1. Firstly, give us an overview of your ski instructor’s life
Wow. That’s a big question!
I grew up in the Cotswolds which is in South-West England and have always been sports mad. I’ll play any sport, any time, anywhere and most people will probably tell you that i'll be far too competitive. My first experience of snowsports was actually snowboarding at a dry slope in England as a child. Whilst I still enjoy snowboarding it didn’t take me long to switch to skiing.
My first ski instructor exams were in Whistler, Canada. I then spent 8 years working the ‘double winter’ between Austria and Australia until 2016. During that time I qualified in two other ski associations and spent a winter working in Japan. I was also lucky enough to work for the Bundessportheim which is one of the national ski academies in Austria. This really opened my eyes to the next level of performance and I got to ski with some of the best skiers in Austria.
These days I am based in Kitzbühel running the e3 Ski Academy and working for Element3 Ski School. If I’m not on the slopes, I’ll be playing sport somewhere or participating in my other passion - drinking good coffee and eating cake!!
2. Your very first time on skis
It was in Val d'isere in France. I made it to the top of the drag lift and shot off down the slope. Perhaps I should have asked how to stop first!
3. The very first guest you taught
Yes, I was in Australia. His name was Timmy and he was about 5 or 6 years old. Overnight we got 40cm of new snow and it almost came up to his waist. He loved it and I seem to remember him throwing lots of snowballs at me.
4. 3 Tips you’d give people who want to improve their skiing
1 - Always take a warm up run. A few little hops/jumps are great to activate all the stabilising muscles and help you find your Mittellage.
2 - Look ahead and choose your line. The good snow is often on the edges of the piste rather than right in the middle where everyone else skis.
3- Take plenty of breaks. It’s easy to get tired quickly so remember these words.... “an espresso and a apple strudel please”.
5. Kaiserschmarren or Schnitzel?
6. Apres ski or first gondola?
First gondola. I love early mornings on the mountain with hardly anyone on the piste.
7. Your favourite slope in Kitzbühel?
Well I can’t tell you that or you’ll all ski on it. My second favourite is Ashau abfahrt.
8. Powder or perfectly groomed slopes?
Ohh, that’s a hard one. Until a few years ago I would have said perfect corduroy slopes, but then I got bitten by the powder bug. Now it’s fresh snow all the way.
9. What would a perfect skiing day in Kitzbühel look like?
Another easy one because I’ve already had my perfect day. Last year a colleague and I took our guests to a secret spot of ski untracked powder. It was the first real powder experience for our young guests. Seeing them smiling, laughing and improve throughout the day was amazing. They still talk about that day now whenever we meet. The weather was a perfect bluebird, we had about 30cm's of new snow and the vibes were good.
10. The most amazing thing you’ve experienced working for e3 so far.
Probably one of our ski school training sessions. We were practicing in the off-piste in incredible snow conditions. We skied from first lift to last call and hardly stopped for breath. As a group we encouraged each other and pushed ourselves to improve. Some of the group when on to take further instructor exams that year and passed with flying colours. I look back on that day and think how it is important to live for the moment (sorry, don’t want to sound too cheesy).
11. What is the e3 Ski Academy and what do you guys do?
The e3 Ski Academy provides ski instructor training courses. We help people transform from recreational skiers to licensed instructors. We include a guaranteed job at the end of the course with Element3 so you can use your qualification straight away.
Think of it as a pathway into instructing. Most of our participants are people taking GAP years who want to ‘do a season’ and improve their skiing. We run courses in October/November so that people are ready for the winter season in December. www.e3-skiacademy.com
12. Why should people want to become ski instructors?
Firstly it’s super fun! Working as a ski instructor is really rewarding, you get to help people achieve their goals and have amazing holidays, Plus, you get to experience a new culture, learn a language, make loads of friends and get paid to ski. After the season has finished leave with incredible memories and plenty of new skills to add to your CV.
13. What’s the best part of being a ski instructor for you personally?
I think it’s different for everybody. For me it’s helping people. Leaving work knowing that the time I’ve spent with a guest will probably be remembered forever. I think that’s really cool.
14. What are the main ingredients for a good ski instructor?
In my opinion the best instructors must be fun, friendly and have a passion for people. Being the best skier in the world doesn’t make you a good instructor. Showing empathy, being motivated and having a sense of humour come much higher up the list.