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Jamie Chalkley Inbetween Seasons


Still salty from a final surf at the iconic Bells Beach, it's time to turn thoughts to the day job: instructing on the snow... The 4 hour drive to the office from Melbourne's not overly depressing when it will yield 3-4 months of shredding the white stuff! Winter is well underway; there's snow on the ground, cold weather patterns forming. For us snow addicts it's all about the Southern Hemisphere at this time of year. This is my first opportunity to work and live on the mountain. I spent last season in Revelstoke on Snow Rehab's Backcountry course but also picked up some instructor qualifications to ensure I could get back on snow as soon as physically possible.

I'll be working at Hotham one of a small number of resort in Australia. Why Australia? Good pay, surf options when there's no work and a crowd of good guys I've crossed paths with en route to becoming fully qualified. There's also a plethora of Backcountry options as well, armed with a 4x4 and a baptism of fire at Revy there'll be plenty of fun to be had!

It's all about the Southern Hemisphere at this time of year.

The 2 month surf trip between Revelstoke's lifts closing and Hotham's opening helped to maintain the stoke levels but it's all been about this, living and earning on the snow. Unpacking a the split board alongside a surfboard, and drying out the skins next to a wetsuit certainly raised eyebrows along the way, but I've been reassured repeatedly there are hills as well as waves down under!

With the epic powder and steeps of Revelstoke now gone until next season, and the big park laps of Big White a distant memory it all comes down to work. Reviews on Australian snow are varied (it'll never compare to Canadian Champagne Powder!) But with a catchment sport loving Aussies split between only a few small resorts, clients should be coming through thick and fast. I guess that'll be as important than cliff drops, park laps and tree runs in becoming a great instructor.

But trust me it's possible and there's people doing it now! I've got to say I'm pretty stoked to count myself amongst those people!
 

Finding work, strangely, all comes down to looking for work, weird that! During your season with Snow Rehab, if your the one chasing up on NZ job adverts, contacting Aussie Ski Schools and hassling your instructors for references, you'll be the one on a flight down south for your second winter of the year and living the Endless Winter dream. The SnowRehab guys in resort and back in the office will help in every way they can, but putting your name out there is invaluable. Why not simply email the boss of a southern Ski School asking for advice on getting a job at his/her resort? That's how I got the gig at Hotham!

It's such a buzz to finally get started living a life I've dreamt about for years. It's hard to imagine being able to make money and cultivate a life around snow, especially during those brutal long days of drudgery in a passionless job. But trust me it's possible and there's people doing it now! I've got to say I'm pretty stoked to count myself amongst those people.

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