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Things Your Ski Instructor Never Tells You

Nadio Hachey & Suzie Black (As told to Dave Fonda)


If you’ve ever talked to a ski instructor, you know there’s no end to the number of things they can tell you…

“Bend your knees.”

“Flex your ankles.”

“In this kind of snow, ski more like this!”

Which got us to thinking:  is there anything a ski instructor will never tell you?  


For answers, we grilled Nadio Hachey and Suzie Black, two of Whistler’s finest and most candid instructors to share just a few of the secrets they never, ever tell their fellow skiers. As you’ll see, their answers were both enlightening and entertaining.  

NADIO HACHEY - CSIA Level 4, CSIA Level 4 Examiner, CSCF Level 2. Manager, WhistlerBlackcomb Snow School Adult Groups. Sponsored by Nordica since 2005. Skis of choice: Dobermann Spitfire EVO, Enforcer 100, Patron, GT 84. Boots: GPX 130. When not skiing or teaching, Nadio enjoys long walks on the beach with Chester (his pet Chihuahua), playing the ukele, Sudoku and downhill lawn bowling.

1. I don't make a ton of $$ and heavily rely on tips. (Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.)

2. I’m hung-over (see #6).

3. I really don't like you or (potentially even worse – ed.) I really, really like you.

4. It's my first season here and I don't yet know all the runs.

5. I don't mind spending my personal time with you. (See #1, #6)

6. I’m Australian, live in a closet and have 17 roommates. (See #1)


SUZIE BLACK - (CSCF level 2, APSI level 4) Currently: Lead guide, Corporate Groups Whistler Blackcomb; Guide, Extremely Canadian.
 Skied on Nordica for the last 15 years.
 Ski of choice LaNina 178cm, Boots Doberman WC 110.

1.a) When I finally crawled into bed last night. 

1.b) This is my very first lesson. Ever.

1.c) I’m lost.

Suzie explains: “To be a successful ski instructor you have to be an expert illusionist. Sometimes that means pulling down your goggles, putting on some lip-gloss and pretending you’re psyched. We live in resort towns, so we’re experts at functioning with minimal sleep and delivering maximum fun no matter what.”

2. “A pair of skis is the ultimate transformation to freedom.” - Warren Miller

To which Suzie thoughtfully adds: “I ski because the feeling is as close to what I imagine flying feels like. When I’m frustrated and unable stick that line through the moguls or achieve perfect lower leg angulation, I ask myself why am I here? Why did I start skiing? There are still some questions that Google can’t answer. Perhaps why you ski is one of them. Dig deep.” 

3. Relax. Skiing is fun.

Yes. I know. We’ve all heard that before. Now Suzie elaborates why: “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who actually you are. 
Relax your grip on your poles and I guarantee your day will change for the better.”

4. Does your brain have too many tabs open?

Shut them. Think about one thing. Perfect it. Move on.

5. People ski like they drive. This is just my observation, but I’m pretty sure I’m right.

Take note next time you ski. 


David Fonda
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