WHITE DREAMS: Instructing the Snowboard Instructors

After some NONSTOP instruction, you'll be doing this too

Where in the world have you ridden, and where's your favourite place?
I've ridden on holiday in Europe (Tignes, 3 Valleys, Salbach, Scotland), Colorado (Copper Mountain, Breckenridge), Montana (Big Mountain) and Canada (Mont Tremblant, Fernie, Red Mt, Whistler, Banff, Kicking Horse). I used to ride regularly at the Tamworth Snowdome in the UK, where I had some of my best freestyle sessions.

Best turn ever: Sunshine Village, Banff - the driest lightest snow ever! Pure stoke.
Best half pipe session: Whistler - they just throw money at that place. Amazing facilities.
Most consistent powder: Fernie (it's statistically proven!)
Best overall: Red Mountain has given me the best snow, the best lines and the best atmosphere.

Are there any plans for expansion into other resorts, or even other countries? We're always looking for new opportunities, however our niche of the ski/snowboard industry is becoming super competitive so it's important to be realistic as well as to guard our intentions closely. We pride ourselves for offering the best ski & snowboard coaching available with the most experienced pros in the industry. So it's important to not spread ourselves too thinly. 

What kind of clientele does NONSTOP attract?
We get a really wide range of people coming on our courses which is one of the reasons there's such a good atmosphere. We have 18/19 year olds on their gap year, people in their 20's who've been saving like crazy to do the course, older career breakers who need a change of scene and have always wanted to do a season, and even retired 50 year olds with a 'why not?' attitude.

It's inspiring to hear about people who took a different path. What advice would you give to someone who was thinking of setting up their own snow business?
Go for it, but be realistic about what you're getting yourself in to. Don't imagine that you'll spend loads of time on snow or that just because you work for yourself you'll be able to work when you want to. I anticipated riding loads and doing my work in the evenings, but it's not that easy and you have to respond to issues as soon as they crop up.

For the first 3 years I recon my mates who had 9-5s in London got more time on snow in a season than I did, and even now I can't remember the last time I did a whole day of riding. Basically if you want to make a new business a success you have to give your life to it.

You'll miss epic powder days and work late into the night and when you're surrounded by the 'holiday' vibe of a ski town it can be pretty frustrating. However the satisfaction of watching something grow, being in control of your lifestyle and being able to employ people who share your outlook and interests make the hard graft easily worthwhile.

Fernie is a pretty renowned place. Should we believe the hype?
You'll have to come and find out!

Not a bad view from Fernie's main street

Talk us through one of your best powder days.
I've been lucky enough to have ridden a lot of really epic powder over the last few years so it's hard to pick one particular day but if I had to it'd be at Red Mountain in mid December 2004. I drove over from Fernie with Ryan, a NONSTOP snowboard pro and Al our bus driver. We turned up on Friday morning, it'd been snowing all week and big light flakes were still falling lightly.

The terrain at Red is unbelievably good with perfectly spaced trees, cliff drops and deep gullies everywhere. Only 75 lift tickets had been sold that day (not unusual for Red, even on a pow day) and so we rode fresh tracks all day. It was like heli-skiing but with lift access and no limit on the number of runs we were allowed! We couldn't believe our luck especially when Saturday and Sunday were no busier and the snow kept falling.

How many days do you get to snowboard in a typical winter?
I probably go riding about 30 days a season. These days I'm rarely able to do a full day so often head up for the first few hours when the snow is still fresh. I have become pretty picky with when I ride, but you have to if you're working.

What does the future hold for NONSTOP?
Hopefully the powder will continue to fall and we'll launch new programmes in new resorts as well as in different sports (check out www.nonstopsail.com). Our courses provide the chance to gain a range of professional instructor qualifications so I hope that we continue to enable more and more people to change their lifestyles for the better.

Additionally I want to ensure that our staff are really motivated and really enjoy being involved in NONSTOP. Lastly, my long term aim is to introduce a charitable element to the company whereby we can enable kids that might not normally get to experience riding, skiing, sailing or surfing to come on a NONSTOP programme and experience the stoke we all get from linking our first turns or catching our first wave.

Above the clouds; a Fernie temperature inversion

Are you living the dream?
People will always dream, even if they're as seemingly sorted as Bill Gates. I am stoked with my work and my lifestyle but I still dream of greener pastures. I used to give myself a hard time about it, wondering why I wasn't content, but I realise now that if I wasn't always trying to improve my situation I wouldn't be where I am now.

Currently my dream is to live by the sea with a right hand point break within walking distance of my front door. One day…

If you'd like to travel the world teaching snow sports for a living, checkout www.nonstopski.com for more information on their various courses.


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