We caught up with Rich Waldie, who is our Ski School Manager at Mount Hutt.
Continue below for the hear about Rich’s cool pathway in the ski industry:
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Q)Tell us about your instructor journey.
I did my first season at Lake Louise in Canada in 2010. I had no idea what I was doing and I’m probably the least likely person you would have picked to still be hanging around the Snow-sports industry. Since then I’ve worked in the USA, New Zealand and Japan, managed a couple of ski schools including Mt Hutt where I work in NZ now as well as being a trainer/examiner for SBINZ. I spend the other half of my year working in Niseko, Japan trying to ride as much powder as I can!
Q) What made you choose to get into instructing? What were you doing before?
I got into instructing because I’m obsessed with snowboarding and it seemed to be the best way to be out there doing as much as possible, as well helping me to learn out how to do it somewhat properly. I had always thought doing a season was something wild and there’s no way I could do that, you’ve got to be really good to do that! but the more I thought about it, If Joe Roberts from school could do it so could I (thanks Joe.)
Q) What do you love about the industry?
I love doing it because it’s a place where people from around the world can come together and no one cares what you do, where you’re from or what you believe in as long as you’re having fun. It’s the place people come to escape the ‘real’ world and just have a good time. Doing this is basically the closest thing to working at Hogwarts you’ll get in real life (unless magic is actually real and I’m just a muggle.)
Q) What is the community of instructors like and how does that differ around the world?
Regardless of where you are the hunger is the same and it’s amazing how easy it is to connect with people. Really once you do a few seasons it’s all just one massive extended family and you’ll start to know people almost everywhere.
Q) What are your top tips for anyone heading out on their first season?
Just be hungry to learn as much as you can, whether that’s about skiing, snowboarding, or just the place you’re going. Also buy your outerwear at least a size bigger than you think you need, probably two.
Q) What’s is your favourite place you have ridden?
Castle mountain, best friends, free refills all day long, life doesn’t get any better.
Q) How do you achieve a work/life balance as an instructor?
Still working on that one, ask me again in another 5 years.
Q) With EA, you pay for the program and then get a job for the season after completing the program. But what happens after that first season? How does someone continue their career and make it long term
First of all make sure you’re keeping it fun for you, but beyond that have faith that it can take a few years to get yourself set up and established. Push yourself to get the qualifications and experience you need, usually that’s a level 3 cert of some kind, keep yourself humble and always be keen to learn from everyone around you, not just trainers and leaders.
Q) What do you believe are the best qualities to have to become a successful instructor?
Empathy and how to listen.
Q) What do you like about the area / Mt Hutt
The terrain is super fun and we’re a bit more ‘do it yourself/make your own fun’ than the Queenstown/Wanaka fields.
Q) What to expect as a new Mt Hutt employee?
You won’t understand why anyone would want to come here when you arrive but at the end you won’t want to leave.
Q) What work is like – i.e. kids / mucking in with different jobs / weather?
A bit of everything, hanging out with 6 years olds one minute, parking cars the next
Q) Tell us a bit about the training i.e. your training staff and quality of coaching available
We genuinely care about helping you get as good as possible at teaching people how to slide down hills. If you’ve got the work ethic, we’ve got the knowledge!
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