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Summer Instructor Job for a Newbie


skipuppy
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Hi, my name is Tonja and I am a college Sophomore. I have been skiing since I was four (am 18 now) and started Alpine boarding recently and am good enough to get down blacks and carve decently on blues. I will be racing this season with uscsa (3rd division though because according to the ski club: "If you have ever seen any kind of racing on TV or on the slopes.... we don't do that. We are just happy if you make it to the top without getting help."

This summer I would like to get a job :eek: and was wondering if it is possible to get one as an instructor and work on getting certified. Going overseas is definitely an option, however, I have heard that it is tough to do if you have never taught before because the positions are competitive. I can speak German too and might be willing to dive into Spanish.

Does anybody have suggestions regarding mountains that are perfect for my situation? Regions? Past experiences especially? I can't really get certified during our winter because I am a college student after all and can't give the time comittment.

Thanks!!

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Your best bet would be New Zealand. German won't get you very far for that time of year. South America is a little shady for teaching jobs, especially if you are weak with Spanish. Start contacting resorts in New Zealand in Feb. and talk to their snowboard schools. Ask what requirements they have. Some resorts require high certifications from foreign instructers, other don't.

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I am not a beginner at skiing which is what I was planning on teaching at. Sorry for making that unclear. I have not yet had the opportunity to teach people skiing, however I have had the opportunity to coach friends at regular snowboarding at the beginner level even though I rode in my hardboots and was very successful at it.

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Second New Zealand. Some good resorts, great people, English speaking, they'll look after you well. If you choose somewhere other than Queenstown, then you'll have a pretty quiet nightlife but it will be cheap to live (Methven, Ohakune, top of the South Island). Queenstown is a great scene but it costs a bomb, Wanaka will be expensive to stay as well. If you're around there, stay in Cromwell and pick up a cheap car.

You'll do better with a certification, so I'd think about getting that done this season.

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god I mean no offense by this, and I know it will be taken as such, but oh well.

if youre basically a beginner yourself, what makes you think you should be an instructor?

In all reality most snowboard instructors aren't that good riders. 99% of the lessons tought are first time lessons. If you can get on and off the chair, and sideslip you have nearly all the riding skills to instruct. The resort will have a training program for a new instructor and they will teach you everything you will need. If the person dosen't require the skills to teach an upper level lesson they don't.

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In all reality most snowboard instructors aren't that good riders. 99% of the lessons tought are first time lessons. If you can get on and off the chair, and sideslip you have nearly all the riding skills to instruct. The resort will have a training program for a new instructor and they will teach you everything you will need. If the person dosen't require the skills to teach an upper level lesson they don't.

Philfell is right on, most people that teach snowboarding are not good, same for skiers.

At a certain ASC resort the folks that ran the ski school there used to hire people on work visas that had never been on snow before in some cases and within a month they were teaching beginners.

I don't really condone that but its the way its done at some areas, I don't know how the Kiwis do it but I am sure that they don't have insane standards for someone that wants to teach beginners.

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In all reality most snowboard instructors aren't that good riders.

You got that right.

If the person dosen't require the skills to teach an upper level lesson they don't.

Not in my experience, if you sign up for "advanced" they give you whoever's available. Got a level 1 guy at Sunshine. Not a good sign when your instructor says "wow, how'd you do that?"

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Tonja,

You don't say--are you a US citizen? Would you need a work visa?

You are correct in understanding that it is very competitive to score a work visa for a teaching position in NZ as instructors from all over the N. Hemisphere apply for a very limited number of positions. Both of the NZ schools for whom I've worked only provide work visas for very experienced instructors. It would be extremely unlikely to score a working visa for a ski and snowboard school as an inexperienced new hire.

Another option would be to go there on a regular travelers visa, and try to find a job with a school while you are there. When you get the job offer, you can then get a working visa. My SO did this a few years ago and got a walk-on job as a race coach. I've known a few instructors who have done the same--gone there as a traveler and got the teaching job while they were there. But they all had teaching experience.

Even though you are a FT student, if you have the opportunity to do any part-time training/shadowing lessons/and instructing at your local mountain this season, before you go, it would be very helpful in possibly getting a walk-on job this summer. Getting ceritified would also help. If you are near an area with night riding it might be easier than you think to fit this into your already-busy schedule. I think you'd find it hella fun.

Lastly, many NZ schools offer training programs for aspiring instructors (both through University and various 'rookie' programs). You pay for training in these programs, and train for NZ instructor certification exams. It's not the 'job' you mentioned in your post, and you'd be paying a school for your training, rather than earning income, but it is an option--and one that would lead to possible teaching opportunities in the future.

<img src="http://tinypic.com/i37v28.jpg" alt="Lake Wanaka view, Treble Cone, NZ">

Which is a good thing.

Hope this helps,

B-2

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wow. odd to hear about how instruction works. I guess it doesnt matter that much at the very beginner level.

LOL at the "how'd you do that" comment.

me personally...if I was gonna pay to get some lessons, the person better be a much better rider than me, and have a much more advanced understanding of technique and mechanics.

I never really thought about being able to just waltz in and be an "instructor"

that means it will make me chuckle even more when I hear some 18 year old doper guy/girl brag about being one!

EDIT: The last comment was NOT directed at skipuppy. It was for some of the dolts I ran into at Bachelor last year.

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Sorry to hear about your experience at Sunshine, Neil--I'll bet your instuctor felt more than a little embarassed at being outclassed by you. Did you go to the school with your concerns and get another instructor who could help you?

I've hung around instructors a bunch and just wanted to say, in our defense, that many are passionate and skilled riders--and often equally skilled in helping others to learn. While some aren't yet virtuosos, as many BOL denizens seem to be, they are skilled enough to do the job they are responsible to do. Cut 'em some slack.

Helping people get into snowsports is, IMO, a good thing.

<img src="http://tinypic.com/i3sy0o.gif" alt="Not all are kooks">

But yeah, Dave, some are kooks and dopers.

Over two feet of fresh in Vail the last two days--and more is forecast. Hope it's snowing where you are.

B-2

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While some aren't yet virtuosos, as many BOL denizens seem to be, they are skilled enough to do the job they are responsible to do. Cut 'em some slack.

Helping people get into snowsports is, IMO, a good thing.

But yeah, Dave, some are kooks and dopers.

B-2

I dont think anyone would hassle someone who was legit, but theres no reason to cut an underskilled "instructor" any slack!

obviously there are good ones out there

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people who teach beginners is that ability is only 30% of what you are doing, one of the best examples I can give of this is a guy at sunday river that only teaches snowboarding when they are short on snowboarders and rides less than 10 days a year the rest he is teaching 4 year olds how to ski.

one day he went out with 10 kids on snowboards and had all of them linking turns withing four hours, as the other group that was with a full time snowboarder that has a level 2 cert never made it to the chair lift that day.

the reason the guy that never teaches riders except when they are in a pinch did better was because he has better people skills, is more patient and he is more willing to adapt to what the individual student needs.

I have seen it many times over when I was working down at the surface lifts and when I was teaching.

Some people just have the touch, others don't and its a hard thing aquire if you don't have it naturally.

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a good point, bob. (how often do you get called Joe Rogan?:))

Ive had a few golf lessons, and none of them were tour caliber players. the last one, I could have probably gone head to head with on the course I worked at, but his ability to communicate key concepts effectively was most important

but he was by no means a slouch

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like ultimate fighting?

its been ages since I watched that, back in the day they used to have Don "the dragon" wilson on there and the gracies won them all

yeah, ultimate fighting championship

its come quite a ways since then. Gracies arent dominant anymore as many skilled fighters learned excellent BJJ skills.

Pride has more/better fighters, but the UFC has some darn good ones

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Hey Tonja, I have a good mate who is instructing this year at Vail and is a pretty senior snowboard instructor over here. I am going to stay with him in Feb for a week or so around SES. I am sure if you got in touch with him he would be able to give you the full run down on the what, how, who and why of instructing in Oz. OK, it isn't NZ, but it is another option for you.

I deleted your e-mail after I replied earlier in the week, so drop me another line and I will give you his details.

Cheers

Dan

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Sorry to hear about your experience at Sunshine, Neil--I'll bet your instuctor felt more than a little embarassed at being outclassed by you. Did you go to the school with your concerns and get another instructor who could help you?

No, I should have... I did get an invite from him to go on an after-hours OB excursion with the other instructors which I unfortunately had to decline :)

He was a nice enough fellow, just a cog in the wheel of a system that defines advanced as able to link skidded turns on a blue run.

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