Grimentz: An insider look at becoming a ski instructor
This is Hayley Curran, EA Ski Intern 2015/16 story
If you have ever wondered what it would really be like to train up as a ski instructor, then let us give you a sneak insider peak at what one of our Interns went through once she signed up to train with EA Ski and Snowboard. So we hope you enjoy reading about Hayley’s journey below.
Having spent many years pondering the thought of doing a ski season I finally took the plunge in December 2015 and took off to a little place called Grimenz in the heart of the Swiss Alps. It is only the second season that EA have sent budding want-to-be ski instructors to this resort and as yet it’s still pretty much untouched by the outside world.
When we first set foot in Geneva we all met up at a hotel in the heart of the city and had a meet and greet with our rep Ronnie which put us all at ease. We were handed our training workbooks which are huge! And proceeded to treat them as our Bible for all things skiing! It definitely made the situation more comfortable to all meet up upon arrival and travel to Grimenz together, making the experience far less scary and much more of an adventure! It's a good 3 hours by road to the resort, which sits very high in the mountains and is truly breath-taking!
We spent the next 2 days settling in and having a ski about the mountain with Ronnie. It was great to have time to chat about the future and get information and advice on what was to come.
We were quickly thrust into a number of days training with the boss – Sebastien - of the ski school we would be working for – Ecole de Ski which was a lot of fun but extremely challenging as our training was in French! This training gave us huge knowledge of the pistes, taught us rules and regulations of the mountains including lift safety and what to do in an accident situation.
Before we knew it Christmas had arrived and we had a 2-week period of solid work which was daunting but the best way to learn! I had a fantastic time teaching a group of kids every morning and then private lessons in the afternoon – the group lessons are roughly 2 and a half hours and privates can be from 1 hour to 3 hours across all levels of ski ability and can be with adults or children or both!
Teaching kids teaches you how to think on your feet and it's amazing how much of the training clicks into place when you are actually in a lesson environment. Having tissues and sweets in your pocket at all times is a must!
After Christmas we had two weeks with a Basi instructor, training for our level 1 exam. This is an extremely intense and exhausting time and you need to be prepared to look after yourself and get plenty of sleep! The exam itself lasts 5-days with an examiner giving you ample time to work on your weaknesses and improve them. It is important to work hard and listen to what the examiner is asking of you and behave in a professional and respectable manner – there's plenty of time for messing about once you have passed.
Living in Grimentz can be a bit of a shock to the system especially if you come from a city environment like myself (I live in the heart of Brighton), but it's amazing how quickly you adapt and how much fun it can be just trying to get around in such a mountainous place – especially after a huge dumping of snow! There are only a couple of bars and 1 club but considering you are on the slopes for the majority of the time you don't really need anything else, plus you can have house parties. There are buses which take you to other local towns and also a large amount of walking trails if you fancy doing some hiking.
I spent my last four days there hiking around the mountains which was a great adventure and the most incredible views I have ever seen!
You need to be prepared to work hard, be professional and have a passion to want to expand and develop your own skiing and Grimenz is certainly the place to do it! Becoming a ski instructor has been the most rewarding thing I have done and I hope to spend the foreseeable future teaching and improving my own skiing through training and further qualifications. I have just been employed as the EA Rep for Grimentz so I Hope to see you on the slopes soon! If you do want to join Hayley on the slopes next year see if you qualify by clicking HERE!