It wasn’t so long ago that we were writing this excellent Blog about Scott, who literally went from Zero to Hero on one of our Sun Peaks ski instructor courses. Having never skied before, he managed to come out a week early, learn to ski, and pass his Level 1 and 2 in one season.
This is the ultimate way to spend a season in the mountains. 18 full weeks of training that can be tailored to suit your needs with different options and flexibility to give you the course you want. You’ll come out more qualified and experienced than you could even have imagined at the end.

That was back in 2018, and a lot has happened since then. Winter 2019, Scott worked out in Canada, he completed his Level 3 exams at SilverStar. It’s a pretty incredible story to go from never skied before to a Level 3 Instructor in 3 years, not many can have that claim. But, it shows that with determination and excellent instruction, you can climb a mountain no matter how big it may appear. Below is the original post of his incredible journey.

Scotts Journey 2018

A little over a year ago, in a college in Guernsey, a lecturer discussed gap year options with a class of students. That’s when Scott Howitt’s attention was caught by the opportunity to become a ski instructor.

Whilst this is a reasonably popular post-college travel option for some, it was an extraordinary challenge for Scott, 20. Unlike most ski instructor trainees, he’d never stepped foot on snow, let alone skis, in his life!

Apart from a freak snowstorm back in March 2013, snow is a rare occurrence in Guernsey. So even when temperatures plummet, there’s nothing much more than slush or sleet on the tiny Channel Island.

Sun Peaks is an alpine-style ski resort in British Columbia, where six metres of snow falls every year. So this was a whole other world for Scott. Still, 10 days before the start of the ski instructor course, Scott landed in Canada fully kitted, eager to learn.

We chatted to Scott about what it was like to start the course with zero experience.

What did you expect?

A ski instructor course is a big task to undertake with no experience. What did you expect?

“I had no idea, really. But it was better than I ever expected and I had such a great time, I didn’t want to come home. The first couple of days I did panic a little because it was completely different to anything I’d experienced before. I’m quite sporty. I play football at home, and I’ve ice skated before, which helped a bit with the gliding motion, but it took a few days for it to click. After that, I was hooked. The other, more experienced skiers in the group helped me a lot, and so did the course coordinator, Rob – and it was great to hear from them how much I was improving every day.”

Scott was parallel skiing down intermediate pistes within two weeks. He joined the level one ski instructor course at Sun Peaks, a course usually recommended for skiers with at least four weeks of experience. And just three weeks after that, Scott successfully completed his level one CSIA ski instructor qualification.000That wasn’t the end of his journey. By week 12, Scott had surpassed everyone’s expectations. He achieved his level two ski instructor exam, meaning he’s now qualified to teach skiing in resorts worldwide!

Did you ever think you were pushing yourself too hard?

It’s an incredible achievement. Did you ever think you were pushing yourself too hard?

“Actually, I didn’t. Learning to ski is tiring, and I knew I was working hard – I was very focussed and determined to do well. But some days, I didn’t think I was pushing myself hard enough and thought I could be doing more. So I did everything I could when I was out there, I even tried snowboarding too, and I want to take the snowboard instructor level one next year.”

Are there any standout moments?

Did you ever think, ‘what am I doing?’ or have any bad moments during your trip?

“The entire experience was incredible. Passing my level 1 after a couple of weeks of skiing and completing my level 2 before I came home have to be the best moments, especially as I had worked so hard. I have to say my instructors were brilliant at getting me up to standard. Thanks to them I felt confident in my skiing during the assessment – especially Sander, who became a good friend as well as my instructor, and Cam Watson, who’s a brilliant level four instructor who was on the Canadian Interski team.”


Did you have any bad moments during your trip?

It sounds like you crammed as much as possible into three months. Are there any stand out moments?

“Not really. I had a great time. Unfortunately, in the middle of my level one exam, I accidentally snapped my ski poles when they got caught getting off a chairlift! But it was actually hilarious and not a bad moment. I had to use the examiner’s poles for the rest of the day – he said it was a first, and no one had ever snapped their poles mid-level one before!”

Did you have any falls?

“I didn’t have any bad falls whilst I was learning to ski, but in one of the last weeks, I was determined to go into the snow park and do an XL jump. I ended up having a huge fall where I came out of both skis! I was OK, and I think someone even caught it on camera. I had to give it a try though – I was determined to try everything.”

What are your plans now? Are you a winter junkie?

“Definitely. I really want to go back to Sun Peaks next season. Hopefully, I can get a working visa and join the sports school there as an instructor. I hope to train for level three and maybe take the snowboard instructor exam, too. I’d also love to see some more of Canada, perhaps Whistler or Banff – but I can’t wait to go back.”

It’s highly unusual for someone to attempt a ski instructor course with no prior experience on snow. The level two certification is a respected qualification with rigid standards – passing it with only 12 weeks of skiing experience is no mean feat.

Steve La Borde, Course Director at Winter Sports Company, is incredibly proud of Scott’s achievements. He said: “When Scott first enquired about doing one of our courses, we were sceptical it was even a genuine enquiry. It’s not every day someone asks to do one of our courses without seeing snow before. So we wouldn’t usually take this sort of booking. However, Scott was so keen and determined that we agreed. We were a bit worried, but our resort coordinator assured us of his natural ability and commitment within a week. It was plain sailing – although I’m sure it took a lot of hard work from Scott. We’re very proud of him. Not many people can say they’ve done that from zero to level two in three months. What an achievement!”