So this years Peak Leaders trainee instructors gathered in the land of the All Blacks, All Whites, Maoris, Hobbits and Lord of the Rings. Five eager potential ski instructors, and another five snowboarders – arguably five from the dark side and five from the light (you decide which is which) – perhaps it was no coincidence that Peter Jackson finished filming ‘The Hobbit’ here two days ago.
The scenery down here in New Zealand’s south island is epic; the views start before you’ve even landed. Here’s a view from the plane of the South Harris Mountains that includes the instructors’ main mountain, Coronet Peak.
We’re a bit of a diverse group down here on the New Zealand course, including budding instructors from the UK, Germany, Italy, Australia and, of course, New Zealand. With varying degrees of jetlag, the first day was spent getting a first taste of Queenstown. After a day of rest it was up to Coronet Peak for our first taste of the mountain we will call home for the next ten weeks.
It’s just over a week into the course and both the snowboard and ski instructor courses are well under way. Both groups have senior instructors whose experience of teaching seasons runs well into double figures. With different training programs for boarders and skiers, they’re rarely seen together – but here’s a rare shot of them side by side on another sunny New Zealand morning.
Fortunately for the trainee instructors there’s also plenty of opportunity to unwind away from the demands of the on-mountain training, which is pretty demanding. Peak Leaders trainees get to stay in the Coronet Peak Hotel, the closest hotel to the mountain. Other course trainees stay in backpacker accommodation in Queenstown, and are already green with jealousy. The Coronet Peak Hotel not only serves up plenty of food every night but also houses a bowling alley, several pool tables and other games. Competition among trainees is more ferocious on the pool table and the bowling lanes than it is on the mountain!
All in all, the instructor course has got off to a great start, and the trainee instructors are both learning a lot and having a good time. It’d be pretty difficult to have a bad time when the view from your office looks like this!