My winter in Whistler hasn’t turned out at all as I expected. It was much, so much better. I got an experience that I couldn’t have dreamed of. I did things I could only dream of and things I feared. Applying for a job as a ski instructor was a huge step for me. I knew I wasn’t the best skier out there and felt like an imposter when I arrived in town. I just stood there looking at this massive mountain, wondering how on earth I was going to pull this off. Well, I did warn them, telling them in my interview that my skiing needed some work but that I was great with kids.
The training, although not hard, was even more overwhelming. As I was getting my ski legs back, I learned the runs of the mountain and how you deal with skiing with kids. Honestly, I thought I would mostly be on a magic carpet anyway. Nothing was further from the truth. Because I was part of the first training group, I had arrived in Whistler in time to do the Valley Kids program, a program where local kids come skiing twice a week. I was terrified. This would mean I had to get out of my comfort zone and actually ski instead of just yelling “pizza”. In hindsight, it was the best thing that could have happened.
My Valley kids made winter for me. I’ve almost forgotten how hard it was in the beginning. Week after week I stood in the valley, trying to get the kids to stop and turn. When you are 3 or 4 years old and don’t see the point of making a ‘pizza’ this can be a difficult task. But slowly all of them learned and now, weeks later, they all ski on the big mountain. The first days up there weren’t easy either. Most of them could not get up by themselves and the step from the magic carpet to the mountain was a big one. But now, skiing with them is so much fun!
Unfortunately the season has ended for them. My last two days were so strange. I let the kids ski with balloons on their helmets and there were lollies and ice cream. We made a little party of it. All of us knew it was the end but just like the kids I didn’t really realise. It wasn’t until last Monday, when I suddenly had a bunch of strangers in my class, that I realised it was really over. I’m going to miss their funny stories and silly faces. I won’t forget that princesses are not allowed in the gondola because they don’t wear ski pants or the boy that reluctantly came to ski school telling me 3 weeks ago that he now finally likes skiing.
In a couple of days our ski school closes and we make way for spring and summer. I can’t wait to wear my dresses and explore the mountains on foot. I can ski for a few more weeks, without kids. I hope to come back again next season and see some of those kids again. It makes me proud when I see all my little kids out there on the mountain with their parents. It means all the hard work has paid off. I overcame my fears, got out there and had the best experience!