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I will blogg about my whole season in Austria and much more you will need to read about to survive
The pow's dumping and you and your friends are super excited to get out there as soon as possible. Alarm clocks were set the day before and your breakfast along with your gear is already in your backpack. You're heading up the snow covered roads to the mountain then up the lifts until your at the sign. "Enter on your own risk". Excitement and joy overwhelms you as you're all very impatient to try to get some first tracks but in the back of your mind the joy for fresh snow is accompanied with worry. Is this safe? As soon as you leave the piste you will be exposed to a certain amount of avalanche danger. Over my years as an instructor and being friends with alot of professional skiers I have learned several things to keep in mind on a pow day. Number one is; always be prepared. Know with whom you're going, where you're going and how the terrain is going to be where your're going. I'd like to think that most of you guys are aware that it is stupid to go off piste skiing alone for obvious safety reasons.It is important to know where you're going and to get a good prediction of how the terrain is going to be there. Never go anywhere you haven't been before when the snow conditions are uncertain. Try to get one of your more experienced friends who might know the mountain better than you to show you around. It is important that you get a prediction of how the snow is going to interract with you at the spot you're planning to shred. Getting caught of guard is both a bummer and dangerous. Ask lifties or mountain rescue as they often know the daily snow conditions and are happy to use their expertise. If you want to feel more in control educate yourself through courses and read up on the subject. That way you will be able to predict snowconditions on your own and know where not to go.Know if your friends are ready to follow you or not. Don't just grab someone you've skied with once as an excuse to go off piste skiing. You wont know if the person has the skills to save you if he/she has to. First of you need to know that your skiing bud is used to using his avalanche gear so that if something happens your bud wont be panicing because he/she doesn't know what to do.The best way to survive an avalanche is to avoid it. A special thing with off piste skiing is that you won't know when you've successfully dogded an avalanche thanks to smart decision making. You also wont be kept on your toes by close calls. You might not get second chances like you would get if you overshoot a kicker in the park or fall on a rail because you weren't fully focused. "I'm gonna be more careful after that" often doesn't happen with avalanches. If you mess up safety wise in the off piste there is a pretty good chance that you will die. Therefore you will need to be disciplined to always put safety first, even when you're standing in front of the best snow of your life. It could be your last.
With this being said I've got some quick tips for you to think about. When you and your friends are traversing over a face go one by one so that if an avalanche occurs you wont all be swept away. When you're laying down some sweet turns don't traverse too much as this can cut the face of resulting in an avalanche. Be aware of how the weather changes over the day. Is it getting warmer, snowier or colder and how does this affect the avalanche risk?
Fun fact: People are more likely to get into situations where they are in over their head ski wise, as skiing where they shouldn't be, when skiing with the opposite gender.
Last season we had two of the most experienced instructors in the ski school passing away in avalanches which proves that no matter how good you are you can never be completely safe outside the boundaries.
This is my list of things I have learned that alot of people are looking at wrongly. Have you ever had a friend who seems to be completely certain about everything you discuss regarding snowsports? This list of statements will hopefully clearify if the stuff you've heard is correct or just bullsh#it.
1. If you're gonna ski powder you have to get fat skis!False. Fat skis are great to ski powder with as they give you alot of flotation in the deep snow. It is going to be easier to stay on the snow instead of in it thanks to a bigger surface towards the snow and to rockered tips. Higher speed will therefore be easier to manage. In my opinion a narrower ski will be harder to use in deep snow since you sink in more and you ski in the snow instead of on top of it. You will need to use stronger muscles to turn the skis as there is snow around them. With this being said if you can handle these stronger movements and the increased challange of remaining balanced in the middle of your skis it is awesome. I find it completely different from skiing with fat skis and also alot harder but when you feel like you're at the skill level to handle it another kind of skiing will be presented to you. Whether you like it more or less than skiing with fat skis is up too you but there is no "only way" of doing it.
2. Skiing with your skis completely together and almost touching is the only way! False. Eventhough it looks pretty fabolous when you have your skiis super close to eachother to point out that yes I can ski parallell! the position your legs are in is going to restrict your range of movement. You wont be able to move your knees in towards the snow as much as you want too because your inner leg will be blocking your outer one. You will be more unstable as your platform, your two skis, will be too narrow to balance confidentily on. Instead keep your feet as wide as your hip is and it will provide you with a good range of movent in your legs. However, if you're stuck in the 70s and you're still shredding in a rad neon coloured tracksuit you keep doing your thing! It is okay to have your skis closer to eachother when skiing deeper snow and moguls
3. A hangover is worse on a mountain because of high altitude!
False. For some reason there is no better way on earth to cure your hangover than to get out on the slopes and to breath some fresh air in. I don't know exactly what it is but your hangovers will never be as bad on a mountain as they are when your back home. From my five full seasons of living and working on a mountain I do not have a single memory of me feeling like I'm about to throw up in the snow. So when your friends are complaining about their hangovers on a powderday you drag their asses out!
4. You wont need sunscreen since you're on a snowy mountain!False. It is actually the other way around. On a sunny day in the snow your skin is going to be exposed to waaay stronger sunlight than normally. The sunrays bounces back and forth on the snow without getting that much weaker. That means you're going to be hit by many more strong sunrays than you would be during summer. I have heard about coaches having their skiing/boarding athletes tested for skincancer for having such wild goggletans. If getting tanned is on your agenda though get those skiclothes of and that bikini/swimshorts on and look for the nearest sunchair!
False. Of course this depends on what level and type of skiing you're doing and for how long you do it for. In the same way as bicycling isn't very hard for you when you're just going for a cashual lap in the park skiing isn't very hard for you unless it's new for you or if you re doing it very intensely. If you're on a one week vacation and you're drinking alot of beer with alot of nice food four laps a day is far from enough to burn all the calories. However if you're skiing the whole day and you're using your muscles for alot of heavy work like deep snow skiing you will definitely burn more calories. If you're doing a whole winterseason on a mountain your body is pretty fast going to get accustomed to skiing. Of course this also depends on what kind of skiing you're doing and how much you're out shredding the gnar!
I have designed seasonal Hoodies and other clothing with your mountains name on it! I love getting a hoodie with the mountain that I spent a season on to take with me after the season.
1. Make a budget!
Think about what your costs are going to be throughout the season and also if you wll be making any money and make a budget. Take in consideration if you're looking to party alot and drink alot of beer as those costs build up fast. You MUST plan your budget with a little bit of extra breathing room as there will be unpleasant surprises along the way that needs to be dealt with. Whether this is your skis breaking, your boots aren't working out or if you get something stolen it is from my experience unavoidable. It doesn't matter if your budget is small or big as long as it works for you.
2. Have the right gear with you
With this I dont mean that you should spend alot of money on the newest gear out there. The focus should be on well fitting gear appropriate to the kind of skiing you're looking to do. As you will be skiing for a whole season it is incredibly important for your body that your gear fits you. Think model and size. I know that the latest powderskis with 130mm underfoot looks sick but if you have to be realistic are you going to spend every day in deep powder? Hopefully but probably not. Those kind of skis will be exhausting and very tough for your body to ski in piste with. An all mountain ski is always a good choice if you're looking for a ski to do it all.
In my opinion your boots are the most important piece of equipment you have. A pair of ill fitting boots can destroy a season and your legs. There is a 0% chance that you will enjoy skiing for a whole season with boots that don't fit you. How do you know if they are the right size? Pick your innerboot out of the shell and put your foot in the shell with the toes touching the front and see how many fingers you can fit behind your heel. There should be room for 1.5-2 fingers. A boot should be as tight as it can get without hurting you or stopping bloodflow. If your boots aren't making your feet sore as hell the first week they are probably to big.
This is what happened to my chins during my first season due to my boots being to big for me. After 4 days of anti inflamatory and rest I was good to go again with a new pair of boots.
Avalanche equipment is great and pretty much a must if you're looking to do some off piste skiing. It can be pretty pricey though so it might be better to focus on the essentials first and then look into avalanche equipment later which can also be hired at some places.
Living on a ski resort is not like living at home and you will not need alot of the clothes you use at home. Based on my experience I find that socks and underwear is what should be prioritized since you go through them very fast when you ski alot. With a couple of T-shirts and a couple of hoodies/sweatshirts and 2-3 pair of pants you're set for the season. Occasions when you will want to dress up fancy are very rare so there is no need to bring dresses, ties or high heels. A fun jumpsuit is always a good choice!
A computer or an Ipad is a good idea to bring since you probably wont be out on the slopes every single day. If you bring a HDMI cord you will be the most popular person in your accomodation if there is a TV to connect it too. A deck of cards is a must for drinking games.
4. Good days and bad days
Something I love about spending a whole season on the mountain is that you get to experience it all! You will get days with hip deep powder, days when the sun will be scorching your face as if you were in a desert , days when you wont be able to ski down a slope because the wind is so strong that it actually blows you up the mountain and days that will drench you in Zeus wet wrath. Be ready for this and pack accordingly! As the weather will change completely throughout the season make sure you have the clothes to handle it.
To get a part time job is a great way for you to afford to enjoy the whole season to it's fullest but the jobs available tends to go out fast. If you have any connections make sure to contact them about possible job offers. If not, depending on how much you're prioritizing work you might want to get down to the resort earlier on the season to land a job. This is something alot of people do so there will still be competition. There are a bunch of different jobs for bummers to look for but some normal ones are cleaning jobs and restaurant jobs. Don't underestimate jobs like washing the dishes, it will give you the whole day to shred as you mostly work during night. Think about what country you're going to as your ability to speak their language will greatly improve your chances of getting work. Local Facebook groups are sometimes good to look for jobs in aswell.
6. Which resort are you going to?
Every resort offers something special. From a crazy party life to amazing hiking opportunities, a big community of bummers or a huge park. Think about what you want out of the season and what you definitely do not want and do some research before you choose. As a parkrat or a tourer there could be a great feeling of belonging on one mountain and the feeling of being an alien on another. The price of living is also very different from place to place. Some places are more exclusive and luxurious than others.
The best way to look for a place to live is to search online. Go to different Facebook groups for your resort of choice. There is normally a community group where these kind of questions can be sorted out. Google for different forums and look for threads about accomodation, this website has a pretty decent one.
You will have to be prepared to share a living with other people. This has its pros and cons. The pros are that you will have alot of fun with the people you live with and they will from the first day be your seasonal crew to wreck havvock with. It is also obviously cheaper to share rent with friends. A con is that it is sometimes hard to be alone and you might not have alot of personal space.
The standard of living completely depends on how much you are willing to pay and if you're looking for accomodation early enough for there to still be alot of different choices available.
8. Pre season work out
Depending of what kind of skiing you are going to do it will be a good idea to build up your muscles before you get into the season. It will help you to enjoy longer days, harder gnar shredding and to hit the ground harder without breaking or tearing anything. A fullbody training plan with a focus on legs and core is what I recommend. If you know that you are going to focus on a very specific kind of skiing throughout the season like park or hiking you might want to adjust your training for that specific goal.
Everything is more fun with friends around! Try to get some friends to come with you on your adventure. You don't have to be a great skier/boarder to enjoy the winter season. Some people can't ski at all and are doing a season only for the partying. Facebook groups are great places to look for seasonal friends and also for people to share an appartment with. There is a Facebook group for Bummers for almost every resort there is. If you've lived at home earlier it will be a big change living on your own in the snow. Based on my own experiences it can be a bit scary to be on your own during your first season and you might find confidence in a brother in arms. With that being said it is super easy to find friends when your there!
Make sure you plan on being out on every sunny day with your goggles on the whole time so that you end the season with a sick tan line on your face. Everyone knows that your goggletan is directly correlated to your ability to shred the gnar. This will also serve as bragging material during off season since it wont go away during summer if you've done it right.
Thanks for reading and make sure to pop in next Sunday for my next post!
When you think spring skiing you'd normally think sun and slush right? Not in New Zealand! Mt Ruapehu is a moody volcano full of personality! If you think for a second that the fog is going to compromise its presence on the mountain with the sun you're wrong.
My last days with my academy group were spent doing some of piste skiing when the vision allowed and doing laps through the park. I swear we were looking hot enough to make the volcano erupt! My time spent with this academy group has been one of the highlights of the season. I made sure to focus on my own tecnique in the of piste to practice for my level 3 exam.
The Kiwi diet is something that is completely beyond me. Every time I skied with this group one of the girls showed up with candy and Coke for lunch and bought a complimentary box of fries. This is something that her parents thought was appropriate for a whole day of skiing and eventhough she made it through the day I do not understand why her parents would give her these kind of carrots.
NZSIA level 3 exam
The weather during my exam was very much like it has been the whole season. We where greated by a thick layer of fog and closed lifts as we came up the mountain on day one. "Anywhere, anytime" is pretty much the motto for level 3 so we had to make the best out of it. The fog stayed strong on day 2 aswell but during the previous night it had snowed about 20 centimeters so we had a soft layer of powder to help us out. Fresh snow would be ideal for exam days but combined with very limited vision it made it tricky to show the correct tecnique in our gnar shredding.
I ended up passing one out of two parts on the exam and am able to save the passed part for next year if I go back to NZ. A 6/10 in every category is required to pass and as this is the highest qualification in New zealand I'm not too bummed about it.
End of the season barbie!
As the season came to an end we had our last barbie and enjoyd eating burgers and drinking beer with eachother for the last time in our "Barbie hut".
These are all the trainers of the season who for atleast two full days a week has been training us to improve as skiers and boarders. The training program here has for me personally been the best thing of the season. The level that the training has been on and the amount of it has just been waaay out of the ordinary for skischools to provide and it would probably be my main reason for coming back if I choose to do so.
Shout out to my trainer Ross!
This list has been providing us with beer throughout the whole season. With gems such as "dropping poles in the lift", "taking kids out" and "faceplanting in a lesson" it's been a must do to check it out every day. I got nominated once for falling on the green slope while doing one skis skiing.
End of the season knee soreness is a B*tch. My knees are starting to act up again and with this picture from my handbook I'm trying to figure out what might be damaged and the appropriate muscles to train to help my knee out. For new instructors or people who are generally skiing alot I cannot stress the importance of taking care of your body. That means going to the gym for pre season workout and also during the season. Do your stretches (if you believe in stretching) and listen to your body!
This is the crater on the top of the Volcano that you can hike to and then ski all the way down again. To answer everyones question, no it is not swimable.
With a 2 week camping trip around the North island I left New Zealand three days ago with an end of the season hair cut and am currently resting my weary bones in Vietnam with my friend.
Today I went searching for the fresh 50 cms from yesterdays dump with my academy group. We had to do some gnarly traversing over alot of icy patches but found alot of nice snow. I'm skiing with this group of 13 year old girls Saturday and Sunday every second week. They're alot of fun and typical teenage girls talking about tv shows, music and school. It's liberating skiing with abit older kids who can handle more freedom and don't have to be looked after every single second.
Yesterday the snow was really good since it had been snowing the night before but the wind stopped the lifts from going up the mountain. This volcano is super exposed to wind since there is nothing around it. The only area open because of that was the beginner "Magic carpet area" which was annoying because you wanted to get up to the new snow as soon as possible. The day wasn't too bad though, we did some hiking up the sidewall of the slope where there was a bunch of different cliffs to drop. Us instructors had a play with it the first hour in the morning before lessons and the snowboarders chucked a couple of backflips. I landed a fairly sized drop that I was happy with. I did end up taking my students up there when they eventually came. Oh yeah so the road was pretty icy this day and the staffbus went into the ditch for the second time this season.
Days like these are the days you can't believe you're actually getting payed for what you do. A "normal" job looks less and less appealing. Other days when you're stuck skiing with 4 year olds or a group of 15 adult beginners it makes more sense.
"Become a ski instructor if you never want to be happy with your skiing again"
This saying is definitely how i'm feeling right now as I am not really happy with the progress I am doing in my skiing. I am not sure if I am going to get to a high enough level before my level 3 exam next month. I am trying to get in as much training as possible training on both of my days off and whenever I get a gap from lessons. A month may sound like a lot but when you're skiing on a higher level progress takes a longer time.
Hey, are you a beaver? cuz DAM!
I'm making plans for next season and so far it looks like I'm either gonna go back to Lech Zürs in Austria, Switzerland or America. I would love to go to America but I would need a sponsored Visa for it. I'm in contact with two skischools in America at the moment and hopefully one of them will be willing to sponsor me.
When we do a high performance carved turn we want to make sure we pressure our skis (especially our outer one) early in the turn by flexing, edging and rotating, before the fall line, so we can stay in complete control. Tweaking peoples carving skills was what my day was all about yesterday. I had two 2 hour privates (level 6, ranging 1-6) focusing on early edging in the turn, pressuring the turns earlier and on angulation. Both men improvead greatly and really appreciated the lesson. While instructing them I made sure to work on improving my own carving turns towards the level 3 exam.
Every Tuesday 9:30 - 11:00 I've got a certain schoolgroup I am skiing with. It's a group of 5 kids from a local school comming up once a week with their teacher. They are alot of fun and always pumped to shred the gnar. I chose to take the group up to the top of the mountain and down an offpiste track. I came to regret this choice deeply as the snow was icier than it'd ever been before. I should have known that the snow conditions were bad because it had been very cold throughout the night and the sun hadn't warmed the top sheet of ice up yet from the slope.
Here's a short video I put together of the kids explaining an excercise they had been given and the purpose of it. Also how they tore it up.
Btw, the first guy did the excercise wrongly
I am trying to make up my plans about what I am going to do after the season ends. I will definitely travel around New Zealand for about a month and a half to see some of this country. Where I am going I haven't decided or thought much about yet. After New Zealand I am thinking of either going back to Lech Zürs in Austria, to Switzerland if I get a job offer there, to Japan if I can get a German passport there and that way be eligible for a Working Holiday Visa (there are none for Swedes) or to travel Asia.
I've got a Skype interview with a Swiss ski school tonight.
It is going to be a bit difficult traveling with all of my luggage since I've got a pair of skis and ski boots and a snowboard and snowboard boots with me.
Waka waka Freetylah!
I've had more and more freestyle lessons over the last couple of weeks which has been sweet. Variation is always fun. What's not been as sweet is that I have to do all the freestyle lessons on my stiff Fisher GS skis which isn't ideal at all. Normally you can rent skis for free as a skiinstructor but that isn't how it's working over here.
I had a 14 year old boy who had a slopestyle competition comming up and wanted to add some tricks to his bag. Unfortunately the park was occupied for a competition during the lesson so we couldn't go there. Instead we went out into the offpist and practiced tricks off natural features such as drops and jumps. We did some 180s to both sides, switch 180s to both sides, buttering, and bigger drops focusing on our mid air position.
So weatherwise the sun's been out for about two weeks now and my goggletan is going strong. It's pretty hard working for 6-7 hours straight with just small breaks in between lessons for a snack and some water in this heat. That is how it works over here though, you can never know if you're going to have time for a proper lunch or not. I'd rather have it this way than the opposite of it being stormy all the time and the mountain being closed which was the situation the furst month.
I've handed my skis in for some tuning so tomorrow they will be super grippy and super fast! YEAH!
Do you want to ski all year around and travel around the world?? Yeaaah you do! Do your level one asap! -feel free to PM me about info
My tanned face is as beautiful as the weather on the mountain right now! The last days have been super sunny and super warm which is the opposite of what the Volcano has given us so far. This has resulted in a sharp line on my face separating my new fresh brown New Zealand skin from the old pale Swedish. It’s a nice change to say the least! Maybe the Mauri people (native people of New Zealand) have finally accepted us shredding their volcano.
I’ve seen a bunch of people hiking to the top of the volcano crater today and I feel like this is a good time for me to do I as well. Too bad I won’t have a day off in a while since I’m doing training on my days off.
I’ve chosen to try for my lvl 3 which is the next step for me to progress into as a ski instructor. I’ve done a couple of days of training and my exam days will be in one and a half month. There is a lot of stuff for me to wrap my head around and to practice, we’ll see how it goes!
There is a big difference from instructing in Europe to instructing over here when it comes to how the companies seem to employ instructors. Over here it seems like the ski schools employ too many instructors to make sure they will be ready for increasing amount of guests in the holidays. That may sound solid and all but it also means that when there’s not much work around the hours are split amongst the many instructors leading to not so much work for anyone. In Europe there are more "holiday workers" being employed over the holidays to cover the extra amount of guests. <- Based on the resorts I've worked at.
I might go to Japan next season if I can get a German passport!
Not sure if it's this mountain or another one in the near which is where they filmed Lord of the Rings. I hope it's this one because then I can say that I've got a view over Mordor from work.
View from the house possibly better than from the Volcano?
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