In Czech Republic, you can become a ski instructor with a 5 days course.
A few months ago, I have send a message in a bottle to the world. Since I started traveling and wasn’t planning on stopping, I needed to spent the winter with a roof over my head and make some money to keep the trip alive. Lucky me, I had written a winter activity on my bucket liste. I am good with kids and I can ski; I was going to become a ski instructor. When I reached out to my nomad friends and told them my story, it was not very long before I had an answer.
A man named Honza was the proud owner of a Ski school in Czech Republic which needed German speaking instructors. If I could pass the basic course, I would have a job for the season.
Following my dream and my luck, I hitchhiked out of Vienna and arrived in Liberec, a city in the biggest ski resort of the country, at the jonction with Poland and Germany. I was picked up by the lovely Jane, who was going to host my during the season.
You have to remember that I came with nothing but my backpack and had not a single piece of equipment for the job.
- Instructor course Day -3
Jana gave my the essential not to freeze in the mountains
- Instructor course Day -2
We rushed to the ski school to get my equipment. I was getting very exited
- Instructor course Day -1
We drove to our 3 star hotel that was going to be our base of operation in Spindleruv Mlyn, After a well deserved dinner, we had our first talk with our instructor, Michael, and the other students. The presentation went well, we all told our stories and background. Michael told us to be ready with our equipment at the base of the chair lift the next morning at 9. At that point, a hand was raised.
-What do you mean by equipment ? I said
-The basics you know: warm clothes, skis, poles… the usual.
My mind did the mental checking until it reached the poles. I never saw them as useful, I was snowboarding the last times I went on the mountain and had been living the poles behind since I was 12 years old. Anyways, the ski school did not think useful to give me some and I was not going to argue with them on their own field of knowledge.
It was 9 pm and pitch black and I had to find some poles. After asking the entire hotel crew and the guest, I set towards town with one goal in mind. After a few minutes, I found my first treasure: a walking stick from the Nordic walk. Later, I found on a pile of firewood a blue and red marking pole that used to show the limit of a skiing area. I was told with a smile that any sticks would do given that I would have them for the course on the next day.
I went back to the bar proud as a peacock and started measuring my sticks. One is adjustable and the other one I would have to cut to size. Using the outside table as my workshop, I pulled out my knife and started to saw. As my roommates where now helping me came Michael. He looked at me in complete disbelief. No one in the history of the school would have ever done that. At a loss for word, his friend slipped him a few word in the hear. He had some spare old poles at home that he could bring to me on the next day.
- Instructor course Day 1
The course did not take into account that some student would show up without a car. And the instructor, for the first time of his career had to take 3 students with him in the car to the slope. Of course I was one of them.
After an intensive morning, a question came up from one of the students after lunch: ” What would be the biggest mistake an instructor could make?” Without hesitation he replied that skiing without a helmet would be the worst. My head was covered by a thick hoodie during the lesson and the sheer size of it hide the fact that I did not have one until now. Quickly after the lesson finished, I ran to the closest rental to get myself a helmet
- Instructor course Day 2
Talking with our newly made friend from the hostel, we obtained a ride to the teaching area, therefore reliving from our instructor the burden of taking care of us.
We took videos of our ski skills to be reviewed later. the only comment I was given is: “Why do you have a backpack?” Apparently although practical (storing camera, food, water, medic kit) a backpack is not suited for a good instructor’s look and I was kindly asked to never wear it again during the course or leave it at the bottom of the chairlift
-Lift & driver
- Instructor course Day 3
During the teaching process, we are required to act as kids so that we can be taught the basis of skiing: putting the shoes on, walking on skis, sliding, stopping, turning…
While being chosen to behave like a kid, I have to pretend that I can not stop on the hill. I am ready to slide, skis on the snow, push myself forward and… Nothing.
The instructor start to become impatient: why on earth am I stopping while I should not?
It turns out that my skis have not been properly waxed. Lucky for me one of our Danish friends had his rental shop across the road and they completely renovated the sliding part
-Waxed under the ski
- Instructor course Day 4
Who would have thought that although we take courses from the same company, we would start at different slopes? When we realized we were in the wrong place, we quickly took the bus to the other slope and run to the meeting point 30 min late.
The instructor was not even mad at us, they have not started the teaching and went for a free ride as soon as they knew we would arrive late.
- Instructor course Day 5
The results are coming: Good teacher, but bad skier, the verdict can not be appealed: My crazy roommates and I all failed the test.
Was it really a lack of Talent? Or a collection of bad luck from the start? We would never know