A glimpse into the hard work, professionalism – and yes the enviable lifestyle! – of one of Interski‘s key resort team members. Emma Stocks first came to Aosta valley with her school on an Interski trip to Pila. She is now head of the largest British Snowsports School in the Alps! See below for the full story.
“I am really lucky in my job role at Interski as it is so varied and every day of the season is different, however once Sunday arrivals are completed and the various Snowsport Schools for Courmayeur, Pila and La Thuile have been built that evening, I get to spend the majority of the week on a mountain, in any of the three resorts!
On a typical Monday morning I will head to one of the resorts to oversee the sending out of one of the Snowsport Schools. I normally decide where this is depending on where we will have the most clients or where I feel a management presence is required. In each resort I have two staff members working full time for the season whose responsibility it is to manage that the Snowsport School in their specific resort. I like to provide them with support and if necessary just act as a ‘gopher’ for them if required, ensuring that all the instructors are correctly registered to work, receive a resort orientation if required and are given all the information they require to deliver a great teaching week for our clients. Being on the mountain also provides a great opportunity to speak with Party Leaders, many of whom I have known for quite a few years, they become less like clients and more like old friends, which is great.
Once lessons are away, generally by about 10am, it is then a chance for me and my team to put on our skis and head out onto the slopes, I like to spend time on the nursery slopes in particular, observing instructors and ensuring that we are delivering lessons along the main principles of Safety, Enjoyment and Learning. Quite often we receive a few phone and radio calls if there are changes to be made between the groups, this is normally managed by my team members but if I am needed to assist then I am on hand to do so.
I actively teach and frequently take out private lessons for our Classics clients or take out some of our Interski Plus Party Leaders who are entitled to complimentary ski clinics, should they wish to partake. If there are no lessons taking place, then as a Snowsports Team we are really keen to see our own Resort Team members improve and progress in their own personal skiing and we frequently run training sessions. Some of these are more formal than others, sometimes it is just a group ski, but this is great for team morale. It has been fantastic to see so many Resort Team members gain instructor qualifications over the years and for those that already hold qualifications we are keen to see them continue to develop in their profession.
Interski run a Gap Year Instructor Training Programme over 9 weeks during the course of the season and we currently have 6 students who are starting their BASI Level 1 course this week, the first qualification they need on the road to becoming an instructor. Following this they will be training with me and shadowing our instructors to gain experience before taking their Level 2 course in 6 weeks time – best of luck to them! On a Monday they will shadow an instructor each for the full day. I always think this is the most important day to shadow as they get to understand how an instructor will build a rapport with a group and set the foundations for their progression and improvement for the remainder of the week. I will normally check in with them in the morning to ensure they have met the instructor that they will be shadowing and are clear on their objectives for the week ahead.
Lunchtime is a great opportunity to catch up with lots of instructors, staff and clients to ensure that their day is going well and address any issues that may have cropped up. At the end of the day the groups are all checked back in and again it is a great time to make contact with all these people.
I normally then return back to the office about 4pm and catch up on the administrational side of my role. Now that the week is up and running I start to look ahead at the upcoming weeks and groups that will be arriving.
The majority of instructor recruitment is completed in the summer months, however we do get the occasional cancellation so I often have some last minute vacancies to fill. All our instructors have to be registered with the local government in the Aosta Valley to legally work so I have to ensure I have received the correct documents such as instructor licences, first aid certificates and CRB checks in advance of their arrival.
Instructors normally travel to resort by coach but quite a few also make their own way, so for those that are due to arrive next weekend I touch base with to find out their travel plans. I will also then work closely with our Resorts Adminstrator, Micheline de Maeyer to ensure they all have a bed to sleep in when they get here!
Finally I then get in touch with School Party Leaders and Classics Clients that are soon to be travelling with us if I am missing any information regarding their Snowsports School requirements. To have this information in advance helps us to plan ahead as well as anticipate any quirks that may arise.
The administrational part of my role can sometimes go late into the night, particularly in advance of busy weeks when there are plenty of emails from clients and instructors alike with questions and enquiries. However it is worth the effort as the more we can pre-plan, the easier the week will be for everyone. I don’t mind the late nights in the office at all – a small price to pay for getting to be out on the mountain all day!”
Emma Stocks, Head of Snowsports School, Interski