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!