Q&A – Meet James, He Just Loves Dressing Up In Red Uniforms

What’s your name and where are you from? [in best Cilla impression]

James from Surrey in the UK

Which SIA course did you attend?

Anwärter, Class of 2015!

How was your course experience?

The course was awesome. There are so many people that take part in it you basically take over the town, you can’t move for SIA hoodies! The instructors know exactly how to get you above the standard you need to pass the course, I was struggling at one point with my short turns and one of the instructors helped me 1 to 1 and as a result my short turns got were the things I got the highest grade in.

Where did you work after your course?

I worked in Zell am See in Austria, which the next resort over from Kaprun where we trained.

What was the resort like?

I love Zell. I have skied there since I was 6 and SIA managed to help me with my request to work there. The Ski School (Skischule Zell am See) was the largest in the resort and known for their signature red uniforms (which I have to admit, I liked wearing). There were about 6 others from SIA that started and then about 7 more joined after the course in January so even before I started I had friends to go with.

Why did you decide to become an instructor?

So I applied for University and then when I realised the course I chose wasn’t really going to lead to a career, I looked at what I could do instead. Training as an instructor was something I had thought about doing and after looking at a lot of companies SIA were definitely the best option, something that I can reconfirm after the course!

What is the best part of being an instructor?

What isn’t the best part? You get to ski for a living, you are teaching people on their holiday who want to have a laugh with you and really admire that you can do something that they have no clue about, until you show them. You meet and work with some amazing people from across the world and it is just a way of life that cannot be beaten. There are literally not enough words to describe how much I loved it.

What was your average working week?

So Ski School starts on a Sunday where you find out who you will be teaching that week. Mine ranged from kids who wanted to live in the snow park to 65 year old adult who had never skied before. Adult beginners were definitely my favourite because you could just have such a good laugh throughout the week. As the week goes on you would work on their skills and make your way up the mountain for the better runs. Thursday is the last day of teaching and is also your groups’ race day. If you had adults, the prizes would be given at a bar in town at about 4pm and then your guests want to celebrate and thank you, either with beer or a tip, either of which I was happy with! The weekend is the best time though. You and the other instructors that are off head up the mountain first thing for some on and off-piste runs on the fresh snow – nothing is better for a hangover than mountain air!

How much can you make as an instructor?

So the pay wasn’t ‘great’. It’s enough to live on while you’re there but not really to save loads each month. But you don’t do this job for the pay; you do it for the awesome experience and the memories, as cliché as that may sound.

Did you need a visa?

I didn’t thankfully but who knows with this Brexit thing that might not be the case for much longer!

What’s next for you?

So being abroad for a season made me realise how much I want to travel and not be restricted to one place. So because of my season I now work in travel and get to do just that, travel around the world for work. From California to Jordan and it is all because of what I realised I wanted to do while being an instructor.

What advice would you give to other looking into becoming an instructor?

100% do it. There was no better experience and I honestly miss it every day. I see SIA post on Facebook with their new courses and I am so beyond tempted to go back. I probably will but maybe just not yet. If you are remotely unsure about what you want to do and you have even thought about becoming an instructor then you have to do it, it is something that you will never regret I promise.