Otago Polytechnic
Jim Young
Making a career out of my passion has to be one of my greatest achievements.

Jim Young

Jim Young has found his true calling in the mountains, and the Diploma in Avalanche Studies* from Otago Polytechnic helped him get there. After leaving high school, he began training as an automotive engineer, but soon realised this path wasn’t for him. Now he’s working as a ski patroller at The Remarkables – and soon he will be off to Japan to work as a ski guide for the northern winter.

The Diploma programme at Otago Polytechnic’s Wanaka campus, incorporates the NZMSC Avalanche Stage 2 Certificate. This is a prerequisite for most industry management roles. 

“Otago Polytechnic is the sole provider of this certificate in New Zealand, and my diploma has already opened many doors within the ski industry,” says Jim. In the last seven years, he has worked twelve winter seasons as a professional ski patroller in Queenstown, Colorado and Canada.

The highlight of his time at Otago Polytechnic was the satisfaction of gaining one of the most respected avalanche qualifications from such a well-respected institution.

“The programme is run by Peter Bilous,” explains Jim, “who is renowned in New Zealand and North America for producing some of the leading people in the avalanche industry.”

Jim’s aspirations require further study, and he’s now working towards gaining his NZMGA Assistant Ski Guide qualification, with the exam coming up in September. “This will enable me to further my scope of work available within this exhilarating industry.”

*This programme has been replaced by the New Zealand Certificate in Avalanche Risk Management (Level 5) and New Zealand Certificate in Avalanche Risk Management (Level 6)