Find out what it takes to be a Ski Instructor at Norquay, Banff in Canada with Nigel Sainsbury, currently training for his CSIA qualification on an EA Ski Instructor course. Here's his latest news!
To begin with an observation of the weather might be considered mundane but let me tell you, it is cold here in Banff, very cold indeed. Today reached -36 degrees Celsius on the slopes at Mount Norquay, where I have just completed the first week of ski instructor training with my 23 new friends as part of the EA Instructor Internship programme.
In these conditions, you learn a lot about safety and avoiding frost bite, not least from the grizzled experienced instructors who relay stories of skin grafts and nose reductions. That this doesn't stop us all getting out into the thick of things is testament to the passion for skiing felt by the EA crew and Norquay team. Hats off in particular to the Banff Alpine Racers who were out today in nothing but tights and shin guards!
So far the skiing here has been outrageously good. We have spent three days on snow and one day taking part in the Norquay staff orientation day. Our instructors are CSIA Level 3 professionals, meaning they are outstanding skiers and coaches and very experienced in teaching the CSIA Level 1 course. I am in a group of eight and Morgan Engel, my instructor for this week, has made the learning experience enjoyable, dynamic and fast paced. All of us are having to make lots of changes to our skiing style, particularly those who learned from the European Ski Schools, so that we are able to ski and teach the Canadian style set out by the CSIA. This is a challenge but one we are all enjoying!
The weather couldn't have been kinder to us, temperatures aside. A huge dump of snow came down during the week and the powder was immense. Most of us had the chance to ski fresh lines before the slopes were groomed the following day. Not all of Mount Norquay is open yet as it is still early in the season, but there is plenty of room to play. I took a trip up the mighty North American Chair over the weekend and the view of Banff was nothing short of breath taking. There cannot be many ski hills in the world with a better view than this.
For all the great skiing, I have to say I couldn't have wished for a nicer group of people to be training with. In the EA crew we have people from the UK, Germany, New Zealand, Australia and Chile and a great camaraderie has developed already, helped by some great nights out, including two Norquay staff parties, and a trip to see the World Cup Downhill at Lake Louise, which is just 45 minutes down the road. There's no doubt about it, I'm having the time of my life...