As strange as that sounds it holds true and very much so for many instructors I know as well. Although more accurately it should probably be, “…so I could learn how to ski better“. Being a ski instructor has several advantages in that pursuit that others cannot usually get, not at least without great expense.
Firstly, you get plenty of time on snow. A whole season of it in fact. You get to ski in all kinds of snow and in all sorts of conditions. Fresh groomers early season when the resort is still quiet, awesome powder days mid season and of course icy bullet proof runs come spring mornings that turn to slush by midday (ahh the joys of freeze-thaw). As a ski instructor you’ll get a season lift pass and even when you’re working, you’re still on skis. While more often than not it may be at a slower pace than desired, you still get to be on mountain, working on your turns. And when you’re not teaching or on your days off, you get to go for a ski with your mates.
|“You’ll get to ski all kinds of snow”. Late March, Japan.|
Secondly, you’ll get access to experienced and qualified trainers. If you’re part of a ski school that has a dedicated in-house training program, you’ll usually get group coaching on how to improve your skiing. You’ll also get to do courses where you get to learn all the skills necessary to being a ski instructor. One part of that is being a better skier.
Lastly and unexpectedly, I learnt most of my skiing through teaching it. Working on my personal skiing in my own time was good but working on other’s skiing was incredible for my own skiing. Seeing what worked and what didn’t with my students increased my understanding of skiing immensely. Observing common errors and finding permanent solutions (not quick fixes). Discovering the diversity of learning styles and therefore teaching styles. Figuring out stuff for others made it so much simpler when it came to figuring stuff out for myself. These made more difference to my personal skiing than all the turns I could have put together on hill solo.
|“Unexpectedly, I learnt most about skiing through teaching it”.
Being a ski instructor isn’t all glamorous and sexy like most people think. There’s a lot of bad weather, hard work and patience involved. It is however a great way to improve your skiing, make a lot of friends from all over the world and have a whole lot of fun while you’re doing it.
|“You’ll make lots of friends from all over the world”. From left to right: Australian, Austrian, Malaysian, Canadian, American.
I am neither the most experienced instructor nor the best skier out there. However, I did start skiing as an adult and managed somehow to achieve my full cert. I’d like to share the insights and experiences I’ve gained in those years to help others take their skiing to the next level. As much as I enjoyed skiing, I discovered I was even more passionate about teaching it and sharing the joy of skiing well.