“What insight could we possibly gain from speaking to a ski instructor?“
Skiing is a fun activity that is enjoyed by all levels of participants. Many of the things we love about skiing come from our own experience of being on the slopes. On the other hand, we also tap into the wealth of knowledge from our friends, coworkers, industry experts, ski shops, and ski resorts to discover the tips and tricks of the sport.
These days in the off-season, and the way the world is with the COVID 19 pandemic, it seems a lot of our information in the off season is coming from online video chats. As we think about and prepare for our next adventures on the slopes, we can often gain insight by chatting with a friend or seeking the knowledge from someone who has been in the industry for years. Imagine gaining some useful information by speaking with someone who just got back from a ski vacation to get the real scoop on a resort. Imagine speaking to a full time ski instructor to find out what equipment REALLY works best. There’s nothing like our own experience to make us more comfortable on the slope, but sometimes it’s nice to seek the advice or experience from someone who’s ‘been there, done that‘.
One way to save time and gain quick intel on the best equipment or coolest resorts out there is from understanding what works for others that have already experienced what you’re about to.
“Taking the time to have a professional boot-fitter set me up with the proper orthotics made all the difference in the world. Less fatigue, and much more comfort and control. HAPPY FEETAndrew Elsdon
Knowledge Gained by Others’ Experience
Sometimes it’s something as simple as
“Should I buy those boot warmers?”
“Are foot beds really necessary?”
“What are some of the best ski resorts for a family of 5 ?”
Recently, SkiChatter interviewed one of Canada’s ski instructors by the name of Ms. Nicola Jowett.
Nicola has more than 25 years experience as a ski instructor. She has Co-hosted a Ski Television show namely, ’World of Skiing’; coached skiing in Greece and taught in New Zealand. She loves that skiing has taken her to so many fabulous places to live and visit. Her recent experienced as Snow School Director / General Manager of Uplands Ski Club enabled her to gain valuable intel as to what ski families and individuals really enjoy about skiing. When she’s not on snow or running a ski hill you can find her creating art or ripping down walls. She enjoys renovating her 1863 Heritage Bed and Breakfast.
- Certified Canadian Ski Instructor’s Alliance (CSIA) Level 3 Instructor
- CSIA Level 1 Course Conductor
- Development Level Coach for Alpine Canada Alpin (ACA)
- A member and Level 1 instructor for the Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors (CASI)
- Proud Event Committee Member of the Ontario Ski Resort Association (OSRA)
Needless to say, Nicola is a great resource for skiing. SkiChatter thought it would be a great idea to have her share some of her “Do & Don’ts”, “Tips & Tricks”, and overall “Likes & Dislikes” with the ski community. So, sit back. Get a bevy and steal some ski insight through the eyes of a full time ski instructor.
Q&A –SkiChatter‘s Andrew Elsdon & Ski Instructor Nicola Jowett
- What’s your favourite part about skiing?
This past season my favourite part of skiing has been training with my female friends. We have a giggle, gossip, and ski hard. Being around such strong female skiers is great fun. We push each other to try new things or go faster. But mostly, it is just a great day with awesome people.
- Can you tell us more about a fun ski run and why it’s so?
Last summer Mount St Louis completed $7.1 million in upgrades to the resort. They installed a high speed six-pack state of the art chair appropriately named named after the resort’s founder – the Josl Huter Express. Lucky for me, I was on one of the first chair rides up when they opened the new lift. With adding the new chair, they also improved the terrain and added some elevation. Now the height of Yodler and North Peak are the same as Summit Peak (All runs at the resort). Both runs are great for cruising and teaching on. Plus, the vibe at Mount St Louis is awesome which is kudos to the entire Huter family.
- Do you have any Pet Peeves about skiing?
A wet butt on the chairlift. When it rains or snows, you always get the wet butt and there is nothing you can do about it!
- Do you have a favourite piece of equipment and can you tell us why it’s your fave?
My favourite pice of equipment is my ski boots. I used to be a boot fitter and I love the biomechanics involved. Getting a boot to fit right, punching them out and making them perfect is a passion of mine. I have enjoyed for over 20 years Salomon products. Their boots are amazing for fitting my foot. I have two pairs. One in a 80 flex for teaching school groups or my 4 year old niece and the other 110 flex for more advanced teaching and personal skiing.
- What recommendations do you have for Critical Equipment/Gear/Clothing/gadget?
My new ‘can’t do’ without gadget is my boot heaters. I finally caved after never having them all these years and decided I couldn’t go old school any longer – I needed heaters. It has been the best investment ever. I love that they have an app for my phone, so I can control the heat etc. So easy and they work well.
TRIPS / TRAVEL
- What’s your favourite resort & why?
I have been blessed to ski almost every resort in North America and a few in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. All resorts have something a little different to offer. So it is hard for me to narrow down one resort that is my favourite. Aspen would have to be my all time favourite. The town goes all out during the Holidays and the Christmas decorations are stunning. The skiing is fabulous. Food is great. The vibe is cool. It is fun spotting a celebrity in the cafeteria line up or lift line. Even better watching them wipe out trying to learn to snowboard or ski. Reminds me that they are just normal people having fun on the slopes.
- Any Tips on packing for a ski trip?
Use the ski tubes for equipment. Airlines these days will not cover damaged equipment. Best investment for air travel is a ski tube.
- In your opinion, what’s the coolest Canadian Ski resort for families?
Silver Star is my favourite for families. The look and vibe of the town is great for little ones. All the houses, shops, hotels are painted in the same colour scheme to give the town a more lively ambience. It has a ski in/ski out village, there are horse drawn sleigh rides and a fantastic youth snow program. The daycare is a bonus for parents who want some time to themselves. The entire resort is designed to appeal to families and it does exactly that. There are so many activities to choose from for all ages. I enjoy the dinner tours, snowcat and the wild Horseman. Oh I almost forgot… the skiing is fantastic too!
- What’s your best Apres-Ski Bar experience?
Petit Caribou at Mont Tremblant is legendary. You are guaranteed a good time, especially if you dance on the bar! Can’t say much more without spilling a story or two, and those remain sealed in the memory vault.
- What Tips do you have on preparing for the ski season?
Stay in shape. Biking is a great way to keep the legs strong for ski season. Yoga is fantastic for stretching out and minimizing the risk of injury due to muscle strain or tear. First day of skiing, a nice warm up and gentle stretch before hitting the slopes is important.
- What’s your best ski TIP for beginners?
I find many new skiers are nervous and and sometimes scared. Here is a tip for overcoming fear when skiing. This is for all levels of skiers, but mostly for beginners.
So my first part of the tip is to work on skiing in control by completing a turn. Get more weight on the outside ski and steer back up the hill to finish the turn and therefore control speed. This will produce a better stance and now just repeat – but now sing! Yes sing, choose a favourite song and sing as you go down. You may look a little silly but it is such great fun and it gets the job done!
‘Ski it, until you own it’!Nicola Jowett
Then repeat. ‘Ski it, until you own it’, is the motto. The only way to overcome a fear is to experience it.
The rush, the excitement, and sense of accomplishment is reward itself for tackling the fear.
- What’s your best ski TIP for new Ski Instructors?
Talk less, ski more. I find as pros we all talk too much. Funny enough I am extremely chatty on the chairs and inside, but never when teaching. I have learned to stop the verbal–diarrhea. We all learn more from doing. I find that the average person needs one line reminder of what we are focused on before heading down the slope. Oh and of course, have fun!
Experience it, Share it !
Sharing ideas, technique, stories and experience that definitely help your fellow skier. Chat it up, share your knowledge and victories. Experience what skiing has to offer and you won’t be disappointed. Skiing in new places, with new friends can be an experience like no other. So, next time you’re on a chairlift for the first time, remember to chat with the person on that chair. Share your ideas and ‘best run’ experience of the day. Share a secret, point out a cool part of resort, and most of all, Have Fun !