GAP year inspiration for skiers
Today Space In Your Case launches a series of inspirations for A-level or University students planning a GAP year. Deciding how to spend your year of ‘freedom’ before knuckling down to the nitty-gritty of ‘getting a real job’ can be a daunting prospect. So we’re going to take a look at a number of suggestions to spark some ideas you or your children might not have thought of. First up, we discovered Snoworks GAP.
Spending a season as a chalet-girl, or tour rep has long been a popular way for young people to indulge their passion for snowsports. I myself made beds and scrubbed toilets from dawn until mid-afternoon, just so I could grab an hour a day on the slopes. My other half’s biggest regret in life is not spending a season working in a ski-resort. But they are long, and often frustrating hours of waiting for the fun to begin. For those who truly crave the thrill of skiing, Snoworks GAP have a better answer.
Gain a ski qualification in the summer, and work through the winter – guaranteed!
Imagine spending late Summer and Autumn on glacier slopes, learning how to teach skiing; then imagine a guaranteed job as a ski instructor throughout the following winter season. It sounds too good to be true, but it’s a scheme put together by Snoworks GAP, to allow good skiers – capable of parallel turns on a marked piste – the opportunity to not only spend their GAP year indulging their passion, but to end their year with an internationally-recognised qualification, and a season of hands-on experience.
Recent news suggests that British instructors are not welcome in the Alps, but this is in fact not the case. Anyone qualifying as an instructor on a Snoworks GAP course at BASI (British Association of Snowsports Instructors) Level 2 can work in countries such as Austria, Switzerland and parts of Italy. Many instructors go onto to take a higher level qualification that allows them to work legally in the French Alps too.
It’s not cheap, but the promise of guaranteed work on completion of the course is a good incentive, as is the long-term benefit of the qualification. So when other students are saving, and raising money for round-the-world trips, the cost probably evens out.
Based in the high altitude, Olympic village of Tignes in the French Alps, Snoworks run a pre-winter GAP ski instructor course that can qualify instructors at the BASI level 2 stage. Lee Townend, who heads up the GAP programme, explains why Snoworks GAP in Tignes is such a great opportunity for young adults:
There’s not much going on in the evenings at that time of the year in Tignes and although we create a fantastic atmosphere within the group, it’s easy to stay focused on the job in hand – passing your exams! There’s plenty of chances to party if that’s what you’re into once it’s done, and of course through the winter when you’re earning money and working in a resort as a ski instructor. Last winter some of our students worked in Japan or Austria for the winter and had an amazing time.
It’s not just the recreational part of the year that is of benefit either, although many students will return to their Engineering and Law degree studies after completing their ski season.
Becoming a ski instructor is a rewarding and valuable experience’, says Lee. ‘Employers see the benefits of a qualification like ours because it shows an ability to communicate effectively, work as a team and lead a group of individuals in an environment that’s sometimes challenging. Ski instruction is no longer seen as a low paid job that’s fun but doesn’t lead anywhere… Today, there’s a structured professional pathway that leads to well-paid and stable employment. If a career in snowsports isn’t for you then working for one or two seasons can be a rewarding experience and it’s always going to look good on your CV.
Do you have any GAP year experiences you’d like to share on Space In Your Case? We’d love to talk to brands who can offer suggestions, or if your family has had an interesting year, we’d be pleased to feature a guest post. Get in touch here.