Rookie mountain ways

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A group of Wakatipu High kids get to mix work with play during some ultimate on-the-job experience at Coronet Peak. 

NZSki is presently paying school students to help with ski and snowboard instructing and lift operations through its annual school holiday Wakatipu High Rookie Programme. 

Eleven keen senior students have been teaching beginners on the slopes and three of their peers have been working as lifties over the busy holiday period. 

The teens were chosen through an interview panel and after 30 hours’ training, for a small fee, they’re qualified to work – getting paid the going rate – alongside full-time NZSki employees. 

“It gives them experience to work in a lively environment with a lot of people and it’s an opportunity to increase their CV and say, ‘I’ve been employed as a ski instructor or lift operator’. It’s very successful,” NZSki snow sports school director Michel Marchand says. 

“Those kids come out with full enthusiasm ready to teach. It’s very rewarding for us.” 

Eight participants from last year’s programme were so inspired, they completed qualifications from the NZ Snow Sports Instructors Alliance and landed full-time jobs at Coronet and The Remarkables this winter, Marchand adds. 

Wakatipu High student and rookie instructor Bonnie Wilkins says she’s loved every minute of the “great experience and opportunity”. 

“It’s been awesome fun learning heaps along the way and I totally recommend the programme.”