St Anton Anwärter Ski Instructor Course – Weeks 3 & 4
It’s fair to say that there was an air of apprehension in the breakfast room on Sunday morning. At 8am the trainers/examiners from Tirol Snowsports would be welcoming all of the new ski instructor candidates to the Arlberg-Saal. Everybody was looking forward, with partially opened arms and ears, to hearing which group they would be in for the next two weeks and whether they’d be lucky-enough to be paired with other Peak Leaders trainees. Amazingly a total of 174 candidates from all over the world signed-up for the Anwärter exam in St Anton Am Arlberg this year!
The groups got read out and any important information was divulged. Then, like a flash, all 174 people disappeared: there was no time to waste as all of the groups hit the mountain with their new coaches. The first day on the hill with the examiners was a very challenging day for everybody as unlike any of the previous days this time all of the on-snow teaching took place in German. All of the groups spent their first day on the hill going through the basics of skiing, after a long and somewhat challenging day the first evening theory lecture loomed. Again this was delivered completely in German and caused a bit of a headache for some of the trainees. Fortunately those that spoke German fluently broke the lectures down into sections and filtered out all of the relatively unimportant information. It became really apparent that after just a couple weeks of spending time together the group were working as a team, which was emphasised by the late night revision sessions that followed every evening. There was definitely no lack of conversation at the dinner table as everyone had a bit of dirt to dish out on their new group members……and of course their examiners!
The week continued with morning lectures at the start of the day then the trainees hit the mountain with their corresponding groups for training. Evening lectures were focused on various subjects such as First Aid, general tourist industry know-how, and how to wrap-up the day with a client. Everyone focused really hard and managed to make huge improvements to their skiing and their German, but there was still time for a beer or two in the evenings. In fairness it wasn’t all hard work on the mountain, there were still some incredibly fun moments with the trainers. If the amazing skiing conditions and terrain weren’t enough motivation for the group then some of the fellow candidates definitely inspired a few of the lads to practice their German. ‘Sexy Susie’ and Sexy Susie’s sister’ became quite the focus for some of our trainees, despite the fact that neither of them were called ‘Susie’ and they clearly weren’t sisters. In all honesty I’m not sure if anyone really knew their names. Rory?
As the course progressed all of the trainees had their teaching techniques examined which included a 30-minute teaching session about a random subject. All of the Peak Leaders trainees passed this part of the Anwärter which is really impressive, especially when you consider how much German language needed to be learnt. Following the teaching session it was finally time for the big exam day, which contained a theory test about all of the lectures held and the practical skiing demonstrations, including the different exercises such as parallel skiing and snow plough. Fortunately the guys and girls were gifted with a perfectly groomed run, blue sky and sunshine, which gave all of the trainees the best chance of passing.
After skiing all morning with the afternoon came the trainees big moment. All 174 candidates sitting in the Arlberg-Saal waited for their names to be called out so that they could hopefully pick-up their certificate and be fully certified ‘Anwärter Skilehrer’. In the end over 90% of the trainees ended-up passing the course and gaining the qualification, all of those trainees that passed were then offered jobs at the Arlberg Ski School. This is an amazing achievement, especially when you consider how much the level of German needed to pass the course has been ‘upped’ since last year. The two trainees that just missed-out will be taking a short retake later in the season and will hopefully be taking-up jobs at the Ski School for the latter half of the season.
Following the exam there were two big nights out including a visit to the legendary ‘Krazy Kanguruh’, which many consider to be the home of modern-day Apres Ski, and many of the other well-known watering holes in St Anton. Before they knew it, it was time to move out of the plush accommodation at Altes Tonnihaus and in to the rather more modest ski instructor housing, once moved they headed to the Ski School offices to pick up their new uniforms for the season. We wish all of the trainees the best of luck for this season and hope they enjoy the amazing seasonaire experience that St Anton has to offer!