Another winter in NZ and another season working at Cardrona Alpine Resort as a ski instructor. This year I worked full time, which meant 6 days a week during the busy June/ July school holiday period, and 5 days for the rest of the season. I got a really good mix of adults and kids, both group lessons and privates, a few adaptive lessons, a really cool Wanaka Primary School group for five Thursdays, and one week on SkiWees. Mercifully few under 5s, though I did get a return request after teaching a lovely young 3 year old for an hour.
I don't really want, or need, to work full time, but the resort works on a priority system where those with the most qualifications and seasons get work ahead of those new to the game. But if you work part time, you don't get work until every full time employee ( including the Polytechnic trainees and other newly qualified instructors with no experience) has been allocated. This sucks, meaning lots of time waiting around to get work, and lots of first timer lessons. If you are only planning to work one or two days a week then it's not so bad, but when I was working up to 4 days (which is technically full time, but I never got the priority recognition) it was like Groundhog Day....
I actually love first timer lessons. It's the perfect opportunity to introduce new people to a sport I love, but not all season thank you. I was happy to be doing first timer lessons on the very first day of the season, especially as most of the terrain at the resort wasn't open due to a distinct lack of snow, and temperatures far too warm to make it with snow guns.
A lot of people were very surprised to see me back up there again after my accident last year. I think people perhaps thought my injuries would take much longer to heal, but no, I'm Back!!!
A good thing however, is that the resort management decided to cap the number of passes they would sell each day, meaning the numbers during the busy July school holidays never reached the ridiculous crowds of last year. Yes there were still people sliding unsafely, but there were less of them, and once more terrain opened up, more room to avoid them. And in a bizarre twist, I am now less anxious about other skiers and snowboarders around me than I was before my accident! Go figure...
It wasn't until late July/ early August that the whole mountain was open for sliding on. Treble Cone also had atrociously low snowfall and much of the terrain never became skiable the entire season.
I was planning to sit my Level 3 exam this year, but a combination of a minor knee injury, poor snow conditions, and an understanding that I was nowhere near the standard to pass, saw me decide to postpone that particular torture. I did do some training towards it though, and enjoyed a number of breakthroughs in my progress towards becoming a better skier. Still some way to go, but I've definitely improved.
I did, however, sit my Freeski Level 1, a prerequisite for the Level 3. I unexpectedly had a wonderful time learning how to do all sorts of flatland tricks, plus a few jumps and a box slide. I learnt so many things that I could take into teaching my lessons to keep them fun and interesting, especially for kids. I was the oldest by a few decades, but I wasn't the only one completely exhausted after those 3 days of shenanigans!
I didn't get much personal skiing done this season. My work days were usually fully scheduled, my days off I spent training in August and September, and there always needed to be one day down the hill doing life admin. And then as work levels tapered off we had multiple days of stormy weather with one or both mountains closed, and I just sort of lost my momentum....
I finished up on 1st October, bookending with another first timer group. A perfect way to end what was a slightly disappointing season. I'm thinking of reducing down to a 4 day week (full-time) next year, or just a couple of days max, and spend more time on my own skiing.
In the meantime I'm packing up my life of the last 3.5 years and storing all the toys away, because I'm off overseas for more adventures.
First stop home to WA for some much needed wind and waves (the sea breezes are already cranking, yay!), and then I'm off to Japan for another winter.
And after that, depending on how the Aussie bush manages after a dry winter and a forecasted extremely hot summer, I'm hoping to knock off another 10 day section of the AAWT.