Snowboard Instructor Course Story: Q&A with Mikey Hazzard in Queenstown
We caught up with Mikey Hazzard one of our snowboard instructor course interns in Queenstown for a few laps at Coronet Peak in New Zealand.
After passing his level 1 he spent the season working at Coronet Peak with NZ ski.
Continue below for the interview and watch the video.
If you are interested in spending a gap year snowboarding in New Zealand, or to fast track your career as a snowboard instructor see if you qualify for an instructor course today.
Q: What were you doing before your snowboard instructor internship?
A: Before doing the EA course I was at a bit of a crossroads in my life. I worked in oil and gas for around 8 years as a subsea design engineer before the industry in Aberdeen took a bit of a crash in 2017. By this point, I was already living for the weekend and super unhappy with office life and the lack of sunlight/fresh air. I knew it was time for a change!
I decided to go to Chamonix to do a winter season as a resort driver. I hated it, but I loved being able to ride whenever I wanted. Slowly the weekend started to not be a big deal. It was here I started looking into becoming an instructor. I spoke to some guys from EA and, well, bobs your uncle!!
Q: How did you find the snowboard instructor course?
A: After arriving and NZ I met all the other interns. I was pleasantly surprised I wasn’t the only guy doing this in his late 20’s.
The training was good, a lot of us are self-taught and the training really snapped some bad habits out of my riding. It’s kind of like your dad teaching you to how drive then sitting your driving test - you're gonna fail! EA provides some seriously sick training to ensure you have the best possible chance of passing.
Q: How was the instructor exam?
A: The lead up to the exam was fairly intense with training, the exam was a lot of work too. Life after the exam is more chill. You’ll probably find me in Red Rock [bar in Queenstown] most days after work with some other instructors.
(We often get asked is the exam actually hard? Have a read of our blog to find out)
Q: What’s it like being a snowboard instructor!?
A: After becoming an instructor, I can honestly say I’m not living for the weekend anymore - I’m living for tomorrow. I love it. Apart from being on the mountain all the time and getting laps in when you’re not working, the job is so rewarding. Every day I meet new people and learn new skills. I feel healthy and happy.
Q: Highlights of the season
A: Basically every day is a highlight at the moment, we’re on the hill day in day out learning new tricks and constantly seeking progression. One of the best things is snowboarding with so many awesome people, you can push each other, try things you wouldn’t normally and there’s always someone to learn from.
Or for more info on NZ, check out our 'Ultimate Guide to a Ski Season in New Zealand'.