Skiing isn’t just a sport. It’s a lifestyle. I’m a rookie in this world. Studying for my instructor level 1 exam is finding out about all the things I don’t know. Where other people cruise down the mountain, I am thinking about lateral movement, if I’m supposed to feel this or that muscle and how to improve my ankle bend. Every time I take a lesson I hear about more things I need to work on and every time I read the instructor’s handbook I am reminded of how technical it can get.
The only thing that is right is my passion. My enthusiasm. My heart. Every day my love for the mountain grows and I’ve decided I want to live in the mountains when, and if, I finally grow up. Every day driving up to the ski field is an adventure. The vistas from the road are breathtaking, with stunning sunrises and views over Queenstown, the lake, and the surrounding mountains.
If it’s raining in town it’s a bummer. First you think all the snow is raining away and you’ll be working in a field of puddles, waterskiing. Then that little spark of hope boils up. The whole way up the mountain I am looking at the windows. Slowly the rain gets thicker. Is the mountains whiter than before? What are the clouds bringing us today? So much hope. So much excitement when rain turns to sleet and sticks to the windows.
Wherever there is snow, the mountain goes nuts. People are coming up to ski the powder, which is not an everyday occurrence here. No matter how many bad days I’ve had, snow makes you forget about everything else. With snow comes freedom. Going for a ski after a long day is better for the mind than any psychologist in the world. Sliding down the mountain is freeing and makes you forget about all the stressful moments.
And then there’s the teaching. It can be tough, especially teaching three year-olds that really don’t want to go outside, let alone skiing. But then you get an awesome girls that just keeps coming back. Three years old and already progressing quickly, loving it just like you. Or there is that boy who really isn’t all that good but has an enormous smile on his face when he races down and crashes into your arms at the bottom.
I love working in the snow. I love going for a ski in my lunch break. I love driving up the mountain and the excitement of the ever-changing weather. I love going for a ski with my colleagues after a day’s work. I love trying to improve and working on my skills. I love the challenges that just pile up and that there’s always something else to learn. Who would have thought I would fall in love with my skis?