Snowboard Lessons in Morzine with MINT Snowboarding
MINT Snowboarding was set up by Tammy Esten in 2006 providing Snowboard lessons in Morzine. The guys at Mint are a passionate bunch, driven by their love of spreading the word of snowboarding. Tammy’s enthusiastic instructors are super professional and qualified to the highest level. They teach at all levels and in all disciplines. So if you are a first time snowboarder, off piste enthusiast or parents of a mini shred 4 year old, MINT have you covered.
We have known Tammy since the beginning of More Mountain. As one of the first specialist snowboard schools in Morzine, she has taught loads of our guests over the last 10 years. Her business has gone from strength to strength and she now has started teaching the next generation of Morzine kids. Our own little lad enjoys a session once a week with his buddies for MINIshred and loves it… TEDshred!!
To get the full story of Mint when we met up with Tammy for a chair lift chat and a hot chocolate.
Why did you set up your own school when you can work for someone else?
At the time, over 10 years ago, there were no snowboard specific schools in Europe. I always felt that snowboarding was very much a second thought to most ski schools and that they did not offer many options to snowboarders other than beginner lessons. I wanted to develop a snowboard specific school which stepped outside the normal boundaries of what ski schools offered; so from backcountry guiding, splitboarding, freestyle coaching, technical performance courses, instructor training and teaching kids below the perceived minimum age for snowboarding… I wanted to offer something for all ages and all levels. I guess the short answer is that I am just incredibly passionate about teaching snowboarding!!!
There are so many resorts around, but what floats your boat about Morzine and why start MINT here?
Morzine is just awesome on so many levels. There is a vast area of lift accessible and backcountry off piste to explore, there is a halfpipe (I mean, how many resorts have a well maintained halfpipe in Europe?!) and lots of great snowparks. Morzine is a snowboarders paradise! For teaching, the area offers a wide variety of slopes and mountains to take clients, I spend my winters all over the Portes du Soleil with clients, never more than a few days on the same area. And the summer here is just amazing, there is so much to do, from climbing and mountaineering, mountain biking, road biking, walking, swimming in the lakes. Morzine is a real central spot in which to explore the whole of the alps.
So what is so special about Mint and why are you different to your competition?
Because at MINT Snowboarding we really care. We love snowboarding. We live snowboarding. And we want to share snowboarding with our clients. We want them to be buzzing like we are at the end of a great day on the snow. We are not here to make money, we are here to share our passion. The ethos runs throughout the team at MINT Snowboarding. In the words of Jenny Jones ‘Tammy is an incredibly passionate snowboard instructor! Combine this with her technical knowledge and years of experience and there is no doubt you will come away having noticeably progressed your snowboarding and had a flippin’ rad day!! This ethos runs throughout MINT Snowboarding.”
What is your ideal day on the hill?
Exploring new steep and technical backcountry lines. If splitboards, ropes, harness, crampons or ice axes are involved even better! If it is great snow then even better, but the biggest thing is the adventure with friends.
So what about when the weather is horrible? Do you still go out on the hill?
If it is a snowstorm whiteout then I am charging the mountain – I love, really love, storm riding!!! It makes you feel alive when it is freezing cold outside, your face is raw from wind and snow – hell yeah! And best is that no one else is about – you get a ghost mountain to yourself. I love it.
Raining – hmm, I probably wouldn’t always go riding. But then one of my most memorable days ever snowboarding was in 2001 on Mt Ruapehu (New Zealand) in the charging rain and my friend Jenny and I were the only ones on the mountain. We had just the best rail session day ever!
As long as it isn’t raining too hard, I actually like teaching in the rain – it is such a great challenge. If your client comes away buzzing from a lesson in the rain, then you know you are a great instructor!
Most memorable lesson or client?
That’s a difficult question! So many, really so many. How am I meant to choose from all the people that I am lucky enough to spend the time hanging out with, getting to know and sharing the passion of snowboarding – it is always such a treat!
Ok some that jump to mind:
– Donald – one of the most fascinating and inspiring people I have ever met. Learning to snowboard at 73 yrs old, this guy is a legend and I could chat to him for hours and hours. Have a look at this inspirational video.
– My gang of 4 x 3 year olds last winter. Equally hilarious, hectic, cute and mind-blowing – it is amazing how you can spend a winter with the same group, only teaching snowboarding through the medium of dinosaurs (of which I know nothing about!).
– Big Wednesday about 5 years with a group of strong riders on a backcountry course. It had snowed non-stop all week. On Big Wednesday the sun came out on another fresh 60cm and we just charged 1 epic run after another all day.
What do you do when the season in Morzine finishes?
I like to carry on splitboarding or adventure snowboarding around the alps for as long as conditions are good. Then ideally go somewhere hot to surf and relax. And then back to Morzine for a summer of multi-actives as I like so many different sports. Ideally a lot of adventures too. Last summer I learnt to parapente which was totally wild!
If you could choose one famous person to teach, who would it be?
Oh wow, that is a really difficult question for me as I don’t know many famous people (obviously not literally but even by name – I don’t watch much TV!).
If you could ride with anyone in the world for the day, who would it be?
I would love to go big mountain riding with Victoria Jealouse – I was always so inspired by her, back then the only girl out there charging big Alaskan descents.
What is your fav snowboard movie?
Ah maybe the old TB series from the 90s – some nostalgia there, but they had some great big mountain sections
So there you have it, Tammy’s enthusiasm for snowboarding runs through her whole team and we can speak from experience. MINT instructors have taken us on avalanche awareness courses and taught our little Ted to snowboard when he was 3 years old! Booking a lesson is a great idea no matter what your level is, and with a testimonial from Jenny Jones herself you cannot go wrong with MINT Snowboarding!