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Out on the mountain in every season

23 January 2019 - Ski Instructor, Sepp Waser

Powder snow, hordes of beautiful admirers, and loads of leisure time – that’s how many people imagine the life of a ski instructor. Engelberger Sepp Waser, himself a ski instructor of several years’ standing, wants us to know that this perception is hopelessly outdated.

Sepp’s business cards read "Ski Instructor and Herdsman". The charming native of Nidwalden lives above Grafenort at the Unterifängi smallholding. In the winter he is a ski instructor for Swiss Ski and Snowboard School Engelberg Titlis


In this blog, Sepp tells us about the pros and cons of his job, and dispels the outdated image some people still have of ski instructors.


Sepp on…
his winter job:

"Being a ski instructor was my childhood dream. As a boy, I used to ski to school, as it was quite some distance away. For some reason, I only realised my dream ten years ago, when I answered a job ad. They gave me a chance even though I hadn’t trained as a ski instructor. In the mean time I’ve undergone various further training, including as a "kids instructor". So that’s how it all began, and then I caught the bug. I’ve been an ardent ski instructor ever since."


... the best things about being a ski instructor:
"I get to spend lots of time outdoors, and I get to work with people. When I’m done for the day and a mother comes up to me, smiling with gratitude because her son or daughter has made great progress, that’s the best reward."
 


... staying patient:
"You definitely need patience. If you’re truly enthusiastic about your job, you will have success with even the most difficult learner. You need to have a sense for what exercises and activities a learner might enjoy but that also draw them out of their comfort zone."


... partying:
"If you become a ski instructor because you want to party, then you’re definitely in the wrong job. You can’t just head off to happy hour after work every day. Learners want to make good progress, and they expect you to get them there. We have to take our job seriously."


... responsibility:
"You have a great deal of responsibility in this job. On the Klostermatte or the Gerschnialp you’re in a relatively safe space. But taking a group of teenagers up in the chairlift for the first time is not something to be taken lightly. I am responsible for their safety and wellbeing. And you have to be very careful to ensure no other skiers run into a minor. Thankfully, in my ten years as a ski instructor, none of my learners has met with a serious accident."


Text & Images:
Andrea Hurschler has a great deal of admiration for the patience and stamina of ski instructors who are out on the slopes every day teaching visitors the art of skiing. She is pretty certain she wouldn’t be able to do it.
 

Ski & Snowbiard Schools Engelberg
Ski & Snowboard Engelberg