought of being let loose by yourself can be both nerve racking and exhilarating.
I bet you were never taught how to deal with a 7 year old that is about to wet him self while your 3 lifts away from the nearest toilet!
Expect to make mistakes…it’s your first ski season!
I recall my first ski season; after a full days skiing with my group of kids, I decided to let one of them lead the group down to the ski lift. ‘Pretend to be the instructor’, I said. He proceeded to straight line down the hill at break-neck speed as I desperately yelled ‘TURN!!!’ to no avail. A huge crash into the fence and a lot of tears ensued. A lesson was learned for me.
Expect to improve your fitness levels!
A full summer of BBQ’s and beer gardens probably isn’t the best preparation for 6 hours a day running up and down the slope trying to control your first time skiers. The involuntary wave of destruction they can cause on a beginner slope can often resemble something out of a war zone without the proper attention.
If you’re doing your job right, by the end of the season you’ll be a master at sprinting up and down the slopes in your (sometimes vain) attempts to ensure the safety of your group.
You’ll also become great at apologising to other skiers, usually in 5 or 6 different languages!
Expect to improve your own skiing!
Remember all of those hours spent ‘perfecting your plough’ while everybody else on the mountain seems to be enjoying another glorious blue bird ski day? Well now, that will be happening naturally as you try to perfect everybody else’s!
The same applies to all other aspects of your skiing. From plough stopping and turning, to bumps and variables, your own skiing will improve day after day.
The key to competence is repetition.
Expect to have the best time of your life!
Being on the slopes every day is a privilege earned through had work and dedication.
If you’re a ski instructor, you are in the lucky group of people in this world who is doing something they love every day…and getting paid for the privilege.
The old saying rings true, ‘time flies when your having fun’. Four months can feel like four weeks in this lifestyle. Savour every moment and treat every day on the mountain like it’s your last.
Expect to be hooked!
After having skis on your feet every day, returning to a ‘regular job’ will feel unimaginable for some. Trading the chair lift for a desk chair could be a bitter pill to swallow.
The ski instructor lifestyle is one of constant adrenaline and travel experiences that many people will only ever dream of. Once you are on the merry go round, it’s very difficult to get off. With a seemingly endless list of mountains, resorts and destinations, there is always a new opportunity on the horizon that seams almost impossible to turn down.
Whether you’re just embarking on your first ski season, you’re reminiscing about your first ski season or you’re just interested in the inside scoop of what being a first time instructor is really like, all I can say is that it’s an experience that you will never forget.
James is the founder of SnowSunSee. He started skiing when he was five years old and has been a qualified ski instructor for 8 years. He has taught skiing in many countries, including UK, Europe, Japan, China and Malaysia. When he’s not on the slopes, James spends his time travelling the world one trail at a time.