Josh was in his first year at University when he stumbled across EA Ski & Snowboard on Facebook. Josh initially completed a ski instructor internship program in Japan. He's currently working at Mt. Perisher in Australia, and about to head off to Canada for his third winter season.
Josh has successfully turned his love of skiing into a career. Here's his story...
I was in my first year at University studying towards a BA in Justice and Society. I wasn't particularly enjoying my studies, and I missed having time to do the things I loved - I was studying all the time. I randomly saw an advertisement on Facebook for EA Ski & Snowboard. The idea of becoming a ski instructor and getting a guaranteed job sounded like a pretty epic adventure, so I decided to get a job so I could save some money to fund the course. I ended up working on a potato farm for seven months as a machinery operator, which gave me the money I needed to get overseas.
I knew I wanted to go to Japan for my internship program, but I didn't want to go to Niseko or Hakuba as they're both massive hotspots for Aussies tourists and I wanted to try something new and experience a new culture. I chose to go to Club Med, Tomamu because there was a promise of smaller training group sizes and I would earn a decent salary. It was also Tomamu’s grand opening season, so I thought that might be fun to be a part of. Tomamu resort is almost twice the size of its sister resort, Club Med Sahorro and accommodates over 1000 guests and staff. It sounded like a fun time.
The most daunting part of moving to Japan to become a ski instructor was the idea of not knowing anybody. I'm not from the kind of town where families regularly go on ski holidays abroad; let alone aspire to make a career out of skiing, so I didn't really have anyone to turn to for advice. Luckily, my training consultant at EA was super helpful.
Before I moved to Japan, I was a pretty shy guy. Don't get me wrong, I'm very social, loud and enjoy being around people, but I'm also happy to kick back and enjoy time alone. At Club Med, you don't really get any alone time, and I wasn't sure how I would cope with being around people all the time. Surprisingly, I didn't miss alone time at all!
Meeting the hundreds of new people and conversing all day, I didn’t realise I had ‘overcome’ my introverted personality until near the end of the season when I thought about what I had been through and how amazing it all had been. But I now know that I live to be with others, to chat and to laugh.
"Instructors are a certain breed of their own. Everyone's friendly, open, enthusiastic about skiing and always ready for a beer."
What made my instructor internship program with EA genuinely memorable was the friends I made and like-minded people I met. Instructors are a certain breed of their own. Everyone's friendly, open, enthusiastic about skiing and always ready for a beer. I have made lifelong friends with at least 25 other instructors from my first season at Club Med.
The best part of becoming a ski instructor on an internship program is the guaranteed job offer you get (provided you pass your exams). The instructor industry isn't exactly easy to get into when you go it alone, so it's nice to know you have job security at a good ski resort at the end of it.
There were a couple of things I loved about working at Club Med. The hotel restaurant caters to both staff and guests, so the food was insanely good. Club Med has a great ski atmosphere, and everyone is just happy to be there. Yes, we are paid to help people enjoy their holiday and smile, but the guests' positive energy was infectious, so it wasn't a hard part of the job.
I am currently working at Mt. Perisher in Australia, but I'm about to head to Canada for season number three! I've decided to continue working as an instructor and chasing winter for at least a few more years.
There are so many things I love about being an instructor. Firstly, you are part of your clients' holiday experience, so the environment is super stress-free.
It's also gratifying to see your clients break through personal barriers and improve their skiing. For example, seeing a father who doesn't know how to do their ski boots up and the start of the season start making turns and ride their first lift is super rewarding. Mothers, who were too nervous to start sliding on the carpet going down a blue run. And kids, going from never seeing snow to jumping, parallel turns, moguls, black runs etc. Your students also think you're cool and treat you like a bit of a god when they run into you outside their lessons.
"The most valuable lesson I learned on my internship program and since becoming a ski instructor is not to take it all so seriously. Yes, I want to be the best ski instructor I can be. However, I also became an instructor for the lifestyle, which is to have fun and travel!"
My advice to anyone considering an internship program is don’t stress if something is too hard. All you need to do is try again and ask for help if you need it. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself either. Skiing is fun, so have fun!
Use the internship program to improve your skiing and learn as much as possible from your trainers.
You can keep up with Josh's journey by following him on Instagram.
Don't forget to look around you and soak in the experience. It’s beautiful and fun. Enjoy it.