- See more at: http://www.snowskool.com/myskool/#sthash.H2Y4ZhQn.dpuf
After ten years of running the best instructor training courses in the world – some say the Universe – SnowSkool is launching a range of ski & snowboard improvement camps. But these are not any old improver camps…no, no, NOoooo! We are NOT going to teach you to ski or snowboard, we are NOT going to dwell on perfecting every single turn and we are NOT going to spend precious time discussing the biomechanics behind your movements.
We ARE going to ski hard & we ARE going to ride fast, we ARE going to hit jumps and we ARE going to drop cliffs, we ARE going to smash gates & we ARE going to get ba’-deep in the powder!
SnowSkool camps offer high-end tuition in freestyle, race, backcountry and technical skiing & snowboarding…you tell us what aspect of your on-snow riding that you wish to work on and we shall provide a camp for you.
*Prize includes training only. Flights, accommodation, transfers, meals and lift passes are excluded. Official competition rules and terms apply and can be found on the entry form
We are giving away a FREE WEEK on our next Banff course!
Check out the details of the course and apply NOW for the discount: http://www.snowskool.com/resorts/banff
Bromley-boy Mike Lewis is reputed to have turned down a starring role in The Only Way Is Essex to join SnowSkool’s ski instructor course in New Zealand. Given the immediate propulsion to super-celebrity status (and all-round twat-ness) this would have offered, you may think that Mike may now be regretting his decision to turn them down but life has been kind to Mike since he graduated as a NZSIA level 2 ski instructor…
SnowSkool (SS): Yo Mike, what’s up? How’s life been since NZ 2009?
Mike Lewis (ML): Good, man! I’ve been all over the place – have now completed four seasons in four different countries in two years!
SS: Let’s start from NZ. How was that for you?
ML: NZ was such an awesome season. The snow was fine, as good as you expect in New Zealand but we had some scarily good trainers and a great group of guys and girls on the course. Wanaka is just the best place – the people are so friendly and welcoming and outdoorsy! The pass rate was high and I was stoked to be graduating as a Level 2 instructor.
SS: And so on to the northern winter…
ML: Yeah, I applied for and landed a job with the Red Eagles Ski School in Gerlos, Austria. I had never been skiing in Austria, let alone in Gerlos and so didn’t know what to expect! Gerlos is in the Zillertal and offers 166km of slopes so I knew I wouldn’t get bored. It was a busy season, I was teaching British and Dutch skiers from beginners to black-runners and I think I learnt as much as I hope they did!
SS: How did you find your arrival in Gerlos?
ML: I was nervous arriving out in Austria but you soon realise that every Ski & Board School is like a big family and most instructors are there for the winter, ready to ski, ready to work and ready to make new friends. It’s not too tough to relax and enjoy yourself in that environment!
SS: Fair one. And what happened when Spring came round?
ML: In February, I started applying for jobs in the southern hemisphere and by early-March I had a job lined up starting in Thredbo in June. Thredbo is equi-distant between Melbourne and Sydney in Australia’s Snowy Mountains.
SS: Skiing in Australia!?!?
ML: You know this, Phil! Yeah it felt weird to think about skiing in one of the world’s hottest countries but it’s not half-bad…2000ft of vert keeps skiers happy. Work-wise, it was a very successful season – pay rates in Australia are very good and I saved a lot of money that season!
SS: Where did you head to after Oz?
ML: Again as you start approaching the end of the season, you really want to have something sorted for the next season. I was offered work back in Gerlos but I was also offered a job working in Bansko, Bulgaria as a senior ski instructor and that swayed it for me.
SS: How was Bulgaria?
ML: A lot better than people give it credit for! Bansko is a good-sized resort and an ideal place for a ski instructor to ply his/ her trade…
SS: Why’s that?
ML: A lot of Brits want a cheap first-ever skiing holiday and so Bulgaria works on that front but as “never-evers”, they need lessons to keep them safe and to progress their learning. I was maxed-out six days per week on average and made some very good money that season.
SS: That is what it is all about! What about this season?
ML: I’m taking summer 2011 off from instructing – my first summer in three years! I have a job as a Senior Instructor at TUI Travel and so will be instructing again come November/ December but where has yet to be determined!
Having attended a snowboard instructor course with SnowSkool during my year out, I enrolled at the University of Leeds and the first thing I did was sign up to the snowsports club. Just before the start of my 4th year, in May 2009, I was elected President of Leeds Snowriders (Leeds University Snowsports Club). The role of the club is to bring together like-minded shred heads and to organise regular trips to the snow.
It’s fair to say that I had underestimated how much time I would have to devote to the club. Running a club of over 1000 members is no easy ride, especially when those members are students who are often drunk…and nude. Fortunately though I had an awesome committee working with me and we had a great year!
Over the course of the year it was great to see a sizeable growth of the club. We took 300 students to Val d’Isère over the Christmas break and 430 students to Val Thorens at Easter (the biggest trip in the club’s history!). Throughout the year we also entered teams into the university freestyle and race competitions and organised heaps of social events. This included the infamous Snowriders ball, at which 250 students descended on a previously quiet hotel, drank way too much wine, had a massive cheesecake fight, and generally disgraced themselves – a pretty successful night in my opinion!
Out of all the events that we ran my personal highlight was organising our end-of-year social, an event that saw over 600 people attend. Complete with live bands and DJs, a half pipe and skate demo in the grounds of the venue. To top it all off we organised a real snow rail jam – in June no less – complete with ski and snowboard demos from the likes of current European X Games bronze medallist skier James “Woodsy” Woods and GB snowboard legend and all round hero Dom Harrington.
All in all my year running the club was both challenging and extremely rewarding at the same time. It required the vast majority of my time when I wasn’t working on my degree but as a result I made some incredible friends and gained some invaluable skills that I wouldn’t have been able to acquire elsewhere.
I would highly recommend getting involved with your university snowsports club. There’s always a super friendly, welcoming atmosphere and it’s a great way to meet like-minded people who share the same passion for anything and everything snow related!
The day had finally arrived – the morning of our Level 2 exams. The sun was shining but not everyone was keen for the start of a very long and stressful week! Despite the dread, all of our skiers headed out to the front of Sunshine Village to meet our new test conductors and sort things out. We met at the ODD cabin and were split into 4 groups. Our conductors for the week were Ben, Casey, Kenji and Don – four very experienced Level 4 instructors. I was in a group with Ben. The day took off quickly when Ben had us skiing bumps straight away. The main focus was on being more aggressive and keeping forward the whole time. Everyone had different things to work on and by the end of the day quite a few of us had accomplished those goals.
We swapped course conductors on Tuesday morning so that it was a fair assessment of us. This time I got Casey, who is Technical Director at Sunshine. He was a lot more serious than Ben, which had it’s good and bad moments! Casey got us doing a little bit of teaching but mainly focused on our skiing ability. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were probably the most stressful days of my life!! The course conductors gave no insight into whether or not you were going to pass so everyone was freaking out. The pressure of Level 2 got to a lot people throughout the week but Friday morning brought some smiles with it – the conductors seemed to be a bit more happy than usual which put everyone more at ease. The snow was in perfect condition and the temperature was nigh on hoody weather! It was the last day of exams and everyone was putting in 100% to make sure their skiing and teaching were up to scratch but it was still non-stop exam pressure until 2pm when we finished. The worst part, however, was the 2 hour wait for results as still no one had any clue as to what their results would be. As we gathered upstairs after the longest two hours of our lives, we sat in a big group and listened to the conductors announce individually who had successfully completed and passed their CSIA Level 2 exam. Everyone was applauded individually, which made the atmosphere great! I have never seen so many happy faces at once. We even had a few tears of happiness from the boys (Fraser McGougan) haha. All of the Banff SnowSkoolers should be congratualted for an amazing set of achievements with 100% of the boarders passing and about 97% of the skiers passing!
After a loud a cheerful busride back to the hostel everyone headed straight to the kitchen for fish and chips to celebrate our awesome results! There was karaoke in the Storm Cellar and lots of graduation banners put up for us which got everyone in the best mood. For some it was their last night with SnowSkool as they were getting up early for a long plane trip back home. With only 2 weeks left on the course, we are all starting to fit in as much as we can. Race coaching course starts on Sunday, followed by the avalanche and back country courses. There is no rest for a lot of SnowSkoolers – we tough it all out!
The SnowSkool course has been an amazing experience and all the weeks of training paid off on Friday afternoon. Fingers crossed for the people completeing courses next week – another badge to add to the collection!!
For more info about the SnowSkool scholarship, click here.