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Teaching and learning on the slopes

The landscape has changed. The streets, before coloured by the fallen leaves of autumn, are giving way to tones of gray and all this announces that winter has arrived. Unfortunate for some, especially those not used to low temperatures, but joyful for others, like Edson Junior and Francisco Pujol, two Brazilians passionate for extreme winter sports.
Rio de Janeiro native Edson Junior, who against all odds prefers snow to his hometown’s beaches, fell in love with winter sports while he still lived in Brazil.
When Junior moved to Vancouver he met a Chilean in his first week in school who was fanatic about snowboarding and taught him his first tricks. “We decided to go to Grouse Mountain in my first week in Vancouver and on my first day I was already doing jumps without falling. It was natural to be on the board,“ said Junior.
After his first contact, Junior knew he’d found his sport of choice: he bought his first gear, annual passes for the mountains, and practicing became a routine”a passion. “It was love at first drop,“ jokes Junior three years later.
Despite his love for the sport, Junior doesn’t think about becoming an instructor or a professional snowboarder. “Snowboarding is a hobby, it is something fun. To become a professional you have to be very brave and I admit I am not that brave. I don’t even try the risky tricks,“ he explains.
Unlike Junior, Pujol came to Vancouver with a clear goal: to make his dream of becoming an instructor reality. Since the age of 12 he used to go to mountains in Bariloche, Argentina, and skied until he was 16 years old. From that point onwards, Pujol explored different sports until deciding snowboarding was the best one for him.
In Vancouver, Pujol studied English and then moved to Whistler where he enrolled in a course offered by the Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors in order to become an instructor. He practiced the sport for seven years before enrolling in the course in Whistler.
“The beginning was relatively easy since I already had experience on a board, but even so, I had to work really hard to pass the course,“ says Pujol.
Pujol agrees that it is difficult to find other Brazilians in this program and the majority of students are Australian, British, and Canadian. He also recommends taking the course if you like to snowboard, because the experience of working as an instructor in Whistler is unforgettable, not to mention that the pay is attractive.
Schools such as Tamwood International and the Institute of Snowboard Section 8 offer programs for those who want to improve their English and learn to ski or snowboard, become a professional, and apply for a job at a ski resort
“The English course along with the ski instructor or snowboard program, in my view, can be a great way for people from Brazil to learn the language, and more about winter sports and Canadian culture,“ says Tobin Leopkey, founder and director of Section 8.
Whatever your choice may be, business or pleasure, fun in the snow is guaranteed during a Canadian winter.

About Patri­cia Mattos

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