Canada Ski Instructor Course – Nigel Sainsbury – Blog 5

12th February 2014

Checking in with Nigel who is currently living the dream as a CSIA Level 1 ski instructor at Mt Norquay, Banff...

Living it up

It turns out that teaching people to ski is a pretty intense life experience. 3year old kids crying for their parents? Check. Watching the elation on a face as someone make their first turns on skis? Check. Demonstrating for a group of kids how to ski backwards whilst telling them how important it is to look over your shoulder then promptly hitting a "Caution" sign in the middle of the piste? Check. Every day brings something new to laugh or cry about.

You learn fast how to adopt your teaching style for different people. The kids get tired quickly, and not all of them want to be there. But playing games,sliding down snow shoots, pretending to be animals all means they have fun onthe snow. Yes I have skied down a piste growling like a grizzly bear and honking, if that is the right word, like an Elephant with accompanying"arm trunk" sucking up imaginary water. Not that I ever really had any inhibitions but any remnants have pretty swiftly disappeared. It's great fun getting adults to let their hair down too. I spent a great day with a father and daughter from Essex in the UK. We skied all over the mountain working on different technical improvements whilst sharing our love of 90s music by singing our way down the slopes to improve rhythm and timing. Rhythm is a Dancer by Snap!, for those that remember it, was a particular highlight.

The kids you teach can also be very entertaining. One group randomly announced when they got off a chair lift that they wanted to make a TV programme called "Baking with Buble" where the Canadian crooner would conjure up delicious "Buble Creme Brulees" and "Buble Souffles".Now I'm no TV producer but if anyone reading this is, I strongly suggest you look into this concept, as I think it would be even more popular than the"Great British Bake Off".

The life of a ski instructor is kind of similar to that depicted in the cult movie, "Aspen Extreme", only (in my experience at least) without the propositions from wealthy socialites, the need for becoming a drug mule or the outrageous mullet hair cuts. So actually not that similar, but we do get to spend all day skiing and money is tight. There are busy times and quiet times.The busy times generally coincide with Canadian holiday seasons, weekends and after fresh snow. The ski instructor lifestyle leaves plenty of days to explore other mountains (there have been trips to Revelstoke, Kicking Horse, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise) and opportunities to enjoy Canadian recreation. I've climbed ice walls, been skating (no hockey....yet), been out to Lake Minnewanka to take some night photographs and curling is still on the list.

[caption id="attachment_8255" align="alignleft" width="585" caption="Night shot at Lake Minnewanka"]Night shot at Lake Minnewanka[/caption]

I've made a big effort to immerse myself in the local Banff Community. I've joined the Banff Ideas Bank, which meets every first Wednesday of the month to discuss local community issues and generate ideas to improve the town. I recorded my first professional radio show as a presenter this week, which was awesome fun and I now know lots of people out and about. Banff is a small places and you quickly begin to recognise people around town. Banff really is a rare thing. It's a small town, yet it has everything you could ever want: bars, clubs, a cinema, cafes, fantastic restaurants, an awesome winter sports recreation centre, gyms, recreation grounds for football, rugby, baseball and basketball in the summer, The Banff Centre (a world renowned arts centre creating amazing things and showcasing world famous artists) and to top it all of course, the great outdoors!

I did decide to keep my beard in the end and take the risk with the frostbite (so far no problems, touch wood). It helps me feel more like a local and on a practical level, it keeps me warm!

It's kind of cool living here...

If getting into the scene at Banff sounds like your kind of thing, check out here to learn more about how EA can get you into one of the internships, where you can upskill, walk into a guaranteed job, and have the winter season you'll talk about for the rest of your life. Seriously, you will...