I am a snowboard instructor. Besides reading books, my most favorite thing in the world is to sit on a metal chair outside when it’s -25 degrees Celsius and then slide down on a piece of wood. Then do the whole process all over again for the next six hours.
Being a snowboard instructor is exactly like being a pizza.
Pizza is made from the following: a doughy base, tomato sauce and cheese. If you’d like, put some olives on it or my personal favorite, capers. I love capers, something about that sharp taste combined with cheese. They go really well with mushrooms and tomato slices. Then top it up with some fresh basil leaves. So good.
You should become a snowboard instructor if you sometimes feel like you are a pizza. Here are some other reasons why.
Doing Extreme Sports as a Job gives you the Body of a Goddess
It’s surprising, when I compare what my body can do now to what it was capable of ten years ago. At that time, I couldn’t even run five kilometer. Ten years later, I still can’t run five kilometer but at least I am thinking about it.
Thighs of Thunder
Snowboarding for seven winter seasons has made my body strong. You’re pretty much doing squats the whole time you’re riding and that made my legs grow a lot of muscle. They are huge.
Not everybody likes the idea of women having big legs. Perhaps you define a woman’s attractiveness on how much she resembles a toothpick. That’s okay, we all have different tastes.
My thighs of thunder could karate kick anyone into another universe.
I am proud of that.
I would rather do a job that I love and have no money than do a job that I sort of like and be rich.
I do like money though, don’t get me wrong. Living in a tent is not my life ambition and I am still trying to figure out how to make my life more comfortable in the future.
And as the struggle will continue for the next couple of years as I make my ascends into the mountains and deeper into the backcountry, I will still be living in a tent and having money troubles.
But I am setting myself up to live the rest of my life just the way I dreamt it would be. Plus I know that returning to Belgium and settling for good doesn’t make life easier. You have the same amount of struggle anytime and anywhere if you really want something that’s hard to get.
On never getting settled
In the past seven years, I have never spend more than six months living in the same spot. It does sound a bit odd when you think about it. I know most people don’t understand this lifestyle. Most of the time I have to make new friends and work with completely different people every six months .
I am introverted by nature, which means I feel uncomfortable around new people. When I move into a new place I sometimes shy away for days until I feel comfortable talking to somebody new.
But there is something about being an instructor and doing extreme sports that switches it off.
I found out it’s really easy to make friends inside the extreme sports world. Probably because we all seem to bump into each other in the instant noodle section of the supermarket. And it’s always easier to start a conversation.
Like I have an aura of instructorness around me that shuts off the introvert in me whenever I can sense another instructorness aura is nearby.
I might be switching home every six months but after seven years, I have made friends on every continent (except for Antarctica) representing more than twenty countries. All of them would offer me a place to stay if I needed it even if I might not have talked to them for months.
Spend the whole Day on the Magic Carpet
About seventy percent of lessons are for beginners, most of them kids. Yes, we do ride the magic carpet a lot. But teaching kids is one of the most rewarding parts of our jobs.
When I think about my engineering degree, I can’t remember ever seeing an engineer job offer that had as a skill requirement: able to pretend you’re a pirate for two hours in a row.
I have spent hours at the bottom of the magic carpet with a hand puppet talking rubbish to anyone going up.
I am happily poor saying I can do that as a job.
When on the Job
Wearing the Uniform
There’s a sense of pride when we wear the instructors uniform. We’re special and you better remember that we ski and snowboard way better than you.
Sure, we’re a bunch of losers who hardly make enough money to pay the rent. We know that and you know that because I told you so in my last post. But wearing the uniform while riding the first chairlift of the day makes us snow hill royalty.
Just have let us have our moment until we return to our tent camps.
Spend the Winter teaching Skiing
Snowboard instructors let’s all jump from our pedestals for a moment and say something we so much try to hide. Once we get over the part where skiing scares the crap out of us and we actually get good at it, sending it down the mountain or hitting a jump on skis is the bomb.
Sure, ski boots make our feet feel like Godzilla flying economy class on an Airasia flight and my god, what the hell are those poles for?
But we’re mountain people. We appreciate everything as long as we’re outside doing stuff with our friends.
So we do like to ski.
Just don’t tell anybody.
Hang out with a Bunch of 20-year olds
When I published this part in my previous post, I took a walk in the park and thought about how to rephrase it in terms of differences with 30-year olds. Then I realized that 30-year olds still get drunk or talk endlessly about getting drunk.
I think what I was getting at here is, I actually enjoy spending time with 20-year olds for the simple reason that they usually are so confused with their own lives, I don’t have to spend energy trying to explain to them why my life is the way it is. There’s a lovely carelessness with 20-year olds that seems to wear off with a lot of people once they get older.
I really love my job for these reasons. The fun and satisfaction I get from making people smile, doing laps with my friends, it makes all of it worth suffering through the hardships.
So do become an instructor, if that’s your dream. It’s not going to be easy but you’ll have a lot of fun.