10 winters as a ski instructor!

Written by Jon Ahlsén – New Generation Verbier ISTD coach, BASI ISTD, Swiss Patente, NZSIA Demo team member.

Until five years ago, I was a pretty successful M&A/corporate lawyer. Here’s a before/after shot, both taken at work:

Before being a ski instructor.

While I was a lawyer.

Once I was qualified as a ski instructor.

Once I was qualified as a ski instructor.


I have just finished ten back-to-back winters. I have colleagues in Treble Cone, New Zealand, who are into their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s of back-to-back winters, including Jas Bruce at New Generation Val D’Isere, so ten is not that much. But it feels like a milestone to me. I’m back in Sweden, house and dog sitting for my parents and it’s a good time to reflect. Here is a video and the first ten thoughts that leapt to mind.

Video: – For the HD Version (which looks way better)

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 10.16.33


  1. Skiing is still so much fun. My brother Ola always asks if it doesn’t get boring going left-right-left-right day in day out. It does not.Going right.
  2. I really love powder skiing. A day out with good friends in deep and quiet snow is hard to beat, but a ski instructor spends most days on groomers. I am so happy that I truly love piste skiing. If I didn’t, I’m not sure how long a career this would be for me.Going left
  3. My least favorite part of skiing is bumps. I wish I liked them more. I just can’t figure out what people like about them.Ahhh bumps
  4. It is possible to survive financially as a ski instructor, but it’s not a bad idea to have some skills allowing you to supplement your income off the slopes. I translate legal and corporate documents for extra cash.
  5. You meet great people in the ski instructing world. I’ve met some people I hope will be friends for life.The Verbier Team
  6. You’d be hard pressed to find more beautiful places in which to work. It’s hard to choose a picture. The one below is after a heliskiing day in New Zealand with four colleagues.Beers after Heliskiing
  7. Sometimes gratification is delayed. You have to work for it. Sometimes that work is hard, sometimes even scary. But the rewards can be oh so sweet.Rock climbing in ski boots is tough.
  8. I don’t see my family much nowadays, which is a shame. They’re pretty cool.My Dad slacklining
  9. I miss summer, but spring can be pretty nice too.Slacklining in the Wanaka sun
  10. Worth it!Worth it

Yours Jon