‘Livewire’ takes out snowsports instructor title

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Nicole Ellis’ passion and dedication to snowsports at Ohau Snowfields saw her take out the title of New Zealand Snowsports Instructors Alliance’s Instructor of the Year.

Ellis, known to most people as “Nipper” has been a snowsports instructor at Ohau for the last six seasons, teaching both ski and snowboard groups, as well as taking private lessons.

She was presented with her award at an event at the Lake Wanaka Centre.

During the 2013 winter Ellis continued working closely with local schools and those from further afield who would come and stay a few nights.

Ohau Snowfields managing director Mike Neilson said Ellis was very popular with everyone she encountered on the mountain, as well as the staff, management and owners at Ohau Snow Fields and Lake Ohau Lodge.

“She’s just a livewire, she’s very good at her job,” he said.

“The kids love her, we only ever get good reports about her. She’s full of life and love of doing her job.”

Originally from the UK, Ellis has made her way to Ohau each winter, spending the off season continuing work in the snow industry around the world.

“The worst part is, she’s not coming back next year,” Neilson said.

Ohau Snow Fields Snow School director Andrew Stanford said the feedback from her students was always extremely positive, regarding both progression and overall experience.

“As a small resort we often have to manage groups with a range of ability and or ages, Nicole accomplishes this in a calm professional manner, always ensuring every one of her students has fun and leaves a more competent skier/rider,” he said.

“It is not unusual to see Nicole running her lessons into her break because a student was about to have a breakthrough and she really wants that to happen for them.”

Even on her days off, Nicole can often be found coaching other staff to improve their riding and encourage them to pursue further training.

“It is wonderful to see someone so passionate about snowsports but exceptional to see someone so enthusiastic about sharing that passion through teaching,” Stanford said.

By Rebecca Ryan