Nonstop instructor courses often lead to new adventures, even for those who never plan on instructing.
After completing our 11 week snowboard instructor course in Fernie, Annette Dahl found herself instructing in the European Alps with a charity, improving the lives of children, and riding with Olympic medallist Jenny Jones.
Name: Annette Dahl
Course: 11 week ski instructor course
Location: Fernie, Canada
Qualifications: CASI level 2
Worked in: La Plagne, France
Searching for something positive
My Nonstop instructor course in Fernie, Canada was an amazing experience. When I signed onto the course, I never had any intentions of actually working as an instructor – my only goal was progression, kicks and giggles, of which there were many.
However, after the following summer, as my craving for snow started to build, I started to think more and more about how I could use my CASI level 2 qualifications for something positive.
I went along to the London Ski Show and, by complete chance, bumped into a gentleman called Ian MacWatt, who runs Caring Cancer Trust (CCT) – a small charity that takes children with, or recovering from, cancer on healing holidays. Through these experiences, CCT helps these children to regain their confidence and reignite their passion for life after life-threatening illness and debilitating treatment.
This was an opportunity to use my Nonstop gap year experience to do something truly positive.
Every Easter, they take a group of affected children – who have been referred to them by various hospital units – to the French Alps. Here, they learn to ski or snowboard with instructors that often include the charity’s patrons – Jenny Jones and Graham Bell. After chatting to Ian I realised that this was an opportunity to use my Nonstop gap year experience to do something truly positive. I could make a real impact on other people’s lives, so I found myself signed up for a week of instructing the following April.
Instructing in the Alps
My instructing with CCT took place in La Plagne – a ski resort in the famous Paradiski area, which is linked to Les Arcs. We took 20 kids – double the amount the charity had taken the year before – aged between 12 and 14. Nearly half of those chose to do snowboarding, which meant I had my hands full.
The children I taught had never been on snow before, and by the end of the week they all knew how to slide downhill, stop and turn their snowboards. It was such a great feeling. Only one kid, James, had been fortunate to do a couple of introductory snowboarding lessons on a dry slope before he came out, and he progressed so much during his week in La Plagne that he landed his first 180 and learned how to ride switch. What an achievement!
Riding with Jenny Jones
Alongside making these kids smile, helping them feel good about life, and introducing them to a whole new sport, I also got the opportunity to spend two days riding and teaching alongside Olympic medallist Jenny Jones. She is an amazing coach, a lovely person and very easy to work with.
Olympic skier and Ski Sunday presenter Graham Bell also came out with us, which was a real privilege. If somebody had told me a year ago when I left Fernie that I would be teaching and snowboarding with a GB Olympic medallist, and hanging out with Graham Bell, I would have laughed in their face.
Such a rewarding job
For me, working with CCT was the perfect way to use my CASI qualifications in a positive way. The experience not only made a difference to those I was teaching, it made a difference to my outlook on life.
It’s incredible to think that my carefree winter with Nonstop afforded me this unique opportunity. Every single child got to enjoy the mountains, build their confidence and return home with new skills and a huge grin on their face. A massive thanks to Nonstop for opening the door for me.
We look forward to speaking with you.