The day I became a ski instructor

It has been a beautiful, sunny, exhausting, social, exciting, nerve-wracking, fantastic, physical, meaningful, fun and jam-packed week full of learning experiences. As I walk towards the final meeting in a hotel in Queenstown, I think about just turning around. It’s been a great week, an exam week, but a great one. What if I just concluded it here and didn’t go to find out my results. Hearing the results can only be disappointing.

The week has had many ups and down and this is one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I’m a smart girl. I went to uni and got a degree. I’m supposed to get some fancy job and be smart. Then I started travelling. I started working in Thredbo ski resort and got infected with the virus named skiing. It’s an irreversible disease that brings me happiness and relaxation, and at this moment also frustration.

Since the moment I’ve decided to just go for it and try to get my instructor level 1, I’ve been insecure and doubting my decision. When the exam week started with lots of people who’d been skiing for as long as they could remember, all my hope left my body. But the week was amazing. Sure, I’m not quite at the level some others are skiing at, but there was an amazing atmosphere in our small group and I felt a lot of support.

The first three days were mainly about learning. We went through all the progressions, from absolute beginner to advanced wedge turns. We had several coaching sessions, where we just did laps around the T-bar and heard about yet another thing to improve on every run. On day three I finally thought I’d stand a chance. My trainer told me with twinkling eyes: “Finally! Who are you? You’ve ditched your cup of tea and are skiing with some aggression. I love it!”

That same night I went to see one of the guys in my group, who happened to be a bootfitter. The next day my boots had custom made insoles and heaps of scaffolding that corrected the awkward stance of my feet. I felt great. After three days of sunshine I’d learned so much, even from the wedge turns we had to practice into (semi) perfection.

Day four was the start of the nerves. They was raging through my body and my trainer had to remind me to please smile. I knew my skiing wasn’t amazing and all I could ask for was a 6 on my report card. Then came the wedge turns. I felt great after doing those and I knew I’d passed those demonstrations. Day five brought the teaching part of my exam. Although I was somewhat nervous, I knew I could do this. I absolutely nailed it!

Yeah… I will have to go to the ceremony now. At the hotel the atmosphere was full of tension. Nobody seemed sure. “I have an announcement for the level one candidates…” it finally sounded through the room, after a long wait. “Everybody in the exam has passed. Congratulations!” Heads turned and hands were shaken.

I did end up with a 6 for my skiing, but was surprised that I wasn’t the only one. I know my trainer has rewarded me for my progress and given me the benefit of the doubt. My teach had a 9 though, so I am really happy. This is only the beginning. I hope I can get a few jobs in ski schools, do training and get better. With my level one, I’ve entered the start of a new adventure!


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