Our latest blog features Rory Ferguson from the Adventure Aberdeen Snowsports, part of the Sport Aberdeen family of venues and programmes. He learnt at the slopes, went through the coaching programme, completed the in-house rookie instructor programme, completed his BASI instructor qualification and has already logged over 250 teaching hours all before finishing school. After finding out how dedicated he is to his sport, we decided to catch up with him to ask him a few questions. 

What encouraged you to first get into Snowsports? 

Initially, I got into skiing as an afterschool activity with friends. I first started through the Sport Aberdeen Active School's programme which still runs today. I remember thinking it would be real snow on the slopes and was very confused to find the plastic snow flex! I must have been about 11 when I started which was roughly seven years ago, although it feels a lot longer. One of my best friends and I really enjoyed the lessons and then we worked our way through the level systems. It's a crazy thought to think I was once one of the students in the classes that I teach today!

Do you think it’s hard to train when there are only artificial slopes available locally? 

I think we are really fortunate to have the dry slopes in Aberdeen. Although they do not compare to the Alps, I think the centre offers the perfect ’springboard’ to get people prepared and ready for some snowsport adventures. Not only do the facilities offer skiers the chance to come along and refine their skills before their holiday, the centre also welcomes newcomers to the somewhat unique sport. Myself, for example, had never skied before coming along to Garthdee and without the facilities, I do not believe that I would ever have got into the sport. I believe the importance of the centre can be seen through the fact that people from all over the North East come to practice their skiing. The difficulties of the dry-slope also make everyone appreciate the snow once they are on holiday!

What is your ultimate goal? 

My ultimate goal would be to work a few seasons abroad as an instructor. I am currently working to develop my skills and knowledge in order to prepare myself for the course needed to work on snow. I was booked to take part in the course last winter, however, the course was cancelled due to the Cairngorms predictably having no snow. I have been working as an instructor at the centre for just over a year and have loved the job, this is why I would love the chance to go and work full time for a few seasons. 

How would you encourage more people to get into Snowsports?  

I think that the centre is doing a great job of encouraging people into snowsports. I teach kids lessons at the weekends and I am always seeing new faces. One of the most rewarding parts of the job is seeing kids that I taught for their first lesson progressing through the system and making it all the way to coaching.

You’ve had quite the journey with Sport Aberdeen, what’s been your favourite part? 

My favourite part of the journey so far must have been when I initially passed my BASI 1 course. This is the course that I needed in order to become an instructor. I was able to complete the course at the centre and was very relieved to pass. It was something that I had been working towards for a few years, so I was super happy with myself after passing.

 What motivated you to get into instructing after going through the coaching programme yourself? 

The thing that really led me into instructing was the idea that my job could be something that I love to do. I have always really enjoyed my job at the centre as I am getting to do something that I love. After going through the coaching programme, I became involved in the rookie course. This course was a great introduction to the concept of teaching and I still use what I learned in the course to this day.  While skiing is only a part-time job for me while I study, I am really fortunate to be able to work in a role that I enjoy. Previously, I worked in a supermarket cafe right across from the slopes and hated every moment of it. It was this awful job which really inspired me to go forward and get into teaching. 

 

To find out more about Aberdeen Snowsports click here.