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Queenstown Resort College helps snow lovers build careers

Queenstown Resort College helps snow lovers build careers
NZSki Training Coordinator and Queenstown Resort College Adventure Tourism Management Diploma student Reggie Caldwell (right) with QRC Internship Manager Ray O’Brien at Coronet Peak this winter (pic credit Morgan McFie)
NZSki Training Coordinator and Queenstown Resort College Adventure Tourism Management Diploma student Reggie Caldwell (right) with QRC Internship Manager Ray O’Brien at Coronet Peak this winter (pic credit Morgan McFie)


Graduates of a new snowsport management course are finding opportunities to forge long-term careers in their industry thanks to a unique Queenstown tertiary education course.

Queenstown Resort College’s Snowsport Business Management course provides a pathway for ski area workers and snowsports athletes who want to build a career in the snow industry, beyond seasonal jobs or competition. The recognised qualification sits within QRC’s Diploma in Adventure Tourism Management and has been designed by QRC with industry support from NZSki Ltd, owner of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Mt Hutt ski areas, to produce graduates who combine strong business skills with a passion for snowsports.

In its second year, the Snowsport Business Management course is proving extremely successful – with several students and graduates going on to become part of a “new generation” in ski area management, QRC chief executive Charlie Phillips says.

“People who ski or snowboard around the world chasing winters often don’t have the opportunity to complete a formal education or to pick up strong management skills. This course fills that gap,” he says.

As the 2013 Queenstown ski season finished at the weekend, students will be returning to the classroom this week after undertaking paid work experience in various roles at Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Mt Hutt. During the 21-month-long Diploma, they’ll work a total of 900 hours spread over nine months across two ski seasons.

The Snowsport Business Management course has been offered over the past two years and more than 100 graduates from the Diploma have gone on to work in the snow industry. About 150 students are presently studying towards the Diploma.

NZSki employee and student Reggie Caldwell and Kiwi-Canadian biathlete Sarah Murphy and are two course participants who look forward to careers built around their passion for snow and some solid education.

Caldwell, who has a background in hospitality and IT, spent a season as a liftie at The Remarkables before deciding he wanted to get into ski area management last year after learning about QRC’s Snowsport Business Management course.

Graduating next March, he took up an internship as second-in-charge of The Remarkables’ lift department in 2012 before accepting a job at the NZSki head office, where he worked as Training Coordinator this season. He was responsible for making sure all ski field staff undertaking NZSki’s own in-house NZQA training programme have all the training requirements they need.

“I’ve learned so much about snowsport business management through the Diploma in Adventure Tourism Management. If it weren’t for the business knowledge gained through the Queenstown Resort College course, this role wouldn’t have been offered to me at NZSki,” he says.

Snow sports athletes – whose physically demanding careers mean there’s a limited lifespan to their chosen sport – also have to consider what they’ll end up doing once their competitive days are over.

Murphy, fresh from competing in the Audi Quattro Winter Games NZ as preparation for the coming season and with the goal of qualifying for next year’s Winter Olympics at Sochi, Russia, is already considering life beyond her sport.

She graduated from QRC’s Diploma in Adventure Tourism Management in 2011 and hopes to incorporate event management and business skills developed at QRC with her biathlon and cross-country skiing once she eventually retires.

“Focusing on training for the Olympics means you don’t get much time to think about another career just yet, but it is certainly on my mind. Without doing the Diploma I wouldn’t have had any of those skills in event management and business, which is what I hope to get into in the future,” she says.

About Queenstown Resort College’s Diploma in Adventure Tourism Management, specialising in Snowsport Business Management:

Queenstown Resort College runs New Zealand’s only Diploma of Adventure Tourism Management, based in Queenstown, New Zealand. The 21-month-long Diploma also offers a Snowsport Business Management component in conjunction with NZSki Ltd, designed to give graduates a solid understanding of the day-to-day operation and seasonality of a ski resort. Working with experienced industry practitioners, graduates end up equipped with the skills and qualifications to progress in career pathways in a competitive, challenging and exciting global industry. For more information please visit

For more information, please call QRC chief executive Charlie Phillips: (03) 441 1690

Celia Crosbie
Written by Celia Crosbie
Celia is an award-winning former journalist who has worked for newspapers and radio stations in New Zealand and magazines in the United Kingdom. She has worked in public relations in both NZ and London. Celia also specialises in digital media strategy and website copywriting for SEO.