Interview with our ski instructor Maaike Wijts

We are very thankful for this conversation with our ski instructor Maaike Wijts about her time at the ski school Obergurgl.

Thomas: Hallo Maaike thanks for your time.Today we like to speak about your time with the ski school Obergurgl. Firstly, you may like to introduce yourself!

Maaike: Hello everyone, my name is Maaike Wijts, I’m 31 years old and I come from Holland. I have a bachelor degree as an English teacher, but I loved the mountains and skiing too much, so I decided to become a full time ski instructor. Currently I am doing my seventh season in Austria and this is my first time in Obergurgl.

Thomas: You're new to the team here this season but looking at your Instagram account it seems that you've taught skiing all over the world! Tell us a little more about that!

Maaike: My work as a ski instructor has taken me all over the world. I have worked in Czech Republic, Austria, Australia and South Africa. I have also skied in New Zealand, but unfortunately because of Covid, I wasn’t able to work there as an instructor yet.

Thomas: Having been here for a few weeks now, what is your favorite thing about Gurgl so far?

Maaike: Obergurgl is very impressive with its high mountains. The snow quality is fantastic and the slopes are very good to ski. I like the variety of the terrain. Obergurgl offers something to every level of skier.

Thomas: Let's talk about your ski education! Where did you begin with your ski instructor qualifications, and what did you have to train in order to become an instructor?

Maaike: I have completed my Landeslehrer certificate with the Salzburger Ski- und Snowboardlehrer Verband . It is a challenging education in which you have to prove yourself in disciplines such as: “Schulefahren”, “Gelände”(off piste and moguls), giant slalom on time and teaching skills.

Thomas: How would you compare your experiences in other ski resorts to working here in Austria? How would you describe the culture here in Austria?

Maaike: In Australia I found that people were very relaxed and enjoyed skiing in a fun and playful way. In South Africa most people saw snow for the first time in their lives and they were so grateful for that experience. Here in Austria people take skiing very seriously and it’s normal for Europeans to go skiing. I love how passionate Austria is about skiing and the professional organization in the skischool.

Thomas: Have you made plenty of new friends since you've been here? 

Maaike: The ski instructor world can feel quite small sometimes. I actually already knew a couple of instructors who have worked here before. My colleague and friend from my first season as a ski instructor helped me to get here. I have always felt that it’s easy to make friends in a skischool, since we all share the same passion. I have met some great people in the skischool and it feels like a close team.

Thomas: We've already seen you on the slopes here in Obergurgl, what is your favourite piste?

Maaike: On a sunny day I enjoy the upper parts of Obergurgl around the Plattachbahn, and the last few weeks I had great fun in the fresh snow with my groups on Steinmannbahn.

Thomas: Last Friday you did a takeover for our Instagram channel. Your colleges were really impressed by your moderating skills and we received a lot of good feedback. Which moment did you like most on this special day?

Maaike: I enjoyed getting across the amount of fun we have as a group. The combination of ski training and having fun is what I strive for in my lessons and what I wanted to show everyone.

Thomas: What do you do in summer when the ski season has finished here?

Maaike: Before Covid I taught skiing in Australia for two summers and the last two years I worked for a wakeboard cablepark in the Netherlands. It is a fun sport to do in summer and I find the vibe similar to my work here in winter.

Thomas: We'd like to thankyou again for having this chat with us, and will take this opportunity to wish you a great season and a wonderful time here as part of the team!!