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The Patriot

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Keep it real: Working as a ski instructor

News Editor Kelly Foulk keeps life interesting. Don't be surprised if she shows up at school with a penguin costume on (five minutes late, of course). She does what she wants when she wants to.

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News Editor Kelly Foulk keeps life interesting. Don’t be surprised is she shows up at school with a penguin costume on (five minutes late, of course). She does what she wants when she wants to. It’s Saturday morning, and I’m up before the sun. I grab breakfast and run out the door before the clock hits 7 a.m. Work is the one thing I try not to be late for.

I love my job with a passion. I drive two-and-a-half hours each weekend to get to the Poconos, PA, where I am a children’s ski and snowboard instructor. My hours are long, and the pay is terrible, but working at the mountain is amazing. All instructors at Jack Frost Resort get a free season pass, free clinics, and free passes for friends to use.

Because I’m part time, I’ll only work about half of the ten or so hours that I’m at the mountain. I spend the rest of the time snowboarding and skiing with other instructors. We’ll teach each other tricks and just goof-off by doing flat-ground 360s down double black diamonds.

Sadly, I’m only paid when I’m actually working on a lesson. Lessons can be lots of fun, especially when people are excited and ready to learn.

On a normal day, I teach kids from ages 3 to 11. This comes with many difficulties and frustrations. Imagine teaching 15 people how to ski. Now, imagine that they’re all less than four years old and two of the kids don’t know English.

That’s an example of one particularly tough class of “wees” (beginner 3-5-year-old skiers). Their gloves don’t stay on, they have to go to the bathroom, and they miss mommy. not much actual skiing is happening. We don’t even get to go down a real slope, we stay on a tiny hill at the top of the mountain near the lodge called “the bowl.”

The best lessons are when I get to teach snowboarders. Snowboarding is notoriously difficult to learn, so many people get frustrated right off the bat. As an instructor, we have a list of tips and tricks that we can use to help the newbies. Sometimes, all someone needs is a simple little trick like pointing where they’re going and then, bam! They’ve got it. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to transform a snowboarder who can’t go five feet without falling into one who can go down an entire slope no problem.

I love my job because I get to teach people about my passion. And the free lift ticket. But mainly the passion.

Kelly Foulk is a News Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.

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The School Newspaper of John Carroll School
Keep it real: Working as a ski instructor