The following blog by Olivia Bertolotti is a great example of how you can go on to teach around the world after your Nonstop instructor course. She’s just finished her first season in Japan and is about to continue instructing in New Zealand…
Living in the South of France and having easy access to the Southern Alps I learned to ski at a young age and it soon became my passion. So after leaving school and wanting to take a gap year, I was delighted to learn about the Nonstop ski instructor courses and immediately applied to Fernie. The course, the people, the place – everything – all far exceeded my expectations and I can honestly say that I had the time of my life. Having completed the 11 Week Instructor Course in Fernie in 2010, I found I had learned so much about teaching skiing, as well as greatly improving my own
skiing, I obtained my Level 2 CSIA. I couldn’t wait to put all my newly learned skills to the test, so I applied to the Niseko Village Snow School in Japan in early June. Only a few days later, Jeff Marks got in contact with me and we set a date for a telephone interview and that’s how in mid November I suddenly found myself living the dream in Niseko. Japan was a completely new experience for me with a different culture and language. The first thing you have to do is to pass the SAJ (Ski Association of Japan) which is the Japanese qualification, because Niseko Village is one of the few ski schools which has foreign instructors with this certificate, we needed this to be able to start instructing.
I was so nervous before my first lesson but as soon as I met up with my students and I started my lessons, all the training that I’d had in Fernie came back. I had levels from “never-evers” to intermediate – it was a challenge every day but I think I did a good job and it was very satisfying seeing all these nervous beginners gaining confidence and actually managing to ski – all because of me! Working with instructors who had more experience than me was really helpful, I knew if I had any questions about a lesson I could always go and talk to them.
All the foreign instructors lived together in a big staff accommodation and it really felt like a family as we lived, worked, skied and partied together. The atmosphere was terrific. The day always started with a morning meeting which was half in Japanese and half in English, then we usually hit the slopes to take advantage of the fantastic waist deep powder or to have an on piste session with the top instructors of the ski school before our lessons. Our clients were of all ages and nationalities (including Chinese kids that didn’t speak English) but we all managed to communicate nevertheless. And my training in Fernie on how to teach with few words and a lot of demonstrations helped so much. December and Chinese New Year were pretty hectic but the days off were so worth it. Waking up in the morning and knowing that you’re going to ski in untouched waist deep power all day – well, what can I say?
The skiing side, all the foreign staff also got together once a month with Japanese high school students so they could practice their English. It was a great occasion for us too to learn about Japanese life and culture (also we got a free meal!)
I have therefore just spent the winter season 2010 – 2011 having the most amazing time –not only teaching skiing to all levels and ages but also making friends among the other instructors as well as my clients.
After the season in Japan I wanted to do another season straight away, so I decided to come to New-Zealand. Getting a visa was very easy, I just applied online, paid the fee and I couple of weeks later I received my visa.
I am now in NZ waiting till early June to do the Coronet Peak casual instructor try-outs which is an opportunity to get a job at that ski school if you have missed out on a full time seasonal job. They test you on your ability to teach and ski and at the end of the day you know if you have a job or not.
If all goes according to plan, my next project is to pass my Level 3 and return to teach in Fernie .
If you’re interested in becoming a ski instructor in Canada, Japan or New Zealand we can make that happen!