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Our Instructors

Jen Houltham
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Jen Houltham

Meet some of the Cardrona Snow Sports School ski & snowboard instructors! Read about why they love their jobs & their top tips for skiing & snowboarding...

Naoko Usui

Hometown/Country: Osaka/Japan
Ski/Board/Adaptive: Ski
Qualifications: NZSIA Level 3, NZSIA Children Cert Level 2, NZSIA Free Ski Level 1, NZSIA Race Coach Level 1 and SAJ
Languages: Japanese & Kiwi English
My top tip for skiing: Enjoy yourself... go fast!

My insider’s tip for Cardrona: Head over to Captain's Basin as soon as it is open, do a couple of runs on the fresh groomers & then head to café for a coffee. It's an especially beautiful view if there are clouds in the valley.

Why I love instructing: Meeting new people everyday & sharing with people my passion. Everyone is on holiday & super happy with big smiles –that makes my day.

What I love best about teaching at Cardrona: Great facilities; slopes, kids' centre, cafés, everything!! I have worked in so many different ski areas but Cardrona is always friendly, welcoming & feels like home.

Nicole Andrews

Hometown/Country: Wanaka!
Ski/Board/Adaptive: Ski
Qualifications: NZSIA L2, PSIA Kids' Cert, Freestyle & APSI Avalanche 1
Languages: NZ English

My top tip for skiing: Whatever you're doing, just make sure you're having as much fun as you can – cause that's the reason we're all here to begin with!

My insider’s tip for Cardrona: Valley View chair to get away from the crowds.

Why I love instructing: Having the opportunity to work at some of the world's best mountains & resorts, while meeting people who love skiing just as much as me.

What I love best about teaching at Cardrona: I look forward to coming back & working at Cardrona every single year – the people I work with make it awesome. I've been skiing at Cardies since I was 4 so it has a really familiar / homely feeling to it.

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Alex Falconer

Hometown/Country: Moa Flat, New Zealand
Ski/Board/Adaptive: Ski
Qualifications: NZSIA Level 2, NZSIA Kids level 2
Languages: Southern Kiwi

My top tip for skiing: Balancing on the outside ski and don’t forget getting hyped up for a sick day!!

My insider’s tip for Cardrona: Hunt out gun barrel at TC and you won’t be disappointed. If you're getting a group lesson book a full day… it’s always super quite and you get to skip the queues.

Why I love instructing: I love the outdoors and being able to share my experiences of skiing with others, plus I get paid to be a professional ski bum.

What I love best about teaching at Cardrona: Meeting new people that are just as stoked to ski as I am

Agus Sanchez

Hometown/Country: Argentina
Ski/Board/Adaptive: Ski
Qualifications: NZSIA Level 2, Freeski Level 1
Languages: Spanish & English

My top tip for skiing: Enjoy yourself & the mountain! A bit of fun and dedication can get you anywhere.

My insider’s tip for Cardrona: Cardrona's terrain has the perfect progression to gain confidence step by step. Start with some green runs on McDougal's & then move onto Captains and Whitestar. Don't forget to check out the view any time you can, it's always stunning!

Why I love instructing: Sharing my passion for being in the mountains & seeing the joy in others when they progress. I also get to ski the whole day! Let's face it, skiing is simply the best.

What I love best about teaching at Cardrona: Two outstanding mountains with a friendly atmosphere. Everyone is so helpful & kind, a smile will easily pop onto your face as soon as you arrive.

Jess May

Hometown/Country: Melbourne, Australia
Ski/Board/Adaptive: Snowboard & Ski
Qualifications: APSI SB Level 2, APSI Ski Level 1
Languages: Good ol' Aussie English

My top tip for skiing or riding: Jump in a lesson to figure out the tips & tricks that will work for you & your style. Try & find out what's fun for you & how you can use that to build on your riding. Keeping it fun is always the answer!

My insider’s tip for Cardrona: Get up early to grab a good car park & then you can have a nice slow morning up the hill with a coffee as you get ready for the day. You can even sneak in a stunning sunrise over the snowy mountains if you're early enough.

Why I love instructing: Teaching & snowboarding are my two favourite things so putting them toegther just made sense. It's always fun working with guests to build towards their goals whether they're long term, or short term.

What I love best about teaching at Cardrona: Doesn't get better than the two mountains on the same pass. You can live your park rate dreams at Cardrona & then go and become the Snowboard free ride champ at Treble Cone the next day. The terrain & facilities the two mountains have together is unreal.  


About the Author

Jen Houltham

Jen is Cardrona's resident word nerd. She's out & about on the mountain most days; a big fan of carving groomed runs, powder hunting & laps through Lil' Bucks!

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