It’s official!!! I got hired as a real ski instructor… here’s how it went down.
I went through the entire training in the apprentice program. This was in 1995, I was single, making life changes and facing one of my biggest demons…. skiing. I have always enjoyed skiing, but since I had such a nasty broken leg when I was 12, that image and the pain of recovery has stayed with me to this day. Becoming an instructor would not only force me to face my fear of getting hurt again, but hopefully build the confidence to teach others about the sport I loved as a kid.
The day I got hired.. The training was done, the evaluations were complete.. now we wait for the results. I was called into Mary Wittke’s office (ski school director) to find out was they decided… Mary looked me in the eye and said something like; “Dain we are happy to offer you a position with the Brighton ski school.. now the real work begins..” She went on to explain how this will change my like forever. I remember her telling me that “I was a lifer..” I asked what she meant.. “you won’t be satisfied with just one or two seasons, you going to be here for a while..” she said. Hmmm.. I was looking at this as a possible distraction for a season or two.. you know, until I figure out my life.
Those words from Mary have stayed with me all these years, and like a wise future-seeing-ski-prophet… she was right.
The next step was to shadow lessons from real instructors and then the “checkout”… (cue the music).. The checkout.. I had to actually teach a lesson to real students.. this is a bit scary. There was a process we had to follow every time.. do the paperwork, shadow a lesson (sometimes 2-4 times) and then ask to checkout. I caught on quickly and started the process. First “Never-ever” students, then “Learn to Turn” and “Green lessons”.. phew.. I worked hard and fast. Especially since I was part-time.. By the end of the first season, I was checked out through “Blue lesson”, “Kinderski” and I earned my Cert I from something called PSIA. Oh and I took like 40 clinics taught by other instructors to improve my own skills.
Mary was right.. I had embraced the ski school culture.. or “The Brighton way” as they kept calling it.. more on this later. As I look back over that first season, I realized something. I not only faced my demons… I actually danced with them too. I made some life-long friendships and I learn that I still have some thing to learn… a lot of things.
Life Lessons learned:
– Sometimes the things we fear the most, are exactly the things we need to face and embrace the most. Fear is something we create, confidence through accomplishment no matter the level, diminishes fear.
– Once the hard work is done and you reach a level of accomplishment, you can only see how much farther you really have to go.. that’s when the work begins.
– New challenges and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is the only way to see more potential.
Do I fear getting hurt? Sure.. that little voice is always there, but I’ve learned to mute it or quiet the fear by actually letting go. Becoming a kid again, playing, laughing and moving down the hill.
Don’t forget to let the kid inside you come out to play….. frequently.