Tom the Marketing Manager got a chance to get out of the office and meet our ski and snowboard instructors. Instead of seeing the instructors' experience virtually from his laptop, he got amongst it and hopped on a plane. This is his story.
It's arrival day and we have eight ski and snowboard instructor interns about to start their new adventure in New Zealand. Fresh off the plane, we have Jonny aka Ed Sheeran and young buck Rupert who has been dreaming of becoming a ski instructor for years. Both are jet lagged, yet excited to meet their fellow instructors.
We arrived at the Presidents Hotel in Auckland CBD with a view over the Sky Tower. Introductions were made and EA hoodies were given out. The instructors were from all across the globe. Three from Australia, an American whose local mountain is the legendary Squaw Valley, one from Portugal, and three from the U.K who were dying to get away from gloomy England, made up our crew of interns. We walked to the waterfront for some fine dining. We went to a classic UK pub, which made our British instructors excited to have some bangers and mash. Beers were shared and Pool was played.
In the morning we went to an Italian cafe. Afterward some adrenaline seeking activity was needed so a trip was organised to the bouldering gym. At Golden hour, we ventured up the tallest building in N.Z and walked across see-through glass over 300 meters above the city. At the top there were amazing panoramic views overlooking Auckland, ancient volcanoes and the ocean.
We had dinner at a Chinese restaurant in the heart of the city and tried snow beer for the first time. A rather fitting beverage for the occasion. The instructors got their dancing shoes on and hit the town for a boogie. The next morning, we got a 12 seater van and set sail South. After sorting the bank details for the season, and getting snacks for the road trip, the Spotify playlist was made and our voyage began. We drove through rural NZ, saw plenty of sheep and then drove through the Tongariro National Park. Many comments were made about the spectacular scenery. We arrived at the Hobbit Lodge in Ohakune and settled into the accommodation for the winter season. Chat GPT was assigned to sort out the rooms for the ski season. Life of the modern ski instructor…
We went to the pub to experience the nightlife of this small yet bustling little ski town. Many of the interns got to experience their first All Blacks rugby game. Many passionate kiwis were shouting and applauding as we beat the South Africans. We met Will, the Programme Manager for the season who was going to look after the instructors for the winter ahead. The next morning, we explored Ohakune and all its glory. After getting ski gear and meeting the friendly locals of the township, we went to the notorious Ohakune carrot. A storm came in so we retreated back to the lodge for a hot tub overlooking the mountains. Goodbyes were said as the interns were about to start their first day of ski and snowboard training the next day.
I then went to Whakapapa village to meet the newly qualified ski and snowboard instructors. They had just passed their exams a few days before and had a 100% pass rate. In true Kiwi fashion, I showed up with Speights beer, and blocks of Whittaker's chocolate. This was followed by some very serious games of Ping Pong.
I caught up with Ella, who recently got her ski instructor qualification. Ella did a ski internship. She loves to travel, so becoming a ski instructor was an awesome way for her to see the world. After her winter season in New Zealand, she wants to travel with her qualification with Japan and Canada being on her bucket list. Ella did an internship with EA due to the extensive support while you are abroad. You get to live and work with a cool group of people that have a shared passion.
I also chatted with Mark. He is from Phoenix, Arizona. He has been snowboarding for two seasons now and is doing the snowboarding internship at Whakapapa. After his winter in New Zealand, he hopes to work in California at our partner resort, Palisades.
All and all a great trip up North. Many laughs, brews shared and a jealous man who wishes he could be in a ski town instructing with a bunch of ski-mad pals.
For those interested becoming an ski or snowboard instructor, download our instructor guide here
See of you qualify for a instructor course here