Section 8 Snowsport Institute is a Canadian ski and snowboard training school owned and operated by passionate snow sport professionals.

Our objectives are to deliver innovative and adventurous programming; to develop the most versatile skiers and boarders on the mountain; and to prepare individuals seeking a career in the ski or snowboard industry with the most well-rounded and complete training…            we also like to have a little fun in the process!

  • Tobin Leopkey
    Tobin Leopkey

    Section 8 Program Director, Tobin first became qualified as a ski instructor in 1992 at the age of 16. He is a CSIA Course Conductor and former member of the CSIA level IV High Performance Team. He graduated from the Canadian Outdoor Leadership Training program in 1998 and also holds certifications with the Canadian Ski Guide’s Association, Canadian Ski Coaches Federation, BC Freestyle Ski Association and the Canadian Avalanche Association… to name a few.

    Tobin grew up skiing the steep and deep tree lines on Vancouver Island but has been found teaching and participating in outdoor pursuits in various corners of the globe. He has trained everyone from aspiring instructors to Canada’s burly military personnel to young kids who have grown into world renowned free-skiers.

    On the weekends you will find him chasing his two young daughters, Miyuki and Satsuki around the slopes.

  • Nigel Harrison
    Nigel Harrison

    Section 8’s Ski Camp Coordinator, Nigel is an ISIA accredited BASI grade 3, CSIA level 3 and level 1 CSIA Course Conductor.  He is a CSCF level 2 race coach and is also a certified park instructor. He holds the UK’s Mountaineering Instructor’s Certificate, and has taught skiing in most European countries, as well as Japan, New Zealand, Australia and of course Canada. He has skied and climbed everywhere from Greenland to South America, Asia, the Himalaya, Scandinavia, Alaska and many other locations. He has crossed the Atlantic a couple of times on small sailboats filled with skis and climbing gear.

    Now deep into middle age, yet looking not a day over 25, Nigel lives in Cumberland with his partner, Chelsea, and their 2 adorable and perfectly behaved children, Freya and Zachary, who are being trained by their parents in the arts of travel and adventure.


  • Ken Paynter
    Ken Paynter

    Ken Paynter (aka. Dr. Ken) has a skiing career that spans more than 25 years. He has managed and trained instructors in Whistler British Columbia for a good portion of those seasons. He currently holds the position of technical coordinator for CSIA BC and is in charge of training level 3 and 4 instructors on the effective delivery of Canadian level 1 course material.

    Ken prepares and certifies instructors nationally for courses right up to the highest level (level 4) of our certification program. He is a current member of Western Canada’s demonstration ski team and prides himself on his ability to effectively demonstrate efficient and precise ski technique.

    He brings an engaging blend of technical, tactical, and outcome based information to his teaching approach that is guaranteed to impact and improve both your understanding of technique and your actual skiing.

    Some of Ken’s indoor lectures can be viewed on YouTube if you search “Dr Ken indoor ski sessions”.

  • Tom Arnold
    Tom Arnold

    A Section 8 co-owner, Tom has been on snow since the moment he could walk, skiing from the age of 1 in France and the rest of the European alps. Tom took up snowboarding when he was 8 whilst still ski racing and then rode powder on a snowboard and has never looked back… Doing 6 weeks a year until he left school then… he decided to snowboard for life! Tom undertook an instructor course in Quebec and has been teaching in Canada and Australia full time for over a decade since.

    He is a level 3 (& a half) CASI instructor (He has completed the very difficult riding portion of the level 4 and is on the verge of completing the teaching component) He is also a level 2 course conductor, a CS level 2 freestyle coach and a terrain park evaluator.

    You’re most likely to see Tom on the first chairlift in the morning and riding up last one at the end of the day! Tom’s life ambition is simply to have fun with good friends and pass on the stoke to people with a snowboard, surfboard or guitar under his arm!

  • Mike Bray
    Mike Bray

    Section 8’s Technical Director for Snowboarding also acts as the Snowboard Technical Director for Mount Washington Alpine Resort. Mike is a Level IV Instructor and Level IV Examiner with the CASI and and previously sat on its Technical Education Committee as the British Columbia representative. He is a Freestyle and Carving Coach/Examiner for the CASI and also holds certifications with the CSIA and CANSI.

    Mike is an avid snowboarder/skier/surfer who spends his winter months in the mountains of Vancouver Island and summers just seconds from the Islands best Surfing Beaches. Mike has taught across Canada from Ontario to BC as well as internationally in Andorra. He was one of a handful of Canadian snowboarders chosen to represent Canada at the 2011 Interski congress in Austria.

    He has been settled now for 18 years on Vancouver Island to take advantage of Canada’s deepest snow and most desired Surfing beaches.

  • Jan Neuspiel
    Jan Neuspiel

    ACMG certified guide, owner of Island Alpine Guides and head forecaster for the Vancouver Island Avalanche Bulletin, Jan directs our advanced mountain skills and avalanche courses.

    Jan’s guiding and teaching career has spanned more than 25 years and at least that many mountain ranges. Most of this time has been spent working and living in the Himalayas guiding, climbing and trekking in Nepal (he speaks fluent Nepali) and running a helicopter skiing operation in India. Jan has climbed and skied in BC’s Coast Range, the Rockies, the interior ranges, all over the mountainous west of the USA, Europe, Alaska, the Canadian Arctic, the Himalayas and of course, in Vancouver Island’s mountains.

    For a number of years now, Jan has called the Island home and says “the unique beauty of these mountains has captured his heart.” He brings vast experience and dedicated professionalism plus a sense of fun to his work as a teacher and a guide.

  • Mike Manara
    Mike Manara

    Mike is a highly experienced Canadian Ski Instructor’s Alliance (CSIA) Course Conductor and Level IV certified ski instructor, as well a level II CSCF alpine racing coach, and Level I CASI snowboard instructor.

    Aside from the odd coaching gig with Section 8, Mike is heavily involved in many aspects of the ski industry. He is the Director of Sport at Mount Washington Alpine Resort, the Chair of the British Columbia CSIA Committee, the Snow School Chair for the Canada West Ski Areas Association and you’ll often see him sneaking around the country training instructors and examining courses for the CSIA. Where he finds the time is a complete mystery… he is a Zen multi-tasking Master!

    When the snow melts you’ll find Mike getting super buff in the gym, racing his mountain bike through the forests of Cumberland or playing Dad with his young daughter.

    …Try to keep up.

  • Jennifer Young
    Jennifer Young

    Part time Section 8 coach Jen Young also happens to be the Snow School Director in charge of all the troops at Mount Washington Alpine Resort.

    A CSIA level IV Instructor (the first woman from Vancouver Island to achieve the elite certification), Jen is also a CSIA Course Conductor and holds CSCF race coaching and CSIA freestyle certifications.

    She has been tearing up Mount Washington since she was a toddler and has been a ski instructor on the mountain for the past 16+ winter seasons. Now she’s raising a toddler of her own as her assistant on the slopes.


  • Darrin West
    Darrin West

    Darrin is a Canadian Ski Instructor’s Alliance (CSIA) Course Conductor and Level IV certified ski instructor as well as being a Canadian Ski Coaches Federation certified race coach. Darrin is the Technical Director of Skiing at Mount Washington Resort and head trainer responsible for keeping all the instructor staff up to speed.

    He started his teaching career in the Rockies near Banff in prehistoric times but moved to the Island eons ago. Nobody really knows how long he’s been here but we can only guess it’s been an eternity. Don’t bother asking though… you won’t get a straight answer!

  • Helen Campbell
    Helen Campbell

    Is a CSIA level 3 ski instructor (intensively training towards level her level 4) She is Park Certified and a Level 1 Course Conductor. Secretly she also snowboards and has her CASI level 1.

    Helen started skiing at 4 years old at Whakapapa in New Zealand, racing at 11 and did her first full season at 15 (turns out skiing is addictive!). In 2007 she came over to Canada to teach a season at Mount Washington and she’s been here ever since.

    In the off season she does massage therapy (Seriously, ask her for a massage!)

  • Simon Lauzier
    Simon Lauzier

    Simon is a CSIA level 3 Instructor… soon to be level 4!

    He started cross country skiing at a very young age but soon developed a need for speed whilst sliding down a hill… From that point alpine skiing was his thing. When he wasn’t in school you could spot him skiing super fast, riding the park with his buddies and going wild on the snow.

    At the age of 16, he became an instructor and has never doubted this was the best job on the planet. Originally from Montreal, he trained everyone and anyone in the small hills of Quebec. From beginners to expert skiers, instructors and special olympics athletes, he has seen them all!

    Seeking more adventures, Simon eventually found paradise in Revelstoke BC. He suffers from a common ailment known as Revelstuck, where one cannot leave the town of Revelstoke due to tremendous amounts of fun, powder and steep lines.

    He is also mega fluent in French!