Cardrona, Mountains, Wanaka, Work Life
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The days when it’s not so pleasant to be a Ski Instructor

From the outside it might look like life as a ski instructor is awesome, we ride amazing snow on bluebird days and have all these fun activities going on. But – as for everything – there’s also an other side of the medal which I’m not going to hide from you. Right now it might be one of these times where you would sometimes regret having changed jobs. There’s a major storm over the South Island right now, bringing wind gusts, rain (in the valley), snow (on the mountain) and even the occasional thunder and lightning. When you get up at six in the morning you can never be sure how conditions are up on the mountain so our first action is either calling the snow phone or listening to the local radio station’s mountain report. It tells us whether the mountain is open, on hold or closed.

Yesterday we went up the mountain and looking out of the staff room windows it didn’t look inviting at all: Rain pouring down, everyone coming back in was soaking wet, the snow was heavy and sticky as, not exactly fun to be out there. But it’s part of the job that I chose at this stage of my life and in my eyes it’s all about your own attitude what you make of these days. I decided to make it a good one, wrapping up my kids in lots of layers, zipping their tiny jackets up to their chins and playing lots of games to keep us warm on the magic carpet.

I might have to explain that I am part of this awesome programme this week called Skiwees. The kids come in the mornings, we dress up together, get to ski, have lunch together, do some more skiing, maybe a hot chocolate break, until the parents come pick them up again at 4pm. It’s exhausting, physical, challenging and there can be a lot of spilling juice, hot chocolate, occasional tears when the boys are mean to the girls or even an emergency when someone absolutely has to pee RIGHT NOW in the middle of the slope (True story!). Also it’s not exactly easy to keep a group of kids entertained in harsh conditions but my kids are doing a great job, being real positive about skiing and not minding the bad weather at all.

In the end it turned out to be quite a fine and fun day and the moment I loved most when a six-year-old told me at the end of the day “I can’t wait to meet you tomorrow morning so we can ski some more”. That totally made my day and I know it’s worth spending all day on a magic carpet pretending to be a dragon on skis or getting into a snowball fight (the whole group against me). It is a great moment when they do their first turns, their first runs without falling, their first chairlift ride and their excitement when they tell their parents all about it at the end of the day. It makes me smile and reminds me why I chose this job and why I enjoy it so much.

When I woke up this morning I could hear that the storm is still around and figured it would be another day of wet weather for  me and the kids. When I got down to town office to hop onto the bus to the mountain I was told that my programme is cancelled today due to bad weather so I got a surprise day off. How great is that! Lots of time for making a fire, a bit of crochet, reading a book, cooking good food and maybe a coffee later with some other ski instructors who got a day off too. Plus, I am looking at a car at the moment. Exciting!

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