As ski instructors we are often asked by our clients what we get up to in the summer. Well, for Jon and Jason, they choose to live the endless winter.
The ski season in New Zealand runs from mid June to until the end of September. There are 24 ski centres in New Zealand ranging from small club fields equipped with what must be the longest rope tows in the world to full blown mountain resorts. Both Jason and Jon, 2 of our instructors at Sweet Snowsports have been working for the ski school at Cardrona Alpine Resort for the last 3 years – check it out at www.cardrona.com.
If you are used to skiing in the French Alps where the skiing begins on the doorstep of your chalet, the set up at Cardrona is very different. Each day starts early with a 35km drive from the beautiful town of Wanaka, the last 13kms on an unsealed mountain road that often requires chains fitted to even four-wheeled drive vehicles.
By the time they reach the top there’s time for the boys to have a quick coffee, put on their boots and head out for an early morning warm up run.
The team at Cardrona is multi national, attracting top flight instructors from North America, Europe, Japan, as well as Australia and of course New Zealand.
Although the ski area is not particularly large, the mountain staff work tirelessly to develop new terrain, features and services. There is a great ‘Park and Pipe’ culture in New Zealand and Cardrona leads the way in creating facilities for these skiers and boarders. It isn’t a coincidence that many of the worlds top freeski and snowboarders are Wanaka based and that Burton chooses Cardrona as the venue for the NZ Snowboard Open.
The work for Jon and Jason is varied, anything from under-5 private lessons to two hour group lessons. Both Jon and Jason are involved in training and developing other instructors at Cardrona and can often be found running instructor clinics or working on their own performance. With many nationalities working within the ski school this is reflected in many different skiing and teaching styles. You can always learn something from someone at Cardrona and is what keeps them both going back there each summer.
So how do Jon and Jason fair amongst this group of top international professionals. Well, Jason was recognized by the school last year by winning the accolade of best instructor, his mantle this year stolen by Jon! Still, Jason shouldn’t be too disappointed. He was voted as Cardronas best instructor trainer. It kind of begs the question, where to next year?