Investing in People
The Snow School is all about creating relationships, and there is no better month to talk about relationships than February.
Through our roles, we have the opportunity to create amazing relationships with guests and visitors to the resort, each and every day and we enjoy doing it. We get to show them our playground, share what it means to us, teach them how to move around the mountain and to understand it, and to get the most out of their and our time out here. As instructors, we pass on our appreciation of the sport and lifestyle we live in Fernie, and all that we love to do every day we are out there.
One key thing I always discuss with new staff is the importance of creating this experience with guests. They are not only paying to play, they are investing their time with us, which can be even more valuable. Everyone seems busier these days, so time is a precious commodity. We encourage you to ask yourself at the end of each snow session if the time spent was of more value than skiing or riding on your own... we always hope the answer is yes!
Many of our programs see guests returning annually, choosing to spend time with us which we love. Whether multi-week programs for kids or adults, the Performance Academy programs taught by our Level 3 and 4 certified pros, or the Nonstop programs with guests returning for a short two-week improvement camp, we are fortunate to reconnect with folks again and again.
As co-workers, relationship building is just as important as it is externally with guests. Our Snow School is fortunate to have many pros returning every year, with approximately an 80% return rate which is such a key factor to delivering the level of experience we are known for. There are four levels of certification in the CSIA (Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance) and four levels with the CASI (Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors), Level 4 being the highest level of cert. Our team has over 15 Level 4’s comprised of both skiers and snowboarders, with four women who are Level 4. There are over 30 Level 3 pros combined from our ski and snowboard side, and these folks along with the Level 4’s work in our Performance Academy when booked. There are one and two-day Performance Camps that run throughout the season, which are either scheduled or can be requested. Our Snow School is likely the highest certified per size / ratio, in all of North America.
We run a very robust training program for our Winter Sports School instructors, helping them not only understand and progress their own skills as a skier or snowboarder, but to build their communication and soft skills needed to connect with all types of guests. Soft skills learned as teachers and coaches are valuable and transferable in any work environment, as they are real people skills. Investing in people is key to enjoying your work, as is being engaged and learning in a work environment.
Over the years, I have been blessed to witness the many Snow School Sweethearts (as Johnny K called them last week), that have found each other within our snow school or within the snow industry at large. Maybe it is just simply the love of snow and mountains that brings us and them together. There is Ryan and Mel, Johnny K and Ang, (although technically they might have MET each other before Fernie), Anna and Ryan, Karlyn and Ben, Charlotte and Lewis, and many more.
I will leave you with this quote, have a magical minute, hour, day, week out there!
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Pablo Picasso