GAP YEAR, YEAR OUT, SABBATICAL – WHATEVER YOU CALL IT, THE NUMBER OF YOUNG PEOPLE CHOOSING TO EMBARK ON A NEW AND EXCITING ADVENTURE PRIOR TO UNIVERSITY IS RAPIDLY INCREASING. BUT WHAT IF YOU’VE ALREADY FAILED TO CONVINCE YOUR PARENTS THAT BACKPACKING AROUND WORLD IS A WORTHWHILE WAY TO SPEND A YEAR?
Thankfully, there are other opportunities available and ones that don’t pose solely as a glorified holiday, and if embarking on an all-mountain ski course sounds like your cup of tea, Snoworks may be just for you. I caught up with Daniel Chapman, Freddie Lewis and Charlie Sanchez (three Jersey Beans who undertook a course to become a ski instructor last season).
Snoworks seems to be a little different to that of the usual gap year; I mean you’re not relaxing on a beach you’re actually working!
‘We didn’t want to do something that meant non-stop partying, we wanted to achieve something, we were looking for a challenge but also, an exciting experience – and now we all have our ski instructor qualifications – something we’ll have for life!’
The Snoworks course runs from October 25th to run through November and December so you could be qualified before Christmas. Come January, hit up the slopes again. All Snoworks GAP training courses have you qualified in time to work the same season. They’re also admired on a global basis in the ski world, which certainly helps when it comes to finding work. ‘Towards the end of the course, you’re given a list of contacts and once you’ve earned your certificates, it’s up to you to find a job.’
WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT THE ALL-MOUNTAIN SKI COURSES?
‘The people you meet, it’s easy to click with individuals that share the same interests as you. You also get to travel to new places – all whilst doing something you’re passionate about.’ Freddie, Daniel and Charlie have all skied and worked in Japan, teaching kids the ropes from as young as four. ‘Living and working out there wasn’t just an amazing experience, it’s taught us how to fend for ourselves – something that will definitely come in useful when we get to University! Japan is also famous for having the most amount of snowfall, so it was a great place to ski! The Alps are more challenging, whilst Japan is the skiers’ playground.’
AND THE LANGUAGE BARRIER?
‘They’re all Aussies out there and the Japanese themselves are really friendly. In fact, they treat you like royalty! The foods pretty good too, lots of wasabi and green tea!’
WHAT DOES A STANDARD DAY ON THE SLOPES INVOLVE?
‘You wake up to a stunning big buffet breakfast; in fact, there’s always something on the table. We particularly recommend the three-bean stew. You’re up on the mountain by 9am and that’s when the real fun begins.’ From personal performance and team building exercises, to perfecting your technique, running laps around the lake and circuit training – it’s hard work but it’s definitely worth it. ‘It’s the fittest we’ve ever been!’ It never gets boring either, as every circuit is different and each week entails learning something new. Snoworks even host a ‘race week’ whereby you step up the speed, learning the ins and outs of technical, psychological, physical and tactile training for the BASI (British Association of Snowsport Instructors) level one and two. ‘Race weeks are always fun, although you won’t want to hit anyone at the speeds we go!’
WHAT AGE GROUPS CAN YOU EXPECT TO TEACH?
Anything from four years and up. ‘the kids are learning to ski before they can walk!’
THE SOCIAL SIDE OF THINGS
Although the trainers push you to your full potential on the slopes, they’re more than happy to join you in the après-ski. It’s all about working hard and playing hard and you learn so much. ‘We all started skiing at a young age, but the difference from when we started and now is massive (but that’s to be expected when your trainer’s include four time Olympian Emma Carrick-Anderson-Smith, Snoworks’ Ski Course Director Lee Townend and Managing Director Phil Smith – who between them boast an immeasurable amount of experience) ‘You need to be serious and focused for the exams, but there’s lots of fun to be had too!’
SO I TAKE IT YOU’D RECOMMEND IT TO OTHERS?
‘It’s constructive travel, you’ll have these qualifications for life, whether you use them each and every season, every now and again, or take professional training towards all BASI level exams and make a living out of it.’ ‘You’ll save money as well, as you get to work whilst you travel and as long as everyone is smiling, the tips are great too!’ ‘After Japan we used our wages to visit Tokyo.’ ‘There’s never a dull moment – you’re skiing every day, dining on great food and mixing with great people.’
‘JAPAN IS ALSO FAMOUS FOR HAVING THE MOST AMOUNT OF SNOWFALL, SO IT WAS A GREAT PLACE TO SKI!’ ‘THE ALPS ARE MORE CHALLENGING, WHILST JAPAN IS THE SKIERS’ PLAYGROUND.’
WHAT DOES A SNOWORKS PACKAGE INCLUDE?
The skis, incredible food (free wine), uniform and accommodation are all included in the package. You also get a great discount on all of the big name ski brands.
Snoworks GAP fast-track ski instructor courses continue to provide the highest quality training towards professional ski instructor courses and assessments, providing professional, passionate and dedicated training towards all BASI levels, technical and instructor training towards other nationality instructional examinations, plus Ski club leader courses. It’s anything but a glorified holiday and embarking on such an adventure will guarantee to keep both you and your CV busy. It’s a great idea to make use of your gap year, but it’s even better to do so whilst developing future prospects, earning money and attempting new and enjoyable things.
AND FINALLY, DO YOU HAVE ANY INSIGHT FOR THOSE WISHING TO GIVE IT A GO?
‘Eight weeks of great skiing and training from England’s best’ ‘Just do it, you won’t regret it!’ ‘If you love skiing and three bean soup then this is for you!!’ And of course, ‘don’t eat yellow snow!’