With the festive season and our training out of the way (for now at least), January saw the focus of the Big White EA Ski and Snowboard Interns switch towards working. Although the Canadians were back in school, the Australian 'summer' break meant a steady flow of holidaymakers to the mountain and a steady flow of cricket-loving kids to teach. Work provided an opportunity to truly settle into life as a ski pro and get used to explaining different drills to different age groups of students.
Days started either with attendance at the morning Skischool organised training clinics at 8:30am, or with arrival at the Kids Centre in time for 'lineup' at 9:30am. Those who get a class then head out to teach, whilst the others head off for a morning of freeskiing or hangover recovery. Morning classes finish between 11:45am and midday, then it's either lunch duty feeding the kids who are staying in Skischool for the full day or a quick dash out for a tasty lunch of your own. Afternoon 'lineup' is exactly the same as the morning, except for taking place at 1pm.
On the whole, once you've passed a CSIA Level One exam it's pretty easy to teach kids to ski. The training gives you the basic drills to use to fix different issues, and the more you work the better your eye becomes for spotting problems to correct. There are, however, three complicating factors:
- Troublemakers. These aren't the big issue that I feared they could be, and aren't in general too tricky to interest or bring back into line, but every once in a while there's one who just won't listen no matter what you do. That makes it kinda hard to teach the other three or four in the group, especially if the 'brat' one is trying to lead a mutiny against you on every lift ride!
- Splits. Although most of the time the kids in a group will be of pretty similar ability thanks to Big White's class categories, every once in a while you end up with one child who's right at the top end of the group's range and another at the other end of the scale. Keeping the more able skier interested whilst not pushing the other beyond their ability is a good test of your teaching skills (and often your talking skills too!).
- Temperature. Whilst all other weather factors on the mountain can be overcome with a bit of planning and adjustment (if it's cloudy day you can ski close to the trees so you can still see a bit, if it's snowing make sure everyone's goggles are down etc...), freezing days make it really tough for little faces to stay warm. Cold people can't concentrate or learn much, and even with today's advances in clothing there's sometimes no way around it. On the coldest days every run you take has to end at the Kids Centre for hot chocolate, and that can be frustrating.
On the whole, and aside from the above niggles, the EA internship is an extremely rewarding one though – far more so than I ever imagined before starting work. Good times.
check out more info on the EA Ski and Snowboard internship here. www.seasonworkers.com/profile/ea-ski-snowboard-training-1892.aspx