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Xharly becomes a ski instructor

Becoming a ski instructor in Czech Republic

How to become a ski instructor on the cheap

In Czech Republic, you can become a ski instructor with a 5 days course. No Jokes. In my country you need to have a competition level, years of practice, and a diploma obtainable in 5 to 6 years. Life is good when you give yourself the tools. In my case I had to change country.

We are in 2019, and 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.

Xharly becomes a ski instructor

You have to remember something quite important

I came with nothing but my backpack and had not a single piece of equipment for the job.

I had to be given EVERYTHING

Gather some equipment

Instructor course Day -3
Jana gave my the essential not to freeze in the mountains
Obtained:

  • -Gloves
  • -Ski pants
  • -Ski jacket

Instructor course Day -2

We rushed to the ski school to get my equipment. I was getting very exited
Obtained:

  • -Ski boots
  • -Skis

Make friends with the teacher

 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 9am. 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.

Mission completed,
Obtained:

  • -Poles.
skiing in jested

Skiing is a serious matter. Be serious

 

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
Obtained:

  • -Helmet

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

Obtained:

  • -Waxed under the ski

Lost:

  • -Credibility
Waxing your skis

When the logic is not present

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.

Lost:

  • -Time

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

A few days later, I was on the slope giving my first lesson to a group of German kids. The licence you tell me? The head of the ski school saw my teaching and skiing level and decided I was well worth the trouble. 

He made a crash course for me, signed some papers, and took me as an instructor anyways. Life is good when you make it happen

Charly Kubik
Charly firing a bow

Bow making workshop in Austria

One of the goals I was dedicated to achieve on my bucket list was to learn a lot about traditional archery and bow making and sure it happened

  1. Choosing your wood

    Let’s say, for the sake of argument that you want to build your bow out of yew tree.You need to:
    -Get it from the forest,
    -Cut it to adequate size (between 1.50 m -2 m long)
    -Split the log
    -“Paint the two edges with carpenter glue on 15 cm (2 parts glue for 1 part water) so that cracks do not develop during the drying process
    -Store it for 3 years to get ride of the moisture

    splitting-Yew-Tree

  2. Choose your bow
    When choosing your bow, making the right decision at the start is important.

    -① Traditional English longbow: Long, easy to shoot, easy to make
    -② Modern style recurved bow: The only bow allowed in the olympics
    -③ Horse bow: Short bow with 3 curves, the hardest to make but so stylish

  3. Cut your wood to the right size
    -Ludivine making a Longbow need to cut a 160 cm, just above her size with shoes on to be exact
    -Charly, you would have guessed, is taking the awesome looking horse bow and cut out the 150 cm needed for it

  4. Follow your template
    -The bow is thicker at the handle and thinner at the edges.
    -You first need to mark out all the 10 cm marks from the centre of the bow
    -Looking at the template you understand that the width of the diameter decreases with the length of the bow
    -For a horse bow of 150 cm, the diameter is ( in mm) : Handle, 23, 22, 21, 20, 19, 18
    -For a longbow of 160 cm, the diameter is ( in mm) : Handle, 25, 24, 23, 22, 20, 18, 16
    -Note that the longbow is wider than the horse bow

  5. Get to work
    -Get rid of most of the wood with a draw knife until you are within 1-2 cm of your goal
    -Finish it off to the millimeter with the steel file

  6. Be precise
    -Be sure that the wood removed lives you with a flat surface or your bow will turn
    -Mistakes can happen: I was carried away by how exiting using a draw knife was and I scrapped off a millimeter too much in two different places. In this case, do not worry, and note your mistakes. When you do the second limb, be sure to do the same measurements so that your bow is equally unbalanced. This is called a correction.

  7. Bending the membres
    For the recurved and the horsebow, you need to bend your wood.
    Heat makes magic happened
    -Stick the end of your bow between two not moving bits
    -Aim at it with your heat gun
    -You will notice that the wood slowly yield to your pressure
    -When you reach the desired angle, lock it in place with a clamp until it cools off
    -Angle for Horse bow: 110°
    -Angle for recurved bow: 140°

  8. Design your tip
    -You can use a fine round file
    -Start a 3 cm from the end (2 cm for Horse bow)
    -Slight curve on the face of the bow (Basically follow the edge of your thumb)
    -Straight on the sides of the bow

  9. String your bow
    -Note the position of the legs on the picture, this is the best way to string the bow
    -If you have follow the measurements, your bow should be seriously hard to string

  10. Even out your bow
    Bow making is a science that you can perfect over time. this important step is called tillering and allows the bow to be balanced and suited to your own strength
    -First you need to make sure that both member of your bow have the same strength so that it does not snap in half.
    -On a “Bending machine” you get Shit-scared when Gerhard, the bow master ties the string to a pulley and nearly rip appart your day’s work
    -It seems to be fine so you hold on to the rope while he walks to the bow and examine it
    -It is easily seen that the red circle bends too much so material will be removed elsewhere
    -The parts bending less have more material on it, this is where you will use the file

    Note on using the file at this stage
    -Draw a line with the pencil on the bow
    -Use the file to erase that line & do it again
    -Test the bow

  11. Adjust to your own strength
    -From the moment your bow is “finished” it will lose 10% to 15% of its draw weight in the first 200 shots so do not hesitate to make it slightly stronger that what you are used to
    -For the horse bow, every time you remove material, the bow does not know it yet. You need to bend the bow a few times after each fiddling so that it get into shape

  12. Try it out
    -You need to fire 50 shots with is to feel confortable and to test the limb of your bow
    -This is especially important for the horse bow because its limbs might twist a little after the first firing

  13. The arrow rest
    -Another scary part is cutting the arrow rest because you literally saw a third of the bow
    -However once made, life is so much easier for shooting

  14. Customise your bow
    -Use a fair bit of sand paper to remove all imperfections
    -Paint or Varnish. The difference between varnishing and painting: The Varnish soaks in the wood fibres while the paint is only an outside coating
    -Let it dry for 24 h or use the heat gun on hair dryer level
    -Brush with some carpenter glue so that the wood fibers do not crack, peel or do anything unwanted
    -Fine Sand paper

  15. Enjoy life with a new sport

Thanks a lot to our workawayer host Marion and Gerhard who welcomed us in the foggy November. Gerhard had taught us so much about archery, atlatal, and Leather working it now forms the base of our knowledge on the subject. Marion on the other side, is a Storyteller and a writer of 7 books on fairytales, mythes and legends. Even with my limited German, I was transported by her storytelling.

While we had the chance to learn ll of it as part of the volunteering, I recommend taking part of their bow making workshop (Get on board the 2 days workshop to make the awesome horse bow with the glued on handle, it is just the best).