Q&A – Meet Jón, he’s dreamy and enjoys long walks in the snow!
What’s your name and where are you from? [in best Cilla impression]
My Name is Jón Robinson I come from Newcastle (North east England)
Which SIA course did you attend?
I attended the Dual 2-in-1 course and also added the German Language Activity Camp.
How was your course experience?
The experience was amazing! I loved every second of it, the course was organised into two halves the skiing and snowboarding and then the theory there was always somebody at hand to help you and to point out something for you, and the theory we had so much help with the German and teaching in German, to be honest it couldn’t have been made any easier and simpler. I spent a long time trying to pick a training company, and every time I had a question SIA Austria answered and it never stopped during the course so everything from the beginning to the end and even after was first class and a great course. The German camp was awesome as well, it wasn’t all just learning German in a class it was getting out using it to order things and speak to locals and also having a lot of fun doing various activities – I highly recommend it!
Where did you work after your course?
I was incredibly lucky to go to Naeba, Japan for my first ever season!
What was the resort like?
Very small piste’s but they had an extensive range of back country and plenty of powder! The town Naeba used to be a thriving ski town many years ago but now it is quiet and has no people living there really, the night life is limited but your house mates make up for that there is always an event happening in a neighbouring prefecture or town, you are two hours away from Tokyo and the cost isn’t too bad either. so all in all resort is ok, and is worth spending your season working there just to experience rural Japan as most other resorts are westernised.
Why did you decide to become an instructor?
I have been skiing since I was three years old, and snowboarding since about fourteen years old. I have always had a passion for this I competed in ski racing when younger and have been skiing with the army in various countries across the world. After leaving the army I started working seasons abroad and became good friends with instructors who introduced me to the lifestyle and I had decided there and then that I wanted to become an instructor!
What is the best part of being an instructor?
The freedom you have in your job is the main thing I would say. I would say meeting new people from all walks of life and no matter how bad the weather is I’m still on the mountain and not in an office or a dead end job going nowhere. I enjoy the outdoors and it brings me a great feeling being in the mountains and a ski instructor job is my ticket to do this.
What was your average working week?
Average would be 6 days on 1 day off, however things can change especially in Japan they often have HUGE groups turn up out of the blue such as schools and ski groups etc… and you would sometimes work for a few weeks without a day off but you get to have all that back when its quiet.
How much can you make as an instructor?
You can earn something more valuable than money can ever give you. But depending on your ski school you can earn anything from 900+ euro up to 1200 or more. It all depends on your ski school and who you work for. Are there families skiing in the resort or rich bankers? So many variables come into play with this, in my time in Japan we had Chinese new year which made us crazy busy which meant more money! So its all depending on what you get that week.
Did you need a visa? If so, how was the process?
YES! Get your Visa in good time! I cant stress this enough. This is important because if you have no visa you get no job and you cannot work in Japan. each country has a consulate of Japan for the UK we have Edinburgh and London those are your two options and you MUST visit in person to drop of documents. Your ski school should help you out with what they know works and what they need for legal reasons. Other than that its a really simple process check out google for your local office. Follow all the rules that the consulate sets out for you and you cant go wrong, you must have some savings in your bank account but that amount is set by the consulate of Japan. You will find all of the information on their website. For the UK use this website
What’s next for you?
More winter seasons I completed the first part of my Landes course last season I want to make it to get my full Landes, Im a Photographer also so I want to take Photos for snowboard and ski magazines, I also email snow schools to take photos for them!
What advice would you give to other looking into becoming an instructor?
Just go for it! I overthought the process and took so long, but I could not have been happier with SIA Austria, they helped me every step of the way. I’m biased towards SIA and the training is fantastic but having seeing other schools instructors from different organisations I felt that I had the best training and was more in depth. Speak to the staff at SIA Austria let them tell you what they offer and take it on board, they have a wealth of knowledge and only want the best for you, they don’t do “Gimmicks”, they give you the key to your future as a ski instructor. You aren’t clothes shopping. You’re shopping for a career or a course as a ski instructor and they have everything you need.