Our 2014 EA Instructor Scholarship winner Emma Ross Smith. Emma is training / working as a ski instructor at Northstar, Tahoe, USA.

A winter season in the USA | Emma Smith

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Last updated on
February 10, 2015

It's time to check in on our 2014 EA Instructor Scholarship winner Emma Ross Smith, who is lucky enough to be experiencing a once in a lifetime chance to train and work as a ski instructor at Northstar at Tahoe in the United States. Let's see how she is getting on.

Almost two weeks into ski instructing and absolutely loving it! I’m having the best time over here. Made so many new friends and have learned so much about my own skiing. It was such a great benefit to have EA to set me up for the first few weeks. Everyone from our EA group is really close and we’re a bit like a little family. I still live with 7 others from the group!

Our exams went pretty well. All of the snowboarders passed their level 1 exam after all our training, and we now have a 100% pass rate for the skiers too! The exams were harder than we all expected and lasted 3 days. After all our intensive training we were pretty well prepared. We were all required to do two mock teaching scenarios, analysis of two skiers and demonstrations of our own skiing and teaching models such as wedge turns. We worked really hard for two weeks on the exam material and all the girls passed on their first try! The exam was nerve-wracking, but in hindsight, we were well prepared. We had some of the best private instructors in the country and within the ski school.

Instructing life is fantastic! It definitely takes a lot of patience and is not what you think it is, but in many ways, it’s better than I expected. All jobs have their ups and downs, and when you work with young children it’s a definite! I mostly work with 4-6-year-old kids who have never skied before, so the magic carpet is my daily office. We can get as few as two kids in a group up to ten kids! High season was absolutely mad, but we loved it all the same. 14 days consecutively working doesn’t sound all that great but I had a fantastic time! The ski school was booked out with over 400 kids for a while there so it sure was hectic.

On a usual day, everyone from our house travels to work at 7.30 am to start at 8.00 am, and then we have a morning meeting and warm up with all the instructors on that day. We follow it with an hour at the kids meeting place, where all the kids are brought to us to join a lesson! We head up the gondola with all the kids and their skis to the ski school at mid-mountain, and begin the lessons for the day! All of the lessons are full-day lessons so we eat lunch with the kids and then have cookie time in the afternoon. It’s really fantastic! We finish around 3pm.

Everyone at Northstar is like a family and they all get along fine here! I’m making great connections and friends here and absolutely loving life. Can’t explain how much I adore this place and really want to come back next season already!
The highlight of life in Tahoe is probably just all the people here. Loving everyone in the ski school and Northstar staff team. Everyone is lovely and welcoming! Would recommend a season at Northstar 110%!

If living the dream at Northstar next winter sounds like something you'd be keen to get involved with, you can! Click here to get your instructor starter kit and find out how to get started.

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