Meet Helen
Helen-plus

Helen

Nationality: British

Base: Åre, Sweden (Northern hemisphere winter), Queenstown (Southern hemisphere winter)

My passion for skiing started when I was 15 and went skiing with my school to Zell am See. Having always been good at sport I found skiing more difficult than I anticipated and vowed that I would one day become good at skiing.

All of my decisions from that point were influenced by whether or not I could ski.I took a year out between school and university and worked in a hotel in Oberjoch on the German/ Austrian border which was comparable to Fawlty Towers. In my third year at university I lived in Feldkirch in Vorarlberg and wrote my dissertation on comparing St Anton am Arlberg in Tyrol, Austria with Montafon in Vorarlberg Austria. I therefore had to ski every weekend of that winter in St.Anton and Lech for research purposes!

Upon leaving university I went to Japan to work as an English Language Assistant in Hachinohe – shi in Aomori – ken. It was in Japan that I discovered and learnt to ski powder.  Every weekend from mid-Decemberto mid-March, I headed to Hakkouda san in the middle of Aomori and try to ski 30cm of fresh powder. It was not always straight forward and many hours were spent digging out skis but it was at this point that I knew that I wanted a career in the ski industry.

I left Japan and headed to Austria to work where I qualified as a level 1 ski instructor. After qualifying I fulfilled an ambition and that was to work in New Zealand as a ski instructor. I was offered a job after teaching the ski school director to count in Welsh! This was the summer of 2004 and since then I have worked professionally as a ski instructor in Austria (Obergurgl – 5 seasons, Kitzbuehel – 1 season), USA (Deer Valley – 1 season), Sweden (Are – 2 seasons) and New Zealand (Coronet Peak – 9 seasons) where I now run the children’s ski and snowboard programmes.

When I am not skiing, I am either at the gym or practising yoga, which has helped improve my skiing and body awareness. My next challenge is to qualify as a yoga instructor so that I can offer both ski trips and yoga.