Canada Ski Instructor Course – Nigel Sainsbury – Blog 4

4th February 2014

Find out what it takes to be a Ski Instructor at Norquay, Banff in Canada with Nigel Sainsbury, who has just passed his CSIA qualification on an EA Ski Instructor course:

After years of skiing, months of planning, weeks of training and three days of exams, I am now very proud to be a Canadian Ski Instructors' Alliance (CSIA) Level 1 Certified Instructor.

The three days of exams went by in a blur. I felt very prepared having spent three weeks re-learning to ski technically correctly. So many bad habits had to be ironed out and I went into the exam with a new stance, a new way of moving and a real sense of confidence. After three days of learning about and demonstrating technical skiing and teaching methods, being assessed throughout, the exams were over.

The magic pin!

I took the chance at the end of the third day to go up the Norquay North American Chair, built in 1948 and one of the first chair lifts in North America, to take on some of the longest and most challenging double black runs in Canada. It was exhilarating but exhausting! Some of the Norquay instructors did these runs in the dark on New Year's Eve carrying flares - bonkers!

So after giving the examiner time to deliberate, we returned to the lodge to hear our fate: we had all passed! With much relief we celebrated our achievement in style. Luckily no one had to work the next day...

Three weeks into life as a ski pro and I'm finding it challenging and rewarding in equal measure.The Christmas period was crazy busy, with the highlight being the number of Santas on the slopes on Christmas day. I've taught all ages and abilities. I've been able to apply different approaches to help with different technical problems and to use different teaching styles for different ages. I've skied the mountain doing the YMCA hand shapes and singing at the top of my voice, syncro skied to "In the Jungle" whilst belting out the 'Awinbawe's and made more animal noises and impersonations than you'd hear at London Zoo.... and that was with the adults!

Canada showing us what it's got

It's great to be instructing at Mount Norquay where everyone is so friendly and proud of the the service we offer our customers and to quote from Blackadder, our uniforms are so smart they have a degree from Cambridge. I'm living the dream - the next five months are going to be a blast!

If your ready to take the next step, upskill and have the season of a lifetime, maybe Norquay is for you. Come along on the EA internship and let us do the legwork for you. Get in touch here for more info.